The MediaBridge Team
Our Principals and Strategic Advisors leverage deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and core functional expertise to deliver a superior level of service. We utilize our extensive network of senior executives at the leading strategic buyers and institutional investors to provide clients with unparalleled perspective and visibility essential to unlocking maximum synergy and increasing value for buyer and seller. Our compensation is tied to the successful achievement of our clients’ goals – thus we are fully aligned with their objectives.
Industry Executive Advisors
Ethan E. Jacks
Ethan Jacks began his career in media technology when he joined digital media pioneer Avid Technology in 1999, and for over 7 years served in several senior executive positions, including EVP of Corporate Development, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Ethan helped drive Avid’s strategy to grow both organically and through aggressive M&A, leading a total of 13 acquisitions of private and publicly held companies that fueled Avid’s dramatic growth in film, video and audio sectors. In that period, Avid’s revenue doubled to $1 billion, and its market valuation grew from $400 million to $2.5 billion.
Since 2006, Ethan has served as an investment banker and strategic advisor. He co-founded MediaBridge Capital Advisors in 2012 with his partner John Bowen. Transactions he has managed cover the full range of the media technology industry. In the film and video market, they include the sale of film color inventor DaVinci Systems and the blue screen/green screen pioneer Ultimatte, both to Blackmagic Design; the $30 million sale of CA based wireless video leader Teradek to UK based The Vitec Group plc; the sale of market dominant creative software vendor Final Draft to LA based Cast & Crew, a portfolio company of Silver Lake Partners; and the recent sale of Studio City based FilmTrack, a portfolio company of Insight Venture Partners, to City National Bank. In the pro-audio market Ethan’s transactions include the sale of audio console leader Euphonix to Avid, the sale of Minnetonka Audio Software to the Telos Alliance, the $12 million private equity financing of Cambridge MA based audio software innovator iZotope from private equity firm ABS Partners, and the recent sale of iconic Solid State Logic (owned by musician Peter Gabriel) to Audiotonix, a UK based pro audio conglomerate financed by private equity firm Astorg Partners.
Ethan has been involved in M&A and private and public corporate finance for over 30 years. As a corporate lawyer and partner in firms including McDermott, Will and Emery, Ethan represented buyers, sellers and investors in high-tech industries, with a focus on media and communications. In 1991, Ethan was the co-founder and a senior executive at Molten Metal Technology, a groundbreaking environmental hazardous waste recycling technology company which commercialized MIT-developed intellectual property, raised over $400 million in growth capital, and grew to a public market valuation of over $1 billion.
Ethan holds a B.S. from MIT, an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
John C. Bowen
With a focus on technology for close to 30 years, John has worked through several technology lifecycles, serving as an equity research analyst and investment banker for the last 15 years.
His career began in 1983 in Information Technology sales, and through 1995 represented all aspects of IT solutions including hardware, software, and professional services for Sybase, McDonnell Douglas, and Digital Equipment Corporation. In these positions, John gained a deep exposure to technology and ongoing convergence trends, licensing and pricing strategies.
As an equity research analyst for First Albany Corporation (FAC), John published research and recommended public companies to institutional investors in enterprise software, communications hardware and software, and digital media markets. In the early 2000’s, John was a recognized research analyst in the formative years of digital media. Through FAC’s joint venture with META Group (acquired by Gartner Group), John published weekly research that provided a liaison between information technology end users and institutional investors. John’s research coverage universe included companies such as Cisco Systems, SAP AG, Adobe Systems, Macromedia, Open Text, Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft, RSA Security, Check Point Systems, Symantec, 3Com, and Ascend Communications.
Since 2001, John has served as an investment banker and strategic advisor. He co-founded MediaBridge Capital Advisors in 2012 with his partner Ethan Jacks. John’s transactions cover a broad spectrum of the media technology industry including broadcast, audio, enterprise communications, Pro/AV and retail markets. John has led several acquisitions by companies that include Google, Harman International, Barco, Sony Corporation, Audiotonix and Grass Valley. Recent transactions include the acquisition of Solid State Logic by Audiotonix, SVSi by Harman International, the C$21 million sale of Montreal-based visual communications pioneer X2O Media to Barco NV, the $25 million sale of U.K.-based broadcast automation and channel-in-a-box leader Pebble Beach Systems to Vislink plc, and the $137 million acquisition of video codec vendor On2 Technologies to Google.
John holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on Digital Systems from University of New Hampshire. He also holds an MBA with a concentration in finance from Babson College.
After a decade as a radio producer and recording engineer, Courtney Spencer joined Martin Audio/Video in NYC, the largest US pro audio dealer/distributor in the US at that time, serving as the company’s vice president and general manager. In 1988, Courtney joined a venture capital-funded start-up, WaveFrame Corp., a pioneer in computer-based audio production systems, as its VP of sales.
In 1990, Courtney joined Sony’s Business and Professional Group as VP and General Manager for Pro Audio. Over the next 12 years, Courtney led the group through the launch of digital multitrack recorders, digital recording consoles, CD mastering systems, wireless microphones, and over 100 other professional products. After working in management roles with two leading studio architecture and acoustical/system design firms and consulting for various industry companies, Courtney accepted a full-time consulting engagement with D&M Holdings, concentrating on post-acquisition integration of Calrec Audio while playing a key role in the company’s M&A team. Courtney was centrally involved in D&M’s acquisition of Allen & Heath and evaluated numerous other potential targets. In 2008, he became D&M’s Senior Vice President, Professional Audio, Americas, overseeing Calrec, Allen & Heath, Denon Pro, Denon DJ, and Marantz Pro, while continuing to focus on M&A. In 2010, Courtney and an industry colleague, Roland MacBeth, founded CRX Partners, a business consulting firm serving professional, consumer/residential, and commercial audio clients.
In 2012, with the founding of MediaBridge, Courtney became a senior industry advisor for the firm. Courtney played key roles in a number of MediaBridge transactions including the sale of Minnetonka Audio Software to Telos Alliance, the PE financing of Cambridge MA-based audio software innovator iZotope, and the recent sale of Solid State Logic (owned by Peter Gabriel) to Audiotonix, a UK-based pro audio conglomerate that also owns DiGiCo, Allen & Heath, and Calrec.
Rob has more than 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry in Los Angeles. Over the last several years, Rob has played an instrumental role as a Senior Investment Banking Advisor on several noteworthy sell-side M&A engagements for MediaBridge including the sale of Final Draft to Cast and Crew, the sale of Ultimatte to BlackMagic Design, and the sale of Filmtrack to City National Bank.
Prior to MediaBridge, Rob served in various operational roles at several high-profile entertainment companies including Artist Management Group, Warner Brothers, and Untitled Entertainment. Rob was President of InterMedia Entertainment, which published the IME Star Index, a research tool designed to assist advertisers in selecting and optimizing celebrity-driven advertising campaigns. He launched the branded entertainment division of Untitled Entertainment in 2007 and ran the division successfully through 2012. Rob began his business career at the investment banking firm of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin.
Rob attended the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University with a B.A. in International Relations and International Economics.
Industry Executive Advisors
Industry Executive Advisor
A 25-year veteran of the technology industry, David Schleifer has recently held positions ranging from COO of Primestream, Inc. to VP of Sales and Marketing for Algolith. He previously held the position of Vice President of Strategic Planning for Avid Technology, where he built and managed the business strategy for the Media and Entertainment market, and Vice President of Broadcast for Avid where he built and managed Avid’s growth into the broadcast market. Over his career, Schleifer has been responsible for the development and introduction of many products – including the revolutionary Avid Interplay, Avid iNEWS Instinct and products including On-Air Systems, Automation, 3D graphics and Editing solutions. His responsibilities have also included the design, rollout and management of large complex systems for Film Studios, Data Storage and Networking and broadcasters like CBS and NBC, ABC, ZDF, Vice Media and others. Schleifer has advised and worked with several startups across a diverse set of industries, and worked closely with several VC’s helping them with strategy and due diligence. He recently worked with WWE, assisting in the launch and expansion of their OTT products and Rights Management projects for WWE films.
Industry Executive Advisor
Equally at home in a start-up or large corporation, Graham has a proven track record of building or changing cultures, acquiring and integrating businesses and building shareholder value, as well as an extensive knowledge of international business and cultures gained through living and working in Asia, Europe, Canada and the US.
Graham has more than 25 years Executive Management experience in the Media industry with such businesses as: The Vitec Group, plc, serving as SVP for Vitec Videocom; Grass Valley, where he was interim CMO and SVP of Corporate Development, responsible for Product Marketing, Marketing Communications, overarching Corporate Strategy, M & A activity, strategic alliances and helping drive the business transformation; Avid Technology where he was Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Video division; a $470m business with 1500 staff, and; Discreet Logic, where he was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
With Media Asset Capital he has provided strategic advice and diligence for many blue chip clients, including but not limited to Autodesk, Francisco Partners, Hitachi, Vislink as well as numerous banks, Private Equity and VC funds.
After a decade working in film and television production, Josh Kline has spent the last 15 years building new businesses in Digital Media, with a focus on content creation, production and distribution. Until recently Josh was VP of Media and Entertainment at Box.com. Previously he was Chief Strategy Officer for Final Draft, Inc. the world leader in script writing software and services. Josh co-founded and led Sample Digital, Inc. as CEO, where he oversaw development of Digital Dailies®, revolutionizing the review and approval of production media in the film and television industry. Josh left Sample Digital to run Secure Path Technology, a venture backed enterprise cloud-based metadata company. He then worked in strategic business development at Deluxe Digital Distribution. Josh is the founder and CEO of a new mobile based, consumer facing barter exchange platform called Have Need, Inc. Josh is a 2013 Emmy award-winner for scientific and technical invention, as well as an alumnus of USC’s School of Planning & Development.
Jeff is the CEO of Brandlive, a SaaS enterprise training and sales enablement platform. Jeff was the Senior Vice President of Business and Corporate Development for Brightcove, Jeff was also VP of Business Development at Clearleap, a leading provider of cloud-based video services. Jeff helped lead the sale of Clearleap to IBM in December 2015 for over $200 million, forming the core of IBM’s new video cloud business unit.
Jeff has more than 20 years leading start-ups and public companies, launching innovative cloud, SaaS, consumer electronics and consumer-facing businesses. As part of these efforts, he has worked closely with Accenture, Microsoft, Samsung, Best Buy, ESPN, Amazon, Adobe and IBM, among others, to build and market paradigm-shifting initiatives. His leadership and strategy experiences include managing all aspects of marketing, product management, corporate development/M&A and finance.
Heather Dembert Rafter has been providing legal and business development services to the audio, music technology and digital media industries for over twenty-five years. As principal counsel at RafterMarsh US, she leads the RM team in providing sophisticated corporate and IP advice (US practice) and entertainment law services (UK) to content creators, hardware and software developers, and event producers, among others.
Heather served as Director of Legal affairs and later General Counsel for Digidesign, the audio division of Avid Technology and the creator of the award-winning Pro Tools software. During her time at Digidesign, she was instrumental in the company’s acquisition of M-Audio and Sibelius Software. She also represented audio console leader Euphonix in its acquisition by Avid.
She began her legal career as a litigation attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, focusing on intellectual property and commercial matters. Heather has served in a variety of leadership roles in the American Bar Association, including Chair of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law. She also serves by ABA presidential appointment as a member of the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education. She is on the board of SoundGirls.org; serves on the advisory board of WiMN, the Women’s International Music Network; and on the advisory council for the Department of Music at Princeton University.
She is a graduate of Princeton University (A.B., Woodrow School of Public & International Affairs, magna cum laude) and Columbia University School of Law (J.D., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar).
Richard is CEO and founder of global executive search firm Interfacio, who specialize in the media technology sector, based in London and founded in 2002. Richard held previous roles as a Director and General Manager of Celestion, part of the Hong Kong based Gold Peak organization, and was global product lead for Fostex Corporation of Japan where he spearheaded the development and introduction of a number of ground-breaking digital audio products for the location sound, broadcast and post-production markets.
Through his work building and managing the Interfacio business, Richard is continuously engaged with a wide variety of industry leading brands and manufacturers across the broadcast, music, lighting, professional and consumer audio sectors as they advance their strategic product development, marketing and global sales objectives.
Richard graduated from Warwick University, England in 1986 with a BSc Hons in Engineering Science. As a musician with a strong interest in music recording and production he pursued a career in sales and marketing in the professional audio business, initially selling high value and cutting-edge audio and production technology to recording and post-production studios, broadcasters and the location sound industry. During this time Richard worked closely in a product management role with engineering teams in Japan, the United States and United Kingdom and led sales, marketing and distribution activities worldwide.
John Fargis is a senior executive with twenty-five years of general management experience in the China market, in telecom, media and technology industries. Google has purchased three of the companies he helped manage.
John is currently co-founder and partner in BYG Advantage, a sales acceleration firm bridging top technology SME’s into APAC. He is also a professor of Management, Strategy and Leadership at the Hult International Business School’s Shanghai campus.
John has run APAC for a number of software and hardware platforms including telecoms infrastructure, speech processing, video codecs, video conferencing, embedded touch technology, geo-location technology, open source data architecture, in-memory database, and IT systems management software. He has launched offices and built teams, numerous times in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, and Australia. John lives in Beijing with his wife and two daughters.
Angelo Santinelli has over 20 years experience covering a broad range of disciplines and responsibilities including business development, strategic planning, M&A, IPO, private equity financing, customer service, all aspects of marketing and international operations. Currently, Angelo is a principal and founder of Dakin Management, a strategy consultancy focusing on small to medium size businesses.
Angelo is a former partner of North Bridge Venture Partners, where he began his investing career covering communications, wireless, software and Internet infrastructure. Prior to joining North Bridge, Angelo was a senior executive of the Shiva Corporation, a provider of Remote Access Networking products, where he helped lead the company through a successful IPO, several acquisitions and a rapid growth phase. Prior to Shiva he was employed with Boston Consulting Group where he participated in the high-tech practice group, focusing on both business strategy and business process re-engineering for Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, Angelo has served on numerous boards of directors participating in both audit and compensation committees.
Angelo is an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College and Advisor for the John E. and Alice L. Butler Venture Accelerator Program . He has been a Senior Lecturer at MIT, Sloan School of Management, where he taught Entrepreneurship. He received a BS from Fordham University in 1984, and an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration in 1989.
Meri Weingarten is the Director of Digital Media and Technology at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In her role at USC, she oversees the management and strategic planning of digital media and technology in the school’s state of the art Production and Post Production facility. As part of the planning team for the school’s new building, Meri helped create a comprehensive professional 21st century digital environment. In addition, Meri has held an adjunct professor post in the Division of Film & Television at USC.
Prior to working at USC, Meri’s 20-year career in the entertainment industry includes award-winning work as an editor, producer, and director. Her body of work spans television movies for CBS, ABC, and HBO, as well as PBS documentaries and Saturday Night Live. She has worked on numerous feature films including the Academy Award winning Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976), Arthur (1981), and Visions of Light (1992).
Lawrence Blume has worked in film, television, media technology, and entertainment for twenty-five years. Starting as an assistant to legendary Hollywood producer, Edgar J. Scherick (Take the Money and Run, The Heartbreak Kid, The Stepford Wives), he went on to become a writer-director-producer, editor, and media technologist. He was the founder/co-owner of PostWorks, New York’s largest post production company, and was a trailblazer in the development of portable, location-based digital post production systems.
In addition, Lawrence has directed two television dramas; Martin & Orloff (Comedy Central – 2002) for which he was named one of the “Ten Rising Stars of Comedy” by the Hollywood Reporter, and Tiger Eyes (Lifetime – 2013), which won numerous awards and is currently in release around the world.
He has worked as a production/distribution consultant on many independent feature and documentary films and has lectured extensively on HDTV, Digital Cinema, and the convergence of television and the internet.
Following his passion for food and entertainment, Lawrence was a founding investor at City Winery, a fully functioning winery, restaurant, and live music venue with locations in New York, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, and Boston.
He is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) and the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) and currently divides his time between New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.
Chad is the CEO of OpenDrives, where he is responsible for day-to-day operations and leads product development and technology strategy. He is a 20-year veteran of the media and technology industry with executive positions held at EMC’s Media & Entertainment practice in the Cloud Infrastructure Group, Echostar, and SecurePath Technology. Chad built the digital media divisions of two high profile postproduction companies. He began as an investment banker providing M&A advisory services to companies in the technology, gaming, and publishing industries. Chad is the author of published works for the Motion Picture Association.