MEET OUR TEAM

Doug Grimsted

CEO

Since his first job out of college at Micro Database Systems (MDBS), which sold the world’s first client server relational data base, Doug’s entire career has been spent pioneering the use of data and analytics to change how companies compete.
In the 90’s, Doug worked with a group of industry veterans to found and run an ANSI committee to standardize Xbase, the language of Foxpro, Clipper, and Dbase III. As CEO of Geneer his team developed and managed the software delivery analytics tools for many of Nielsen’s data products. As CEO of Aginity his team built the demand signal system that Kroger uses to forecast their entire inventory and collaborate with their suppliers (DemandView). Aginity went on to pioneer the exciting new field of Enterprise analytics management with their analytics Management platform, AMP, which is sold by IBM globally and used by large enterprises like Kroger, Catalina marketing, Kohl’s, and Coke to manage all their analytics across the enterprise.

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Doug is a seasoned technology startup and growth executive. Doug’s long career demonstrates an expertise at determining where the puck is going and creating companies to serve the need and capture the value of being first. Recognized in Deloitte & Touche “Fast 50” Program for Chicago, he won the prestigious KPMG Illinois High Tech Award in 1999, was inducted into the Chicago/NW Indiana Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, and was a Finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1999 and 2000. Chairman of a database ANSI Committee. Doug holds a degree in Industrial Management with a Minor in Industrial Engineering and Finance from Purdue University.

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Doug Bryan

Chief Scientist

Doug started out developing software for Trident subs, Milstar satellites and the Space Shuttle but quickly switched to academia. He was on the research staff and a lecturer in computer science at Stanford University where he was tech lead for a 20-person team and published dozens of papers and three textbooks. After seeing Yahoo! for the first time, it was clear that there were more interesting things happening on the other side of El Camino Real. Since then he’s been an R&D manager at Accenture, lead the product recommendations team at Amazon.com (generating $1b in revenue per year), practice lead at Rich Relevance (served personalized product recommendations to 600m shoppers a month), solutions engineer at KXEN (the first regularized regression software), co-founded a paid search auto-bidder startup, VP of analytics at iCrossing and SVP of data science products at Merkle (Dentsu Aegis Network; reduced modeling costs 88% and time-to-market 95%).

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His favorite customer ever is L.L.Bean and has also worked with Overstock.com, Experian, Discover Financial Services, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Rogers Wireless, Motorola, DirecTV, Marks & Spencer and Barneys New York.

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Larry Burns

Chief Operating Officer

Larry’s experience lies within the CPG world at the intersection of Marketing Technology, Data Science, Human Behavior and Practical Promotions. He legitimately played the role of “Marketing Technologist” and “Data Scientist” even last century … long before these terms were popular.Larry served as long term CEO (’99 – ’15) of the pioneering digital marketing firm StartSampling, Inc., a company that enjoyed several years on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies list. Project engagements required intimate knowledge of client and retailer data systems as embedding data within various customer, agency and data provider platforms was a standard activity for StartSampling. Created and maintained the first cross retailer platform for online sample request activities which included Walmart and many other retailers.

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Many industry people know Larry as responsible for IRI’s Product Management Group in the 90’s. His product responsibility was overseeing the InfoScan™ brand, where revenue grew substantially during his service (from ~$250MM to – $450MM). Larry’s clients included every major CPG company, retailers, brokers, the trade press and working with multiple outside consultants as resident expert on the nature of IRI’s complex products and pricing approaches. Responsible for the transition from a sample based (~3,000 stores) to census based (over 30,000 stores) share tracking system in the United States and many other innovations that helped drive IRI to the leader in market share.Prior to IRI Larry served as a CPG marketing researcher across syndicated, custom, and internal data @ Heinz USA, Cadbury Beverages, Pepperidge Farm and General Foods.Larry’s undergraduate degree was in Chemistry from Alfred University.

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Mike Cacicio

President Biz Dev

Mike serves as Nitrogen.ai’s business development and marketing lead, as well as providing analytic mission design guidance for clientsMike spent over 17 years at Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) where he held managerial and executive positions in operations, client service and new business development and served on the executive management committee for Advanced Analytics and Testing Services. He was instrumental in helping to grow IRI from a start-up to the world’s leader in providing innovative new product and brand management research services. During his career, Mike has consulted with virtually every major consumer packaged goods manufacturer and retailer, as well as several of the world’s largest business-to-business marketers and consulting firms.

After leaving IRI Mike founded Make It Happen Now in 2003 to help start-up and established organizations address immediate mission-critical issues in marketing and sales.Prior to Make It Happen Now, Mike was a Partner at Slack and Company, a global B2B integrated marketing communications agency. His responsibilities included leading research activities, the expansion of the agency via new business development programs and establishing strategic partnerships with allied businesses.

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Mike maintains an active advisory board position with Slack and Company.Before joining Slack and Company, Mike was President/COO of USA Chicago, Inc., a leading B2B marketing communication firm specializing in the packaging, technology, publishing, and food ingredients industries. Mike, and his partner, merged USA Chicago with Slack and Company.Mike continues to serve as an adviser to the executive management teams at Message Wrap Conveyor Belt Advertising, Newlio Market Research, Slack and Company, and the Hollingsworth Media Group.

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Pierce Hollingsworth

Consultant

Pierce brings his unique background as an innovative integrated marketing and media professional who has created, grown, and modernized companies and brands. Pierce’s roots in major consumer packaged goods and technology companies run deep with companies such as Tyson Foods, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, SAP, IBM, Jack Links, Crayola, and many other Fortune 500 food, grocery, and related tech companies benefiting from his knowledge.Most recently he was Vice President for the Custom Media Group at EnsembleIQ (originally Stagnito Business Information). Pierce directed custom marketing service and integrated marketing campaigns for companies across the EnsembleIQ portfolio which includes Progressive Grocer, Retail Leader, and the Path to Purchase Institute.

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Pierce also is on the adjunct faculty at Northwestern University, where he was an assistant professor early in his career. Pierce academic credentials includes Northwestern University MSJ Journalism.

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Mike Hess

Media Analytics Advisor

Prior to starting his consulting firm in 2015, Mike worked at Nielsen as EVP of Media Analytics, a group he helped to start-up in 2011. He won two innovation awards at Nielsen for developing new analytic methods to determine Causality. Before that he was Director of Research, Insights, and Marketing Science at Carat media agency and prior to that, Mike served as Director of Global Research and Communication Insights at OMD, a unit of Omnicom. At Carat, Mike’s clients included Pfizer, Disney, Home Depot, P&G, and Outback. At OMD, the client list included McDonalds, Pepsico, Clorox and Visa.Before moving to the New York area in 2004, Mike worked in senior analytic roles for large marketing research providers in Chicago and Cincinnati. These Included Information Resources, BASES, and TNS. He won an industry competition to be part of P&G’s Consumer Insights team while at the same time employed by TNS.

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During his career, Mike has at presented at over 100 industry conferences and has 150+ publications to his credit. These include an important study on Women’s Health Care that was one of the first research surveys to be conducted successfully on the internet in the health care space. The research results were published in the annual top 20 annual research studies by CASRO for the year 2002, with the permission of the client.In more recent years, Mike was selected to contribute an article on Quantitative Advertising Testing to the 50th anniversary issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) in 2011; asked to co-author a chapter on Social Listening for a textbook, Listen First!, on that topic; was invited to contribute a section on Frequency to the ARF’s Digital Marketing Playbook (2015); and to write two chapters in a recently published (2016) book, Accountable Marketing, about Marketing Effectiveness and ROI.In 2017, Mike was invited to serve on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Advertising Research.He has an MBA from Wharton and an MA in Cognitive Psychology from Columbia. While at Wharton, he did an internship at Pfizer that focused on multivariate analysis as applied to the Pharma industry.Mike has been able to apply research to the arts on several occasions including conducting surveys for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival while he was also a member of the board of trustees for that organization (1999-2005.) His qualitative research also led to the successful foundation of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (2004), which is currently still going strong.Here in the New York area, Mike served on the board of the Broad Horizons Theater Company from 2008-2016. Broad Horizons reviews playwrights’ scripts and stages readings of them every year as an initial step prior to further development. He currently is a member of the board of trustees for the Wilton Historical Society and also teaches the game of bridge in his spare time at the local Wilton Senior Center.

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Paul Hsu

Growth and Product Advisor

Paul Hsu is an investor and growth entrepreneur, systematically growing companies building a better tomorrow, faster.

Paul is currently CEO and Founder of Decasonic, a venture operating company building the next generation consumer, data/ AI and blockchain businesses, with purpose, in Chicago. Decasonic partners with technology innovators, passionate about achieving strong product market fit and executing those business models with venture growth and purpose.

Prior to Decasonic, over two decades, he scaled companies in consumer technologies from early traction to IPO – a decade as a venture capitalist in the Bay Area and another decade as an executive operator in venture backed companies in SF and NYC.

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Paul is an operating leader, with experience at industry innovative companies. Paul served as COO at Homepolish, a technology enabled platform for premium home design, and also at Fancy, a social mobile shopping marketplace where consumers discover and buy products curated by trendsetters and influencers. Between 2009 and 2015, Paul held several executive business roles at Zynga, a leader in the social gaming market, focused on mobilizing resources to best accelerate product development and execution.

Before Zynga, he was a principal investor and advisor of early stage companies, through a seed stage fund he cofounded, Red Dog Capital, and also at a $300M media, technology and communications venture fund, NeoCarta Ventures.

Paul holds a BA from Yale University, where his studies concentrated on economics, math, statistics and international politics, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.

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Doug Grimsted

CEO

Since his first job out of college at Micro Database Systems (MDBS), which sold the world’s first client server relational data base, Doug entire career has been spent pioneering the use of data and analytics to change how companies compete.
In the 90’s, Doug worked with a group of industry veterans to found and run an ANSI committee to standardize Xbase, the language of Foxpro, Clipper, and Dbase III. As CEO of Geneer his team developed and managed the software delivery analytics tools for many of Nielsen’s data products. As CEO of Aginity his team built the demand signal system that Kroger uses to forecast their entire inventory and collaborate with their suppliers (DemandView). Aginity went on to pioneer the exciting new field of Enterprise analytics management with their analytics Management platform, AMP, which is sold by IBM globally and used by large enterprises like Kroger, Catalina marketing, Kohl’s, and Coke to manage all their analytics across the enterprise.

Show More

Doug is a seasoned technology startup and growth executive. Doug’s long career demonstrates an expertise at determining where the puck is going and creating companies to serve the need and capture the value of being first. Recognized in Deloitte & Touche “Fast 50” Program for Chicago, he won the prestigious KPMG Illinois High Tech Award in 1999, was inducted into the Chicago/NW Indiana Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, and was a Finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1999 and 2000. Chairman of a database ANSI Committee. Doug holds a degree in Industrial Management with a Minor in Industrial Engineering and Finance from Purdue University.

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Doug Bryan

Advisor, AI Analytics

Pioneering Analytics Professional leveraging leading edge technology and practices to drive customer engagementSVP Data Science Products, MerkleVP Sales Engineering, RichRelevanceVP Data Sciences and Analytics, Core Audience (Hearst Publishing)VP Analytics iCrossingTechnical Director, KXEN (SAP)Carroll University BS, Computer Science, Physics, Math

Larry Burns

Chief Operating Officer

Larry’s experience lies within the CPG world at the intersection of Marketing Technology, Data Science, Human Behavior and Practical Promotions. He legitimately played the role of “Marketing Technologist” and “Data Scientist” even last century … long before these terms were popular.Larry served as long term CEO (’99 – ’15) of the pioneering digital marketing firm StartSampling, Inc., a company that enjoyed several years on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies list. Project engagements required intimate knowledge of client and retailer data systems as embedding data within various customer, agency and data provider platforms was a standard activity for StartSampling. Created and maintained the first cross retailer platform for online sample request activities which included Walmart and many other retailers.

Show More

Many industry people know Larry as responsible for IRI’s Product Management Group in the 90’s. His product responsibility was overseeing the InfoScan™ brand, where revenue grew substantially during his service (from ~$250MM to – $450MM). Larry’s clients included every major CPG company, retailers, brokers, the trade press and working with multiple outside consultants as resident expert on the nature of IRI’s complex products and pricing approaches. Responsible for the transition from a sample based (~3,000 stores) to census based (over 30,000 stores) share tracking system in the United States and many other innovations that helped drive IRI to the leader in market share.Prior to IRI Larry served as a CPG marketing researcher across syndicated, custom, and internal data @ Heinz USA, Cadbury Beverages, Pepperidge Farm and General Foods.Larry’s undergraduate degree was in Chemistry from Alfred University.

Show Less

Mike Cacicio

President Biz Dev

Mike serves as Nitrogen.ai’s business development and marketing lead, as well as providing analytic mission design guidance for clientsMike spent over 17 years at Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) where he held managerial and executive positions in operations, client service and new business development and served on the executive management committee for Advanced Analytics and Testing Services. He was instrumental in helping to grow IRI from a start-up to the world’s leader in providing innovative new product and brand management research services. During his career, Mike has consulted with virtually every major consumer packaged goods manufacturer and retailer, as well as several of the world’s largest business-to-business marketers and consulting firms.

Show More

After leaving IRI Mike founded Make It Happen Now in 2003 to help start-up and established organizations address immediate mission-critical issues in marketing and sales.Prior to Make It Happen Now, Mike was a Partner at Slack and Company, a global B2B integrated marketing communications agency. His responsibilities included leading research activities, the expansion of the agency via new business development programs and establishing strategic partnerships with allied businesses. Mike maintains an active advisory board position with Slack and Company.Before joining Slack and Company, Mike was President/COO of USA Chicago, Inc., a leading B2B marketing communication firm specializing in the packaging, technology, publishing, and food ingredients industries. Mike, and his partner, merged USA Chicago with Slack and Company.Mike continues to serve as an adviser to the executive management teams at Message Wrap Conveyor Belt Advertising, Newlio Market Research, Slack and Company, and the Hollingsworth Media Group.

Show Less

Pierce Hollingsworth

Consultant

Pierce brings his unique background as an innovative integrated marketing and media professional who has created, grown, and modernized companies and brands. Pierce’s roots in major consumer packaged goods and technology companies run deep with companies such as Tyson Foods, General Mills, Kraft Heinz, SAP, IBM, Jack Links, Crayola, and many other Fortune 500 food, grocery, and related tech companies benefiting from his knowledge.Most recently he was Vice President for the Custom Media Group at EnsembleIQ (originally Stagnito Business Information). Pierce directed custom marketing service and integrated marketing campaigns for companies across the EnsembleIQ portfolio which includes Progressive Grocer, Retail Leader, and the Path to Purchase Institute.

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Pierce also is on the adjunct faculty at Northwestern University, where he was an assistant professor early in his career. Pierce academic credentials includes Northwestern University MSJ Journalism.

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Mike Hess

Media Analytics Advisor

Prior to starting his consulting firm in 2015, Mike worked at Nielsen as EVP of Media Analytics, a group he helped to start-up in 2011. He won two innovation awards at Nielsen for developing new analytic methods to determine Causality. Before that he was Director of Research, Insights, and Marketing Science at Carat media agency and prior to that, Mike served as Director of Global Research and Communication Insights at OMD, a unit of Omnicom. At Carat, Mike’s clients included Pfizer, Disney, Home Depot, P&G, and Outback. At OMD, the client list included McDonalds, Pepsico, Clorox and Visa.Before moving to the New York area in 2004, Mike worked in senior analytic roles for large marketing research providers in Chicago and Cincinnati. These Included Information Resources, BASES, and TNS. He won an industry competition to be part of P&G’s Consumer Insights team while at the same time employed by TNS.

Show More

During his career, Mike has at presented at over 100 industry conferences and has 150+ publications to his credit. These include an important study on Women’s Health Care that was one of the first research surveys to be conducted successfully on the internet in the health care space. The research results were published in the annual top 20 annual research studies by CASRO for the year 2002, with the permission of the client.In more recent years, Mike was selected to contribute an article on Quantitative Advertising Testing to the 50th anniversary issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) in 2011; asked to co-author a chapter on Social Listening for a textbook, Listen First!, on that topic; was invited to contribute a section on Frequency to the ARF’s Digital Marketing Playbook (2015); and to write two chapters in a recently published (2016) book, Accountable Marketing, about Marketing Effectiveness and ROI.In 2017, Mike was invited to serve on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Advertising Research.He has an MBA from Wharton and an MA in Cognitive Psychology from Columbia. While at Wharton, he did an internship at Pfizer that focused on multivariate analysis as applied to the Pharma industry.Mike has been able to apply research to the arts on several occasions including conducting surveys for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival while he was also a member of the board of trustees for that organization (1999-2005.) His qualitative research also led to the successful foundation of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (2004), which is currently still going strong.Here in the New York area, Mike served on the board of the Broad Horizons Theater Company from 2008-2016. Broad Horizons reviews playwrights’ scripts and stages readings of them every year as an initial step prior to further development. He currently is a member of the board of trustees for the Wilton Historical Society and also teaches the game of bridge in his spare time at the local Wilton Senior Center.

Show Less

Paul Hsu

Growth and Product Advisor

Paul Hsu is an investor and growth entrepreneur, systematically growing companies building a better tomorrow, faster.

Paul is currently CEO and Founder of Decasonic, a venture operating company building the next generation consumer, data/ AI and blockchain businesses, with purpose, in Chicago. Decasonic partners with technology innovators, passionate about achieving strong product market fit and executing those business models with venture growth and purpose.

Prior to Decasonic, over two decades, he scaled companies in consumer technologies from early traction to IPO – a decade as a venture capitalist in the Bay Area and another decade as an executive operator in venture backed companies in SF and NYC.

Paul is an operating leader, with experience at industry innovative companies. Paul served as COO at Homepolish, a technology enabled platform for premium home design, and also at Fancy, a social mobile shopping marketplace where consumers discover and buy products curated by trendsetters and influencers. Between 2009 and 2015, Paul held several executive business roles at Zynga, a leader in the social gaming market, focused on mobilizing resources to best accelerate product development and execution.

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Before Zynga, he was a principal investor and advisor of early stage companies, through a seed stage fund he cofounded, Red Dog Capital, and also at a $300M media, technology and communications venture fund, NeoCarta Ventures.

Paul holds a BA from Yale University, where his studies concentrated on economics, math, statistics and international politics, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.

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