Charles Stack is a successful serial entrepreneur. After graduation from Case Western Reserve University Law School, he formed Parallax, Inc., which developed and marketed a PC-based networking case management software system for asbestos litigation to national law firms and corporate law departments. In 1992, Charles started Books.com, the first online bookstore. Charles pioneered many of the features we now take for granted in today’s internet retailers. Books.com offered millions of books, comprehensive searching, collaborative recommendations (patented), shopping carts, price comparisons (patented), real-time credit card processing, affiliate programs, and introduced many other now standard Internet retailing concepts. Books.com was acquired by CUC, Inc. in early 1996 and subsequently by Barnes and Noble. In 1998, he founded Flashline to address the new opportunity in software components and web services. BEA Systems, Inc. acquired Flashline in 2006. BEA was acquired by Oracle in 2008 and the Flashline product remains the core offering in Oracle’s web services suite. Currently, Stack is focused on all things blockchain and expanding the Flashstarts portfolio.
Shannon is an entrepreneur, startup mentor, and angel investor. She became an entrepreneur in 2007, when she founded Innovatree, an innovation and strategy consulting firm, serving Fortune 500 companies. She began applying innovation methods to startups; and from 2012 – 2014 Shannon invested over $650k in 40 early-stage tech companies. Shannon joined Flashstarts in 2015 and became a managing partner alongside Charles Stack. Shannon has run seven accelerator programs since 2012, and was influential in pioneering the first for-profit Accelerator partnership with NASA in order to discover alternative methodologies for technology commercialization. Flashstarts has invested in 56 tech companies who have gone on to raise over $45 million in funding. Shannon holds a Masters of Organizational Development from Case Western Reserve University (2009) and is a doctoral candidate at Cleveland State University where she researches strategy and venture finance.