Toniic has many virtues, but I have to note it’s definitely the most fun group of investors I’ve ever participated with.” - Jim Villanueva, Eleos Foundation
Co-Founder and CEO
Morgan Simon is a serial social entrepreneur with particular expertise in impact investment and international development. She is the co-founder and CEO of Toniic, a global network of early-stage social investors. Toniic members share deal flow, due diligence and monitoring on global investments in this action-oriented community looking to move $100 million into global social enterprise. She is also the co-founder of Innovacion Investments, the first community development venture capital fund in Texas. In all her work, she emphasizes community empowerment, leadership and ownership.
As the founding executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, Morgan brought together 100 colleges and universities from across the country, helping to move their $200 billion in endowment dollars towards impact investment. Morgan has also worked with grassroots organizations and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Mexico, Honduras and Sierra Leone, and in domestic microfinance with Women’s Initiative for Self Employment.
She has served on the boards of the Social Venture Network, the SJF Institute (affiliated with SJF Ventures), is on the board of The Working World and is an advisor to Agora Partnerships, Nexii and Grupo Yansa. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media. She received a B.A. with High Honors in Economics and Political Science from Swarthmore College.
Deal Flow Manager
Alison serves as the Deal Flow Manager for Toniic, generously giving her time to ensure that entrepreneurs participate in an efficient, transparent process. Prior to choosing to stay home with her daughter Maya in 2003, Alison practiced “Serial Entrepreneurship.”
After working in textiles and imports for nearly a decade, she founded and ran an Executive Search Firm, The Difference Group from 1995 to 2004. Her hope was to serve as a catalyst to social growth “one placement at a time.” As a full time mother (before joining Toniic) Alison spent her last 7 years as a chef; early childhood educator; nutritionist; historian; family counselor; nurse; personal trainer; chauffeur; librarian; organic farm supporter; travel agent; play date arranger, Green Mom and philanthropist. Alison comes to Toniic with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passionate commitment to support Toniic’s mission of promoting a “sustainable global economy.”
Director, Toniic Europe
Nikolaus has been leading the European growth and development of Toniic since April of 2012. An investment executive and entrepreneur with close to 15 years international experience, Nikolaus also initiated the first capacity building program for social entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe, together with Social Impact International and the HUB Vienna. Prior, he worked 10 years as Venture Capital investor, most recently as Sector Partner Cleantech with CEE investment firm 3TS Capital Partners, and as a Partner with Austrian VC firm Gamma Capital Partners, where he build the Cleantech practice.
Nikolaus serves on the board and as an advisor to several organizations in the social entrepreneurship and impact investment space, including the Investment Committee of social VC fund ennovent, the Advisory Board of the HUB, and the business advisor network of NESsT. Further, he has been lecturing on Social Entrepreneurship since 2008.
Co-Founder and Board Member
Dr. Charly Kleissner is a philanthropic entrepreneur utilizing his high technology background in his venture philanthropy. Together with his wife, Lisa, he co-founded KL Felicitas Foundation which focuses on enabling social entrepreneurs, empowering rural communities, and advocating sustainability, mission, and social investment strategy. Charly is also Co-Founder of the Social-Impact Initiative, helping social entrepreneurs worldwide to accelerate and increase their social impact. Charly serves on the Advisory Board of multiple not-for-profit companies such as Acumen Fund, Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University, and Global Philanthropy Forum.
Charly is supporting multiple social venture and micro financing funds committed to double and triple bottom line returns. He is on the Advisory Council of MicroVest and Acumen Capital Market I.
Charly has over twenty years of experience as a senior technology executive in Silicon Valley. He held executive and senior engineering management positions at Ariba Inc., NeXT Software Inc., Digital Equipment Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Company.
Charly earned his MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Technology, Vienna. He authored two software patents and published numerous articles. Charly received the ‘Distinguished Alumnus’ award from the University of Technology, Vienna.
Co-Founder and Board Member
Lisa Kleissner is the president of the KL Felicitas Foundation, a family foundation she co-founded with her husband, Charly, in 2000. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs that:
• enable social entrepreneurs worldwide to develop and grow economically sustainable, scalable enterprises with high measurable social impact,with a focus on rural communities; and
• advocate their Foundation’s sustainability, mission, and social investment strategy with foundations and socially-minded individual investors.
Lisa provides pro-bono architectural, project and construction management services for non-profits both locally and internationally with a focus on culturally appropriate and sustainable design. Additionally, Lisa is serving as the co-chair of the board of The Philanthropy Workshop West, sits on the advisory board of the Take Action! Conference and the Global Philanthropy Forum.
Lisa was raised in Hawaii, attended the Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa graduating with a BArch in Environmental Design. She was the Vice President of an architectural firm in Hawaii doing commercial work in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. More recently, she was the President of The Kleissner Group, an architectural and project management firm in Silicon Valley focused on bio-tech and high tech firms.
Co-Founder and Board Member
John is a mentor to Social Entrepreneurs at the Global Social Benefit Incubator and now serves as an Executive Fellow at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology and Society. He has recently been added to the Center’s Board of Advisors. John manages technology investments through Redleaf Venture Management. He is specialized in technology product formation with a focus on Internet and Life Science startups since 1994.
John spent twenty years in executive level positions in sales operations, product division general management and worldwide customer support at technology corporations including Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics and Convergent Technologies/Unisys. He is a founding executive of Netscape Communications and the founder of Redleaf Group. John is on the board of Redleaf Group, chairman of the board at LucidMedia, and serves as board member and CEO of Lumicyte. He previously led investments at AdRelevance (JMXI), Mosaic Communications (TWX), NetGravity (DCLK), RedCreek Communications (SNWL), and Wireless Online. John is a managing member of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund and serves on the UCLA Sciences Board of Visitors. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the International Institute of Multimedia (IIM) at Leonard di Vinci University in Paris.
John received his bachelor’s degree in international economics from UCLA and completed executive programs at Wharton and Stanford business schools. He is an advisor to the California Nanosystems Institute. He has served on advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a nationally accredited soccer coach, an avid skier, sailor, and a member of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.
Co-Founder and Board Member
Sean Foote is a partner at Labrador Ventures. He has been a venture capitalist investing in early stage companies for the past 9 years. He serves on the Development Council of Entrepreneurs Foundation, a non profit organization that engages high growth companies in corporate citizenship and philanthropic efforts.
Before venture investing, Sean was a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group, working in a wide range of industries such as telecom, computers, healthcare, banking, and automotive on topics ranging from strategic alliances to Internet strategies. Mr. Foote also worked as a systems engineer for AT&T Bell Laboratories, developing artificial intelligence systems for testing the most complicated telecommunications networks.
Sean is professional faculty of Entrepreneurship at the University of California’s Haas School of Business and also has taught classes on entrepreneurship and venture capital funding at the University of Michigan’s Business School, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business
Sean received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri Rolla (1988), and his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business (1993), where he received the Shermett Award granted to the top 3% of students.