The Startup Experts Meet The Startup Garage team.
The Startup Garage is a team of business experts — brought together with the purpose of providing solutions for entrepreneurs. Our specialty lies in our ability to hone in on the major milestones that investors care about by thoroughly preparing the business, its executives and investor documents to present a solid strategy and make your startup investment-ready.
The team has helped raise over $200 million for startup businesses.
Tyler has taken his 20+ years as a serial entrepreneur & Founder of The Startup Garage and now focuses his attention on helping other entrepreneurs. He has helped 200+ companies launch over his career. He was the founder of VAVi Sport & Social Club which he grew to over 25,000 members before selling it in 2008.
Lauren Diaz spent six years at a Fortune 250 company in various Finance and Marketing leadership roles. Previously, she spent two years as a CPA at a Public Accounting firm. She has an MBA from University of Florida, and a M.S and B.B.A in Accounting from University of Miami (FL).
Curtis is the Graphic Designer for The Startup Garage. With a history in the startup space Curtis provides a passionate hands-on approach to all creative projects at The Startup Garage. He brings an entrepreneurial spirit to his work, and an inspirational experience to his clients that is tailored to their brand.
Our goal at The Startup Garage is to turn your brilliant ideas into successful ventures through expert business plan consulting.
What sets us apart is that we not only prepare your business plan and investor documents, but we also completely prepare the company and the founding team for the investment process.
Our services and processes are hands-on and collaborative in nature as we are committed to assisting the startup agenda while strategically determining the best path for raising capital. The products we deliver (business plans, investor decks, capital formation documents, etc) are in a professional format, designed for the intended audience and supported by:
- extensive research,
- investor friendly writing, and
- comprehensive financial modeling.
Our guarantee is that your investor documents will prepare you for approaching your targeted investor, be it high net worth individuals, angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms and other institutions.
Located in San Diego, The Startup Garage serves clients globally, primarily in technology industries including mobile, web, manufacturing and other tech as well as consumer brands.
Check out Sample Products from the startup experts at The Startup Garage.
Tyler is a serial entrepreneur, startup coach, early stage PT CFO and trusted advisor to numerous founders. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs start companies that matter. Tyler has helped launch over 200 companies, non-profits and social enterprises.
- Launching New Companies (For Profit, Non-Profit and Social Enterprise)
- Expert Business Plan Writer
- Extensive Network of Business Relationships focused on Launch & Rapid Growth of New Companies
- Startup, Growth, Marketing, Technology, Web, Business Systems
- Trusted Advisor to CEO’s & Entrepreneurs
- Capital Raising Strategy Development
- Startup Team Development
The first company he started and sold is VAVi Sport & Social Club which grew to over 25,000 members in six years, and was recognized as San Diego’s 30th & 32nd fastest growing private company in 2006-2007 by the San Diego Business Journal and sold for over 25 times the capital investment.
Prior to launching VAVi, Tyler served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Tim Kane for Congress, where he crafted and managed all aspects of launching and managing a United States Congressional Campaign. He was responsible for the fundraising plan creation & execution, staff volunteer recruitment & management, as well as marketing plan design & implementation. The design and production of campaign promotional materials and other creative marketing initiatives led to substantially increased name recognition and voter support.
Tyler has served as a trusted advisor on numerous Non-Profit and Corporate Board of Directors. He was born in Virginia and spends his free time stand up paddle boarding and building furniture.
Lauren M. Diaz, CPA, is the President at The Startup Garage, joining the team in 2016.
Lauren worked as a Director of Finance for CSX, a Fortune 250 Transportation Company, based in Jacksonville, FL. During her six-year career at CSX, Lauren held multiple Finance and Marketing roles, gaining valuable experience in financial modeling, pricing analytics, market valuation and capital strategy. Prior to CSX, Lauren spent two years at a Public Accounting firm in Miami, FL.
- Degree/Certifications: CPA (licensed in FL); MBA (University of Florida); M.S. of Accounting (University of Miami); B.B.A of Accounting (University of Miami)
- Hobbies: Cycling, Triathlon, Coaching, Traveling, Music
- Favorite quote: “To be inspired is great. To inspire is incredible.” -Stacey T. Hunt
Lauren is a passionate cyclist and triathlete and is the CFO and Director of Sponsor Strategy for DelaFina Racing, a not-for-profit women’s cycling team and club. DelaFina Racing seeks to empower women and build confidence through the sport of cycling.
Curtis holds over ten years experience in the design world starting at an early age. He brings passion and expertise together to create visual content focused on telling the story and passions of The Startup Garage and our clients.
In addition to his graphic design background Curtis is passionate about the process of making mid-century, modern style furniture and product design.
Mario is a Business Analyst for The Startup Garage. In addition to his educational background, Mario is also passionate in sustainable energy and renewable transportation, noted by his experience working with Tesla Motors. He brings an entrepreneurial bend to his work and a unique perspective to his clients that is tailored to their market.
- Degree/Certifications: MSc in Global Finance (Fordham University, New York, NY). MSc in Finance (Antwerp Management School, Antwerp, Belgium). BBA in Finance (University of San Diego, San Diego, CA).
- Hobbies: rock climbing, running, and reading.
- Favorite quote: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
Michael A. Russell, (Mike), has over twenty-five years of experience as a CFO — principally with rapidly growing, technology-based, manufacturing and software companies. He has been associated with both private and public companies, gaining experience in nearly every role in a financial department. These responsibilities have included functions in accounting, credit and collections, treasury, financial planning and budgeting, information systems, and human resources over the course of his career.
Mike’s record of equity financing speaks for itself, having participated in raising over $70 million. As a consultant and advisor to emerging companies, he has significant experience in the development of financial strategy and direction, monitoring and explaining performance versus the agreed-to plan. As a CFO for companies in the startup phase, Mike is able to span the requirements of a financial management position from day-to-day detail to assessing the overall view of the strategic direction of the organization. He has developed and maintained relationships with bankers, investors and shareholders. Mike attended UCLA, where he received a BSEE and MBA in Finance.
In summary, Mike is an experienced financial professional with the ability to establish and maintain a high quality financial and administrative function to meet any startup’s needs, as well as the knowledge and experience to provide effective direction for the company.
Dave’s experience as Chief Financial Officer has included 11 years at Gen-Probe, Inc., a manufacturer and international marketer of human diagnostics products, which he helped grow from $5 million to $120 million in sales. While there, he shared his skills with a start-up, affiliated therapeutics company. His other CFO positions have included Anadys Pharmaceuticals, where he helped raise $38 million in venture capital, and Somanta Pharmaceuticals, where he assisted with a reverse merger onto the NASDAQ. Earlier in his career, Dave held financial executive positions at an electronics start-up and a mid-sized software company.
Dave is currently an outsource CFO for emerging companies in many industries, mostly high tech, where he contributes at both the strategic and hands-on levels. This work has included CFO positions in informatics software, cell phone components, electronics manufacturing, and biotech specialty chemicals. He has developed business plan financials and provided financial advisory services in medical devices, health care, alternative energy, consumer products, internet security, publishing, and water treatment, among others. For five years, Dave has volunteered as a financial domain expert at San Diego’s CONNECT Springboard program, an incubator for start-ups, where he advises on business plans. Dave earned a BA with honors from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Hannah R. Simon is the Community Development Manager at The Startup Garage.
Prior to joining the TSG team, Hannah gained leadership experience as the Executive Director with the Pure Water Movement Non-profit Organization. Upon moving to California, she was the Regional Sales Executive with Stone Enterprise Solutions in the natural stone industry. Additional experience include, hospitality management, global marketing and ESL instruction.
- Degree/Certifications: B.A., Arts & Science- Concentration: International Studies, Global Security, International Human Rights and foreign language (University of Nebraska).
- Hobbies:Reading, hiking, fishing, traveling, non-profit volunteer work, yoga
- Favorite quote:“The world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” – Paulo Coelho
Hannah also volunteers as the Director of Public Relations for Provision SD, a local San Diego non-profit organization, fighting childhood hunger throughout San Diego County.
Early in his career Mark built his own business with over 120 employees; he has also operated a franchise company with 300 offices and 3,000 sales agents. Mark works with venture funds, private equity funds and commercial real estate developers. He serves on numerous boards of directors, has started up dozens of new companies, has worked with investment banks as a FINRA registered representative and has traveled to and worked with companies all over world on complex business projects.
Mark operates his consulting company, Meyerdirk Consulting Group, Inc., which specializes in capital formation strategies for emerging companies, franchising and is the co-founder of the Alternative Investment Forum designed to connect high net worth investors, family offices and private equity firms with early stage companies.
Mark lives in the Kansas City area with his wife of 41 years and has 4 children and 5 grandchildren. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado – Boulder and Washburn University School of Law.