About Us


Carter Cast received his early training in the restaurant division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Pizza Hut International and Taco Bell) from 1986-1990 and then at Frito-Lay from 1992-1997, where he became Director of Marketing, managing the $1.5 billion tortilla chip category and launching Tostitos salsas and dips.

Carter then served as vice president of product marketing and marketing communications at Electronic Arts, launching products like SimCity 3000and The Sims. He left to become a member of the start-up team for Blue Nile Inc., a Kleiner-Perkins and Trinity Ventures backed company, which became the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, selling in excess of $250 million after seven years in existence. Carter was Blue Nile’s senior vice president of marketing, merchandizing and site when the company was named one of the forty best e-commerce sites by Forbes magazine. He developed the brand and site identity, as well as the marketing communication and product assortment strategy.

Carter left Blue Nile to be part of the launch team at Walmart.com, a division of Walmart Stores, Inc. He served as the vice president of marketing from 2000-2002 and the senior vice president of marketing, merchandizing, creative and site from 2002-2005. In 2005 Carter was promoted to President of Walmart.com and to CEO in February of 2006. He led Walmart’s e-commerce division to profitability on its way to becoming the third highest volume e-tail site behind eBay and Amazon.com.

After Walmart, Carter joined Netshops.com, a privately-held ecommerce company funded by Sequoia Capital and Insight Venture Partners, as President and CEO. In 2009, Netshops rebranded and redesigned its site, becoming Hayneedle.Internet Retailer named it as one of America’s Hot 100 Retail sites in December of 2009.

In 2011, Carter joined the faculty of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he is a professor teaching entrepreneurship and marketing. In addition to teaching at Kellogg, Carter joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2012, where he is a venture partner. Carter graduated from Stanford University in 1985 and the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 1992.


David Schonthal is a Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he teaches courses in new venture creation and business model design.  He also serves as the Director of Kellogg’s Zell Scholars program – a selective venture accelerator program designed to help student-entrepreneurs successfully launch new businesses.

In addition to his role at Kellogg, David is also a leader in the Business Design at the global innovation and design consultancy, IDEO, where he has helped develop initiatives such as the Startup-in-Residence program as well as other offers and approaches around venture design and corporate entrepreneurship.

David was previously a Co-Founder of Fusion Ventures, an investment and advisory firm focused on growing technology startups in the early-stages of their development. He was also formerly Director of Strategy and Venture Development at Tavistock Life Sciences; a private investment firm based in San Diego, CA., and has held numerous leadership positions at startups in the technology and life sciences sectors.

David began his career as a management consultant with Andersen, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers in both the United States and United Kingdom where he specialized in international growth strategy and e-commerce.

He serves as a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship council, ChicagoNext and is the Co-Founder of MATTER, a co-working and innovation center located in downtown Chicago focused on catalyzing and supporting healthcare entrepreneurship.

David has served as an advisor to the State of Illinois’s Invest Illinois Venture Capital Fund and mentors with several startup accelerators and incubators throughout the United States, including TechStars, CONNECT, San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI), and Chicago Innovation Mentors.

He earned his MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his B.A. in International Relations from Boston University.

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