News & Podcast

Stay up to date on the latest news from Defiance, including announcements, acquisitions, and podcast episodes.

Recent Updates

#61 – Joseph Pizzorno, ND – Bastyr University, ICMJ, Institute for Functional Medicine

April 8, 2021

Dr Pizzorno is a Naturopathic Doctor and the founder and director of Bastyr University, founder and director of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and editor in chief of PubMed Indexed IMCJ.  He has authored 13 books as well.  In this episode he and John discuss functional medicine (also known as naturopathic medicine) and its history […]


#59 – Kyle Hepp, Boxmagic

April 6, 2021

In this episode John interviews Kyle Hepp, founder of Boxmagic, the leading gym management software platform in Latin America.  John and Kyle discuss starting a gym in Chile as an American female and then starting a software business to support gyms.  They also discuss handling the business in a pandemic when gyms were forced to […]


#58 – Jeff Wanner, PairPEO

April 1, 2021

Jeff is the founder of PairPEO, a PEO brokerage that helps clients save money on health and dental benefits.  In this episode he explains how PEOs work and why they are so popular, and he talks about scaling a business through building his network meticulously. Listen on Apple Listen on Spotify Watch on YouTube Please […]


Defiance Digital taps Silicon Valley startup & financial services veteran, Charlie Gautreaux to lead its new Cloud Business

March 30, 2021

Defiance Digital continues to accelerate its growth into 2021, as it announced today that Charlie Gautreaux has joined as a Managing Director to lead its growing Managed Services business.  Charlie brings a unique background of experience that spans over 20 years, inclusive of both successful startup exits out of Silicon Valley, as well as large […]

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#57 – Bobby Robinson, IntellyDoc

March 29, 2021

  Bobby is the founder of IntellyDoc, a contract management system.  He also is an attorney with a history in M&A and a current focus on social media influencers.  In this episode he gives the background on building IntellyDoc and selling it to Defiance.  He also talks about challenges minorities face in law and entrepreneurship […]


#56 – 2ULaundry, Dan D’Aquisto and Alex Smereczniak

March 23, 2021

The founders of 2ULaundry came back to the studio to chat about a pivot, managing during a crisis, how their board of directors helped them react to COVID, and the future of laundry. Listen on Apple Listen on Spotify Watch on YouTube    Full Transcript Ep #56 2U Laundry Please Note: The Defiance Ventures podcast […]


#55 – Stu Brauer, WTF GymTalk, UrbanMvmnt

March 17, 2021

  In this episode John sits down with Stu Brauer, his first guest on the show and now his first repeat guest.  They cover a wide range of topics including workout modalities, using workouts to mentally prep for a tough day, franchising vs licensing, the changes at CrossFit HQ in 2020, and a host of […]


#54 – Jim Roberts, WALE and NEW

March 5, 2021

John Espey interviews Jim Roberts. Jim has been involved in and started numerous organizations throughout the Southeastern United States.  He currently runs an entrepreneurial network and an angel fund in Wilmington, NC.  In this episode Jim talks about starting eco-systems, the wild success Wilmington is currently having, early stage funding, and gives his thoughts on […]


Tavve Named Top Firewall Solution Provider

February 23, 2021

Threat. Technology, a cyber security news publication, has named Tavve, a Defiance Ventures company, a top firewall solution provider. Over the last year Tavve has worked to ensure that its leading firewall product, ZoneRanger, maintains & even improves performance with the ever increasing amount of security threats that exist today. Tavve’s products focus on enabling […]

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Tavve, a Defiance Ventures Company, Provides a Simple Alternative to Secure Network Management and Segmentation

February 18, 2021

How a leading financial institution leveraged Tavve to get back the visibility that the SolarWinds breach took away.

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#53 – West Kept Secret

February 15, 2021

West Kept Secret is a boutique gym that combines cardio with pilates and strength training in a High Intensity Interval (HIIT) format.  In this interview John interviews Marissa West and Heidi Hillman.  They discuss how Marissa parlayed her experience as a Panthers cheerleader into doing personal training and then partnering with Heidi as a client. […]


Fraction Consulting Named ‘Top Risk Management Startup To Watch In 2021’

February 11, 2021

Startup Pill named Defiance Venture’s Fraction Consulting a top risk management startup to watch in 2021. From Startup Pill: “These startups are taking a variety of approaches to innovating inside of the Risk Management industry and around the world. They are all exceptional startups well worth a follow. We tried to pick companies across the […]

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Defiance Ventures Announces Chief Information Security Officer, Acquisition of Fraction Consulting

February 2, 2021

Defiance Ventures, the Charlotte-based venture builder, today announced that Mike Privette has joined its team as CISO after Defiance acquired his consulting firm, Fraction Consulting.  Mike is a cybersecurity expert and banking industry veteran, having worked for years at some of the largest financial services institutions such as Wells Fargo, Ally, BB&T, and most recently […]

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Defiance Ventures Announces Investment in Rabbu

January 20, 2021

Defiance Ventures today announced its minority investment in Rabbu, a digital property management platform that provides property investors higher returns on their portfolio. By providing end-to-end property asset management services on investors’ behalf across multiple channels, Rabbu optimizes a property’s potential to earn higher returns, hassle-free.  “Looking at the explosion in the property rental market […]

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Defiance Digital Joins the AWS Select Partnership Program

January 13, 2021

Defiance Digital today announced that it has qualified for and joined the AWS Select Partnership Program.  The AWS Consulting Program gives leading Systems Integrators, ISVs, MSPs, and Consultants access to knowledge, marketing, technology, and sales resources to help customers architect, design, build, migrate, and manage workloads and applications on Amazon’s public cloud infrastructure.  AWS Partners […]

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Defiance Ventures Acquires IntellyDoc, a Contract Management SaaS Solution

December 8, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that it has acquired a majority interest in IntellyDoc, an end-to-end, cloud-based contract and workflow automation solution. Using machine learning, IntellyDoc streamlines the contract management lifecycle process. “The work Bobby Robinson and Chris Elmore have done to turn an operational inefficiency identified in legal departments and other business units into a […]

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#51 – Gower Smith, Swyft

October 2, 2020

Gower is a serial entrepreneur.  He has founded multiple companies in the US, New Zealand, and Australia.  Defiance Ventures led an investment round in Swyft, his most recent creation.  Swyft is the global leader in unattended retail.  In this article he and John discuss what it takes to start multiple companies, modern trends in retail, […]


#52 – Sureyya (Sy) Ciliv, Kuika

Kuika is an innovative low code suite of tools that allow enterprises and divisions to build better, faster software.  In this episode John is joined by Sy Ciliv, owner of Kuika.  They discuss the industry, the biggest challenges large companies face, building an international business, and how Sy was able to leverage his experiences leading […]


#50 – Yigit Ihlamur, Vela Partners

Yigit is the founder of Vela Partners, a Bay Area based Venture Capital fund focusing on AI and machine learning.  It has developed very interesting AI technology to help it find the best investment opportunities in the space.  Yigit tells his story about joining Google early on and how he parlayed that into building a […]


#49 – Emir Dukic, Rabbu

September 13, 2020

Emir Dukic owns Rabbu, a short term rental commercial real estate startup in Charlotte.  In this episode John and Emir discuss going out on his own, the short term rental market, being flexible in the COVID-19 era, and working with AirBNB.  


Defiance Ventures Announces Investment in Rent Ready

September 8, 2020

Defiance Ventures, the Charlotte-based venture builder, today announced its investment in Rent Ready. Rent Ready is a B2B managed services platform that delivers an end-to-end make-ready service for apartment communities. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Rent Ready has expanded into over 20 markets across the country since its launch.  “The leadership team at Rent Ready has […]

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#48 – Ramy Serageldin, HoneyFi

September 6, 2020

HoneyFi is a couple’s financial planning platform.  In this episode John interviews its CEO and founder, Ramy Serageldin.  Ramy talks about starting a company after learning from a high flying fintech success story from very early on.  He shares insights into the payments industry and gives indispensable guidance to any would be startup founder.   […]


#47-Jack Ossa, Power of Design Podcast and Ossa Studio

September 4, 2020

Jack Ossa owns Ossa Studio which designs commercial real estate projects and has branched into marketing services and even software development.  He also hosts the Power of Design Podcast.  In this episode John and Jack dig into his business, how he got started, and where he wants to take it.    


#46 – Mike Privette Interviews John

August 26, 2020

Mike is a technologist who has been working at big banks and recently started his own consultancy where he advises startups on partnering with banks and on cyber security.  In this episode he interviews John about his history and what he’s doing with Defiance.  They discuss what makes products successful and what things entrepreneurs need […]


Defiance Ventures Announces Investment in Swyft, Inc.

Defiance Ventures, the Charlotte-based venture builder, today announced it led an investment round in Swyft, Inc., the leader in unattended retail and retail automation. Tareq Amin, Co-Founder of Defiance, will also be serving on the board of Swyft and plans to advise on expanding the Swyft platform through AI and machine learning capabilities.  “We’re excited […]

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#45 – Ivan Barajas Vargas, MuukTest

August 20, 2020

Ivan Barajas Vargas is the founder of MuukTest, a TechStars 2020 company that provides a comprehensive automated software testing solution.  In this episode John and Ivan talk about lessons learned working for one of the biggest enterprise software companies in the world and building a product and company to solve problems encountered along the way.


Defiance Ventures Announces Chief Financial Officer

August 17, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced Ashley Love has joined as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Ashley brings accounting, finance, and M&A experience from both private and public companies in a variety of industries, including tech.   “I have watched Ashley grow her career over the past few years and have always been impressed with her intelligence, decision […]

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Defiance Ventures Announces That Technology Industry Veteran Joins Leadership Team as Chief Operating Officer

August 13, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that technology and banking industry veteran Micah Minarik has joined the company as COO.  After a successful career in investment banking and capital markets Minarik started Kingsmen Software, an industry leader in application development and delivery.  “I watched what Micah did at Kingsmen, building an elite team of software developers through […]

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#43 – David Wells, New Years Revolutionary Podcast

August 4, 2020

In this episode John is interviewed by David Wells, founder of the New Years Revolutionary Podcast.  The sound volume level is a little low as this was the first episode recorded in the Defiance Ventures studio since COVID, but David asks John about his history and philosophy on building scalable businesses. 


#44 – JP Conklin, Pensford and LoanBoss

In this episode John interviews JP Conklin, founder of Pensford and LoanBoss. Pensford was his first company and it is a financial services company providing derivatives for commercial real estate owners.  From what he learned in building and scaling Pensford JP identified a set of software tools that were not supported well by existing PropTech […]


Defiance Ventures Names John Espey CEO

July 29, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that it has appointed its co-founder John Espey CEO of the company.  John will assume responsibility for executing on the venture builder’s strategy as it continues to grow its portfolio and operating companies.   Espey has been involved in various capacities with many technology companies, most recently serving as CEO of […]

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Defiance Ventures Acquires SaaS Product: The Q

July 20, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that it has acquired The Q, an innovative SaaS offering that simplifies the origination of syndicated bond deals from pitch to market, from Kingsmen Software.  Defiance plans to re-brand The Q and to invest in product development and marketing to drive deeper adoption within capital markets.   “We are building a […]

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#42 – Jamie Brown and Jeff Tonidandel – Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, et al

July 13, 2020

In this episode John interviews the couple behind popular NoDa restaurants Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, Growlers, and Reigning Donuts.  In this episode Jeff and Jamie discuss starting a restaurant during a recession and financial crisis, growing into multiple restaurants, driving innovation on both the culinary and mixology in one of Charlotte’s top neighborhoods, and then opening […]


#41 – Derek Holt, K4Connect

July 3, 2020

In this episode John interviews Derek Holt, president of K4Connect, a tech company that is transforming the way nursing homes and assisted living communities serve their customers.  Derek covers a lot of ground ranging from transitioning from IBM to a startup community to actual startups.  He also talks about scaling a business during the COVID […]


The AWS ECR and the Tavve Dev Container

June 9, 2020

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao Tzu A leading provider of secure network optimization software and appliances, Tavve has been helping customers manage their on-premise networks for years. Their Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) has been battle hardened and mirrored their customer’s on-premise network change management process. As […]

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#40 – Nina Barnett, Grooop

June 6, 2020

Nina is an impressive young entrepreneur who created a safety app while in under grad to address a problem that she and her friends could not find a good solution for.  She talks about building an app without a technical background through a partnership and what she had to do to figure out how to […]


Defiance Ventures Announces Defiance Digital

May 28, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that it has launched Defiance Digital, a full service digital transformation consultancy.  Defiance Digital will serve Defiance Ventures portfolio companies as well as third party customers looking to build digital products.  The consultancy will focus in particular on practical applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.   “We see a need […]

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Defiance Ventures today announced a revamped website and branding for its portfolio company, Tavve. 

May 26, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced a revamped website and branding for its portfolio company, Tavve.  The new website went live two weeks ago and feedback from customers and visitors has been excellent.     “We immediately saw the value of Tavve’s products Zone Ranger and Packet Ranger when we decided to acquire the company, unfortunately the brand […]

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#39 – Neeta Kirpalani, Consultant, Healthtech Women

John interviews Neeta Kirpalani.  Neeta left a successful career in healthcare to become an independent consultant and her practice has thrived.  She also invests her time in Healthtech Women and Springboard Enterprise‘s Women’s Health Tech Hub.  Neeta talks about building a branding strategy, building a team to support her efforts and scale, and moving from […]


#38, Chris Elmore, Avidxchange

May 23, 2020

Avidxchange is one of the most well known startups in Charlotte.  It has been recognized for many awards and has raised over $1 billion of capital.  In this episode John interviews Chris Elmore, one of Avid’s first employees.  Chris talks about the early days at Avid, scaling it, raising multiple rounds of capital from big […]


#37, Lauren McAbee, Chakti Yoga, Essential Thrive

In this episode John interviews Lauren McAbee, founder of Essential Thrive, a holistic health company focusing on essential oils and Chakti Yoga, a yoga form she created that combines dancing moves with Yoga.  Lauren talks about the health benefits of Yoga, why she created her own form, and also about going virtual and actually increasing […]


#36-Jordan Schindler, nufabrx

May 1, 2020

Jordan started and runs a company that infuses vitamins and other transdermal products into fabrics.  His business recently was featured on Fox News resulting in a massive increase in sales of anti-microbial copper infused surgical masks.  In this episode he talks about starting the business while at the University of Washington, moving the business to […]


#35, Linda Nash, WellcomeMD

April 17, 2020

In this episode John interviews Linda Nash, a serial entrepreneur from Richmond, VA.  Linda discusses starting and exiting three businesses prior to starting WellcomeMD, she explains proactive vs reactive medicine, she talks about concierge and executive medicine, and she goes into how the medical industry has changed through the past two decades.   John and Linda […]


#34, Dino H Carter, D Branding

April 8, 2020

Dino Carter, a brand and marketing consultant, interviews John in this episode for a video series he hosts.  They talk a lot about running a business and raising money during a pandemic and also cover technological and business changes that may come out of the current COVID crisis.  They also talk about the startup scene […]


#33 – Dain Dulaney, Bishop, Dulaney, Joyner & Abner

April 4, 2020

In this episode John interviews Dain Dulaney, partner at Bishop, Dulaney, Joyner & Abner. Dain is an attorney focusing on startups in Charlotte. In this episode he discusses legal mistakes founders make, investing in companies, raising capital, selling companies, legal entity selection, the key to writing a good Operating Agreement, and many other interesting topics […]


Defiance Ventures Acquires Tavve, a cybersecurity and network management company

March 31, 2020

Defiance Ventures announced today that it has acquired Tavve, a cybersecurity and ITOA company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Tavve offers two highly innovative products for large institutions, especially those in Financial Services, to use in a variety of ways to secure and enhance their network infrastructure. Defiance will relocate the company to its headquarters […]

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A Founder’s Reading List for Uncertain Times

March 23, 2020

I originally intended this to be a simple reading list to share with others that I’ve found useful during uncertain times or even more broadly useful whenever myself or others have some spare time to read.  I promise to get to this list, but I quickly realized that to set up the list properly I […]

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Defiance Ventures Acquires The Refinery Haus

March 19, 2020

Defiance Ventures today announced that it has acquired The Refinery Haus, a leading full-service digital agency specializing in customer acquisition and experience. The Refinery Haus will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and portfolio company for Defiance. It will continue to service third party customers and also will support Defiance’s growing portfolio of […]

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#32, Jason Tuttle, Nova Capital

March 12, 2020

In this episode, Jason Tuttle of Nova Capital Partners, a commercial real estate investor shares with John how he started and runs his business.  He explains various strategies for creating value for investors.  He also talks about re-development opportunities and the local markets in Charlotte, Jacksonville, and elsewhere. 


Kevin O’Dell Joins Defiance Ventures as Chief Technology Officer

Defiance Ventures announced today that it has hired Kevin O’Dell as its CTO. Kevin will be responsible for developing Defiance’s technical vision and execution. He will oversee all investments and company acquisitions from the technical perspective. O’Dell has extensive experience throughout his career in enterprise technology. His experience includes time at EMC, Cloudera, Rocana, and […]

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