Dr. Charles W. Stryker is the Chairman and CEO of a professional advisory firm, Venture Development Center, Inc. (VDC). This business has a focused practice of assisting “Big Data” firms in creating, developing and commercializing Information Services properties. In addition, the firm advises the largest, most sophisticated consumers of information services to insure that they identify and secure the new digital data sources they need to transform their data sourcing initiatives. These clients are the firms that view information and the use of it as a competitive advantage.
For “Big Data” clients, the practice areas that characterize VDC projects include creating (innovating) new products and uses of data that exploit market opportunity; developing new distribution channels to substantially increase revenue for existing Information Services products; and to identify new information assets that can be applied to the most complex problems facing global corporations.
VDC in general, and Dr. Stryker in particular, has created an innovation practice and has developed distribution concepts that allow Information Services companies to create products that are meaningful in their ability to meet a significant market need. In addition, the strategies developed by VDC allow these products to scale rapidly in the marketplace by utilizing best practices of direct and indirect distribution. The extensive experience contained within VDC and their deep executive contact base within the information services industry allow VDC supported programs to reach revenue levels that are greater than and are realized faster than clients can achieve without VDC support. This fact represents the business logic of engaging VDC in new product and distribution initiatives.
For major consumers of information, VDC will describe the “Art of the Possible” to insure the each client understands how to take full advantage of the new digital data sources; search data, social network data, crowd sourced data and web crawling data. VDC then works closely with client firms to develop their individual “Digital Data Roadmap” indentifying the new digital data sources that will have a transformational benefit for the client. Finally, VDC will assist the client to secure the identified data sources from the right supplier at the right price. The result, client firms have integrated into their systems the most valuable data to enhance their critical marketing and sales applications.
Venture Development Center was founded in 1992. The clients of VDC fall into two categories. The first category contains a world class list of the most successful information centric companies. A partial list of VDC current clients include: Acxiom- a major provider of marketing services; Affinion – the world leader in loyalty solutions; Cisco – the world leader in networking solutions; Disney – a world leader in entertainment, travel, and leisure; IBM - the world leader in software and systems solutions; LexisNexis, the leading provider of information Services to law enforcement and the collections industry.
A partial list of past VDC assignments that have been completed include: AOL, ATT, Catalina Marketing, Convergys, First Data Corporation, Groupon, IAC Corporation, Nielsen; R.H. Donnelley, Sprint, WPP, Yahoo, Inc, and over 50 other firms of similar character.
In addition to VDC engagements in these major corporations, the company also takes an active role in the development of small-to- mid-sized firms. Within this segment of work, VDC often performs it work utilizing a performance based compensation model. Some of the more successful engagements where VDC has played this active advisory role include: Seisint, Inc.-sold to Reed-Elsevier for $ 775 million; Internet Capital Group-public company with market cap of $500 million; Intelliquest Inc-Sold to WPP Worldwide for $120 million; Naviant, Inc.-sold to Equifax for $ 135 million, Prio, Inc – sold to InfoSpace for $ 775 million; Comdata, Inc.- sold to Ceridian for $800 million; 24/7 RealMedia- Sold to WPP Group for $500 million. Other engagements included advisory roles in the sale of Mint to Intuit; Zagat Survey to Google and Jigsaw to Salesforce.com. For all of these companies, VDC has played an active role with the CEO and often the board in building these firms. For many of these engagements Dr. Stryker has served as a board member in addition to his advisory role and in two of these successful transactions, Naviant and Intelliquest, Dr. Stryker assumed an operating role as Chairman and President.
In addition to these firms, VDC has played an active role in over 80 small to mid-sized firms since its inception and still holds active advisory and equity positions in over 25 venture backed companies in the information services space. Some of the more promising businesses in this portfolio include: Adgooroo, Blue Kai, Business Watch Network, eXelate, Geoscape, Glenbrook Networks, Healthcare Data Solutions, Innography, Marketfish, MyLife, Peekyou, Pipl, Profound Networks, Rapleaf, RDC, Datamyx, Triton Technologies, V12 Group and Optimal.
Dr. Stryker has served on the board of a number of both public and private companies. His current board appointments include: Geoscape, Innography, Jobvite, NetFactor, MyLife, RDC, Datamyx, Triton Technologies, and V12.
Prior to the formation of Venture Development Center, Dr Stryker founded his first entrepreneurial venture; Trinet Inc. Trinet was merged with American Business Information. Following the merger, the combined company was called InfoUSA. Dr. Stryker was one of the private shareholders and a President of InfoUSA when it went public. He left the firm in 1991 to create VDC.
Prior to this entrepreneurial endeavor, Dr. Stryker was an executive at ATT where he was instrumental in creating the Marketing Information Services Organization. He began his ATT career as a research scientist at Bell Laboratories.
Dr. Stryker has received the BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and the Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University. He has been an active speaker and author on the topic of database product development. In addition to these academic credentials, from 1991 to 1999 Dr. Stryker was a part time faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School where he taught a number of courses in their Entrepreneurial Center.