Board Of Directors
Karan Rai has served on the Board of Bcause since September 2016 and has been affiliated with the company since 2013.
He has his MBA with a concentration in Finance and Strategy from Yale University’s School of Management. He is the founder and CEO of ASGARD Partners & Co., a New York-based investment and advisory firm.
Karan was the CEO of Theodor Wille Intertrade Inc and President of ADS Inc. Previously, Karan was with JPMorgan’s investment banking practice in New York, covering various industries and products. He was appointed in August 2017 to the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council.
Thomas Flake founded Bcause in 2012 and has served as the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer and as Treasurer of the Board of Managers since January 2014. After leaving an 8.5-year career in the Navy, in 1994, Tom started a business, Synergy Consultants, which provided computer education seminars, software development and outsourced desktop support to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) community. In 1998, Synergy Consultants was merged with another company, iTribe, and with outside investors contributing $1 million, Picus, LLC, a competitive local exchange carrier, was formed. During the next two years, Picus invented flat-rate long distance, bundled local, long distance and Internet Access, and SS7 enabled toll-grade voice over internet protocol. Also during this period, Picus raised over $17 million in direct investment from accredited investors and another $50 million in loans from vendors (Nokia, Nortel, Coppercom and GE Capital), merged with or acquired seven other companies and grew its customer base to over 35,000 customers in the Mid-Atlantic region. As founder, Board member, Vice President of Business Development and later Chief Operating Officer, Tom was integral to all of these activities. In 2000, Picus’ ability to raise additional capital was impeded by the market crash and the company declared bankruptcy.
Later in 2001, Tom founded TeliOn, the first-of-its-kind municipal area wireless network for Internet access. The company was sold in 2002 to Pinnacle Online. Also in 2002, he joined Jacobs Engineering, a Fortune 500 firm, as a Project Manager.
In 2004, Jacobs Engineering won the largest contract ever awarded by NASA’s Langley Research Center – the ROME contract – and Tom was promoted to Manager, Information Technology Projects. In 2005, his responsibilities were expanded to include all aspects of managing the team responsible for information technology infrastructure, including desktop support, server management, data acquisition systems at the five largest wind tunnels and information technology security. During his tenure, customer feedback scores began in the 80’s but quickly rose to over 99% and remained there for over four years. In 2005, he was certified a Project Management Professional (PMP).
In 2009, Tom accepted re-assignment and became responsible for all aspects of Jacobs-ROME organizational development, marketing and Minority Serving Institution outreach. During his tenure, ROME’s customer scores increased from the low 90’s but quickly increased to over 96%. In 2011, Tom was informed that his position was being eliminated due to NASA budget cuts, and he decided to return to entrepreneurship. In October 2011, he and a partner (John Ashby) purchased VBB Communications, rebranded it as Utility Scale Computing and re-launched the company, US Computing LLC, which provides outsourced solutions for maintenance and monitoring of computer infrastructure (including server co-location, network connectivity, power, HVAC, systems administrator services and rack space). Tom owns 50% of US Computing.
In 2012, Tom joined with the National Institute of Aerospace and proposed the creation and funding of a small business incubator (Peninsula Technology Incubator or PTI) on the peninsula to leverage the enormous potential represented by the proximity of Langley Research Center, National Institute of Aerospace, Jefferson Labs, Hampton University, Christopher Newport University and The College of William and Mary.
Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University School of Business and Public Administration with a major in Decision Science (Quantitative Methods) and minors in Business Administration and Information Systems. He graduated from The College of William and Mary’s Executive MBA program and is certified by NASA as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Michael Adolphi joined Bcause LLC in March 2014 as our President and Chief Executive Officer and has since transitioned into the Chief Operating Officer & CTO role. He brings over 30 years of executive management and operations experience to this position including a solid background in planning, engineering, programming, integration, networks, and communication systems, as well as business development and strategic planning.
As co-founder and Executive Vice President of Professional Software Engineering, Inc. (PROSOFT), Mike focuses on corporate development, and he led the business development effort to achieve PROSOFT’s strategic growth plan. PROSOFT, a 350-employee company with $30 million in annual sales, headquartered in Virginia Beach, provides information systems engineering, networking and telecommunications, C4I systems integration, training, systems analysis and engineering. PROSOFT spun off its manufacturing business into pTerex, LLC in July 2009. Mike undertook the responsibility of overseeing the new company as its President and CEO until December 2013. pTerex created communication gear primarily for the U.S. Government.
Mike has been responsible for managing and implementing many large-scale projects, particularly wide area networks and software engineering programs. He led the effort to create a quality management approach throughout PROSOFT based on the principles taught by Dr. Deming.
Before founding PROSOFT in 1984, Mike was with Naval Sea Combat Systems Engineering Station in Norfolk, Virginia as an Electrical Engineer. He participated in the AN/SQQ-28(V) sonar system reviews, system installation and testing. He also functioned as the system manager and software engineer for the Sonar System Integrated Support Complex (SSISCOM).
Mike previously served as a board member of the Hampton Roads Technology Council, the mission of which is to accelerate the transformation of Hampton Roads technology firms into world-recognized technology leaders. He serves on the Council of Advisors for the Hampton Road Technology Incubator, designed to promote economic development of Hampton Roads through the commercialization of new technologies developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center, local universities and other regional government and industrial R&D Laboratories; he previously served as the Council of Advisors Chairman.
Mike has also served as the Chairman of the Old Dominion University Engineering Steering Committee, responsible for raising $16 million in endowed chairs and scholarships for the Engineering Department. Previously he was appointed, serving six years, including one year as Chairman, to the Board of Advisors at Virginia Tech for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. He was also appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Virginia Technology Council; its mission is to help accelerate the transformation of Virginia into the Technology State.
Mike has both a graduate and undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech.
A 14-year veteran of financial technology, Jerry worked at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan before going out into the field of cryptocurrencies. He has tried his hand at Bitcoin startups in Japan with Bittoku G.K, before finally finding his calling at SBI BITS, the FinTech arm of SBI Holdings. Jerry is Chief of Digital Asset Solutions for SBI BITS and Chief Strategy Officer of SBI Crypto.
Jerry joined the board of Bcause LLC in January 2018. He also is an influential speaker and expert in the crypto space, having spoken at events such as Inside Fintech HK, Korea, and Blockcon in Vietnam. Currently, Jerry is building institutional models and platforms helping the transition to FinTech 2.0, a blockchain-powered financial industry.
Dr. John Ashby joined the Bcause LLC Board of Managers in January 2014. Since 2006, he has owned and operated a private orthodontic practice, Ashby Orthodontics, with offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake. He also is on staff as a consultant at CHKD for its craniofacial anomalies center. He is a member of the American and Virginia Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists.
John is involved in several local early stage companies, having invested in a number of local companies. In October 2011, he and a partner (Thomas Flake) purchased VBB Communications, rebranded it as Utility Scale Computing and re-launched the company, US Computing LLC, which provides outsourced solutions for maintenance and monitoring of computer infrastructure (including server co-location, network connectivity, power, HVAC, systems administrator services and rack space).
John graduated from the University of Oklahoma with degrees in zoology (BS) and dentistry (DDS). He received a Master’s Degree in orthodontics from St. Louis University.
A bilingual Japanese-American, Jonathan Tanemori joined the board at Bcause LLC in November 2017. Jonathan has worked in Japan since 1992 in a wide range of industries for both Japanese and multinational corporations. He is currently Chief Business Development Officer at SBI BITS, developing B2B fintech solutions for cryptocurrency and exchanges, financial private clouds and others. Prior to that, he was Corporate Development & Strategy Director at Asurion Japan Holdings after seven years in corporate strategy and planning at KVH, a telecom/data center/cloud provider. Core competencies include due diligence, financial analysis and modeling, market intelligence, investor relations, business planning and development, post-merger integration and people development.
Jonathan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (economics, Japanese) and Henley Business School’s MBA Program.
Ronald H. Filler joined the Bcause LLC board in January 2018. Ron is a Professor of Law and Director of the Financial Services Law Institute at New York Law School, located in New York City. He has also served as the Program Director of its LL.M. in Financial Services Law Graduate Program. Prior to joining the faculty of NYLS in 2008, he was a Managing Director in the Capital Markets Prime Services Division at Lehman Brothers Inc., where he was responsible for various business, legal and regulatory matters involving the global futures markets.
Prior to joining Lehman Brothers in 1993, Ron was a Partner and Member of the Executive Committee of Vedder Price Kaufman & Kammholz, a large law firm located in Chicago, IL and worked at various other law firms and brokerage firms earlier in his career. He is currently a Public Director and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Futures Association, a public director of SWAP-EX, a swap execution facility owned by State Street, and a member of the Board of Directors of Global Clearing & Settlement, Inc., a firm providing insurance and collateral management services to clearing houses globally. Ron is a Past Chair of the CFTC’s Global Markets Advisory Committee, has served on several industry boards and advisory committees and has been a member of several futures exchanges during his 35+ years in the industry.
Ron has also served as a Senior Consultant to Allen & Overy, a major international law firm. He is a co-author of a new law treatise on “Regulation of Derivative Financial Instruments (Swaps, Options & Futures) that was published in May 2014, has written many articles and has spoken at over 300 conferences and programs throughout his career.
Ron received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois in 1970, a JurisDoctor degree from George Washington University Law School in 1973 and an LL.M. in Taxation degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1975.
Scott Early has been a board member of Bcause LLC since January 2018. He is nationally recognized as one of America’s Best Attorneys for Derivatives, with more than 35 years of legal practice. Scott is a retired attorney as of 2012 from Foley & Lardner, America’s oldest law firm. He served as General Counsel to the Chicago Board of Trade, Kansas City Board of Trade and numerous other exchanges. He tried lawsuits in state and federal court on a wide variety of financial issues. He also was the CEO and General Counsel of the Board of Trade Clearing Corp. when it was the largest derivatives clearing organization in the world. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions regarding financial issues/legislation. Clients ranged from individual traders to the world’s largest investment and commercial banks. He was derivatives counsel to America’s largest charitable foundation and has served as a bank director as well as President and Director of numerous 501(c)3 charities, including the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago and the Advisory Board of Misericordia.
Scott received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Princeton University in 1971 and a Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1975.
Tom joined the Bcause LLC board in January 2018. He is also a board member of AtlasBanc Holdings Corporation since July 2017. Since August 2007, Tom served as President of ICE Clear U.S. until he retired from that role in January 2017, after which he served as an advisor to the firm for 6 months. Prior to that, Tom was Managing Director of Trading Operations at the Chicago Board of Trade (later CME Group). Before joining CME Group in 2003, Tom served as CEO, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Board of Trade Clearing Corporation, where he successfully managed the development and implementation of integrated over-the-counter and clearing systems while expanding clearing services and functionality for regulated futures contract markets. From 1984 to 1986, Tom headed the Clearing Division of the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange. He began his career in futures in 1980 working in the back office of Rosenthal & Co. Shortly after retiring in 2017, Tom was inducted into the FIA Futures Hall of Fame.
Tom also served on the Board of Directors for the Financial Services Division and the Chicago Operations Division of the Futures Industry Association and participates on the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s Working Group on Financial Markets. In retirement, he serves as a Board Director and as an advisor for startup businesses. Tom specialized in clearing operations, risk management, clearing strategy and product development. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.
W. Christopher Sikes, Sr is one of the founders of Bcause, he re-joined the Board in January 2018 after serving from January 2014 to January 2017. During that time he was secretary of the Board for three years.
Chris has more than 25 years of experience in Management, Information Technology, Data Center Operations and Computer Security, and he is skilled in systems engineering, project management, budget development and execution.
Chris continues to work as the Computer Security Official and IT Project Manager in the Center Operations Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center. Before joining NASA in September 2013, he was the Manager of the Systems Administration and Security group for Jacobs Technology [the advanced technology arm of Jacobs Engineering (NYSE: JEC), one of the nation’s largest engineering and technical services-only companies] from July 2009 through September 2013. Before that, Chris was the Project Lead – Enterprise Applications and then the Area Manager for Northrop Grumman from November 2001 through April 2003 and April 2003 through August 2008, respectively, and the Systems Manager for Langley Federal Credit Union from August 2008 through July 2009. He has extensive experience with information technology management in a mid-sized credit union, large public companies and the government.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Physics, both from Old Dominion University. He also teaches Shaolin Kenpo for Isla Ohana Kenpo.