Who Was The Worst Wolf of Startupland in 2017
Picking the Worst of the Worst Wolf of Startupland is a difficult choice but let’s lay those choices out for you all and see what you think. Last year I started a series called Wolves of Startupland. The goal was to alert potential investors and employees of the possible risks of investing time, money and reputation in personality led startups. To qualify as a Wolf of Startupland one must at the very least:
- Have a very casual relationship with truth
- To repeatedly use other people’s money irresponsibly
- To ignore the norms of corporate disclosure, transparency
- To have damaged investors, employees and the startup ecosystem through repeated acts of fraud or gross negligence
A Wolf of Startupland is not someone who starts a company one time and through gross incompetence and/or a lack of commitment fails miserably. By way of example, Chris MacDonald of HugeFan is a fool and not a Wolf of Startupland, the clowns at Spinnakr are incompetent wantrepeneurs and not Wolves. A true Wolf of Startupland must be a repeat offender, damage multiple people and they are likely to continue to inflict damage on the startup ecosystem.
Lastly, I know many people of faith. True believers tend to be more trustworthy. People rightly assume that people of faith will deal fairly with others. It is for that reason that many hucksters, scammers, con persons, and thieves falsely profess their faith in order to gain the trust of their victims. Most people of faith are true believers but unfortunately, many of these Wolves hide behind a shield of supposed faith and taint the reputation of true believers.
In Today’s post, I ask you to vote for your choice of Worst Wolf of Startupland. The “winner” will receive the First Annual Worst Wolf of Startupland trophy… a steaming pile of poo. Be sure to vote for your Wolf of Startupland choice at the bottom of this post.
The nominees are:
#1. Danny Boice, Trustify
Current CEO of the dumpster fire formerly and properly (and I am not making this up) known as FlimFlam, now renamed and misnomered as Trustify (hint when FlimFlam becomes Trustify that means you should Distrustify this turd of a company). Danny was reportedly fired from the College Board for embezzlement, fired from Speek for embezzlement and is now diverting investor funds from creating a viable company to bankrolling his lavish lifestyle. Danny who is a college drop out, no disgrace there except Danny must feel that his lack of academic distinction is a disgrace. He repeatedly tried to pass himself off as a Harvard Graduate and continues to emphasize that he is a Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and MIT man on his LinkedIn profile. Lately, Danny like many conmen has begun to profess a belief in the lord. Yet his mistreatment of employees and investors remains unchanged. Out of any of the candidates, Danny has the highest probability of inflicting continued damage.
Reference Reading: Trustify Update — Running Total Of Danny Boice Malfeasance, Same Crap, Different Day, The Danny Boice Trustify Demand Letter Affair, Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Need No Stinkin Harvard Diploma
#2. Peter Noce
Peter has the longest history of any of the current nominees. He’s lasted longer and taken more money from more people than anyone on the list. Peter started his career when he very publically defrauded his investors in his company Etensity. Back in 2000, Peter took Etensity investors for $40 million. He then bought the assets and put it into DDLabs. I continue to field calls from all over the world of victims of Noce’s malfeasance and fraudulent activities. Peter left DC and continues to plie his trade as a professional conman in the more gentile southern town of Charleston SC. Peter is the most accomplished of any of the nominees. Yet Peter is no longer a DCTech problem. He burned his bridges in this town. He’s a Wolf of Startupland but one that is nearing retirement. By the way, that’s a recent mug shot from his recent drunk driving arrest.
#3. Matthew Q. Pugsley, Challant Health
Look at that face. How could you not put your trust in this very religious man? Just don’t google him. He’s the only convicted felon of all the nominees. He reportedly owes his ex-wife over $100 thousand dollars in back alimony and child support. He has four kids who he uses to portray himself as a loving father. A loving father who provides little to no financial support. He’s been evicted multiple times from multiple houses in Fairfax County in the past 3 years for non-payment. Recently moved from couch surfing in his girlfriend’s house to con someone to sublease him an apartment in the Mosiac District of Falls Church. Pugsley is out raising money for Challant Health right now. The problem is that public records reveal that he was sued and lost a lawsuit for using $100 thousand loan earmarked for his last company but that he used to fund his lifestyle. Pugsley reportedly owes $300 thousands to a vendor. He owes money to multiple attorneys.
Pugsley is another huckster that uses religion to gain trust. Everyone who meets Matt and doesn’t know him instantly trusts him. He’s a “great guy” until you’ve been burned. If you give him money, consider it a non-tax-deductable donation to keep him from being evicted. Just know it’s not an investment… it’s a gift. Pugsley is the greatest short-term risk to the DCTech ecosystem because he’s actively raising money today. Yet as a Wolf of Startupland, he’s small potatoes.
#4. Jonathon Perrelli, LifeFuels
Oh Jonny, Jonny Jonny. He’s a bundle of energy, creative, funny, smart and as disciplined as a toddler hyped up on sugar and caffeine. And therein lies the problem. Is it possible to love a guy but hate the wake of destruction he leaves in his path? Jonathon is an embellisher of the truth and a person who’s ego writes checks his capabilities can’t cash. The result is a joke of an accelerator, The Fort, for which he raised money but has ceased to do any significant regulatory required reporting. His investors have no clue regarding the value of their investments, but they know it’s slightly higher than zero. For three years as the CEO of LifeFuels he’s raised and spent money to garner meaningless glitter awards and has yet to deliver a product. He’s just returned from partying at CES where he showed his bottle that still doesn’t exist and that no one can buy. Yet this “grown” man still rocks his startup t-shirt and that counts for something. And once again, let me apologize for initially reporting he stole the technology that doesn’t exist for LifeFuels. I correct the record. When are the people who have been on that waiting list for 3 years going to ripped off with a bottle?
#5. Evan Burfield, Union
Of the two crooked politicians pictured here, Evan is the T-shirted crook on the right. The other is Evan’s bud and benefactor Vince Gray. Evans 3 for 3 on starting failed companies. He founded netDecide and was fired by the investors. He founded Synteractive and was reportedly fired for financial shenanigans by his investor. Evan convinced the Mayor’s office to hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and then he turned around and hired David Zipper, the DC official who handed him the cash. He was elbowed out of 1776 after the company met with financial disaster. He’s been sued multiple times by vendors and employees for breach of contract. He’s the kind of guy I wouldn’t trust to walk my pet snake. Because I’d be concerned that the two would fall in love and he’d probably sell it with out asking me or sharing the proceeds. Speaking of selling things you don’t own, he claims that he sold netDecide, 2 years after he was pushed out of the company while he was in school in London. That’s the story he tells and it is as believable a story as 1776 merged and was not acquired in a fire sale by Benjamin’s Desk or as believable as Donald Trump is a Billionaire.
Evan’s not likely to damage the DCTech community any more than he already has by huckstering naive rookie investors into investing in trash, leading children astray by convincing them that their hobby horses were companies or misusing the funds of others. But he’ll be out looking to raise money for his new turd of a company soon and you should go ahead and invest… that is if you’d like to fire him like all his past investors.
Read related articles: What About DCs 1776, Stick A Fork In 1776 DC… It’s Done, Benjamin’s Desk… Where The 1776 Revolution Ends In DC, Evan Burfield… The Sean Spicer Of #DCTech, The Rise And Fall Of Evan Burfield – Part 1, Evan Burfield – Startup America – K Street Capital Part 2, Evan Burfield Fail – 1776 Part 3, Evan Burfield Part 4 – Sink Or Swim Time
#6. Jen Mellon – Trustify
Such a charitable, religious, woman. Jen is a shining example of how women are the equal of men… even in cases of larceny, greed, avarice, and cruelty. Jen retroactively became the founder of Trustify after she and her partner in life and crime found out that woman led companies could get special funding treatment. After firing a single mom who was on vacation and after many layoffs, or firing people because they pushed back at the predatory marketing practices that Trustify used to capitalize on the Ashley Madison hack, Jen reassured the remaining troops by telling them that Trustify was Danny and Jen’s butcher shop and all the employees were their meat. Jen who cheated and ran off with her friend’s husband, Danny “Scumbag” Boice (yes that douchebag up there listed as #1). Yes that Jen Mellon who hides behind her “charitable” work and religion to use and abuse others. Many of her former friends went to work for Trustify… many of those former friends wouldn’t piss on Jen if she was on fire today. Danny and Jen use investor money to fly on private jets for multi-week vacations around the globe. Although they do not come from any wealth and have never had a successful exit they own a $2 million house in Alexandria VA and a $1 million house on the Jersey Shore. Jennifer is surely a top candidate for Worst Wolf of Startupland and she and her accomplice Boice are an active danger to startups the startup ecosystem.
Disclaimer: I volunteer my time and am an independent contractor for many organizations. The Views on my blog post are my own and do not represent the views of any of the organizations with whom I dedicate my time. That includes my clients in my coaching practice, the members of my Driven Forward ThinkTank, the University of Maryland. Mach37, The Founders Institute. These views also do not reflect the opinions for any organization that I was formerly associated with including, James Monroe Elementary School, where I graduated with distinction from 6th grade, Lexitron which I left in 1982, Montgomery Youth Hockey or Vistage an organization I was grateful to be a part of and happily parted ways in 2014.
So please vote for your choice of Wolf of Startupland below! If you’re receiving this via email and don’t see the poll go to the bottom of the page at this link.
Vote for your Wolf of Startupland
Voting Has Closed – Winner or Loser or What Ever Will be Announced on Friday, January 19, 2018.