About Us

Our Story

When you operate, govern, and invest billions of dollars in small-cap companies – as we have – there are many takeaways. Chief among them is that there are few harder jobs than leading a small-cap company.

Life for small-cap officers and directors is lonely, and even the most confident among them will experience bouts of severe self-doubt.

Volatile stock prices embolden every form of would-be advisor to tell them what they are doing wrong. To make matters worse, even the most credentialed of those advisors have cringeworthy conflicts of interest.

Small-Cap Institute’s mission is simple and daunting at the same time: to maximize the chances of success for forward-thinking, small-cap leaders through a first-of-its-kind community. A community only open to small-cap officers and directors, where they can learn from renowned investors, from capital markets experts, and from … each other.

Our ecosystem is designed to elevate objective, differentiated education and transformative peer exchange, and empower small-cap leaders to avoid value-destructive advice. And given how important small-cap companies are to our country’s economy, we decided to make basic membership free.

One CEO told us during our formative diligence: “If I want an unvarnished investor perspective on how to avoid common financing pitfalls, or I’d like to ask a group of CEOs about their experiences with different service providers or investor conferences… there is absolutely nowhere to turn.”

To that CEO, and countless other small-cap officers and directors: we heard you loud and clear.

Editorial Advisory Board

David A. Scher

Founder, Small-Cap Institute

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Brian Balbirnie

CEO, Issuer Direct

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Dr. Rollie Carlson

CEO, Immunexpress, Inc.

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Ian Cassel

CIO, Intelligent Fanatics
Capital Management

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Adam J. Epstein, Chair

Founder, Third Creek Advisors

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Sharon Gabrielson

Board Chair, Sharps Compliance

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Amanda Gerut

Associate Editor, Agenda
(Financial Times)

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Editorial Advisory Board

Select Contributors

Ben Cotton – Founder, CyFIR, LLC

Ben Cotton is a 21-year veteran of the US Army, Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Mr. Cotton specialized in sensitive site and digital device exploitation, Computer Network Attack (CNA), and Computer Network Defense (CND). He is the founder of CyFIR, LLC, an industry-leading computer forensics and incident response firm serving both public and private industry.

Priya Cherian Huskins – SVP of D&O, Woodruff Sawyer

Priya Cherian Huskins is a partner at Woodruff Sawyer, and a recognized expert in D&O liability risk and its mitigation. She is the author of the popular D&O Notebook blog, where she writes about current issues effecting directors and officers of public and large private companies in the areas of D&O liability, insurance, and corporate governance. She serves on the board of Realty Income Corp. (NYSE: O).

Beatriz Infante – CEO, BusinessExcelleration

Beatriz Infante is a 4x CEO, former direct report to Larry Ellison at Oracle, and a veteran of more than 12 corporate boards. Named by Financial Times as one of the country’s “Top 50 Digital Directors,” she has unparalleled experience with small-cap shareholder activism — she’s been on boards confronted by activists, and she’s also been installed on boards by activists.

Ravi Kumar – Partner, Connor Group

Ravi Kumar is a Partner in Connor Group’s Technical Accounting and IPO Services Practice, advising and preparing prominent high growth companies as they scale their businesses towards an IPO or M&A transaction. Ravi has over 15 years of cross-functional, multi-national professional services experience, including Big 4 audit, M&A and deal advisory, and IPO readiness assistance.

Bob Lamm – Partner, Gunster

Bob Lamm co-chairs Gunster’s Securities and Corporate Governance practice, and he is a special advisor to Deloitte’s Center for Board Effectiveness. Previously, Lamm was assistant general counsel of Pfizer, and held senior legal positions at W. R. Grace, CA Technologies, and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company.

Mike McGlynn – Vice President of security solutions, World Wide Technology

Mike McGlynn spent 25 years working at the National Security Agency. Since leaving NSA in 2010, he has been vice president of security solutions at World Wide Technology and is a member of the CyFIR, LLC board.

Susanne Meline, Co-Founder Francis Capital Management

Susanne Meline is a co-founder of Francis Capital Management, a manager of small-cap hedge funds for 20 years. She formerly specialized in turnarounds and restructurings as an investment banker at Houlihan Lokey and attorney at Jones Day. Susanne has sat on the boards of private and public companies, serving as lead independent director and audit chair. She has been on activist board slates, had an activist campaign run against one of her boards and engaged in shareholder activism as an investor.

Mathew Newfield – Chief Security Officer, Unisys
Mathew Newfield joined Unisys as CISO in 2018, prior to which he was the Director of Global Managed Security Services for IBM where he managed a staff of 1,500 security professionals. He is on the Board for the National Technology Security Coalition (NTSC).
Frank M. Placenti – Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Frank Placenti is chair of Squire’s Corporate Governance & Securities Regulation Practice. He is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Corporate Governance Committee. Placenti is the editor of The Directors Handbook, A Field Guide to 101 Situations Commonly Encountered in the Boardroom (ABA, 2017).

Andrew Shapiro – Founder, Lawndale Capital Management

Andrew Shapiro is the founder of Lawndale Capital Management, a manager of small-cap activist hedge funds for over 26 years. Shapiro frequently speaks on matters of corporate governance, fiduciary duty, and activist investing, including as a faculty member of the director education program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 2012, the National Association of Corporate Directors named him one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance.

Bob Zukis – Founder/CEO, Digital Directors Network

Bob Zukis is Founder/CEO of Digital Directors Network, a boardroom advisor, advocate, and association focused exclusively on improving digital and cybersecurity oversight. He is a retired PwC advisory partner, and is a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business where he teaches the only executive education program in America on digital and cybersecurity governance.