Meet Our Sponsors
Sam Yagan co-founded Corazon Capital in 2013. From 2016 to 2021, Mr. Yagan served as the Chief Executive Officer of ShopRunner, Inc., a multi-product ecommerce platform enabling millions of members to transact billions of dollars’ worth of gross merchandise value. In 2020, Sam led the sale of ShopRunner to FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX). Prior to ShopRunner, he served as the Vice-Chairman of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH), a position he assumed in 2016 after leading the company as Chief Executive Officer through a period of explosive growth that culminated in its IPO in 2015.
Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes, still the dominant brand of study guides, and MetaMachine, Inc., once the largest peer-to-peer file-sharing network in the world. Sam sold SparkNotes to iTurf, Inc. and then to Barnes & Noble, Inc., where he served as Publisher and oversaw the expansion of the digitally-native brand into a multi-platform media business. Sam also co-founded OkCupid in 2003, which he led as its CEO through its sale to Match Group in 2011. In 2009, Sam co-founded Excelerate Labs (now Techstars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first Managing Director.
Sam sits on the board of several private companies, including The Duchossois Group, SpotHero, Brilliant Worldwide, and Grindr. He previously served on the Digital Advisory Council at Target Corp (NYSE: TGT), the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, and as an advisor to Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG). He also sits on the boards of four non-profits: Start Early, Leaders in Tech, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Fund Board, and Rush University Medical Center. Sam has earned recognition on TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50” and “40 Under 40,” Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” and ranked #19 on Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.”
Sam holds a B.A. with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, earning distinctions as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the latter of which Stanford awards annually to each class’s valedictorian.
Steve Farsht co-founded Corazon Capital in 2013 and acts as one of its Managing Directors. He co-ran Techstars Chicago from 2013 to 2014 and served as a Board Member from 2013 to 2017. Steve currently serves on the boards of TradingView (a Techstars Chicago portfolio company), KetoNatural Pet Foods, VarunaTech, and Heretik. He also spent sixteen months as COO of Tap.me, from 2011 to 2013, leading its sale to MediaMath.
Previously, Steve served as a General Partner with Norwest Equity Partners. From 1998 to 2007, he invested $280 million of equity in thirteen management buyouts, recapitalizations, and growth capital investments across a breadth of industries and supported his platform companies in completing nine add-on acquisitions. He served on seven boards and led the sale of several companies to strategic and financial buyers.
Steve transitioned out of his private equity career in 2007 by taking on the CEO role of NEP portfolio company DCM Services. In that role, he led the creation of the company’s vision, strategy, and core values. He retooled the management team and restructured operations while growing market share by almost 80% over his four-year tenure. Earlier in his career, Steve spent four years at Arthur Anderson from 1992 to 1996 as a senior auditor and M&A due diligence consultant; he currently maintains his CPA Inactive designation.
Steve has earned recognition as a member of Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50.” He holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, where he served as a Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and a B.A. in Accountancy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Phil Schwarz is a Partner at Corazon Capital, having previously served as a Principal for the firm since 2016. From 2014 to 2016, Phil served as the Chief Marketing Officer of Tinder, the world’s leading dating business. He oversaw the company’s brand, growth, and user retention efforts worldwide, driving a period of explosive user growth and global expansion, including serving as a member of the executive team that launched Tinder’s revenue products, up to and beyond Match Group’s IPO in late 2015.
Phil's prior roles include Vice President of Growth Initiatives at Match Group, which he held in 2014, as well as Executive Director at Kaplan and Kaplan Ventures (then part of the Washington Post Company), which he held from 2010 to 2014, where he co-founded the Kaplan/Techstars EdTech Accelerator, whose graduates have raised more than $250 million in funding. At Kaplan, Phil also invested in early stage EdTech companies, served on boards of directors for Kaplan Ventures’ portfolio companies, and executed a series of corporate acquisitions.
Earlier in his career, Phil served as an Associate Director at UBS Investment Bank from 2008 to 2010, advising companies on public offerings and buy- and sell-side M&A. Prior to that, he led numerous technology product development efforts for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Vitria Technology, and BP Amoco, and served as a Management Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mr. Schwarz holds an M.B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he guest lectures on Start-up Marketing, and a B.B.A., cum laude, from Ohio University’s College of Business.