Who We Are


The Ivy Story

Ivy started as a quest to help people. With decades of wireless communications experience and a desire to start a new venture, it was only natural to solve communication problems. In 2007, Ivy evolved out of the realization that it was hard for businesses to send messages to individuals, even though everyone had many ways to receive them - SMS, personal email, work email, etc. Businesses had learned to send corporate email and route voice calls, but SMS goes through private networks not so easily utilized by businesses. Ivy was born. The idea was simple - help people connect - fill the gaps in communication - and enable conversations that were otherwise difficult or impossible. Information in the hands of the right people at the right time could have a powerful and positive impact, saving time, saving money and even saving lives.

It was most important that Ivy be trusted, secure and private - a tool that could be used without fear of ending up the target of spammers. User convenience was also a very high priority. Why manage your contact information in many different databases when you could maintain it in one place and give businesses the ability to connect with you the way you allow, prefer or are able? Businesses could only expect people to use Ivytalk if it was beneficial for them. Ivy was designed as a network (like Facebook or LinkedIn) for this reason, but with an emphasis on privacy. Where Facebook provides a social graph, Ivytalk provides a Communication Graph®.

As people joined in the Ivy mission, we had to have a name. We had named the project "Ivy" early on. Projects are always named, most often under stealth circumstances, like when working on the next big wireless thing. "Ivy" simply captured the vision - green, organic, natural, robust, everywhere, interconnecting, hearty. When it came time to name the company, we didn't expect Ivy to stick, but everyone kept coming back to that name. It had meaning.

We are all pleased to say that after many years invested, Ivy is growing, spreading - taking root. The gaps continue to increase as there are many more new ways to communicate than just SMS. And people have strong personal preferences - some message in Facebook, others in Skype, and many still prefer email. Ivy seeks to interconnect, and to make it easy to reach you when you want to be reached and how you want to be reached. The soil is rich, the conditions are right and what once was a little sprout is growing into a hearty plant.


Management Team

Mary Jesse

Mary Jesse is a wireless industry expert with more than 25 years of experience developing cutting edge wireless solutions in roles such as Vice President of Strategic Technology for McCaw Cellular Communications, Vice President of Technology Development for AT&T Wireless and Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of RadioFrame Networks. She is currently Founder and CEO of Ivycorp, developers and operators of Ivytalk, the world’s most powerful enterprise cloud messaging solution. Ms. Jesse designed and led deployment of the first large scale wireless cellular data systems, led the first implementation of wireless Internet communications over cellular, and has led development teams in the design, launch and operation of numerous systems and products.

Ms. Jesse is a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in electrical engineering and has authored more than a dozen patents. She frequently speaks on mobile, technology, business and entrepreneurship. In addition to volunteering her time to support STEM education and mentor girls and women in business, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and the Advisory Board for the University of Washington, Bothell, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Steve Knox

Steve Knox has 26 years of systems and software development experience and holds a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering. Mr. Knox is the founder and CEO of IS Squared, a software consulting service he has operated successfully since 1995, serving customers including Sony, AT&T, General Magic, and Motorola.

Mr. Knox’s expertise includes system architecture and design, large-scale, n-tier distributed systems, and general communications and network applications using standard protocols. He also founded Driftwood Systems, a company developing PDA software. Earlier in his career, Mr. Knox was a senior software/methods engineer for the Fluke Corporation, where he was involved with factory information and control systems, test subsystem architecture and the design and development of electronic test and measurement instrumentation earning him the inaugural Fluke Engineering Best Practice Award. At Fluke, he gained experience in statistical process control in manufacturing which influenced his style of software development management.

Steve is a Past Chairman and 10-year board member of the American Electronics Association Washington Council Executive Committee. Steve also served two terms as a member of the AeA national board of directors. AeA (recently re-branded as Tech America) is the largest high-tech trade association in the U.S. Steve currently serves on the Washington State University EE/CS Executive Advisory Committee.

Jim Mullen

Jim Mullen’s career in accounting and finance spans three decades. Jim was previously Vice President of Finance at aQuantive, Inc. a Seattle-based group of digital marketing services companies. During his five-year tenure at aQuantive, Jim completed a $144 million IPO, an $80 million convertible debt offering and the acquisition and integration of nine companies located in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to aQuantive, Jim was the Corporate Controller for Teledesic, LLC. He also served as Director of Finance, Operations for AT&T Wireless Services, Western Region. Jim began his professional career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1982.

Jim is a devoted advocate and member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters serving King, Pierce and Jefferson counties. He graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a B.A. in Accounting.


Board Of Directors

Monica Dodi

Monica is an international, multilingual new media entrepreneur with a proven track record in creating, launching and building highly successful global brands. A visionary on the cutting edge of the virtual and high-tech landscape, she has founded four highly successful companies, spearheaded rapid turnarounds and negotiated numerous licensing deals with Fortune 500 companies.

As co-founder of MTV Europe, Monica’s marketing expertise, operations and negotiating skills led to MTV becoming the fastest growing channel on the continent covering 16 countries and reaching breakeven in less than a year by launching the first ever Pan European advertising deals. She then joined Walt Disney/Europe where, as head of European Licensing, she was responsible for the successful turnaround of their Consumer Products business, creating new revenue streams for classic and newly released brands. Seeing an opportunity in creating a paper products venture with a Disney license, Monica founded CD Productions which was later acquired by American Greetings.

Returning to the U.S. to help Warner Bros. roll out television channels worldwide, Monica was recruited by Brandon Tartikoff to be CEO in charge of launching AOL’s Entertainment Asylum which soon became the fastest growing entertainment destination on the web with 4 million daily users and reaching breakeven in less than a year. Subsequently, at Softbank Technology Ventures, Monica focused on new media convergence and served as the Fund’s Entrepreneur in Residence. She continues to be a sought-after advisor to and angel investor in new ventures spanning virtual worlds, music technologies, mobile applications, and social media.

Monica is a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a member of the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation, and a former semi-pro soccer player for the New York Budweiser Eagles. She earned her BS in International Economics from Georgetown University and MBA from Harvard Business.

Mary Jesse

Mary Jesse is a wireless industry expert with more than 25 years of experience developing cutting edge wireless solutions in roles such as Vice President of Strategic Technology for McCaw Cellular Communications, Vice President of Technology Development for AT&T Wireless and Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of RadioFrame Networks. She is currently Founder and CEO of Ivycorp, developers and operators of Ivytalk, the world’s most powerful enterprise cloud messaging solution. Ms. Jesse designed and led deployment of the first large scale wireless cellular data systems, led the first implementation of wireless Internet communications over cellular, and has led development teams in the design, launch and operation of numerous systems and products.

Ms. Jesse is a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in electrical engineering and has authored more than a dozen patents. She frequently speaks on mobile, technology, business and entrepreneurship. In addition to volunteering her time to support STEM education and mentor girls and women in business, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and the Advisory Board for the University of Washington, Bothell, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Nick Kauser

Mr. Kauser is a recognized leader and visionary in the wireless and telecom industries having held several executive level and board positions. Presently, Mr. Kauser is a Partner in Eagle River Holdings and continues to serve on multiple boards.

Mr. Kauser served as Chief Technology Officer of Clearwire. Inc., President of Clearwire International, and a Director of Clearwire, Inc. From 1990 through 1998, Mr. Kauser served as Executive Vice president and Chief Technology Officer of AT&T Wireless Services, Seattle, Washington (formerly McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc.) where he oversaw all aspects of engineering and technology projects, network operations, long-range planning and evolution of the wireless network, and supporting network technologies. Mr. Kauser was also responsible for AT&T Wireless’ fixed wireless initiative, Project Angel.

Steve Knox

Steve Knox has 26 years systems and software development experience and holds a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering. Mr. Knox is the founder and CEO of IS Squared, a software consulting service he has operated successfully since 1995, serving customers including Sony, AT&T, General Magic, and Motorola.

Mr. Knox’s expertise includes system architecture and design, large-scale, n-tier distributed systems, and general communications and network applications using standard protocols. He also founded Driftwood Systems, a company developing PDA software. Earlier in his career, Mr. Knox was a senior software/methods engineer for the Fluke Corporation, where he was involved with factory information and control systems, test subsystem architecture and the design and development of electronic test and measurement instrumentation earning him the inaugural Fluke Engineering Best Practice Award. At Fluke, he gained experience in statistical process control in manufacturing which influenced his style of software development management.

Steve is a Past Chairman and 10-year board member of the American Electronics Association Washington Council Executive Committee. Steve also served two terms as a member of the AeA national board of directors. AeA (recently re-branded as Tech America) is the largest high-tech trade association in the U.S. Steve currently serves on the Washington State University EE/CS Executive Advisory Committee.


Board Of Advisors

Tom Huseby

Tom serves as a Venture Partner with Voyager and focuses on wireless investments in the Pacific Northwest. Huseby’s career spans three decades of venture, entrepreneurial, and executive leadership. In 1997, he formed SeaPoint Ventures, a leading investor in wireless, broadband and network infrastructure companies. Huseby is Managing Partner at SeaPoint Ventures and has relationships with Oak Investment Partners and Covera Ventures.

Steve Lamont

Steve Lamont, advisor, investor and executive at several start-up and fast-growth businesses. He has over 30 years of business experience, with the majority spent in the wireless and high tech industries. He was managing partner in the strategy practice at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), as well as at McKinsey & Co. On the corporate side he has held executive marketing and strategy positions at McCaw Cellular, NextWave Broadband, and Canadian Pacific Airlines.

Janis Machala

Ms. Janis Machala currently serves as the Dean of the Continuing Education Program at Bellevue College. Ms. Machala founded Paladin Partners in 1995 and serves as its Managing Partner and Principal. Ms. Machala served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Pinnacle Publishing, Inc., from 1993 to 1995. Prior to Pinnacle, she held a number of senior management positions in product marketing/product management, market development and marketing programs with leading computer systems vendors such as Microsoft Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Wang Laboratories.