The Team

Meet The Team

Mr. Ajene Watson

CEO, President, and Chair

Mr. John Romano

Senior VP and Executive Director

Mr. Greg Thorpe, Esq.

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Mr. Robert Menendez

Managing Director, Board/Exec Advisor

Learn more about Mr. Ajene Watson

Role: Oversee the development and execution of the envisioned business model and strategy.

Mr. Ajene Watson has long been passionate about creating opportunity for everyday investors and underprivileged citizens. Having grown up in the Bronx, he developed a strong work ethic, and quickly found his way to becoming the youngest real estate appraisal analyst at the first company he worked for. While in his 20s, he joined the influential Ruby Group and discovered his passion for finance, and Wall Street in particular. In 2007, he launched Ajene Watson, LLC., a company that provided companies with the tools and resources required to reach investors and create attractive opportunities for growth.

As an entrepreneur, he was required to use all of his skills developed in prior employment (sales, marketing, product design, staff management, investor relations, and corporate finance), but he has also embraced the opportunity to continue learning as he has embraced the fusion of finance and technology in the rapidly evolving startup markets. He has surrounded himself with experts in software engineering, information technology, cryptography and cryptocurrencies, and angel investing, and has developed a unique understanding of the synergies between these different skill sets, which he employs in his current mission to bring opportunity to everyday investors.

As his drive to pursue technology and finance grew, he worked with his friends to create the concept of the world’s first Public Accelerator Incubator (PAI) company, which would allow retail investors with access to a diversified portfolio of expertly vetted startup companies in their early stages of growth. He is committed to improving startup financing for everyone involved— angel investors, retail investors, and of course innovative founders.

In addition to his goals to create more investment opportunity in early-stage startups, Mr. Watson is a passionate philanthropist and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) advocate. In his personal life, he has contributed to causes that improve access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for underprivileged youth, which he views as a direct contribution to making the world a better place.

Commercial R.E. Appraisal: Began as grunt taking pictures.  Youngest Analyst for partner fir to Dime Savings Bank.  Attended Rutgers University to obtain MAI Designation.  Became Executive Manager to R.E. Appraisal Firm, which was the preferred vendor for Crédit Lyonnais and Republic National Bank.  Responsibilities as Executive Manager included: (i) Subject Review Appraiser, (ii) Operations Manager and (iii) Employee Manager (small staff of 8 to 10 people).

Skills Acquired/UsedNavigation, photography, analytical processes, professional report writing, traditional red-line & black-line, editing and review, programming, services, and platforms product development, and staff manager.

Independent Record Label: Recruited as President to develop early 90’s Hip-Hop acts.

Skills Acquired/Used: Full music and video production, gorilla marketing, talent management, fundraising, business plan writing.

Entertainment Street Marketing Firm: Founder of ‘Gorilla Marketing’ street team for independent record labels, entertainment managers, event venues and nightclubs.

Skills Acquired/UsedDeal negotiations, multi-level marketing, advertorial and article writing, ad design.

Stock Lending: Recruited by the president of lending firm (formerly of David Lerner Associates), began as ‘Jr. Partner.’  Became a partner, growing firm to one of the more notable U.S. stock lending firms of the time/decade (1995 – 2005) – operating as an agent, client and primary lender.

Skills Acquired/UsedResearch, sales (financial products and sales), financial product and services design, funding raising, strategic relationship building, education: SEC. Rule 144, Reg. T and U and Z and U.C.C.

Investment Agency Firm: Hired by Florida based agency firm, focused primarily on facilitating U.S. based stock lending and Reg. S fundings.   Hired as VP & Business Development Manager.  Primary focus was to build sales teams that sold firm’s services to Public Companies, Executives of public companies and Institutional type investors.

Skills Acquired/UsedSale team management, financial product and services design, marketing, writing, education: SEC Reg. S.

Merchant Banking: Recruited to build and deploy regulatory compliant U.S. based stock lending products and agency services.  Acquired knowledge and ability to fund and/or facilitate: Block Trades, 504’s, Reg. A, investments into public companies through convertible debt instruments and factoring.  Introduced to IR, PR and Pub Co. Marketing

Skills Acquired/UsedSale team management, staff management, research, financial product and services design, capital placement, restricted stock advisory, education: SEC Reg. A, Reg. D.

Business Management & Development Consulting Firm: Founder of advisory firm focused on developing operations at public companies.   As a tribute to mother, who passed in 2007, the firm’s mission was to positively impact public companies and their shareholders vs. strictly funding for ROI.  This would be accomplished by providing long-term consulting solutions to a lower volume of clients.   Over a decade, the consultancy firm has provided services to both public companies and private investors offering: Business Development Services (public and private companies), Direct Private Investment & Lending, Assisted Fund Raising for Pub Co’s, IR & PR Consulting, Capital Placement for Private Investors, and general business advisory for private investment groups.

Accelerator & Business Development Services: Co-Founded with a diverse team of business, FSI and startup professionals.  The businesses model is a culmination of 28 years of Watson’s vast professional experience in real estate, marketing, financial services, developing financial products and business development.  The mission is more evolved than AWLLC, focused on equitable opportunities for economic growth amongst entrepreneurs and everyday people looking to invest and gain financial literacy.   This is accomplished by creating an ecosystem that creates balance in global business opportunities leveraging proprietary business products, crowdfunding, Reg. A and Crypto Assets.

Learn more about Mr. John Romano

Role: Oversight of ALL general operations, departments and managers.

John has over 20 years of technical experience with Internet related projects. He has successfully assisted several Internet start-ups from conception to launch and beyond. His many skills have also landed John at the helm of many Web-based applications designed for many Fortune 500 clients in a multitude of vertical markets. John has been involved in all facets of Internet and Mobile projects from inception to delivery. He routinely provides assistance to clients concerning Website architecture, infrastructure and scalability. John also lectures at local universities on topics related to Internet and mobile technology. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from American University and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and English from the College of William and Mary, in Virginia.

Learn more about Mr. Greg Thorpe, Esq.

Role: Overseeing with CCO the company’s business conduct and practices; ensuring the integrity of the corporate governance framework and efficient administration of the company.

Since graduating with a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1977, Mr. Greg Lynn Thorpe, Esq. has led a successful career in corporate law and finance. He started out working as an associate in New York, where he was responsible for researching and drafting financing and corporate contracts. He moved on to estate and trust planning for some of the wealthiest families in the nation before settling into a Corporate Compliance Officer role with Chase Manhattan Bank, where his work directly contributed to saving over half a billion dollars through error reduction, fine prevention, and legal defense. He moved on to become a Department Manager at Citicorp, where he designed, developed, and implemented a full array of banking products and services to support Citi’s Asset Network Account. This gave him a breadth of experience in all aspects of new business planning and development, which he carried with him when he started his own legal firm, Law Offices of G. Lynn Thorpe. In his own practice, Mr. Thorpe has developed new real estate financing techniques to help developers capitalize on new real estate projects in Miami and New Orleans, all while helping various companies move from the concept stage to funded, fully operational businesses.

Learn more about Mr. Robert Menendez

Role: Strategist; Catalyst to the company’s overall strategy and direction. Assisting with determining financial approaches to project development along with identifying viable opportunities for increased performance.

Robert has 15 years of management experience, has expertise in developing business and investment platforms for long-term growth. Attuned to the complexity of the technology space, with a particular acumen for navigating the competitive landscape to make changes that affect the bottom line. Prior to co-founding VEZT, Menendez managed all facets of operations at Newmax Advisors, LLC, he successfully created synergy for investors by coordinating algorithmic trading teams primarily made of programmers and developers managing account platforms. Mr. Menendez began his career at Oppenheimer & Company and moved to CA to become Co-Founder of Tradestar Capital, Ltd., a prop trading firm and a subsidiary of Assent Trading. His ability to spot high-quality talent and personally stock each subdivision with high performing individuals enabled him to build each of the five branches, in five cities, of Assent Trading into fully operational and profitable units. Following Assent, Menendez was instrumental in the launch of Coastal LLC, a quantitative fund for which he raised both trading and operational capital. Menendez’s talent for easily cross-pollinating technology, funding led to a partnership at One Asia U.S.

 

Projects:

  • Top Flight (valued over 100mm)
  • SURKUs (Co-founder)
  • VEZT (Co-founder)