As President, Chief Operating Officer and Founder of Transaction Wireless, Basil Abifaker brings his entrepreneurial vision for digital gift cards to the Company and is responsible for product development and technology. Prior to Transaction Wireless, Mr. Abifaker co-founded Tourmaline Networks, which was sold to Intellisync, then acquired by Nokia. There, he was responsible for developing the firm’s marquee product, Soda-Pop Mail®, a very successful BREW® email application. The application has been ported to more than 150 BREW handsets and on 24 carriers worldwide, including Verizon, ALLTEL, Telstra, BellSouth, Telefonica, and Hutch, among others. Mr. Abifaker was instrumental in developing partnerships with AOL and QUALCOMM to use Tourmaline’s technology for AOL Mobile Mail and Eudora2Go.
A 15 year wireless software veteran, Mr. Abifaker also served as a senior system engineer and product manager for Tiernan Communications, a San Diego based manufacturer of digital video compression and transmission equipment. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from San Diego State University.
As Senior Vice President of Business and Client Development for Transaction Wireless, Thomas Niedbalski is charged with globally expanding the company’s innovative digital gift card and integrated marketing solutions. With more than 23 years of experience in retail marketing, merchandising, operations, and new technology development, Mr. Niedbalski is an integral part of the Transaction Wireless leadership team and his deep knowledge has been instrumental in developing and evolving the company’s robust platform that brings digital life to gift cards.
Prior to Transaction Wireless, Mr. Niedbalski worked for Stored Value Solutions (SVS) where he developed a mass market sales channel and led the partnership marketing team. Prior to that, Niedbalski was promoted through the ranks at Blockbuster where he excelled for 17 years in various management roles including IT, marketing, new retail technology, operations, and product development. Among his many accomplishments, he was part of the team that developed and launched the Blockbuster Reward Program, the most successful marketing program in the company’s history, generating more than $20 million annually. In addition, he revolutionized the company’s gift card program with marketplace innovations that continue to serve as a model for enterprises across the globe.
Mr. Niedbalski currently represents Transaction Wireless as an active member on the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC). Mr. Niedbalski is an internationally recognized expert and has spoken at a number of the industry’s top venues and events, including Prepaid Card Congress, Motivation Show, Prepaid Cards and Mobile Payments, IGCC, IMA Summit, and IMA Europe.
Stephen Jones, Vice President, Engineering
As Vice President of Engineering, Steve Jones brings his strong background in large scale system design and distributed computing to the Transaction Wireless team. He is charged with designing and maintaining the company’s innovative digital gift card solutions systems. Prior to Transaction Wireless, Mr. Jones was co-owner, senior software manager, and systems architect for the Satellite Edge Network Products of Logic Innovations. He was responsible for delivering one of the largest IP-over-satellite distributed distance learning systems for Lehigh University that included end consumers such as Air Products, Pfizer and Merck Pharmaceuticals.
As a 17 year systems software veteran, Mr. Jones was previously a software manager for Tiernan Communications, a San Diego based manufacturer of digital video compression and transmission equipment. He has also served as software engineer for ComStream, one of the founding satellite network communications companies based in San Diego. Mr. Jones is an honorable Gulf War Veteran and served in the US Navy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from National University.
Board of Directors
As President, Chief Operating Officer and Founder of Transaction Wireless, Basil Abifaker brings his entrepreneurial vision for improved mobile commerce and vast experience in developing wireless technology to the Company. He’s responsible for product development and technology. Prior to Transaction Wireless, Abifaker co-founded Tourmaline Networks, which was sold to Intellisync and then acquired by Nokia. There, he was responsible for developing the firm’s marquee product, Soda-Pop Mail®, a very successful BREW® email application. The application has been ported to more than 150 BREW handsets and on 24 carriers worldwide, including Verizon, ALLTEL, Telstra, BellSouth, Telefonica and Hutch, among others. Abifaker was instrumental in developing partnerships with AOL & QUALCOMM to use Tourmaline’s technology for AOL Mobile Mail & Eudora2Go.
A 15 year wireless software veteran, he also served as a senior system engineer and product manager for Tiernan Communications, a San Diego based manufacturer of digital video compression and transmission equipment. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from San Diego State University.
Leo Spiegel is a managing partner at Mission Ventures, a Southern California venture capital firm that invests in early stage IT companies. Prior to joining Mission Ventures, Leo Spiegel was president of Digital Island, Inc., a leading provider of global e-business network and content delivery services. Leo joined Digital Island as a result of a merger with Sandpiper Networks, Inc., the world’s first content delivery service provider for the Internet, where he was the chairman, president, and CEO. In 2000, Leo won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Marc is a co-founder and managing director of Okapi Venture Capital and is responsible for Okapi Ventures’ information technology and digital media investments. He has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in business development, legal, operations, corporate development, and strategy in the technology industry for more than a decade. Prior to founding Okapi, Marc was with Intel Corporation first as an attorney for the Microprocessor Products Group and then as the Director of Strategic Business Development for the Software & Solutions Group worldwide. Prior to Intel, Marc worked for Sun Microsystems in business development and legal roles. Marc received his bachelor’s from the University of Southern California, where he majored in both philosophy and business administration, and went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. Marc has also attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Education program. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and has done deals in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, Sweden, and Uzbekistan in addition to the U.S. Marc’s present professional board affiliations include My Damn Channel (director), RF Nano Corporation (director), Orange County Venture Group (director, 2008 President), and DATAllegro (advisor). He is a frequent panelist and/or speaker for venture capital, M&A, technology commercialization, emerging markets and corporate development. Marc maintains a personal blog about being a VC in “The OC” at http://ocvcblog.com.
Doug has a twenty year record of leadership and success in building and scaling fast paced businesses offering high tech products and web based services to both consumer and business markets through industry leading sales channels to achieve market leading positions.
Prior to serving on the Transaction Wireless Board of Directors, Doug served as CEO where he played a fundamental role in shepherding the company’s overall strategy, platform and market development, greatly enhancing Transaction Wireless’ overall market position today.
Prior to joining Transaction Wireless, Doug was CEO of Genea Energy, an innovative Software-as-a-Service energy efficiency company that was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Most Promising Companies. Before Genea, he served as President, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Hosting Business Unit for Verio, an NTT Communications Company. In this role, he architected a highly profitable, $125 million revenue premier global hosting company that met the needs of over one million SMEs in 140 countries. In an earlier role as President Web Services, he built and managed Verio’s distribution channels and service operations for its entire SME and Enterprise hosting product lines, which collectively represented $160 million in revenues and was the world’s largest domain-based hosting company at the time. During this period Doug assisted in Verio’s successful $126 million IPO and eventual sale ($5.5 billion) to NTT. Earlier in his career, Doug worked for six years in the emerging wireless and cellular phone industries across a variety of senior level sales, marketing, and operations roles with Cellular One and a company he co-founded, AllCall.
Doug is also a strategic investment advisor to Pelion Partners, a Utah based VC focused on IT and life sciences. Doug has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Davis, CA and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.