Why We're Doing this

We don't have to tell you that retail & restaurants are experiencing monumental change and it is tough. To adapt, the industry needs to go about things differently. Connect Ventures was formed to provide a framework for building an innovation culture that will help retailers & restaurants to compete in today's customer driven environment.

In addition, we work with emerging technology companies that are taking unique approaches to industry challenges and teach them the language of retail while providing access to our retail ecosystem.

Meet the Founders

With over two decades working throughout the retail & restaurant ecosystem, we've seen the industry transform.  We've also seen the multiplier effect that both innovation and community can have in helping to solve the industry's biggest issues.


David Weinand

Co-Founder & CEO

Beyond a bad golf swing and a love of power tools, Dave brings 20+ years of experience connecting technology providers with retailers & restaurateurs through content, research, and events. He understands the pain points of retailers and how technology can help solve them.


Cory Priggs

Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus

Beyond Cory’s amazing jump serve on the volleyball court, he leveraged his 16+ years of retail & restaurant operator experience to co-develop the business model for Connect Ventures.  Now at Apple, Cory sits on the board of the company.

Meet the Ecosystem

Our partners have spent decades in the trenches across multiple retail &  restaurant formats. They bring incredible domain expertise across many functional areas.


Vicki Cantrell


  • SVP Communities NRF
  • COO Tory Burch
  • CIO Giorgio Armani

Michael Lehman


  • Consultant- Parachute CIO
  • CIO - Batteries Plus
  • IT Director - Roundys

Giri Durbhakula


  • CIO - National Pen
  • VP-IT - Petco
  • VP-IT  - Charlotte Russe

Kim Lewis


  • VP Marketing & eCommerce - Golfsmith
  • Dir CRM - Charming Charlie
  • Sr. Mgr - CRM/Web Marketing - Sally Beauty

Ted Jackson


  • Sr Dir - DTC - Under Armour
  • SVP-CIO - Sports Chalet
  • CIO - Junior's Tools

Todd Michaud


  • Founder/CEO - Powerthinking Media
  • VP IT - Focus Brands
  • Dir IT - Dunkin' Brands

Meet Our Strategic Partners


EKN Research




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Pretty great, right? Learn more...

Whether you're a restaurant or retail chain or an emerging technology company, we want to help. Contact us for information on how to become part of our community.