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About Us
Core Values


Johannes Larcher, President & CEO
Johannes Larcher is a proven builder of successful technology companies with over a dozen years of hands-on experience in managing high-tech and fast-growth organizations around the world. As President and CEO of Academy123, Johannes drives the overall vision and operations of the company with a particular focus on customer success and platform expansion.

Before joining Academy123, Johannes was General Manager of International at Overture Services Inc., a leading provider of pay-for-performance internet search services. From 1999 to 2003, Johannes launched Overture into twelve European and Asian markets and oversaw the growth of its overseas business from scratch to more than $150M in revenue and profitability. Serving as Overture's Chief of Staff during 2003, and following its acquisition by Yahoo! Inc. for $1.7B, Johannes co-led the integration of Overture into Yahoo!

In addition to his tenure at Overture / Yahoo!, Johannes' career includes senior roles at Korn Ferry Futurestep and Friendster; and several years as a management consultant at McKinsey and Co.

Johannes is a member of the advisory boards of Revenue Science, BrandPort and Enquiro. He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and holds an M.A. from the University of Vienna in Austria.


Dan Murray, SVP Global Operations & CFO
Dan has 19 years of finance, operations, and general management experience in high-growth businesses and start-up companies. Most recently, Dan was Vice President of International Finance for Yahoo!, where he led Finance and Controllership for the company's non US-based businesses, which accounted for thirty percent of Yahoo's total revenues.

Prior to Yahoo!, Dan led Overture's international finance operations, helping to build the business from a one-market $10M business to a 20-market $1B business in less than 4 years. Dan's experience also includes starting up a joint venture in China and working as the Asia Regional Finance Director for Quaker Oats.

Dan holds a BS in Finance from Penn State University, received an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and is a Certified Public Accountant.


Daniel Bouganim, CTO
Daniel is a senior Internet technology professional with a proven track record in the planning, development and deployment of Internet technology solutions for business applications. His specific experience includes strategic technical analysis, architecture design, planning and product development as well as the management of development teams to achieve targeted results within a predefined timeframe and budget.

Daniel is an innovative technologist with more than 15 years of understanding and experience in applying Internet and Internet-related technologies to medical, financial and distribution businesses. He was also co-founder of a large software organization that specialized in computer based training, using home grown multimedia authoring software and other in house developed technologies to accelerate content creation and delivery.

Daniel is passionate about the utilization of Internet technologies to bridge the geographical and time gap between teachers and students in the US and around the world.

Daniel holds a BS in Math and Computer Science from Ben-Gurion University, Israel.


Barry Levenson, CMO
Barry is a visionary leader and marketing expert in hi-tech, retail, and consumer packaged goods with a proven record of driving top and bottom-line improvements and fast-growth marketing strategies.

As Chief Marketing Officer of Academy123, Barry is the architect of the marketing and public relations strategy, bringing its brand and value proposition to life in all marketing campaigns.

Before joining Academy123, as a founding officer of Countrywide Bank, he launched and led the marketing team to efficiently exceed annual production goals, making it the fastest growing bank in US history.

Levenson’s career also includes executive marketing positions at Homestore, Enfish, Stern Marketing Group, and The Clorox Company, and consulting at Deloitte & Touche.  He is a board member for the National Literacy Network, has spoken at numerous industry conferences on Branding, and has been interviewed by CNN, Bloomberg, USA Today, Advertising News, Financial News Network, and others.

He received his MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and holds a BS from the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley.


Yarone Goren, VP Operations
Yarone Goren has built internet and software businesses both domestically and internationally. Yarone is a co-founder of Academy123, having led the company's strategic operations since its inception and is responsible for research, product design, product management, and content development initiatives.

Prior to Academy123, Yarone worked for Bertelsmann Ventures (now BV Capital) where he served as a strategic advisor to the firm's General Partners, driving research and analysis of hundreds of early stage technology companies.

Yarone began his career as a Lead Software Engineer and Project Manager, designing, developing, and managing innovative enterprise and retail software projects in the Automotive, Healthcare, Government, and Education industries.

Yarone's areas of interest include Cognitive Psychology and Human Computer Interaction; more specifically, how technology may be used to create simple and intuitive tools that substantially improve interpersonal communication and facilitate learning.

Yarone holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from C.S.U. Northridge.


Syd Birenbaum, VP Business Development
Syd brings a 15 year history of senior level Business Development and Business Unit Management in media, entertainment, and Internet/Wireless technologies. Previous positions with Warner Music Group/Discovery Records (President), Akamai Technologies (Sr. Director Business Development, Broadband), and Ventura Entertainment (SVP, Sales & Marketing) have demonstrated his abilities to drive revenue and market penetration while focused on profitable growth. Syd's primary strengths include Entertainment distribution (home video, music), Internet based media technologies (distributed networks, broadband, streaming, related applications), strategic business development, relationship management, contract negotiations and licensing.

    Board of Directors

Maury Friedman, Chairman
Maury Friedman is the Creator and Founder of Academy123 and serves as its Chairman. Maury has over twenty years of success as an entrepreneur in creating, building and managing companies, both private and public. He has engineered operational management as well as structured capital needs through both private and public placements. Maury is currently the Managing Director of USNET Capital, Inc. a venture capital company that specializes in early stage investments in addition to small public companies.

Maury has a passionate belief in the importance of education, particularly in math and science proficiency. Over the years, Maury has been active in enhancing the education of his children as well as other students and this was the impetus behind the early concept for Academy123. Maury is also the Founder of CJA, a successful non-profit adult school with over 50 centers world-wide using its curriculum and lesson plans.

Maury is a Member of the Board of the UCLA International Students Center, Chairman of the Friendship Circle, a big brother organization for kids with special needs and the Chairman of Friends of Eliya - USA, a support center for vision impaired children.

Maury holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic Institute at Pomona, California.


Ron Packard
Ron is the founder of K12, one of the leading providers of innovative K-12 curriculum. He now serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee. Prior to founding K12, he was a Vice President of Knowledge Universe, and Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge Learning Corporation, which provides high-quality childhood education in community and employer-sponsored centers, and invests in, incubates, and operates education companies. Previously, Ron worked for McKinsey & Company as well as for Goldman Sachs in mergers and acquisitions. Ron holds a B.A. in Economics and Mechanical Engineering (with honors) from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. (with honors) from the University of Chicago.


Art Bilger
Art is a seasoned, senior venture capitalist having co-founded Apollo Advisors and Shelter Capital. His expertise in the educational services market is particularly helpful to Academy123. Art serves on the Board of Directors of K12, a leading educational curriculum company as well as Cardean Learning Group, which develops online college level curriculum. Among his other Board experiences, he was formerly Vice Chairman of Akamai Technologies, Inc. Art holds a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Bert Zweig
Bert is an experienced attorney with years of practice concentrated in corporate finance, business and securities laws and technology issues. His emphases range from mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, joint ventures, corporate governance, technology and intellectual property licenses and transfers, to enterprise financings, including public offerings, private placements of securities and venture capital transactions. Additionally, Bert has substantial experience in international business transactions, including multinational technology and other joint ventures. Currently he practices as Counsel to Kaye Scholar LLP, and also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine Law School, where he teaches Venture Capital Finance for Emerging Hi-Tech Enterprises. Bert is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Law School.


Johannes Larcher
Johannes is the President & CEO of Academy123, Inc.

    Board of Advisors

Matt Ridenour, Chairman
Matt has a successful track record of managing and building early stage companies and developing them into successful enterprises. Most recently Matt served as the founding CEO of Academy123 from September 2004 to March 2005. Before this, Matt was the CEO of UNX, Inc. a technology company that grew from start-up to over $30M in sales under his leadership in under 3 years. Matt serves on the Executive Committee of Gazelle TechVentures, a venture capital firm focused on early stage companies as a Board Member of iModules, a technology firm serving colleges and private high schools and nQueue, a technology company serving professional services firms. Matt holds a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and is a Baker Scholar with an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Ian Huschle
After graduating with honors from Harvard College, Ian taught English literature, American history and athletics at the American School of Tangier in Morocco. Upon his return to the United States he helped found Teach For America, and in four years built the non-profit organization into a $10M per year operation with thousands of college graduates filling teaching positions in urban and rural public schools. Ian earned his MBA from Harvard Business School, worked at the Walt Disney Company, and then founded Third Millennium Media Corporation, which provided strategic and financial advisory services to early stage media companies. In 2000 he was recruited by Allen & Company to be the Chief Operating Officer of Global Education Network, and in January of 2005 he joined Allen & Company's investment banking group.

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