Our Philosophy

Investment Method: Stout Street prides itself on investing intelligently. Our investments are driven by extensive data analysis, market analysis, and due diligence. We invest in early-stage technology companies innovating in the software, fin tech, advanced materials, robotics, and artificial intelligence. We invest in under-served markets, especially in the middle of the country with an emphasis on the Rocky Mountain area.

Investment Portfolio: Stout Street Capital is an seed-stage fund that seeks to invest in early-stage companies focused on improving efficiency and generating bottom-line value in large established sectors in the market. Stout Street’s Value Fund-II is currently focused on  post-revenue, seed-to-series-A investments in companies valued at less than $10 million. Stout Street’s Value Fund-I has invested in 36 companies by the end of 2018 and Stout Street Value Fund-II is projected to invest in 50 companies with an average initial investment of 100k by 2020. We usually reserve 500k-$1M in follow on investment for our portfolio companies.



John A. FrancisFounding Partner
John is a Founding Partner of Stout Street Capital. Prior to Stout Street, he managed TechMotion Capital, a private investment shop specializing in the algorithmic trading of energy futures and equities in New Orleans. John started his career as a construction manager, managing keystone projects worth over $1 billion in India. John holds a Bachelor’s of Science in civil engineering and a Master’s degree in construction management from India’s National Institute of Construction Management and Research as well as an MBA in Finance and Energy from Tulane University.
Clay GordonManaging Partner
Clay is Managing Partner of Stout Street Capital, which he co-founded in 2016. Upon graduation from the University of Colorado, Clay joined a large Washington DC-based nonprofit where he led regional development efforts in the Southeast, contributing to annual fundraising of $25 million. Clay then served as the Business Development Manager for Denver-based Strata Resources Inc., before founding Stout Street Capital with business partner John Francis to become early investors in Colorado’s burgeoning tech scene. Clay specializes in fundraising and deal flow management for the fund. 


Cindy HoAssociate and Director of Operations for UNMET Conferences
Cindy Ho is an Associate at Stout Street Capital and Director of Operations for UNMET Conferences. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Analytics and Business Management from University of Denver. Cindy is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and developing early-stage ecosystems in Middle America. Cindy is currently focused on managing The UNMET Conference, which helps early-stage companies located in the middle of the country access Series A and B capital.


Joe ZellAdvisor
Our advisor Joe Zell has an extensive background as both an operator and institutional venture investor. Joe Zell joined Grotech Ventures in 2002 as a General Partner has focused on investment opportunities in the IT infrastructure, cloud services, mobile, networking, and internet and digital media sectors. Joe is active on several portfolio company boards, including Cloud Elements, CommercialTribe, DB Networks, Dizzion, Fluid, Gutcheck, Threat X and WebScale Networks. He previously served on the boards of LogRhythm (acquired by Thoma Bravo), BroadSoft (IPO Nasdaq: BSFT), USinternetworking (IPO then later acquired by AT&T), Aztek Networks (acquired by GENBAND), Collective Intellect (acquired by Rightnow/Oracle), Fieldglass (acquired by Madison Dearborn/SAP), Hatteras Networks (merged with Overture Networks), HiveLive (acquired by RightNow Technologies/Oracle), Rebit (Acquired by Carbonite), and Ziptronix (acquired by Tessara Technolgies TSRA). After 17 years as a GP, as of 2019, Joe has moved into a Venture Partner role with the firm as he downshifts towards retirement.

Prior to joining Grotech, Joe built an extensive, 20-year operating background in communications and data networking, including nine years with US West Communications (which is now CenturyLink), where he was instrumental in building US West’s Data Networking Division from startup to $2.5 billion in revenue and was the president of the division for the last four years as it grew from $300 million in revenue to $2.5 billion. While at US West, Joe was also responsible for managing a $30 million strategic investment fund. It was in this capacity that he began his relationship with Grotech as a result of US West’s A round investment and his board seat at a Grotech portfolio company, USinternetworking. Between US West and Grotech, he served as chief executive officer of Convergent Communications. Prior to US West, he held a variety of management positions at WilTel, LDXNet, United Technologies Communications, MCI Communications and Xerox Corporation.
Joe graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. He is a former member of YPO (Young Presidents Organization) and WPO (World Presidents Organization). He also serves or has served on the advisory boards of Silicon Flatirons, TiE Rockies and StartupColorado. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy, Colorado

Kate Shillo BeardsleyAdvisor
Kate Shillo Beardsley is a Partner at Upslope Ventures (FKA Galvanize Ventures), an early stage fund investing in technologies across the country. Previously she helped establish, build, and manage three funds and over 200+ investments at Lerer Hippeau Ventures in New York City. Prior to Kate was Chief of Staff to Kenneth Lerer, Founder of Lerer Hippeau and The Huffington Post, and launched her career at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Managing Special Projects for Martha Stewart. She is a graduate of Middlebury College with honors and a BA in English.
Chris OnanAdvisor
Chris has invested in over 200 early / growth stage businesses. He currently sits on the board of directors of Foodmaven and Vinyl Me Please. He is a co-founder and former COO/CFO at Galvanize where he raised over $85 million of capital to support Galvanize’s growth and expansion from a concept to eight campuses with locations including San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Denver, Boulder, Phoenix and Austin. Over 3,000 students have completed Galvanize’s software developer and data science training programs. Chris also co-founded and managed Galvanize Venture Fund I, LP. , where he led seed investments in 50+ companies (Rachio, Cloud Elements, Chowbotics, Jumpcloud, Cozy, etc.)
Prior to co-founding Galvanize, Chris was a partner with Appian Ventures where he worked with Ping Identity (acquired for ~$650 mm by Vista Equity Partners), mPay Gateway (acquired by Payspan), T3 Media, Tendril and Auctionpay (acquired by Global Payments).   Earlier in his career, he had the privilege of working with Broadbus Technologies (acquired by Motorola) and Datalogix (acquired by Oracle for $1.2 billion.) Chris is also an investor in Bullet Time Ventures (Uber, Sendgrid, Twilio, Simply Measured.) He served on the board of directors of Spex and led the company through its recent sale / majority investment from J.S. Held.

Chris spent four years with LEK Consulting, an international strategy consulting boutique, before locating to Colorado. Chris speaks often about entrepreneurial finance at both Denver University’s Daniels College of Business and the Leeds College of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He is a current board member and the former President and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association, and is a co-founder of the Associates Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado.  
Education: BA in Economics, Northwestern University, (Phi Beta Kappa)