About Us

Bala Shankar
Director & Principal Consultant
MBA, IIM, Ahmedabad, India

Bala Shankar has two decades of corporate experience in multinational corporations (MNCs) and national conglomerates in Singapore, India, Asia Pacific, and the USA. He served as the Vice President (Sales), Asia Pacific of a USD1.5 Billion MNC, selling to clients such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate Palmolive, and Lion. He was also a global account director responsible for Johnson & Johnson, USA.

Bala has extensive exposure to Asian markets, particularly, India, China, and the ASEAN countries. He also has strong experience in corporate finance, corporate planning and joint venture management. He has proven expertise in strategic marketing and selling to large corporations and to senior management.

He has taught marketing and sales at institutions such as the Nanyang Business School, Singapore Management University, and the Indian School of Business. He has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a cost accountancy degree.


Michael Pusateri
Adviser, Ideatum

Mike is a seasoned sales and marketing executive considered by his colleagues as an "innovator" and an "agent of change". He has consistently launched new products, services, and new organizations in the early part of his career at companies like Avis, Holiday Corporation and Marriott International. In the last eight years he has worked for several start-up organizations where he has led each one through phases of transformational growth. He developed acquisition strategies, managed mergers and restructured resources for growth.

As Vice President of Business Travel Sales at Marriott International, Mike launched Marriott's first National Account Sales organization. He also was Marriott's first Vice President of Interactive Sales and Marketing where he led in the development and launch of Marriott.com in which his approach was cited in a chapter of Bill Gates book, "Business at the Speed of Thought".

Earlier in his career as Corporate Director of Interbrand Marketing he developed a world-wide account pricing system for Holiday Inns brand and leveraged strategic alliance co-op marketing programs across Holiday's owned brands, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn's, Harah's Casinos and Homewood Suites.

More recently Mike was Senior Vice President of Strategy and Chief Operating Officer of The Travel Industry Association of America, where he restrucutured the organization for growth. In the late nineties he was responsible for Sales and Marketing for an internet consulting firm, Proxicom where he participated in a successful public offering of the company at $40 million and subsequently developed the growth and acquisition strategy resulting in annualized revenues of $250 million in two years.

Mike also has been recognized as having strong relationship management skills. He has been cited on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for a research study on account management he co-produced while President of the Strategic Account Management Association. During that time he co-authored two books on relationship management, "Unlocking Profits" and "The Trust Imperative". He was also Chair of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing International Foundation. Mike is currently a Senior Research Scholar at George Washington University and served as an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland MBA program as well as Cornell University's Professional Development Program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of Connecticut in 1981.


Venky Shankar, PhD.
Adviser, Ideatum

Venkatesh (Venky) Shankar is Professor of Marketing and Coleman Chair in Marketing at Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University. His areas of specialization include Competitive Strategy, e-Business, Entrepreneurship, International Marketing, Branding, Pricing, New Product Development, Supply Chain Management, and Biotechnology. Dr. Shankar has a Ph.D. in marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and has corporate experience with the multinational corporations, Mattel Toys and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in the areas of marketing and international business development.

Shankar has won several research awards from such sources as the American Marketing Association (AMA), Center for International Business Research and Education, the Government of Canada, IBM, and the Marketing Science Institute. His research has been published in leading academic journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Marketing, Sloan Management Review, the Journal of Retailing, and the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science and in business periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Chief Executive and Executive Excellence. He is a winner of the 2006 Clarke Award for Outstanding Direct Marketing Educator, 2001 IBM Faculty Partnership Award, 1999 Paul Green Award for the Best Article in Journal of Marketing Research, the 2000 Don Lehmann Award for the Best Dissertation-based Article in an AMA journal, a Faculty Fellow of the 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2005 Doctoral Consortia of the AMA, and a Faculty Fellow of the 2001 e-Commerce Consortium of AMA. He is the co-editor of Journal of Interactive Marketing, an associate editor of Management Science and is also on the editorial boards of Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Retailing and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. He has delivered over 100 presentations in different countries. He is a three-time winner of the Krowe Award for Outstanding Teaching and has taught Marketing Management, Digital Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Research and International Marketing. He was also a visiting faculty at MIT, INSEAD, Singapore Management University, Indian School of Business, and the Chinese European International Business School, Shanghai. He is an academic trustee of the Marketing Science Institute (MSI).

Shankar has consulting and executive training experience with organizations such as Allstate, BNA, Fannie Mae, Frito-Lay, GlaxoSmithKline, Halliburton, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, International Paper, Lockheed Martin, Lucent Technologies, Marriott International, Northrop Grumman, and PepsiCo. He has made several appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, Voice of America and GreatIdeasRadio. He has been on a number of advisory boards, including IBM's e-Business Conference Advisory Committee, Technology Entrepreneur Community Center, and European e-Business Center, ESSEC, France. He is a Fellow of the e-Business Research Center at Penn State University. He has served as a business expert witness in legal cases. Detailed information on his work can be found at http://www.venkyshankar.com.



Fabio Ancarani
Adviser, Ideatum

Fabio Ancarani is Professor of Marketing at Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, and at SDA Bocconi, Italy. His areas of expertise include segmentation, pricing, digital marketing and mobile marketing. His research has been published in several marketing journals such the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and the Journal of Interactive Marketing. He has presented his research at leading marketing conferences worldwide.

He has consulted with several companies, including General Electric and Vodophone. He has been a visiting faculty member at many business schools in the USA.