Following confirmation early this month that the the acquisition of Linden Research Inc., (to give Linden Lab its formal name) has been completed (see the second half of 2021 Update: Life in the Cloud from the Lab and also my own Linden Lab gives cloud migration update & new ownership announcement (updated)), the Lab has updated the Board of Directors section of the About page on the official Linden Research website.
The acquisition, sees three new board members replacing Jed Smith, Bill Gurley, Dina L. Evan and Bing Gordon. Two of them have been previously mentioned: Brad Oberwager and J. Randall (Randy) Waterfield (you can read my own notes on these two gentleman here: Linden Lab announces it is to be acquired). However, what may come as news is that there is a third member of the Lab’s new board: Raj Date.
The following are the biographies for all three as found on the Lab’s About web page:
Brad Oberwager has spent his entire career in technology and consumer focused companies as an entrepreneur and board member.
Currently, he sits on the board of two public companies, Asure Software (NASDAQ: ASUR) and Better World (NASDAQ: BWACU). He is the chairman of two companies he founded, Jyve and Sundia and is also on the board of TEGSCO (aka AutoReturn). He owned Bare Snacks, acquired by PepsiCo in 2018.
Brad was Vice-chair of YPO International, a global organization of 25,000 CEOs.
Brad received his BS from Georgetown University, his MBA from the Wharton School and lives in San Francisco.
J. Randall (Randy) Waterfield
Mr. J. Randall (Randy) Waterfield, is the Chairman of Waterfield Holdings, which traces its origins to 1928. After selling the largest private mortgage company in the US and largest Indiana based bank in 2006 and 2007 respectively, he diversified into technology, manufacturing and other industries.
Randy holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a graduate of Harvard University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Red Oak Partners, Waterfield Technologies, Linden Research, Inc. and has previously served on the boards of YPO (and was the 2017-2018 Chairman of YPO), Asure Software ( NASDAQ: ASUR), SMTC Corporation (NASDAQ: SMTX), RF Industries (NASDAQ: RFIL), among others. He is also the Co-Chairman of Missouri Cobalt, LLC, the largest cobalt mine in North America.
Randy supports various education, environmental and community development charitable causes through the nonprofit Waterfield Foundation and J. Randall Waterfield Foundation.
Raj Date was the first-ever Deputy Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As the Bureau’s second-ranking official, he helped steward the CFPB’s strategy, its operations, and its policy agenda. He also served on the senior staff committee of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and as a statutory deputy to the FDIC Board.
Before being appointed Deputy Director, Raj acted as the interim leader of the new agency, serving as the Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury. He led the CFPB for most of the first six months after its launch.
Currently, Raj is the Managing Partner of Fenway Summer, an advisory and investment firm focused on financial services and financial technology. In that capacity, he chairs the investment committee of Fenway Summer Ventures, a fintech venture capital fund, and works with clients of FS Vector, the fintech advisory firm. He also serves as a Director for a number of innovative firms in financial services: Prosper, the marketplace lender; Green Dot, the bank holding company; Circle, the digital asset firm; Grasshopper, a de novo bank; and College Ave, a private student lender.
He is a graduate of the College of Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley (highest honors) and the Harvard Law School (magna cum laude).
Without wishing to take anything away from Mr. Oberwager and Mr. Waterfield, Raj Date’s credentials are especially impressive for a relatively small company like Linden Research; having joined the CFPB in February 2011, on what he thought would be a 2-3 month tenure, he was asked by Elizabeth Warren, who oversaw the establishment of the CFPB as a Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, to lead “the guts of the policy apparatus” within the Bureau. When Warren sought to (successfully) run for the U.S. Senate later in 2011, Date was nominated to succeed her as the CFPB’s Special Advisor to Treasury, and (as the Lab notes), its first Deputy Director, under Richard Cordray.
His background with consumer affairs, finances, and his post-CFPB founding of Fenway Summer would appear to help lend significant weight to Linden Lab’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tilia inc; while he is not currently listed as a member of Tilia’s board, his background and expertise could be used in an advisory capability, and his name certainly brings a further level of gravitas to Tilia.
Thus far, the acquisition and arrival of the new board has been handled in a relatively low-key manner. While some might be tempted to see the negative in this, it’s likely more a case of the Lab wishing to demonstrate that, from their perspective and that of the incoming board, things are very much “business as usual” rather than being indicative of any kind of radical change.