Meet the Makara Team
We are a bunch of happy, hard-working people who are passionate about democratizing access to cryptocurrency.
Co-founder and CEO
Prior to Strix Leviathan and Makara, Jesse founded Blue Box, a cloud computing startup that he led to a successful acquisition by IBM. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Jesse was focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency. He currently serves on the board for the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington. Jesse is an avid boater and holds a US Coast Guard 100 Ton Masters license.
Sadie previously served as Controller for Blue Box pre and post acquisition by IBM. She is part of the Female Founders Alliance and is a mentor for the Barcelona Technology Transfer Group. Sadie also serves on the board for Veriledger and is a member of the Strix Leviathan Nest Fund Investment Committee. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine and her MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, during which she attended the IE Business School in Madrid for an International MBA exchange. Sadie has two children, lives in Spain half of the year, and is an avid reader and traveler.
CTO & President
Vice President of Operations
Liz has over 11 years of experience in executive operations, contract review, and regulatory compliance, and over 10 years in the legal industry. Prior to Strix Leviathan and Makara, she was responsible for business operations at IBM’s regional executive office and was a member of the diligence team during the IBM acquisition of Blue Box. Liz is a certificated paralegal and has more than a decade of legal experience including compliance suits such as the McCleary v. Washington education case on constitutional funding, and earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She is an avid gardener and is a trained emergency volunteer for the City of Mercer Island.
Vice President of Growth
Nick has spent the past 10 years growing technology products into large businesses, and previously led strategic marketing and growth at several organizations including Wealthsimple, Osano, and A Place for Mom. At Wealthsimple, an automated investment and savings platform, Nick built out the company's growth team and helped grow it from $1M in AUM across 1,000 clients to $5B across 1 million clients. Nick holds a B.A. from University of Puget Sound and an MBA from University of Washington. He started his career in financial services with roles at Pacific Continental Bank and Ignition Partners. When not working, Nick goes on runs with his dog Waffles, watches too much soccer, and organizes his books by binding color.
Director of Channel Partners
Prior to Makara, Bea was the CEO of NautilusTech, a boutique OTC desk for high net worth individuals and corporate entities interested in trading digital currencies. She jumped into bitcoin & crypto in 2015, most recently working at Circle and itBit and then was a co-founder of Reciprocity Trading. Prior to this she spent 15 years on Wall Street and was fortunate enough to have worked in London, Singapore and Dublin in addition to New York. Bea holds a BA from St. John's University and is an active volunteer with Hour Children, an organization based in Queens that helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community.
Matt previously led business development at a boutique digital asset consulting firm and he held a variety of roles at IBM, including as a consultative sales lead within Watson Financial Services. He led operations for the Blackstone Group’s Hedge Fund unit’s London office, and evaluated mutual funds and hedge funds as an auditor at KPMG. Matt earned his MBA from the University of Washington, his Bachelor’s degree in Business-Accounting from UNLV, Lee Business School, and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA) and a Series 65 license. Matt is a fan of Michael Mann films, and has a cat named Edie.
Amy Van Groningen
Amy started her career at Blue Box (acquired by IBM), and later was the first accounting hire at Heptio (acquired by VMware). While at VMware, Amy was on the M&A accounting team where she worked with companies acquired by VMware to integrate their accounting books and processes into VMware’s systems. Amy loves performing karaoke more than someone who has zero musical talent probably should.
Markus is a 16-year software engineering veteran. He’s presented worldwide at conferences on mutation testing and is the creator of the Mutant mutation testing tool. He’s an accomplished security researcher and prolific open source contributor. For the previous several years, he built complex FinTech systems in highly regulated environments. Markus is addicted to coding, and would do it for free, but don't tell anyone.
Kate spent nearly 13 years at Viacom, creating content for all of their channels and platforms, most recently as Vice President & Creative Director. After her tenure at Viacom, she worked on the launch of the start-up The Jane Club, an all female co-working space focused on the working mother. She currently serves as the Southern California Regional Organizer and Brand and Partnership Lead for Reclaim Our Vote, a non-partisan voting organization. Kate holds a BA from Vassar College, and is probably more into Gilbert & Sullivan than would be considered cool.
When he isn't helping Makara create videos, Matt is the co-owner of Misfit Studios. He has been creating original content for the majority of the last decade. During its tenure, Misfit Studios has helped brands like Pernod Ricard, Dream Hotel, and Roland stand out from their competition by creating unique promotional content. From New York to Seattle, to Los Angeles, and now based out of Nashville, Matthew has had an intense obsession with all things tech and was an early adopter of Crypto. HODLing (but mostly spending) 30 bitcoin from its $11 price in 2011 all the way up to the $220 "top" in early 2013. He regrets his paper hands to this very day.
Martin is a developer with over 15 years of professional experience. From product development and various backoffice applications, he moved on to E-Commerce. He has no formal degree in CS, but ever since he got his hands on his first computer, has been keen on expanding his knowledge of programming and putting databases to use effectively. When not programming, he loves hanging out with friends and is doing his best to avoid pictures of himself on the internet.
Dan has over 2 decades of experience developing software and leading highly effective teams. He works primarily on web application development, and specializes in database design. Dan previously led development of a popular ruby ORM called DataMapper which was used by hundreds of companies and developers. His extensive open source contributions have earned him industry awards such as a Ruby Hero award. Dan enjoys flying and is currently earning his private pilot's license.
Director of Marketing
Cameron has over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing, and has founded three small companies, including a non-profit organization supporting the emergency medical service community and US Military Medical training. As owner of her own boutique consulting firm, Cameron has driven marketing and communications initiatives for companies ranging from military defense space technology to luxury travel. She has secured tens of millions of dollars in company investments, spearheaded channel partnerships to increase company earnings 100x, and specializes in creating GTM plans to fuel record setting sales. Cameron holds a B.A. in Communications and Advertising from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University, and donates her time to Dress for Success, and can often be found frequenting local coffee shops with her judgy dog Dexter.
Vice President, Client Services
Prior to joining Makara, Matt co-founded Greenbits, a point-of-sale platform designed for highly regulated industries that raised over $48M in venture capital and was acquired in early 2021. He previously led operations at a high-growth digital agency that was acquired by Advance Publications in 2013. Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Idaho. Away from work he’s a diaper-changing, gravity-chasing, dice-rolling, switchback-climbing pretty relaxed family guy working remotely from Portland, Oregon.