We’re pleased to announce the addition of Mike Barnes and Deborah Weinswig to the RevTech Ventures Advisory Board. Mr. Barnes is the former CEO of Signet, the parent company of Kay Jewelers, Jared, and Zales. Following that, he became the CEO of Francesca’s. Ms. Weinswig is perhaps the top research analyst for the retail industry. As Managing Director of Fung Global Retail and Technology, she leads a think tank that closely follows the retail industry and retail technology innovation.
Here’s why these rock stars of the retail industry see the importance of joining RevTech Ventures and supporting its mission:
Each of our advisors sees the importance of an affinity group for the retail industry in North Texas. After all, the reason so many retail companies are headquartered here is because they opened their first store here. Unfortunately, this job-creation engine is in danger of being lost for several reasons:
- New retail concepts are being launched primarily online and with funding primarily from the West and East Coasts.
- New retail concepts begin with the online store and strategically implement offline (i.e. bricks and mortar) strategies as needed.
- New retail concepts have all the benefit of new technology such as cloud-based POS, automation, and analytics.
RevTech Ventures has the opportunity to leverage the experience of thousands of current and former retail industry managers on behalf of the best and brightest concept and technology innovators. While we don’t seek to move companies here, we do work to provide them with an unparalleled market acceleration opportunity. By connecting them with a network of strategic advisors, talent, capital, and customers, these great entrepreneurs find they have a permanent foot-hold in Dallas.
This is why great retail leaders like Mike Barnes and Deborah Weinswig choose to associate themselves with RevTech Ventures and support its mission to make Dallas a focal point for retail technology innovation.
Michael W. Barnes, also known as Mike, served as the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Francesca’s Holdings Corporation from December 4, 2014 to May 17, 2016. Mr. Barnes served as the Chief Executive Officer of Signet Jewelers Limited from January 30, 2011 until October 31, 2014. He served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Fossil Inc. from January 1, 2007 to November 23, 2010. He served as the President of International and Special Markets Division of Fossil Inc. from October 2000 to 2006 and Executive Vice President from 1995 to October 2000. He served various other executive capacities at Fossil since 1985. Mr. Barnes was part of the management team that took Fossil public in 1993 and contributed to the continuing financial success of the business. During his varied executive roles, Mr. Barnes developed diverse functional expertise. He has had substantial leadership experience, with responsibilities including overseeing state-of-the-art international sourcing and supply chain operations, leading strategic business development, human resource expertise, company acquisitions, organizational structuring and managing diverse business relationships. He served as Director of Signet Jewelers Limited from January 30, 2011 until October 31, 2014. He served as a Director of Darden Restaurants, Inc from June 19, 2012 until October 10, 2014. Mr. Barnes served as Director of Fossil, Inc. from February 1993 to November 23, 2010.
With 20 years of expertise, Deborah Weinswig is a premier global retail analyst and an authority on the disruptive technologies, trends and innovations that are shaping the global retail landscape. Leveraging her background as the top Wall Street retail analyst for nearly a decade, Deborah serves as the Managing Director and Head of Fung Global Retail & Technology, the research arm and Think Tank of Hong Kong-based The Fung Group. In this role, she is responsible for building Fung Global Retail & Technology’s research capabilities and providing thought leadership on cutting-edge retail innovations, technologies, and solutions.
Focusing on game-changing technologies such as wearables, The Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, cyber security, and predictive analytics, among others, Deborah examines the intersection of technology, fashion and retail to help companies drive growth in a rapidly changing environment.
Deborah’s deep knowledge and understanding of global retail and emerging technology trends were fostered through her extensive banking career, which included 12 years as Head of the Global Staples & Consumer Discretionary Team at Citi Research, as well as senior research positions at Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley. Throughout that time, Deborah was consistently ranked among the top analysts in her field by such prominent publications as Institutional Investor, where she was ranked #1 for nine years, StarMine and Business Insider, which named her as one of Wall Street’s top 36 analysts in 2012. Also in 2012, Deborah received the Researcher Award for Outstanding Service by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
With a passion for innovation and for cultivating the next generation of retail, Deborah has been instrumental in helping several U.S. technology startup companies develop and implement retail technology systems and strategies that have been adopted by top-tier, national retailers. She serves as a mentor to Silicon Valley-based Alchemist Accelerator, Plug & Play, and ERA (Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator), is an advisor to Shoptalk, and also serves on the advisory boards of several early-stage companies in both the U.S. and Hong Kong.
As a recognized industry expert and thought leader, Deborah’s global perspective and insight are often featured in national business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Barron’s, as well as on CNBC. Deborah sits on the Boards of many philanthropic and industry organizations, such as Dignity U Wear, and was recently appointed to the advisory board of the World Retail Congress. She was one of the founding members of the Oracle Retail Strategy Council, is an executive board member of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the University of Arizona, and is an active member of the ICSC Research Task Force. New Zealand-based point-of-sale software company, Vend, has named her one of Retail’s Top 50 Influencers for 2016. Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant, and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.