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Tom Denison

Tom Denison is a passionate mentor, advisor, investor and founder of tech and biotech startups.

Tom Denison - My passion is mentoring, advising, funding and founding tech and biotech startups. I have engaged with 200+ startups, at all stages, from concept to exit.  Like many, my digital experience started out with a glamorous yet struggling internet startup but blossomed into strategy and business development with some of the most recognized digital powerhouses including a top tier affiliate network, a premier SEM firm and a world-renowned and award-winning full-service interactive agency.  

Unlike most, I also spent time on the client side nurturing and growing a top 200 internet retailer leading to a $30 million exit and transitioning a B2B publishing company into the digital age.  

I am the Co-Founder and President of SmartHealth Activator. At SmartHealth, we are activating extraordinary biotechnology. Nestled at the doorstep of healthcare giants, including Abbott, AbbVie, Astellas, Baxter, Hollister, Horizon, Hospira, Medline, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Takeda, and Walgreens, SmartHealth provides direct access to customers, mentors, investors, co-working space, and seed funding.

Tom Denison's Background

Tom Denison's Experience

Vice President, eMedia at Vance Publishing

May 2008 - December 2009

With a staff of 25, responsibilities were primarily dedicated to taking a strategic look at the internet landscape and firmly positioning Vance as a leader in the digital world while driving revenue. Under my direction, the eMedia team managed SEM, email marketing, web development, web design, new product development, mobile marketing, custom content development, lead generation and advertising sales for over 60 sites, nearly 100 eNewsletters and eight mobile sites. Developed and executed three year business plan for a new division within Vance Publishing, a B2B publishing firm, that provided digital solutions including SEM, web design, web development, mobile marketing, social media marketing, email marketing and custom content for external clients across four divisions. Responsibilities also included digital sales training for 25 salespeople.

Business Development Director at

August 2007 - May 2008

Headed all Business Development with AGENCY.COM - Chicago. AGENCY.COM is a full service interactive agency with 10 offices all around the world. Within first six months secured more than $1,000,000 in new business from two Fortune 250 firms and opened the doors to Proctor & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch, Wrigley and others.

Director of E-Commerce at Personal Creations, Inc.

September 2005 - August 2007

P&L and management responsibilities for all online and offline marketing efforts for, a top 200 online retailer, including affiliate marketing, email marketing, Search Engine Marketing, partner marketing and offline marketing. Increased online sales in the 4th quarter of 2005 by 48%, year-over-year. That same year, increased ROAS 83%. In 2006, increased online advertising sales 66% and ROAS 15%. Selected Best of the Web Top 50 by Internet Retailer.

Business Development Director at iCrossing

July 2004 - September 2005

Business Development professional providing SEM solutions to Fortune 1000 companies and Top 400 online retailers. Clients acquired included General Mills, ConAgra, Cintas, Omaha Steaks, Carlson Companies and others.

Partner at Rhinoceros, LLC

2002 - 2004

Managed performance based online acquisitions for a number of clients including Discover Card, Sony, Playboy, Kennedy-Western University, Kidsafe ID, Career Education Corporation, and Veritas. Responsibilities included managing a two person sales team, acquiring new clients, acquiring new affiliates and partners, managing affiliate and partner relationships, managing Search Engine Marketing partners, managing email campaigns and managing ROI for all campaigns. Increased revenue from $0 to over $1,000,000 annually within the first year.

Director of Sales at Performics, Inc.

2000 - 2002

Responsible for acquiring new business for a performance based online marketing firm with services that included affiliate marketing, email marketing and Search Engine Marketing. Clients acquired included Sony, Ann Taylor, Household, General Motors, and AOL.

Sales Director at Sportvision

1999 - 2000

Responsible for advertising and sponsorship sales across the US for 12 NFL, 4 MLB and 3 NHL official team web sites.

Sales Director at Nielsen Business Media (formerly Bill Communications, BMT Publications and McFadden Publishing)

1990 - 1999

Provided B2B marketing solutions for the largest CPG companies in the world, including General Mills, Frito-Lay, Tyson and many others.

Chicago Chapter Director at Startup Grind

August 2012

Startup Grind is an event series designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome an amazing speaker from Chicago who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn't, and what they'll do differently next time. It's an amazing opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the Chicago startup community, and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.

Founder & CEO at Funl

January 2010

I am the Founder of Funl, a collection of savvy digital marketing experts who "Provide the expertise and resources needed to drive a large, loyal and profitable customer base." Funl also builds web and mobile experiences that attract, engage and delight our clients' customers.

Co-founder & President at SmartHealth Activator

2014 - Present

SmartHealth Activator is accelerating innovation for healthcare. Nestled at the doorstep of healthcare giants, including Abbott, AbbVie, Astellas, Baxter, Hollister, Horizon, Hospira, Medline, Takeda, Walgreens, and many others, SmartHealth provides direct access to customers, mentors, investors, co-working space, and seed funding. We are looking for strong teams who are passionate about solving significant healthcare problems by combining a relentless pursuit for excellence with elegant healthcare solutions. We are looking for early-stage healthcare teams who need seed funding along with access to customers, mentors and investors to gain traction and to get investor-ready for Series A funding.

Tom Denison's Education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

1982 – 1986


Tom Denison's Interests & Activities

Entrepreneur, biotech startups, tech startups, startups, founders, mentor, advisor, interactive strategy, digital strategy, digital business development, digital consultation, entrepreneur, SEM, email marketing, social media, mobile marketing, affiliate marketing, content marketing, transmedia solutions, integrated solutions, executive management

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