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12/08/17 Austin | From Startup to IPO/Exit

December 8, 2017
Austin, TX

Member Price: Complimentary
Non-Member Price: $75



Growing a business is a journey. Once embarked upon, there are many possible paths, each presenting its own opportunities and obstacles. How do business leaders and their boards decide on the desired destination and how to get there? HomeAway, an iconic Austin company, successfully took this journey – from startup to IPO to being acquired by Expedia. Guests and members joined us for a fireside chat with Brian Sharples, HomeAway’s co-founder, Chairman and CEO, and top members of his former executive team, who shared the story of HomeAway’s journey—how they and HomeAway's board determined the course, key decisions they had to make, alternatives they considered, and lessons learned along the way. 


To view the presentation in its entirety click HERE.

Location and Time


JW Marriott Austin
110 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

7:00 am Registration / Networking / Breakfast Buffet Opens
7:30 am Breakfast / Roundtable Introductions and Topic Discussion
7:50 am Program Presentation Begins
8:30 am Audience Q&A
9:00 am Adjourn Presentation

9:15 am Final Networking

Speaker Spotlight


Rick Pontin, Moderator

Managing Director – Richard S. Pontin Consulting
Director, Plum Choice, Inc. and AB Private Credit Investors Corp.

Rick Pontin has broad experience in technology, software and communications. He has lead start-ups, turnarounds, and has had intimate involvement in the IPO process. Currently, he is an adviser to entrepreneurs, venture capital, and private equity. He has served in significant leadership roles in both public and private companies, including president of Cincinnati Bell, president of Broadwing Communications, CEO of TRAQ Wireless and executive chairman of Tangoe.

In addition to his advisory services, he is on the Board of PlumChoice, a technology services company based in Boston and AB Private Credit Investors Corp, a $500M financial services firm that provides capital to middle market companies to enable their growth strategies. At AB, he is chairman of the audit committee.

Rick has has held NACD leadership positions since joining in 2011, including becoming a governance fellow in 2015. He currently serves as a member of Texas Tri-Cities Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Austin advisory board, which is responsible for programs and membership in the Austin area.

Lynn Atchison

Former Chief Financial Officer, Homeaway, Chief Financial Officer, Spredfast
Director, Q2ebanking

Previously, Lynn Atchison served as the Chief Financial Officer of HomeAway, Inc. (AWAY) from August 2006 until March of 2016. During her tenure the business grew from about $10 million in revenue to over $500 million. She was responsible for managing all financial aspects of the company. She has over 30 years of finance and operations experience, including expertise in financial management and reporting, securities filings, facilities management and legal and human resources. She was instrumental in the sale of the company to Expedia in 2016.

Prior to HomeAway, Atchison was CFO of Infoglide Software, where during her tenure revenue grew more than 160 percent. Likewise, in her positions as senior vice president and CFO at Hoover’s Online, Atchison helped lead the business from a private to a publicly-owned company, increasing revenues by ten times which ultimately resulted in the sale of the company to Dun & Bradstreet in 2003.

She has also served as vice president and CFO for Travelogix Inc., as a senior manager for Ernst & Young LLP and spent time in private practice.
She is currently serving as vice chair of the Austin Technology Council (ATC) since February 2015 and has served on the ATC board since April 2012. Lynn is a member of original steering committee for Women@Austin since the fall of 2013. Women@Austin is a mission-driven community with one raison d’être: to advance women entrepreneurs in Austin. She is a director of RealMassive (Austin Texas) since November 2015 and also a director of Speed Commerce (“SPDC” Dallas, Texas) since October 2013.

Atchison holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from Stephen F. Austin University. Also, while at the university, she was a member of the SFA cheerleaders of 1979-80 who established “the axe” hand symbol, the traditional spirit symbol for students, faculty and alumni.

Lynn’s professional experience has earned her several accolades over the years, most recently:
• CFO of the Year” for large private Austin companies in 2009 • CFO of the Year” for large Austin public companies in 2014 • Winner of ABJ’s “Profiles in Power” – Central Texas Women of Influence in 2015.

Melissa Fruge

Chief Legal Officer, Spredfast
Director, Association of Corporate Counsel

Melissa Frugé joined Spredfast as its Chief Legal Officer in March 2016. She is responsible for all legal matters worldwide affecting the company. From August 2009 to February 2016 she served as the SVP, General Counsel & Secretary of HomeAway, the leading marketplace for online vacation rentals, which was purchased by Expedia. From 2006 to 2009, she was VP and General Counsel of Borland, which was bought by Microfocus. Prior to Borland, she practiced corporate law with DLA Piper.

In all of her roles, Melissa has worked closely with senior management and the Board of Directors to advise on key strategic matters covering corporate, intellectual property, privacy, e-commerce, employment, regulatory and other key issues.

She earned her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law and her B.A. at the University of Southern California.

Lori Knowlton

Former Chief People Officer, HomeAway
Chief People Officer, Silicon Labs

As Chief People Officer (CPO), Lori Knowlton is responsible for attracting and engaging high-caliber talent, developing leadership, community relations and corporate culture. Prior to joining Silicon Labs, Lori served as CPO for where she led the company’s people agenda from early-stage growth through an IPO and ultimately through an acquisition by Expedia. During her nearly ten years at HomeAway, Lori grew the team exponentially and created scale through processes, systems and high employee engagement. Previously, Lori served in a variety of human resources leadership roles at leading high-technology companies including Progress Software and its operating company Sonic Software, Interliant Inc., C-bridge Internet Solutions and the Monitor Company. Lori is a mentor at TechStars Austin and serves on the strategic planning committee of the Magellan International School, an Austin-based Spanish immersion IB school. She is a frequent and accomplished public speaker, having presented at numerous conferences including National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Spring Forum, NACD Summit, the Texas Conference for Women and Connected Women in Technology. Lori holds a BA in English literature (magna cum laude) from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Brian Sharples

Former Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, Homeaway
Chairman, Tywla, Inc., Fexy Media
Director, Go Daddy Software, Retailmenot, Inc.

Sharples is Co-Founder and CEO of HomeAway. He has raised nearly $405 million in private funding and acquired 17 websites, to create the world's leading online marketplace of vacation rentals.

Sharples is the former President and CEO of IntelliQuest Information Group, a supplier of marketing data and research to Fortune 500 technology companies. While there, he pioneered the development of subscription-based statistical research services and electronic survey systems. He also completed two successful public offerings and the subsequent sale of Intelliquest.

An expert in technology brand strategy, Sharples has counseled several leading companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Dell. He also created the IntelliQuest Brand Tech Forum Conference, which became an industry-leading symposium, and served as a consultant at Bain & Company early in his career.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in math and economics from Colby College and a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Sharples serves on the Board of Directors for KAYAK, RetailMeNot, Austin Habitat for Humanity, and KLRU.



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Texas TriCities Chapter 5773 Woodway Dr, Box 258, Houston, TX, 77057 phone: 832-369-7110 email: