Meet Our Team

Manish Thakur

Managing Partner
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Mr. Thakur founded Option3 in 2014 after recognizing that cybersecurity innovation required a different, specialized approach to venture investment.  Prior to Option3, Mr. Thakur was a founding partner of Hudson Fairfax Group, a boutique financial advisory and investment firm serving the broader security sector.  Mr. Thakur brings 25 years of background in finance, investing and public advocacy, with a particular focus on telecommunications and security.  He began his career at investment banks such as Merrill Lynch and SG Cowen, where his responsibilities included managing mergers and acquisitions and private equity and strategic investments, particularly with regard to telecommunications and related satellite and security companies.  Mr. Thakur has also worked in the aerospace and telecommunications sectors, having served as CFO of Ellipso, a satellite venture backed by the Boeing Company.

Beyond his work in the investment industry, Mr. Thakur has also served as National Security Coordinator for the United States India Political Action Committee, providing geopolitical risk analysis and research into sectors relevant to US–Asia security issues, covering defense ties, terrorism and cybersecurity.

Mr. Thakur has an MBA degree from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of London.

Lisa Donnan

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Ms. Donnan is widely recognized in the information and telecommunications security industries as a “new business” whisperer. Using her 25-year sales and marketing career background, she works with Option3’s portfolio companies to help them scale and refine their sales and marketing efforts and with actual sales. Prior to joining Option3 she held positions as Vice President of Strategy and Technology at TASC, Head of Salient Federal Solutions’ cybersecurity business, Executive Vice President of Command Information, Vice President of Client Systems Group Marketing for SunMicrosystems, Chief Marketing Officer of NeuStar, Principal of The Management Network Group, a global telecommunications management consulting firm, and Executive Vice President of Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.

Ms. Donnan serves on the Boards of Directors of George Mason University (where she is also Vice Chair) and the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Dr. Peter Fonash

Chief Technology Officer
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Dr. Fonash is a cybersecurity expert who leads Option3’s technology analysis and evaluation activities.  Dr. Fonash was formerly the Chief Technology Officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Communications Office, which is responsible for protecting all federal civilian agencies and the nation’s critical infrastructures from cybersecurity threats.  He was a member of the Senior Executive Service for 18 years.  He previously held positions as Director of the National Communications System and Special Assistant to the Staff Director, Federal Reserve Board.  At the Defense Information Systems Agency, he served as Chief of the Advanced Technology Office and Chief of the Joint Combat Support Applications Division.  After leaving federal service, Dr Fonash was a Professor and Associate Director of the Cybersecurity Engineering Program at George Mason University.

Dr. Fonash holds a Ph.D. in information technology and engineering from George Mason University, an MBA from The Wharton School and both Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

John Stenbit

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense and current Advisory Board member of NSA
John Stenbit

Mr. Stenbit is the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence and its successor organization, Networks and Information Integration, and a former Chief Information Officer of the DoD.  His career spans over 30 years of public and private sector service in the telecommunications and the command and control fields.  His public service includes four years at the DoD from 1973 to 1977, serving for two years as Principal Deputy Director of telecommunications and command and control systems.  Mr. Stenbit previously was an Executive Vice President of TRW, from which he retired in May 2001.  He has chaired the Science and Technology Advisory Panel to the Director of Central Intelligence and served as a member of the Science Advisory Group to the directors of Naval Intelligence and the Defense Communications Agency.  He is a director at Cogent Systems, Viasat, Defense Group Inc. and Loral Space & Communications.

Mr. Stenbit has served as Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense (“DoD”), as a member of the Advisory Board, National Security Agency (“NSA”), a Trustee of The Mitre Corp. and as an Executive Vice President of TRW Inc.  Mr. Stenbit is currently a consultant and member of the Defense Science Board, the National Security Agency Advisory Board, the STRATCOM Advisory Board, and the National Reconnaissance Office Advisory Group.

Alan Wade

Former Chief Information Officer of CIA
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Mr. Wade retired from federal service at the end of 2005 after a thirty five year career in the Central Intelligence Agency.  He retired as Chief Information Officer, a position he had held since 2001.  He also served as Chief Intelligence Officer of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  He has multiple Meritorious and Distinguished Officer Designations and currently serves as a director of Chiliad Inc., JSI Telecom and LexisNexis.  He is on the Board of Advisors for Endgame and DarkTrace.

Mr. Wade received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1973 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1978 from George Washington University.  He held a series of senior positions at the CIA prior to becoming Chief Information officer, including the Director of Communications, and Director of Security.  In his assignment as Chief Information officer, he was dual-hatted as the Chief Information Officer for the United States Intelligence Community.  During his career, Mr. Wade’s contributions were recognized several times.  He is a recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Director’s Medal and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.  Since his retirement, he has worked with several early stage companies.  He served on the boards of Safeboot N.V. (acquired by McAfee in 2007) and Detica DFI (acquired by BAE Systems in 2008).  He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Aerospace Corporation and on the boards of several early-age companies.  Additionally, he serves on the public sector advisory boards of several technology companies, the Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech, the Advisory Board for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Virginia Tech, and on the Board of the organization of retired CIA officers.  Mr. Wade lives in Annandale Virginia, with his wife and two children.

Greg Akers

Former SVP Advanced Security initiatives, CISCO
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With more than two decades of executive experience, Mr. Akers brings a wide range of technical and security knowledge to the Technology Board.  Mr. Akers recently retired as the Senior Vice President of Advanced Security Initiatives and Chief Technology Officer within Cisco Systems Inc.’s Security and Trust Organization (“STO”).  A major focus of the STO is to expand security awareness and launch product resiliency initiatives throughout Cisco’s development organization to deliver high-quality and secure products to customers.

Mr. Akers joined Cisco in 1993, where he held a variety of technical, managerial and executive roles prior to his roles at the STO, including networking engineer, Vice President for the Worldwide Technical Assistance Center, Senior Vice President-CTO Services and Senior Vice President-Global Governments Solutions Group.  He served as executive sponsor of the Cisco Disability Awareness Network.  In addition to his primary role, Mr. Akers was an Internet security and critical infrastructure protection advisor to Cisco customers and to the U.S. government.  He holds the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification.

He has regularly advised and directed activities relative to technology and security matters of domestic and international importance.  In this capacity he has held leadership roles, such as serving as President of the IT-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) organization in 2002 and Vice President in 2001.  Mr. Akers has also advised the U.S. Department of Defense and the federal intelligence community for more than fifteen years and currently leads and serves on various boards, panels and task forces within the U.S. Department of Defense  Mr. Akers currently serves as an advisor to the NSA.  He is a member of the National White-Collar Crime Board and the Board of Directors of the East Carolina Infraguard.

Before joining Cisco, Mr. Akers’ career included more than 15 years of designing, building, and running large networks for Fortune 100 companies, holding senior technical and leadership roles at Fechheimer Brothers, a holding of Berkshire Hathaway, and Procter and Gamble.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron.

Armeane Choksi

Former Vice President, World Bank
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Armeane Choksi Dr. Choksi has over 30 years experience in international finance in the public and private sectors. He has advised governments in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East on a variety of issues including foreign trade, financial reform and health and education policies. He spent more than two decades with the World Bank, rising to vice president managing a portfolio exceeding $8 billion. He was also Chairman & Managing Partner in two investment firms investing in Latin America and India.

Jamil Sopher

Family Office Investor

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Jamil Sopher has extensive experience in global finance with commercial and public sectors. He pioneered a number of initiatives while at the World Bank including government guaranteed World Bank loans to private companies, and Private participation in Infrastructure in emerging countries. In all, he led 25 Investment Loans, for $2.6 billion, to 10 countries of South and East Asia. Jamil continues to advise a broad array of South American banking institutions, conduct specialized studies on behalf of the World Bank, author background papers on behalf of the Brookings Institution, and advise an array of large-scale geothermal projects.

Jennifer Fearon

Managing Partner of VentureLink Advisers

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Jennifer Fearon is a Managing Partner of VentureLink Advisers Group, a corporate finance, business, and financial consulting firm with branches in New York, Palm Beach, and London. Ms. Fearon is also a Managing Partner of Chobe Advisers, a physical commodities company, and Managing Member of Intercontinental Energy Co, a multi-national energy company that focuses on the acquisition and financing of production and exploration of oil and natural gas. She is also a Managing Partner at Lynx Capital Partner with the focus on cross border transactions between South Korea and the United States. Ms. Fearon graduated from Brown University with an honor’s degree in Semiotics.

Christopher Carolan

Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP

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Christopher Carolan is an experienced debt finance and corporate attorney and co-leader of BakerHostetler’s national Debt Finance team. He has led engagements on behalf of arrangers, agents, lenders, borrowers and issuers involved in commodities, retail, technology, telecommunications, media, real estate, healthcare, oil and gas, waste, renewable energy and manufacturing. Chris also represents venture capital and private equity investors in connection with their creation, fund formation, capital raising, investments, acquisitions and divestitures. In this capacity, he serves as outside general counsel to a leading venture capital management firm that invests in, manages and provides growth support to the highest quality companies in the information security, management and analytics sectors.

Sean Plankey

Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response, Department of Energy

Sean Plankey is a highly respected cybersecurity and government executive having worked most recently at the Department of Energy as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response. He also served as Director for Maritime Cyber Policy on the White House National Security Council. He is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and former Global Cyber Intelligence Advisor for BP plc. Sean currently serves as Director of Cyber Missions at DataRobot where he leads efforts to apply their AI Cloud to cybersecurity challenges within both commercial and federal markets.

Sean served for 13 years as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, including a tour as the Offensive  Weapons  & Tactics Chief at  US  Cyber  Command.  In  2013-2014  he completed a  joint multinational deployment to Afghanistan to conduct cyber operations where upon return he was recognized by the President of the United States at the White House on the 4th of July.  He was  the  first U.S. Coast Guard Officer deployed  to Afghanistan  to conduct offensive cyber operations.