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VFA Fellow Founders of Ohio, by Venture For America

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Leopoldo Peña
The Opportunity Exchange, Co-Founder, VFA '16 (Cleveland)

Leo is the Co-Founder of The Opportunity Exchange where he leads product development.

Leo’s previous experience has been centered around GovTech — most recently focused on

expanding access to voting. He helped launch a mobile voting platform designed to securely

cast votes in elections across the globe, allowing members of the US military to participate in

general and midterm elections while serving abroad. Currently in Cleveland, Ohio, Leo holds a

Bachelor’s of Science from Cornell University and is an alumnus of the Venture for America


The Opportunity Exchange is an economic development software platform that helps community

leaders ideate, develop and build more equitable communities.

Ryan Cleary
FloatMe, Co-Founder & COO, VFA '17 (Cleveland)

Ryan Cleary is Co-founder and COO at FloatMe where he is designing the pathway to financial

prosperity for low-middle income employees through democratized financial services. Prior to

FloatMe, he was a partner at a startup accelerator and previously worked with biotech startups,

smart city technologies, and in management consulting. Ryan holds a masters in management

from Harvard University and a BA in economics & political science from Case Western Reserve

University. Ryan is a 2017 Venture For America alumnus and remains actively involved with

several education and economic development nonprofits.

FloatMe provides democratized financial services to empower low-middle income employees on

their path to financial prosperity. Our members are able to borrow the right amount, build

savings stability, and grow financial ability.

Alison Leddy
Bust A Move, Co-Founder, VFA '16 (Columbus)

Alison Leddy is the Founder of Bust A Move, a company that engineers sports bras for busty

athletes. Originally from Cleveland, she is a 2016 VFA Fellow who has spent the last four years

in Columbus. Through VFA, she worked in customer experience at Beam Dental where she saw

the company grow from 9 to 250 employees over three years. Alison is a Notre Dame alumna

with a degree in mechanical engineering that is surprisingly useful to design a new kind of

sports bra.

Bust A Move supports busty athletes with sports bras that are engineered to keep them off the

sidelines and in the game. We believe that sports bras are sports equipment and our patent-

pending design will help women and girls take their performance to the next level.

Alex Hilleary
Gather, Co-Founder, VFA '16 (Cleveland)

Alex is a co-founder of Gather, a project management software for People Operations. Alex

came to Cleveland as a 2016 Venture for America Fellow and early employee at BoxCast, a

local live streaming startup. In 2019, Alex joined up with his friends Brooks Sime and John

Wetzel to go full-time on Gather. The team joined the VFA Accelerator last fall and just wrapped

up the Y Combinator Accelerator this summer. A transplant from North Carolina by way of DC,

Alex now considers Cleveland his home after 4+ years in Ohio. Outside of work, Alex is trying to

run every mile of paved trail in Cuyahoga County.

Gather is the first project management software for People Operations. We help teams

coordinate their onboarding, offboarding, and internal communications at scale.

Tagan Horton (Moderator)
Founders Get Funds, Founder, VFA '19 (Cleveland)

Tagan Horton, known as TheTagan, is a Digital Marketing and inclusive FinTech thought leader. In 2019, she launched The Tagan Experience (TTX Digital), to amplify brands through digital marketing management. Later in 2019, she launched Founders Get Funds (FGF), an online community providing business development resources to help founders get funds together. FGF provides tools to turn your side hustle into a full-time job with a Slack community, virtual events, and newsletter. 

She is developing as an entrepreneur through the Venture For America Fellowship (VFA). She supports VFA's entrepreneurial community as the Co-Lead for build21, the organization’s Black affinity group, and the Entrepreneurship Lead for Cleveland’s Community Leadership Council. Her impact in Cleveland's entrepreneurial ecosystem will grow as the co-host of "The Lay of The Land", a new podcast covering venture capital outside of Silicon Valley.

Carrie Murphy (Host)
Venture for America, Senior Director of Community Partnerships

Carrie Murphy is the Senior Director of Community Partnerships at Venture for America (VFA).

At VFA, Carrie helps bring entrepreneurial recent college graduates to work at startups across

the state of Ohio. Carrie has spent most of her career in the field of Human Resources and

Talent Acquisition. After spending six years living and working in New York City, she decided to

move back to Cleveland in 2015. Prior to joining VFA, she was the Director of HR and Talent

Acquisition at Vertical Knowledge, a growing series B technology startup that helps Clients

Discover, Capture, and Curate Publicly Available Data.

Carrie received her bachelor’s degree in public policy and strategic management from Syracuse

University. She is a fan of all Cleveland sports, passionate about helping the Northeast Ohio

startup community thrive and very happy to be living back in her hometown of Shaker Heights!

Venture For America has helped numerous founders launch their business in Ohio. Join this program to learn about the VFA Founders and the businesses they launched.