Meet the Team
Laura Young, Partner + Research Analyst:
Laura Young is a seasoned expert in business research and competitive intelligence. Combining seven years leading the research department at Austin Ventures, four years coordinating the reference desk at The University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Library and seven years honing her customer service expertise as a Walt Disney World Guest Services Supervisor, Laura can tackle any research project, in any industry, with grace and speed. She has performed Due Diligence analysis for HomeAway, RetailMeNot, MapMyFitness, Magnablend, Bazaarvoice, Silvercar, Spredfast, Food on the Table, Delta Rigging & Tools, among many others. She is a highly sought-after speaker on emerging research trends and regularly presents for the Texas Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and American Library Association. Laura completed her Master in Information Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. When she's not digging for the next important piece of data, Laura can be found relaxing with her Basset Hound and PBGV rescues, catching up on the latest Netflix series, or culling design ideas from local architectural tours.
April Kessler, Partner + Research Analyst:
April Kessler skillfully resolves complex custom research requests for clients, including venture capital firms, advertising agencies, law firms, business incubators, and small businesses. April teaches the Competitive Intelligence course at The University of Texas School of Information. Prior to joining Bizologie, April was a research analyst for Austin Ventures and served ten years as the Business Librarian at University of Texas Libraries working with the McCombs School of Business (including Texas Venture Labs, MBA teams and the MSTC program). She earned her Master in Information Studies from UT Austin and her MBA from Wichita State University. In addition to her research experience, she also has nearly ten years of experience in marketing and public relations. April is past-president for the Texas Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, past-chair of the Texas Library Association Special Libraries Division, and served on the Executive Board of the Texas Library Association from 2011-2014. April enjoys checking out Austin's vibrant restaurant scene, frequenting the Sundance Film Festival, and tossing the ball for her Pointer mix rescue pup.
Shannon Ely, Research + Strategy Consultant:
Shannon Ely has 20 years at the helm of multiple research and product development agencies. She brings tremendous expertise in marketing research and business strategy. Naturally curious and extensively trained in need-gap analysis, idea generation, strategic roadmapping, and product development, her roles include leading the sorts of endeavors that fuel growth for everyone involved. As a former Partner at Mutual Mobile and a Principal at Trailblazer Research, Shannon has a successful track record of leading research and discovery efforts; assessing trends and market data to create competitive landscapes; and developing strategies and tactics that align “business” goals with market needs and opportunity. From research and strategy to messaging and positioning, Shannon has led branding and product/service development efforts efforts across multiple industry sectors--including education, non-profit, healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. Shannon holds BBA degrees in marketing and biochemistry from Harding University, a MA in Marketing Strategy from Johns Hopkins University, and is currently pursuing PhD in Consumer Psychology from the University of Southern California.
Michael Hill, Research Analyst:
Michael Hill is a seasoned research professional and journalist whose experience has straddled start-ups and big business. In addition to co-managing the research department at Austin Ventures, he has recommended and coordinated syndicated research engagements for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and applied his research expertise to roles supporting university fundraising, software applications and human resources. Prior to earning his MLIS from the University of Washington, Michael wrote full-time for a range of daily newspapers and business publications, including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Tacoma News Tribune and the Puget Sound Business Journal. He continues to write for publication today, and most recently contributed to periodicals such as Information Outlook, the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship and The Fort Collins Coloradoan. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, taking in live music, reading, running, and fly fishing.