The Team With
The Right Expertise

  • Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder

    John W. Walker

    John is the CEO and co-founder of Cypher. He is an experienced executive with expertise in business strategy, rapid scale-up projects, and delivery of complex technology platforms and products. John has been directly responsible for the successful launch and mass-market scale out of dozens of successful technology based products.

    Prior to Cypher, John was a founding employee and Chief Operating Officer at solid-state storage leader, Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO) helping to raise over $100M in venture funding. Under John's leadership, Fusion-io grew to $400M in annual revenue and secured marquee clients such as Facebook, Apple, Dell, IBM, Cisco, and HP.

    Prior to Fusion-io, John helped create and grow two other Utah based ventures; VPI Engineering and Code Corporation.

    John attended Utah State University, studying mechanical & aerospace engineering and business administration, with an emphasis on production management.

    Connect with John on LinkedIn

  • Strategy

    John Yoon

    As head of strategy, John brings more than 27 years experience and a proven history in marketing and product management in technology businesses ranging from Fortune 500 to tech startups.

    Most recently, he was vice president of marketing for Verve Living Systems, a division of MASCO. There he was responsible for launching energy saving wireless controls for commercial, residential and hospitality applications.

    Prior to that, John served as SVP of marketing at Cymphonix Corporation, a start-up focused on an innovative secure Web gateway product where he created and executed plans to drive revenue from $6M in 2009 to $10M in 2010. Before Cymphonix, John held leadership positions at Control4, Paradigm Medical, 3Com, USR, Ericsson, Inc. and General Electric.

    John holds a BA in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Duke University.

    Connect with John on LinkedIn

  • Math

    Dr. Erik Sherwood

    Erik is an applied mathematician with expertise in dynamical systems, computational neuroscience, scientific computing, algorithm design, statistics, and machine learning. Prior to joining Cypher, he worked in academia and held teaching, research, and faculty positions in the mathematics departments of Cornell University, Boston University, and, most recently, the University of Utah.

    In the course of his academic career, Erik developed computational tools widely used in the computational dynamical systems and computational neuroscience communities. He has over 20 years of computer programming experience and is fluent in C, C++, Python, and Matlab and conversant in half a dozen other languages.

    Erik studied at Princeton, the University of Bremen (Germany), Cambridge University, and Cornell University. He earned an AB with honors in mathematics and certificates in applied mathematics, computer science, and German from Princeton University, and MS and PhD degrees in applied mathematics from Cornell University.

    Connect with Erik on LinkedIn

  • Physics

    Dr. Jan Erkelens

    Jan is an experimental physicist with more than 15 years research experience. He is a versatile and creative researcher, with a strong background in signal processing. He has successfully applied his skills to a variety of subjects, including coding, enhancement and automatic recognition of speech signals, analysis of atmospheric signals, and electron microscopy image processing.

    He holds a PhD degree from Delft University, The Netherlands, and has more than 40 publications in high quality journals and conferences.

    Connect with Jan on LinkedIn

  • Electrical

    Dr. Cory Jones

    Cory is an electrical engineer with a background in machine learning. Cory has deep familiarity with C, CUDA, Python, and Matlab. In addition to his dissertation, he has authored numerous journal and conference articles.

    Cory graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in electrical engineering. He continued his studies at UCLA where he earned his MS in electrical engineering with an emphasis in image processing. His Ph.D. was received from the University of Utah with work in image processing, machine learning, and visualization techniques.

    Connect with Cory on LinkedIn

  • Product

    Fred Geiger

    As vice president of product, Fred has extensive background in both development and business having operated in both areas over his 25 year career over a wide range of companies.

    Prior to Cypher, Fred was vice president of product management for Cymphonix, a venture-backed start-up specializing in Internet Management appliances that give organizations control over applications, web traffic and Internet-based threats. Before Cymphonix, Fred held several product management and development positions at Starbridge Systems, Control4, Paradigm Medical, 3Com, USR, and Ericsson.

    Fred earned a BSEE from Marquette University and joint MSEE/MBA degrees from the University of Illinois.

    Connect with Fred on LinkedIn

  • Development

    Carl Grundstrom

    Carl has over 20 years experience in software engineering and development. At Cypher he co-authored Wave Machine, a sophisticated analysis tool for developing audio filters. He has strong experience in Java, C/C++, SQL, HTML, JavaScript and CSS. He has also has expertise in computer security, statistical analysis/data mining, object-oriented design and client/server networking.

    Prior to Cypher, Carl was at Goldman-Sachs where he developed high-performance applications for automated trading of equities, futures, and options in global financial markets. He has also held leadership and technical positions at Solera, Raytheon Oakley Systems, Blue Coat Systems and Axent Technologies which was acquired by Symantec.

    Carl earned a BS in physics from Bucknell University. He also trained at Harvard University in computer science.

    Connect with Carl on LinkedIn

  • Development

    Earl Vickers

    Earl is an audio DSP engineer with over 20 years of experience in algorithm design, firmware implementation and product development. He is skilled in Matlab, C and C++ as well as several DSP environments and has a track record of designing and implementing signal processing algorithms for a wide range of embedded and host-based platforms.

    Prior to Cypher, Earl was principal audio engineer at STMicroelectronics where he was responsible for their broadcast audio post-processing architecture. He designed numerous audio effects algorithms and led a team that developed an advanced loudspeaker compensation system, resulting in several design wins. Before STMicro, Earl held various DSP and audio engineering roles specializing in DSP and audio products at Creative, Aureal and Atari. In addition he is founder of The Sound Guy, a firm specializing in audio effects plug-ins and consumer-facing applications for a range of platforms.

    He holds a BSEE from Duke University. He holds six patents and has three more pending. His signal processing articles have been cited over 100 times.

    Connect with Earl on LinkedIn

The Cypher Board

  • Chairman

    R. Duff Thompson

    Mr. Thompson is a managing general partner of EsNet, Ltd. and has served in that capacity since 1994. In addition to investing in technology related companies, EsNet Ltd. invests in retail real estate and commercial properties in the western United States.

    In addition to Cypher Mr. Thompson currently serves on a number of private company boards, including Qualtrics, LLC (Chairman), and Remedy Informatics. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Utah Valley University where he is Chairman of the Audit Committee. He has been active in the technology industry since the mid-80’s, serving as Executive V.P. and General Counsel of WordPerfect Corporation from 1986 to 1994, and Sr. Vice President of Novell, Inc., from 1994 to 1996. Prior to working with WordPerfect Corporation, Mr. Thompson was a partner in the Salt Lake City, Utah firm of Callister Nebeker and McCullough, working there from 1983 to 1986.

    Mr. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Brigham Young University, together with both a Master in Business Administration and Juris Doctor degree, also from BYU. He resides in Utah with his wife and seven children.

  • David Dame

    David Dame is an Operating Partner at Sorenson Capital and brings over 30 years of operating, consulting and investing experience to Sorenson Capital. His operating career included functional leadership roles in sales, marketing, R&D and services. This led to numerous P&L executive positions ranging from small $20 million entities to large billion dollar entities with IBM.

    Mr. Dame's consulting career spanned 5 years where he co-founded a multi-million dollar Strategy Consulting business, which was eventually merged into the IBM Consulting Group. As a Principal in the firm he applied management consulting and information engineering disciplines to uncover the root causes of strategic business issues and develop solutions integrating the right people, processes and Information Technology (IT). Clients spanned the Health, Manufacturing and Energy industries.

    His investing career has spanned 14 years, including investments and board roles with over 20 companies, including Open Solutions Inc and iCongo/Hybris. He was a Partner with KPP a $700 million private investment group focused on the manufacturing, distribution and service industries. While at KPP he also provided operational support to portfolio companies to help them improve business performance. Additionally, Mr. Dame was a Managing Director at KVP, a technology growth equity fund with $175 million under management, where he focused on software investments. Most recently, and just prior to joining Sorenson Capital, Mr. Dame worked as a Managing Director at Huntsman Gay Global Capital, focusing on operational portfolio support and growth equity investments.

    Mr. Dame received his Master in Business Administration with honors from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Brigham Young University.

  • Brandon Fugal

    Brandon Fugal is a co-founder and Board member of Cypher in addition to serving as Chairman and Principal of Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain. He was recently recognized as the #1 agent globally for Coldwell Banker Commercial out of over 220 offices and over 3,000 professionals.

    As co-founder of the leading commercial real estate practice in the Intermountain West, Mr. Fugal has been critical to his firm being ranked the #1 Office Internationally for the entire brand - 11 years in a row. Fugal was also named CCIM 2013 Utah Office Broker of the Year for the 2nd year in a row.

    Mr. Fugal has developed a sterling reputation as a trusted advisor and business infrastructure expert on a national, regional and localized basis. Recognized as an authority in business, Mr. Fugal has been interviewed and featured in the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Real Estate Forum, Commercial Property News, Real Executive Magazine and Utah Business. Utah Business has recognized Fugal as one of the 100 Most Influential in Utah.

    Mr. Fugal currently serves on the Utah Valley University Foundation Board and also on the Executive Roundtable of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce.

  • Glen Mella

    Glen Mella is a co-founder and Board member of Cypher. His experience includes product management, business development, global marketing and sales, and building high-impact leadership teams in fast-growing organizations.

    Before Cypher, Mr. Mella was president and COO of Control4 (NASDAQ:CTRL), the leader in affordable home automation and entertainment systems sold in over 90 countries and widely recognized for innovation and affordability. He also held management positions at leading technology and consumer products companies TritonPCS, Novell, WordPerfect and Frito-Lay/PepsiCo.

    Mr. Mella has helped raise $200M in venture capital for several successful tech companies from leading VCs in Silicon Valley, Seattle and Salt Lake City, and he is on the Board of Directors of Imagine Learning and Mindshare Technologies.

    Mr. Mella holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Brigham Young University and a Master in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

  • John W. Walker

    John Walker is the CEO, co-founder, and a Board member of Cypher. He has led 5 early stage Utah technology companies. He has a proven track record in early stage ventures and successfully incubating, developing, and scaling high tech companies. In 2010, John was honored as one of Utah’s 40 under 40 in Utah Business Magazine. John is also an early stage tech investor with a focus on software.

    Concurrent to his involvement at Cypher, Mr. Walker is a Board member and co-founder at TruClinic, a Utah-based Health-Tech company specializing in extending and improving patient care by creating tools for enhancing the use of mobile technology platforms for doctor/patient interaction.

    Prior to Cypher, Mr. Walker was a founding employee and Chief Operating Officer at solid-state storage leader, Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO) helping to raise over $100M in early stage venture funding and scaling operations at a record breaking pace for growth in the data storage industry. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, Fusion-io grew to $400M in annual revenue and secured marquee clients such as Facebook, Apple, Dell, IBM, Cisco, and HP.

    Mr. Walker attended Utah State University studying Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Business Administration with an emphasis on production management.