We are a passionate and powerful team of franchise professionals, crowdfunding experts and technology gurus. As an affiliate of Forever Brands, a franchise group which is home to some of the most widely known franchisors in the Midwest, our greatest value is innovation. Every day, we’re bringing our skills together to make franchising easy, for everyone.
A successful serial entrepreneur focused focused on advancements in franchising.
Mandy Calara has been the CEO of CrowdFranchise since he founded the company in November 2013.
As CEO, Mandy is responsible for directing the company’s startup efforts, continuing development of the service and strategic partnerships, and solidifying CrowdFranchise’s position as the leader in simplified franchise funding. Since he founded CrowdFranchise, the platform has quickly gained attention from The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Franchise Times and more.
Mandy’s career in the franchising industry began by founding the leading frozen yogurt franchisor in the Midwest, Forever Yogurt, in 2010. During his time as CEO, Forever Yogurt opened over 30 locations in five countries and has won countless awards. He recognized a need in the marketplace for simplified franchise funding and created the CrowdFranchise concept during his experience with this franchisor.
Since founding CrowdFranchise, Mandy has also founded and directed CrowdFranchise’s parent company, Forever Brands, which unites four franchise concepts that Mandy oversees to become leaders in the franchising industry: Forever Yogurt, BEE & TEA, Falafill and CrowdFranchise.
Mandy is a trained biochemist turned serial entrepreneur. Prior to CrowdFranchise, he led a vacation rentals brokerage, a pharmaceutical research firm, and was even a professional poker player.
Mandy earned his Master’s in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois Chicago in 1996, and lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.
A nationally recognized crowdfunding expert with years of experience in corporate law.
Anthony Zeoli has been a partner of CrowdFranchise since the company was founded in November 2013.
Anthony is one of the most recognized voices in today’s crowdfunding landscape. He has been featured in the Crowdfunding Industry Spotlight by crowdfunding.biz, as one of the top real estate crowdfunding experts in the country in Entrepreneur Magazine, and as the author of crowdfundinglegalhub.com.
Anthony is an attorney at Ginsberg Jacobs LLC, where he practices law in the areas of banking, corporate, commercial finance and real estate. Prior to joining Ginsberg Jacobs, Anthony was an attorney at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Duane Morris LLP and Hecht & Seidman LLC.
Anthony earned degrees in Business, Economics and Law from the State University of New York at Albany, Northwestern University School of Law, and University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, The KLTR Group, and MENSA.
A public relations professional specializing in the franchising industry for over 10 years.
Nick Powills has been a partner of CrowdFranchise since the company was founded in November 2013.
Nick has been a leading public relations professional within the franchising industry for over 10 years. He is the founder and Chief Brand Strategist of No Limit Agency, which has earned national recognition within the Inc. 5000 and The Agency’s Post’s Agency 100. Nick serves as the lead on strategy for 50 brands while maintaining a very strong relationship with the national media.
In addition to his work at No Limit Agency, Nick is a publisher the 1851 Project: an online educational resource for the franchise world. Nick helps write and publish daily content as a thought leader, journalist and entrepreneur geared towards franchising news.
Nick worked with Fishman Public Relations for four years prior to founding No Limit Agency. He has been a writer at various newspapers and magazines since graduating from Drake University in 2003.
A captivating salesman with a genuine aptitude for numbers.
Vedat Dardovski has been the Director of Investor Relations at CrowdFranchise since the company was founded in November 2013.
As Director of Investor Relations, Vedat is responsible for onboarding and building relationships with all stakeholders of the CrowdFranchise system including sponsors, investors, franchisees, franchisors and more to ensure that they have an exceptional experience.
Vedat has been an accountant for over 20 years. In this role, Vedat strives for CrowdFranchise and all companies he represents to be as efficient and profitable as possible. Currently, Vedat owns AFR Capital Management and also serves as the Director of Investor Relations for CrowdFranchise’s parent company, Forever Brands. Prior to CrowdFranchise, Vedat worked for Insight Enterprises, MAN Rolan and Superior Carriers.
Vedat graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Accounting, and currently resides in Chicago, IL.
A seasoned program developer and budding entrepreneur.
Tom Tang joined the CrowdFranchise team as CTO in September 2014.
As the CTO, Tom is responsible for building the CrowdFranchise platform, continuing website development and incorporating new technology innovations to enhance the user experience.
Tom has been building websites for over 15 years. Prior to CrowdFranchise, Tom founded Corkket – a new way to easily buy and sell any product using Bitcoin. He has been the CEO of Corkket since he founded the company in April 2014. In addition to this, Tom is an advisor to the Bitcoin Mining Group JSTAR and is a full stack developer for Spantree Technology Group.
Tom has previously worked for Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and OMA as an architectural designer. During his time as a designer, he even curated an exhibition with renowned architect Rem Koolhaas.
Tom earned his Bachelors in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004, and his Master’s in Architecture at Yale University in 2009. He currently resides in Midtown, New York City.
An experienced creative director with an eye for market engagement.
Jerry Zhang has been the Chief Creative Officer of CrowdFranchise since the company was founded in November 2013.
As the Chief Creative Officer, Jerry is responsible for designing the user experience, layout and overall branding of the CrowdFranchise website. Additionally, Jerry has worked with the team on business development opportunities, website development and marketing strategies since the inception of the site.
Jerry has worked for CrowdFranchise’s parent company, Forever Brands, as the Director of Creative Development since 2013. At Forever Brands, Jerry oversees all website and mobile design, brand identities and store location designs.
Jerry has been a freelance graphic designer for over seven years for companies such as LA Tan, AKIRA, Joy Yee and many more. He earned degrees in Advertising and Graphic Design at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto, Canada and Chicago, IL – where he served as an Adjunct Instructor and Media Production Manager.
Born and raised in China, Jerry graduated from the Suzhou Art and Design Technology Institute in Suzhou, China in 2000 after being recognized as one of the Top 5 art and design students in the state, where he went on to work for advertising agencies starting at the age of 19.