About Us

The Back Story

Murray Mason, an avid sports enthusiast and self-proclaimed Weasel from Lonaconing, Maryland, loved hanging out in his favorite sports bar during the NFL season, grabbing beers with his buddies, and playing the pool game "29 Club". Basically there are 32 people per "Club" and each club member picks one of the 32 NFL teams. Often there are so many people playing that multiple 29 Clubs are happening in the same bar. Members throw their dough into a hat, record it on a chalkboard behind the bar, and all root for their team to score 29 points to win the pot. The probability it happens is only 3 to 4 times per season, but this wasn't ever about the dough. The game heightened the excitement in the bar, built new friendships and circles of people with a common interest, and engaged people in banter and side challenges. The Weasel wondered why there wasn't an application on his smartphone to keep track of the scores and pools. While he thought software referred to the results of too many beers in an evening, he knew to contact a Silicon Valley buddy to see if this could be built.

When the Weasel found a team of software guys from California, 29 Club Sports morphed from a basic pool play app into a platform for capturing the spirit of how us monkeys socialize. We have tight circles of friends based on common interests, love going to sports bars, banter and bust chops on each other with irreverent humor, buy each other beers after losing stupid challenges, and keep track of our favorite sports teams. Why not include all pool-play games? Why not create contests to track what we're already doing? Why not have a private and secure messaging platform for the circles? Why not make it high value and free? Yikes! That's stupid, but we did it anyhow.

The birth of the 29 Club social mobility app was predicated upon the teams' universal distaste for current social media environments. We understand that people run in multiple circles and we don't want those communications to overlap. In principle we hate the fact that idiots continue to clobber our Facebook walls, clog our email inboxes, and we receive a barrage of Twitter tweets about ridiculous things from ridiculous people. We really hate these social media sites seeing, selling, and sharing our private data. We are fatigued by the spray of meaningless information from people we don't know or care about, and the spam we get from companies trying to sell us crap we don't want. We like beer and bar food, watching a game with buddies at our favorite sports bar, busting on each other, and acting like jackasses.

We have loyalty to our circle, fun with our friends, and know there's nothing better than walking into our favorite hang out and seeing it packed with familiar faces. Those hangouts are run by smart restaurant and bar merchants who are happy to see us and don't feel like they have to give away the store to get us to show up. Knowing we're appreciated and are in for good times with good friends is what motivates us. Not a bunch of reward points and fleeting discounts that may buy a passing visit but not true loyalty. 29Club let's the merchants know our circle of friends and we appreciate the special treatment we receive in return. We call it, "Social Circle Loyalty™". The 29 Club Merchants get it. One-to-Many promo sprays through Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, and other impersonal run of the mill "rewards" programs are spam and will be ignored. 29 Club Sports built a platform for the merchant to reach our circles with offers that are unique to us, understands our patterns and social calendars, and helps bring those familiar faces together before, during, or after the game, and then leave us alone.

And to all you monkey sports fans... Beer. Banter. Better.


The Team Players

John "Magnum" Townsend | President & CEO, Board Member

Everyone thinks John looks like Tom Selleck from Magnum P.I. NOT! Other than having a big mustache and the appearance of wearing a sweater when his shirt's off at the beach, no resemblance. What in fact we have here is another example of a modestly skilled athlete, proven better at business than sports (or acting). Magnum left a successful consulting career as a partner with Andersen to lead regional and national restaurant IT teams, developing industry leading technology. He has consulted to a number of restaurant technology start-ups and is the Executive In Residence at UCSD's Rady School of Management, Entrepreneurship Program. He was a co-founder of the SoCal Restaurant IT Executive group and is a regular speaker at NRA and MURTEC events. He sits on two restaurant technology company advisory boards. Modesty aside, Magnum was awarded his fraternity's outstanding athlete award, and instrumental in opening a can of Whoop-Ass on Wally's Lambda Chi's at Poly.


Jim "Trojan" Arnett | CFO

Arguably the most delusional and biased guy in the group, Jim believes he graduated from the only university that has a real sports program. When UCLA beat USC in football this year, we almost lost him. In addition to staying connected to his Fiji fraternity brothers and "posting-up" for USC games at his favorite craft brewery locations, the Trojan has spent the better part of a decade in leadership positions as CFO and senior executive at several venture-backed technology companies. Prior to that he was a successful Wall Street, technology investment banker with Kidder Peabody, PaineWebber, and his own firm Trumpet Partners. Jim brings his vast experience to 29 Club Sports, driving capital formation and financial operations. Brace yourself for this shocker, his motto is "Fight On!"


Doug "Spock" Wiegley | CTO

Doug is a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. When he isn't busy plagiarizing the opening sentence to his bio, he can be found attempting to get a tan from the glare of his computer monitor. He started his career at Carnegie Mellon University, excels at crashing mountain bikes, and loves watching all forms of sports. Doug has spent a career in software engineering, design, architecture and management. He has designed and implemented numerous cloud-based mobile application solutions, messaging applications (email, sms), and networking software. He has held leadership positions as R&D Engineering Lead, Principal Engineer, Architect, and Chief Technology Officer with Fortune 500 companies like Hewlett Packard, as well as Enterprise Messaging leader Mirapoint Software, Inc. and iFanMedia, a cloud-based mobility solution built on today's most advanced, scalable, open source technology tools and platforms. Doug received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. His hidden agenda with 29 Club Sports is to scam free beer from Wally's 29 Club account.


John "Head Hunter" Gessner | Co-founder

Co-founder, Merchant Development, and Distributor Relations (and whatever the mission requires). The Head Hunter played linebacker for Frostburg State University, getting the reputation for ripping opponents heads off. Jack Lambert would be proud, and fortunately John still has his front teeth. While a marketing guy by background, our team was thinking his skills on the field will be helpful in Accounts Receivable. Just saying. When John wasn't on the field he was hanging out with his TKE brothers, watching sports and bantering at the house or their favorite sports bar. He is our lead merchant evangelist bringing pool-play into the digital world, and he produces all of 29 Club printed materials. He has spent a career with a background in sales and marketing, working for two different paper and printing companies before founding his own East Coast-based company, Rising Associates, Inc. John received a degree in Business with a Marketing concentration from Frostburg State University. Like Murray, John is a Maryland boy and thinks the California guys are nuts.


Murray "Weasel" Mason | Founder and Chairman

Murray is a self described, "Weasel from Lonaconing", now recreating the electricity felt when playing the 29 Club pool game at the Legion. He's the visionary who is making 29 Club Sports a reality, keeping the business fun, irreverent, and always ridiculous for everyone on the team. In addition to being a rabid sports fan, Murray has spent the last 20 years of his career as a financial advisor and investment banker, working with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. He received his B.S. in Finance from Frostburg State University, in Western Maryland, and to this day can't figure out why he built a team around a bunch of California technology kooks. We keep pulling stunts on him like posting this picture without asking him.


Jeff Winner | Board Member

Jeff has a Masters of Science in Computer Science from MIT, and there's nothing funny we can think to say about that. Jeff is the Co-founder & CTO of Cardspring.com, a Silicon Valley software company, backed by Accel and Greylock, delivering an application platform for web and mobile developers who write real time payment integration applications via Web-standard API's. Jeff is well known for his work as the head "crypto" guy for Netscape, and as a software engineer, architect, and serial entrepreneur. Oops, he just got the nickname "Crypto." Jeff has built top-performing software engineering teams, hiring and leading 100's of engineers for multiple growth organizations. He brings that experience and vision to 29 Club Sports.


Tim "Boneyard" Rohner | Board Member

Boneyard was a Cinderella Story, out of nowhere, a former greens keeper, who was about to become Masters Champion, when he abruptly walked off the course and co-founded Mpell Solutions, a consumer promotion marketing firm that supports medium and large businesses. Earlier in his career, and after determining that fat, drunk and stupid was no way to go through life, Boneyard was a founding partner at Leucadia Ventures, a venture investment and advisory firm. Prior to that he was a business consultant for Diamond Consultants (Now PricewaterhouseCoopers), McKinsey & Co, and Accenture. He advised senior management on issues related to venture development, business strategy, technology strategy, operational efficiency, and organizational effectiveness. He is co-author of The Venture Imperative, published by the Harvard Business School Press. Mr. Rohner is also a certified public accountant, a Sigma Chi, and holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois. His motto is, "If you ain't first, you're last!"


Jeff "Wally" Witous | Board Member

When he wasn't hanging out with Cal Poly mafia and bantering with his Lambda Chi Alpha bros, Wally managed to hold leadership positions with 3M Company, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Sun Microsystems. He was founder/co-founder of six software companies, acquired more than a dozen more, and successfully completed numerous venture and public financings, including two public offerings as Chairman & CEO. Today he sits on four boards, promotes multiple philanthropies, invests in promising start-up companies such as 29 Club Sports, and is Entrepreneur In Residence with Cal Poly, San Luis, Obispo. He is a Founder's Circle Member, Student Mentor, and Donor for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship ("CIE"). Wally still believes Boneyard joined Sigma Chi at Illinois because the Lambda Chi's "black-balled" him. As for Magnum's banter, Wally has the picture holding the trophy from the IFC championship where the Lambda Chi's tooled the Delta Tau's. Regarding Spock busting into his 29 Club account, Wally has Crypto "closing that back door." A Yogi Berra quote that sums his view on start-up mentality, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


Dr. Nissim "007" Ozer | Advisory Board

As a globally recognized "Pro to Know", Dr. Ozer's renowned, proven track record in leading technology companies to develop and manage innovative, industry award-winning products encompasses more than 20 years of extraordinary leadership in advanced and diverse engineering experience across the computer industry plus considerable expertise in building engineering organizations from the ground up. Previously (2007-2010) Dr. Ozer served as EVP and CTO of Eggs Overnight a startup company that provides a comprehensive loss prevention solution for shipping in reusable containers, utilizing cutting edge technology for real time tracking of shipments. With his hands-on approach, Dr. Ozer sets the product vision, strategy and road map, built from the ground up the Product Development and IT organizations, architected the system's software and hardware, and implemented in timely manner the deployment of the system for customer use through an efficient Sales support organization that he structured. Dr. Ozer served as Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President in the years 2000-2007 at RF Code, an emerging growth RFID solutions business where he was instrumental in raising Tier 1 venture capital financing and delivering premier RFID hardware and software products to market. He also served as the chair of the 5-M Software/Middleware Work Group within the AIM Global RFID Experts Group , the industry's larger international organization. Dr Ozer's achievements are globally recognized as the "Pro to Know" by Supply Demand Chain magazine, a leading Auto-ID periodical, three years in a row (2005, 2006 and 2007). Dr. Ozer received his doctorate degree in School of Engineering, Purdue University. As a post doctorate in Purdue University he developed, investigated and programmed, methods to enhance training of computerized classifiers (including: neural networks, fuzzy logic and parametric classifiers) controlled by an expert system for better interpretation of machine vision and sensing of aromatic volatiles.


Patrick "Howler" Howell | Advisory Board

Patrick helps to provide user experience and product oversight - to drive monkeys to the Howler party. He has more than 20 years as an interaction architect, graphic user interface designer, and corporate and brand identity designer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from San Diego State University. He leads teams of experienced information architects, user experience and graphic designers. His work has received recognition as innovative across multiple platforms, from the web to interactive television and mobile handsets and apps. Patrick was owner and CEO of Digital Asylum, a User Experience consulting firm for over eight years specializing in user experience design for web and software applications. He has received numerous awards in new-media design, including the Presidential Design Award for his contribution to Arctic Data Interactive, an electronic science journal. He also received How Magazine's International Top Merit Award for his design and direction of Digital Asylum's innovative interactive portfolio. New Media Magazine recognized him as one the Top 100 worldwide interaction architects. Back to the Howler party... Wally and 007 are usually first to show and first to get the sharpie.


Clark "is there a doctor in the house" Kincaid, PhD | Advisory Board

Laying to waste the adage "those who can't do, teach", Dr. Clark did in a big way, climbing waaaaay up the corporate ladder from dishwasher to operations executive with Chart House Enterprises. Now a regular at the top of the "Rate My Professor" charts (only partially aided by his good looks and magnetic personality) at UNLV's Harrah College of Hotel Administration. The Doc prepares our future hospitality industry executives and only occasionally pays them a visit on the Strip. He has authored (fill in the blanks), spoken at (ditto), and is currently working with one of his doctoral student on the 29 Club Sports "The Viral Effect of Fun" study which demonstrates how restaurant and bar owners can drive exponential guest traffic increases by creating a loyal relationship with targeted social circles.


Cyndi "Indy" Darlington | Advisory Board

A true die-hard Colts fan, former CMO at a number of social media progressive regional and national restaurant chains, currently the consultant to the stars of restaurant owners and operators who are intimately interested in the value of customer intimacy (say that 10 times fast). Provides a rare combination of creative marketeer and nerdy numbers wonk who never met an ROI she couldn't get to the bottom of. On the side, she writes a blog for female football fans who regularly dominate in interactive sports trivia and pool games over the weaker sex.