Our Executive Superheroes

Rohan Thambrahalli
Founder and President
Keep the main thing the main thing.

Founder and President of The Upstart Group, Rohan Thambrahalli has made it his goal to develop a culture that embodies the builder who delivers best-in-class value to customers and partners. Upstart is Rohan’s greatest personal and professional achievement, it was his vision from the beginning to start a company that could provide vendors the reach, technology, scale, and capabilities to compete with the best brands in the world.

Rohan holds a bachelor’s degree in MIS and Economics from Depaul University. In his free time, Rohan enjoys reading business journals and articles.

Justin McMillan
Chief Operating Officer
Culture is the most important part of a business, and a good team can overcome any obstacle.

Justin McMillan is our Chief Operating Officer responsible for managing the overall business with a focus on vendor operational performance enhancement. He also oversees Amazon advertising consultation and campaign management. During his time at Upstart, Justin has been recognized as a standout for ensuring the live status for in-network and direct fulfillment purchase orders, during a period of aggressive change for Amazon. Where other vendors struggled, Justin protected all of our vendors and exceeded delivery expectations during a time of question and uncertainty.

Justin holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Depaul University. Outside of work, Justin is a self-proclaimed outdoorsman and is constantly looking for an excuse to get as far North into the wilderness as possible.

 Justin’s view on Upstart

“Upstart was created to be more than a single software, platform, or solution company. We consider ourselves a full-service shop and take great pride in addressing every client issue as if it was our own. Today’s form of distribution is a convoluted and over-penetrated space. Brand owners are struggling to manage their sales channels and eCom tends to funnel a specific value add from weak distribution partners. It takes a comprehensive strategy for all channels to manage it effectively and while eCom is often just a piece of the overall business, it requires more engagement, more software, and more expertise to manage effectively; not only to grow it, but to protect respectable channel partners as well.”

Walt Sedlacek
VP of Product and Marketing
You can achieve what you believe!

Walt Sedlacek is our Vice President of Product and Marketing. Internally known as our “product guy”, Walt oversees all product related activities from launching new companies with innovative products, to sourcing, product line positioning, and business logistics.

Walt has launched $200+MM in new products for great companies like Black & Decker, GE, and American Tool. He also brings the entrepreneurial side to our business, having successfully started and sold 5 product related companies. He recently developed and launched a top selling lighting product on Amazon.com.

Walt holds a Marketing degree from University of Illinois and believes that watching his 4 children grow up, is his greatest pride in life.

 Walt’s view on Upstart

“I’m a marketing product guy, and I’m attracted to finding innovative business solutions. Upstart shows tremendous potential and has a powerhouse team behind it. I have no doubt that we will continue to exceed expectations above and beyond. There’s no limit!”

Nick Prater
VP of Sales
Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box

Nick Prater is our Vice President of Sales, responsible for revenue growth, partner management, and multi/omni channel strategy.

Nick has an extensive background in Sales, as he joined Upstart from The Chamberlain Group where he served as a National Accounts Manager leading the go to market strategy and was awarded the “Circle of Excellence” 2017 Sales Leader of the Year. Nick has held other positions within the Retail, Industrial, and eCommerce channels space representing over $100M in annual revenue.

Outside of work, Nick loves to play golf, and believes the sport brings out true character.

 Nick’s view on Upstart

“Simply put, I believe in the team, what we are pursuing, and the #UpstartHustle. If we are living in the age of disruption, then Upstart is the disruptor!”

Ryan Barron
Brand Marketing Manager
Discomfort provokes growth

Ryan Barron is our Brand Marketing Manager who oversees all creative content efforts as they satisfy the requirements of the Amazon platform. Ryan has earned the “Best-in-class Content” Award in 2018 on behalf of Adesso Home, in the Amazon Home Category.

Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Amongst many of his talents, Ryan is also a vocalist in the Chicago-based Bill Pollack Orchestra.

 Ryan’s view on Upstart

“Upstart is living, breathing proof that people can accomplish anything as long as they’re willing to put in the work. What began as an idea has now become an accomplished and quickly growing business well positioned to continue guiding partners through new challenges and unprecedented trends. The people at the core of The Upstart Group not only understand what the bottom line is, they are also willing to do the heavy lifting required to stay well above it. ”

Erin Usher
Brand Portfolio Manager
Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.

Erin Usher is our Brand Portfolio Manager who manages all aspects of Vendor account activity on Amazon. Erin was a key member in securing the marketing strategy and launch of the OV LED Headlamp, Amazon’s #1 selling item.

Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to her contributions at Upstart, Erin is a practiced Yogi and believes in mental and physical wellness.

 Erin’s view on Upstart

“The eCommerce market moves quickly and is always changing. Upstart does more than just keep up in a fast environment. We stay ahead and set the pace. I appreciate the challenge of solving for tomorrow’s problems and am lucky to work with a team of people who have the agility and work ethic to make a change.”

Miya Dotson
Brand Ambassador
People are the details you simply can’t forget.

Miya Dotson is our Brand Ambassador who is responsible for building and expanding The Upstart Group’s brand equity and reach through strategic marketing efforts, mainly, but not limited to Social Media and SEO.

Miya holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was also a NCAA DI Gymnastics Student-Athlete. Outside of work, Miya coaches gymnastics at a local gym in Seattle as a way of giving back to the sport she feels like defined her.

 Miya’s view on Upstart

“I believe in providing the best business solutions for customers who want a chance to compete in the online space. The Upstart Group’s expertise is unmatched, and the people are the reason why. I have never seen more capable, driven, and passionate individuals move mountains the way that the Upstart team does. ”

Esther Raymond
Creative Media Coordinator
I am always concerned with making things visually appealing

Esther Raymond is our Creative Media Coordinator responsible for helping our partners grow their business by optimizing their online content. Esther’s top focus is to present a streamlined brand presence online. Esther is visually inspired and has an unmatched eye for detail that shows up in all of her work.

Esther holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications with minors in both Business and Art from the University of Kansas. Esther joins the Upstart team out of college after a strong demonstration during her internship in 2018. We are thrilled to have her on our team. Outside of work, Esther is an Artist and enjoys drawing and sketching recreationally.

 Esther’s view on Upstart

“I chose to work for The Upstart Group because of the team. This group of people is really excited and passionate about what they do. I feel motivated to work just as hard as the people around me here.”

Advisory Board