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John Litz

John Litz is a seasoned serial entrepreneur with a strong passion in food, technology, and music. John co-founded Lazy Bear in San Francisco, an innovative fine dining communal dinner party concept. Nominated for a James Beard Award within 6 months of opening, Lazy Bear is greatly honored to have now received its second Michelin star and sells out 80 seats a night, 5 nights per week at an average of $300 per seat. Tickets sell out 30 days in advance. As the Founder and sole proprietor of the Chicago Restaurant Group, John created a three-component retail model at a luxury $100M Mexico resort, acquired by the Developer along with the hotel and liquor license one year after opening. Other entrepreneurial business models include three Chicago restaurants, two live music venues, an artist management and music promotions agency, a residential and retail real estate development company, as well as a music merchandising company (acquired). Additionally, John managed and turned around two multifaceted corporate food & music concepts - House of Blues San Diego and Yoshi's SF, overseeing 18 Managers and Directors, 150-180 staff members, and $12M in annual gross revenue at each venue respectively. John is Founder & CEO of Thumbkandi, a global instant messaging platform with a unique monetization and fan engagement model. Organically installed by users in 133 countries within 30 days of launch, Thumbkandi is first to market with animated audio haptic emojis, and was recently chosen to be the official instant messaging partner for COPA AMERICA, the largest Futbol tournament to be hosted in North America in the past 12 years with 3.2B viewership. Thumbkandi has studied the messaging space closely and is excited to change the behavior of fan engagement beta testing its pivot in the food space through a high-profile food partner. John is a Chicago native loving life in San Francisco with his wife Yongjia at their home in Pacific Heights. When not working, John enjoys studying start up culture, researching, enjoying, testing food concepts, biking, hiking in Marin, yoga, cooking, design, chess, live music, photography, travel, and investment opportunities. John holds B.A in Computer Animation, Comprehensive Design with minor in Interior Design from Northern Illinois University.