• We're investing in the
    future of travel and hospitality.

  • We incubate, nurture and accelerate new businesses and product ideas.

  • We believe in
    challenging convention.

  • We think opportunities exist
    to enhance all aspects of the
    customer journey.

  • We’re looking to fill the gaps that remain void.

“My interest is in the future, because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.”

—Charles Kettering

—   ABOUT US   —


Our leadership and advisory team brings considerable experience in all aspects of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, including executive-level positions in both public and private companies. With deep expertise in operations, technology, analytics, marketing and finance, as well as an extensive network of contacts within the travel and investment communities, we work together to help identify, shape and invest in those ideas and businesses we believe can make a positive impact in the marketplace and on the world.


We specialize in incubating, nurturing and accelerating business and product ideas within travel-related categories. We are actively looking for new technologies, products, services and business models that we believe can be successful if properly developed, managed and marketed.


With its legacy business models and systems, massive scale, global customer base and growing dependency on technology, we believe the travel category is fertile ground for innovation and the creation of new ideas and businesses. We see opportunities to enhance all aspects of the customer journey and we are open to pursuing those opportunities that could benefit from our collective experience and network. If we can assist in bringing your ideas to life and helping grow your business, we invite you to contact us.

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important
than an idea that only exists as an idea.”


From a sketch on a napkin, to a start-up business struggling to get off the ground, to an established company searching for ways to grow, we take ideas and enterprises and provide them with the resources, networking, structure and investments they need to succeed.


Bill Watson

Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Gary Leopold


An innovative strategist and respected leader with a reputation for being “ahead of the curve,” Bill’s pragmatic attitude, marketing flair and grasp of technology have been the catalyst for positive change and progress for a variety of premier companies within the travel industry. His career has spanned the corporate world at multiple levels as well as entrepreneurial ventures and unique consulting assignments.

Gary is a highly respected marketer and communications expert who is known for developing innovative solutions to complex problems. As the head of ISM, a Boston-based integrated communications company, he has successfully helped to build and grow premier brands in the travel and hospitality industries around the world. Most recently, he merged the company with Connelly Partners to form ISM/CP where he continues to serve as President.

“A revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools.
It happens when society adopts new behaviors.”

—Clay Shirkey

—   ADVISORS   —

One of the strengths of Venturism is our team of highly experienced and skilled advisors:

Denise Coll

Denise has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality and travel industry in a variety of leadership roles including serving most recently as the President, North America at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Joining Starwood Hotels in 2004 as the Regional Vice President of Operations for the New England region, Denise’s scope of responsibility expanded to include all of North America in 2006. She then rose to become President of the $11B North America Division, which is Starwood’s largest, with 500+ hotels across the U.S., Canada, Virgin Islands, French Polynesia, Bahamas and the British West Indies. While at Starwood, she successfully launched two new brands, Aloft and Element, that provided entry into the uncultivated niche of specialty select service hotels. Among the highlights of her tenure at Starwood was her ability to navigate the hotels through the 2008/09 Recession. During that time, she increased the portfolio from 447 to 553 hotels, earned record guest satisfaction scores and achieved double-digit growth.

Mark Lomanno

Mark Lomanno advises several start-up and investment companies in the hospitality and data space, including newBrandAnalytics, Duetto Research, Kalibri Labs and Thayer Hospitality Ventures. In that role, he not only serves on company Boards of Directors and Advisors, but also takes an active role in helping to shape the respective company’s strategic direction, creating and enhancing new research solutions and building relationships with hospitality brands, owners and operators.

Lomanno is the former President and CEO of Smith Travel Research (STR), the hotel industry’s global lodging authority on current trends in hotel supply, demand, occupancy, average room rates and RevPar. Under Lomanno’s leadership, the number of hotels sending performance data to and subscribing to the various STR product offerings grew to tens of thousands of hotels globally, representing over five million hotel rooms. During his tenure, STR and its sister company, STR Global, became the world’s foremost and most reliable and accurate sources of historical lodging performance trends, global hotel census databases and hotel development and construction databases.

Cynthia Valles

An innovative strategist and business leader across diverse industries including travel and financial services, Cynthia has a track record of transforming global entities. Among her accomplishments are successfully leading declining businesses into high growth, engineering major turnarounds, and championing complex organizational changes to support a corporation’s overall strategic agenda.

During a nearly 20-year career at American Express, she rose to become Executive Vice President, Customer Service International where she led an organization of 15,000 across 21 countries and 17 languages. She revitalized an underperforming, fragmented organization and improved customer satisfaction by 40%. She also delivered $430M in re-engineering savings with zero increases in expenses for four consecutive years, while still achieving sizable business growth. She also reduced operating expenses as a percentage of revenue by 21% while achieving the highest-ever employee satisfaction rating for the division.

“Change is not merely necessary for life. It is life!”

—Alvin Toffler

—   NEWS   —

Travel Industry Leaders Announce Launch of Venturism

A New Approach to Incubating and Accelerating Business Ideas in the Travel Industry.
Bill Watson and Gary Leopold have announced the formation of Venturism LLC, a business development firm that will invest in nurturing and accelerating ideas focused on serving the travel and hospitality industries. Venturism offers a unique approach with its very seasoned team. Watson and Leopold have extensive experience in leadership roles within the travel industry. Bill Watson, who serves as the group’s founder and managing partner is also a senior partner/co-founder of the Prism Partnership and had previously served as COO and EVP for Best Western Hotels and vice-chairman of THISCO/Pegasus Systems. Gary Leopold, who is the group’s co-founder, also serves as the president of ISM/CP, a Boston-based, travel-focused [...]

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—   CONTACT   —

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Venturism, LLC
46 Waltham Street, Floor 4
Boston, MA 02118
Phone: 617.631.8919
Email: info@venturismllc.com

Investing in the future of travel