Transforming Ideas Into Industry Defining Companies








Swanston Labs is building data driven solutions aimed at disrupting the convergence of media, entertainment, technology, and commerce – where $7 trillion of global leisure spending will be reshaped by the end of this decade.  

Ney Castro


Swanston Labs has been a game-changer for my entrepreneurial journey. Being able to start a new business with immediate access to capital and support from a team of veteran executives allows me to focus on the most intimate and attention sensitive aspects of my business, without many of the day-to-day distractions that plague most early-stage founders. I eagerly look forward to launching my company and I’m excited to see all that will emerge from Swanston Labs."

Our Model


André Swanston
Chairman & CEO
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Michelle Swanston
Chief Operating Officer
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Jonathan Bokor
Chief Business Officer & General Counsel
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Ney Castro
VP, Web3
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Natalya Davis
Chief Marketing Officer
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Chanelle Figueroa
Chief of Staff
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Ricky Gorham
Chief Financial Officer, Swanston Labs 
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Allison Hartnett
VP, Client & Partner Management
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Marc Hollander
Chief Technology Officer
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Darnel Leader
VP, Strategic Operations
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Nancy Rizkallah
Chief Financial Officer,
Swanston Organization
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Merlyn Swanston
 VP, Technical Research & Development
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David Wiesenfeld
Chief Strategy & Research Officer
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André Swanston is a dynamic tech innovator and media magnate whose ability to forecast industry shifts, identify opportunities and take calculated risks, has catapulted him from $9 in his pocket to one of the only 9-figure exits by a Black American.  
A regular contributor to Bloomberg, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter, Swanston was co-founder and CEO of Tru Optik, a data and identity company for streaming media advertising, acquired by TransUnion.

Andre's page

Jonathan is a legal and business development maven with over 25 years of experience. He served as Chief Privacy & Business Affairs Officer at Tru Optik where he built a privacy compliance framework for its innovative data marketplace and negotiated over 100 deals to support company growth. As SVP at Publicis Media, Jonathan provided consultative expertise to its constituent media agencies and led the Precision Video Center of Excellence. He has served in executive roles at Mediavest | Spark, Canoe Ventures, Ericsson, The Walt Disney Company and NBC. Jonathan graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Natalya is a seasoned marketing executive with a 15+ year career being a change agent across the music and entertainment industry. She has orchestrated many successful brand partnerships and quarterbacked marketing campaigns for globally renowned artists, including Beyoncé, J. Cole, John Legend and more.  Natalya served as global product manager at Columbia Records.  After her time at Sony Music, Natalya helped develop the Artist Strategy team at Paradigm Talent Agency.  Most recently she was the COO at multi-media entertainment management company The Shalizi Group. Natalya graduated from Harvard College and has her Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University.

Chanelle is a multitalented professional with 15+ years of experience in public relations, communications strategy, and executive management. Driven by impact, she led campaigns to connect tens of thousands of people to educational, workforce, and healthcare resources in cities across the country. At Tru Optik, TransUnion, and now, Swanston Labs, Chanelle consistently challenges the status quo by revolutionizing traditional business practices and reshaping the future of industries. Chanelle graduated from Wesleyan University and earned her Master of Science in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University.

Marc has over 40 years of experience in technology leadership and most recently, served as TruOptik's CTO where he managed the day-to-day software development, Network, Systems and Dev Operations of the business through its sale to TransUnion. He began his career leading technology development at MovieFone through its successful IPO and ultimate acquisition by AOL. He went on to lead the digital technology division at Rodale and later was appointed CTO at KickApps until its acquisition by Piksel where he led development of broadcast grade IPTV software solutions for the Telecom and MVPD industries.

Darnel is a seasoned professional showcasing expertise in project management, operations, and strategy. He successfully managed IT and small capital projects, benefiting local communities for the Ontario Public Service, Toronto District School Board, Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and Ontario Lottery and Gaming. During Darnel’s tenure at Cisco, he oversaw technology deployments and played a pivotal role in the divestiture of the video business. His nearly twenty years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces as an Infantry soldier and Parachute Instructor underscores his leadership and collaboration skills. Darnel is an alumnus of the University of Toronto, earned an MBA from Ryerson University, and holds certifications in project management and agile methodologies.

Nancy Rizkallah is an experienced finance executive with a 20-year career. After serving as an auditor at CBIZ MHM, one of the top 10 national public accounting firms, Nancy moved into finance leadership roles at various VC backed early growth staged companies, helping to facilitate multiple fundraising rounds and successful exists. These include Acquity Group (IPO & acquired by Accenture Interactive), SIM Partners (acquired by, CloudCraze (acquired by Salesforce) and most recently Threekit. Nancy received her undergraduate degree and MSA from the University of Illinois in Chicago and is a registered CPA.

Merlyn Swanston is a seasoned software engineer with a rich 20-year career, marked by successful stints at Zonar, Highspot, Costco, and Microsoft among others. His expertise ranges from backend system design to full stack development and Dev Ops, underlined by a portfolio of high-quality projects delivered on time and within budget. A submariner in the U.S. Navy, Merlyn brings a deep dedication to mentorship and cross-functional team leadership, coupled with an extensive technical acumen across multiple technologies. He earned his B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington.

Allison possesses over a decade of experience in sales and marketing, account management and partnerships.  Allison began her career at the NFL where she played a role in the conceptualization, development, and execution of digital marketing strategies driving growth across the league's digital properties (Fantasy Football, NFL Mobile, GamePass). Allison then joined the digital sales team at Fox Television Stations, where she fostered strategic partnerships that led to revenue generation across channels.

Most recently, she was Senior Director of Client Success at Tru Optik (TransUnion) and Illuma, focusing on client onboarding, customer training and adept relationship management while contributing to consistent business growth.  Allison graduated from Drew University and earned her Masters degree from New York University in Sports Business.

David has over 25 years of experience in strategy, consulting, market research and business analytics, and is recognized as a thought leader in emerging media strategy and measurement. David led market strategy, thought leadership and measurement & analytics activities as Chief Strategist at Tru Optik, and later as Lead Strategist, Media & Entertainment at TransUnion following the Tru Optik acquisition. Previously, David led the E-Commerce Practice Area at Nielsen, headed the Business Insights function at Ocean Spray Cranberries, and consulted for emotion-recognition platform Affectiva. David holds a degree in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College.

Ricky has more than 20 years of financial experience, during which he has excelled in transforming financial operations and pioneering innovative financial processes. He has a wide range of career expertise, including SEC regulatory reporting and forecast analysis. During his tenure at TransUnion, he played a pivotal role in M&A investment scenario modeling, and designed highly efficient reporting systems, resulting in increased efficiency and profitability. While at TruOptik, Ricky utilized technology for data-driven decision-making, implemented cost-saving plans, managed investor relations, and mitigated financial risks. He holds both his undergraduate and MBA from the University of Connecticut.

Ney Castro is a 15-year veteran of finance and banking working at premier shops like JPMorgan Chase and AllianceBernstein. In 2019 co-founded the Blockchain Almanac, an educational platform for blockchain technology built for wealth managers. In 2020-2021 Ney consulted on the Helios Bitcoin mining project later acquired by Argo Blockchain. In 2022 Ney co-created Hoopers United and partnered with the WNBA and Rock the Vote to drop the Hoopers United NFT collection. Ney is a native New Yorker, attended Collegiate prep school, avid gamer, and passionate technologist. Ney also received his BA in Mathematics from Wesleyan University.

Michelle is an experienced executive operator with a track record of forging partnerships with some of the world's largest media and tech companies.  As the Chief Client Officer of Tru Optik, she oversaw the Operations, Product, and Customer Success teams. After Tru Optik’s acquisition by TransUnion, Michelle served as Vice President of Media and Entertainment - heading the Data Marketplace. Michelle attended the University of Connecticut for both undergraduate and graduate school where she studied Exercise Physiology.

The Team

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