The Team

Lowell Ricklefs - Managing Partner

Lowell started Traction to pursue his passion: helping fellow entrepreneurs scale and sell software companies. As a founder and CEO who has extensive acquisition experience, Lowell navigated the gap in the $5M-$50M merger and acquisition market. Traction was built to help others do the same.

Lowell twice built the leader in the online market research data collection industry - GMI (sold to WPP for $100M) and Toluna (sold to a Private Equity firm for $260M). He co-founded FlexMinder - the leader in Healthcare IT automated claim submission (sold to JellyVision), in addition he led the buying side of several transactions including a $10M technology company in Texas and a $40M technology company in Connecticut. At F500 Rockwell Automation as a Global Sales VP he worked closely with Corporate Development on acquisition strategy.

Passionate about helping others, Lowell is a mentor with Startup Weekend, Nomadic Mentors, Techstars, University of Washington CoMotion and dozens of early-stage companies. 

Lowell was developing code by age 15. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Outside of work he spends time with his family, skis, plays tennis and travels the world.

Matthew Gryll - Advisor


Matt is a Chicago native who has always had an interest in entrepreneurship. Prior to Traction, he helped grow an advertising agency from 23 to 150 employees. During that time as an account manager, he honed the art of taking complex ideas and distilling them down to clear, concise messages for companies such as Kimberly Clark, ConAgra and Red Box.

That ability carried him far at the University of Washington during his MBA where he rounded out his business acumen. While there, he entered the business plan competition where his team earned best consumer product. He also wanted to gain exposure to the funding side of startups, so entered the Venture Capital Investment Competition where his team placed 2nd in the world.

After graduating, Matt joined PwC where he spends his time building and scaling sales teams for technology companies.

In his spare time, Matt can be found on a mountain, catching live music or supporting Chicago sports.

Dietmar Walter - Advisor

Based in London,

Dietmar is an entrepreneurial Chairman, CEO, Non Executive Director and Business Advisor with a track record in setting up, growing and leading global tech, data analytics, software and market intelligence organisations, from start-up through to successful exit.

Most recently Dietmar architected the merger of 2 international tech companies MARSC (UK) and MI Pro (Norway), becoming Chairman of the merging entity QuenchTec. Previously he held senior positions within the tech and data analytics industry as CEO of big data analytics company Commetric, VPInternational of online market research company GMI as well as global roles at IT research and consulting groups Gartner and Maritz.

Dietmar is fluent in English, German and Italian. Studied economics in Trento (Italy) and Augsburg (Germany) and holds an Executive MBA from Oxford Brookes University awarded with distinction. 

Silin Zeng - Associate


Silin is a junior at University of Washington, Seattle. She is working towards a double degree in Computer Science and Business Administration, with a focus on Finance. She is passionate about using technology to improve the efficiency of workplaces and company processes. 

She is an Account Manager at FlexMinder Inc, which was later acquired by Chicago technology firm, The Jellyvision Lab. Last summer, Silin interned at Microsoft Corporation, and gained valuable experience in prototyping and developing a mobile app feature that improved mobile email composition efficiency. During school, Silin stays busy as a software developer on the UW EcoCAR team, and serves as an RSO officer at the Foster School of Business.

Jodie Buntain-Ricklefs - Research Analyst


Jodie Buntain-Ricklefs is a graduate of University of Michigan and also graduated with an MPH in Maternal and Child Health and Health Services and an MSW in Community and Organizational Services from the University of Washington. She has served in a variety of consulting roles and has worked with a broad range of organizations for business development as a prevention specialist.

Jodie is the Managing Director of Community Outreach at the UW SMART Center. Jodie has worked for over 15 years with schools throughout the US in the areas of research, prevention, and program development. She has provided technical assistance, training and consultation to school teams on a wide range of area working within a range of school communities.