George Nemphos Interviews Luke Silverman, CEO and Co-Founder and Jeff Kurtzman, Co-Founder, President, CFO at Bark Social

Luke Silverman: Restaurants, Italy, The Bachelor, and American Idol, Medical Devices and The University of Michigan sum up Luke’s career. Luke is a third-generation restaurateur with deep ties to the Mid-Atlantic Region.

After playing Division III lacrosse, Luke launched his first company, Tenuta Mazzini in Tuscany, Italy two weeks before the Stock Market crash in 2008. Turning lemons into lemonade, Luke randomly fell into the world of Reality TV during the 2008 Recession where he worked in TV production for shows such as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and American Idol. For the past eight years, Luke has worked in the Medtech space in a number of various sales, marketing and strategy roles.

While completing his MBA at the University of Michigan, he decided to leave the corporate world and go “all-in” on his two passions in life; Dogs and Hospitality. Over the course of two years, Luke has traveled the country researching other dog bars to create his ideal concept, Bark Social. Luke lives in Baltimore with his wife, son, and rescue dog.

Jeff Kurtzman: For the second time in his career, Jeff jumped from Investment Banking to Entrepreneurship.  His first jump came after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. Working at Deutsche Bank, Jeff found himself disenchanted with the industry, and with a new interest in start-ups during the internet boom. Always with a strong social conscience, Jeff co-founded Better World Books, a socially responsible online bookstore, committed to literacy and the environment (donating books to those in need, funding literacy causes in the developing world, and keeping books out of landfills). This company is one of the largest used booksellers in the US ($70+mil in revenue) and became one of the leading social ventures in the world. As CFO at just 23 years old, Jeff grew this venture-backed company that was one of the founding members of B Corps. So while the hours were just as bad as investment banking, Jeff felt he was doing something he could be proud of.

Over the next two decades, Jeff has been dedicated to entrepreneurship, using his skills to enrich the MD/DC startup scene, which he is passionate about cultivating. Jeff has co-founded several companies and nonprofits, stepped in as CEO to turn around a company in the Fair Trade sector, grew companies with innovative technologies, and has been a board member of several organizations, including the Baltimore Angels (startup investment group). In 2017, Jeff got back into Investment Banking, in an effort to create a niche in small business growth, but was once again drawn back to his own path. The idea for Bark Social came along and very quickly became an obsession.

Jeff lives in Severna Park with his wife Kim, a physical therapist, 2 spirited young kids, and Brooklyn, his 8-year-old Blue Tick Coonhound. Jeff enjoys traveling the world with his wife, live music, golf, trying new restaurants, and playing with his kids and dog.

George Nemphos is a founding member of Nemphos Braue LLC, a Mid-Atlantic corporate and business law firm, specializing in startups, and representing emerging and mature companies as well as venture capital and private equity funds. Nemphos Braue attorneys offer big firm experience with boutique level service, becoming a strategic partner to clients and offering counsel that builds legal and business value. Mr. Nemphos has extensive experience leading mergers and acquisitions, including spin-offs, roll-ups, minority interest acquisitions and joint ventures, as well as advising in capital raising efforts, intellectual property, general corporate counsel and supporting entrepreneurs to help grow and scale their businesses. He holds a LLM from Georgetown and a J.D. from the University of Baltimore.

Connect with Luke, Jeff and George LinkedIn

Bark Social was founded in 2019 as a premium dog lover’s beer garden, social club, and retail experience. This indoor/outdoor venue hosts a professionally monitored off-leash yard and features a fully stocked bar and cafe so you can enjoy bites morning, noon, or night with your pup. With locations in Bethesda and Baltimore, MD, Bark Social is opening a location in Philadelphia towards the end of the year with more locations coming very soon across the country. For more information visit

Recent Events:

Events at Bark Social Bethesda

Events at Bark Social Baltimore

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