Technology Leadership with Business Impact

For most companies, business success and technology effectiveness are inextricably linked. Tech DNA is an elite team of ex-CTO’s, senior technologists and Fortune 100 technology executives. The majority of our projects are on behalf of the most active technology acquirers on the Global Fortune 500 and the top 20 private equity firms, but we work with acquirers of any size. Our company is led by some of the world’s top technology due diligence leaders and, as a firm, we have evaluated technology collectively valued at more than $15 billion at acquisition.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly

Founder & CEO


Mike is a 35-year technology industry veteran tapped by Microsoft to help set the standard for all of Microsoft’s 10,000+ software engineers. As Tech DNA founder, he has personally reviewed more code, at more companies, with a higher collective valuation at time of acquisition, than any other technology due diligence practitioner.

Mike’s career began with a position at the prestigious R&D department of the original AT&T before its breakup into the “Baby Bells.” He then led various technology efforts at various startups before being recruited by Microsoft in 1993 to help Microsoft manage the integration of Word, Excel and PowerPoint into Microsoft’s (and the world’s) single most profitable product: Microsoft Office.

After a decade at Microsoft, Mike rose to Partner level, a distinction of technical excellence conferred on fewer than 1% of all Microsoft employees since the company’s founding. Several years after making Partner, he was asked to help lead Microsoft’s Engineering Excellence, the company’s standard setting body responsible for establishing the highest level of software development standards and practices for all Microsoft software engineers.

In 2009, Mike left Microsoft to found Tech DNA, one of the first companies dedicated to technology assessment, due diligence and M&A integration. Today, Tech DNA is a leader in technology due diligence on behalf of the world’s most active acquirers on the Global Fortune 500 and top 20 private equity firms.

Mike has published in UNIX Review and PC Magazine and spoken at numerous industry conferences including TechEd, PDC, ACG and USENIX, among others.

He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University.

Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson



Russell is a 30-year industry veteran with extensive experience managing the successful delivery of some of the world’s most complex and profitable software used by more than a billion people worldwide.

Russell was first recruited by Microsoft in 1989. After a range of technical roles (including five patents to his name for various Windows 95 UX innovations) he quickly rose to Group Program Manager for Excel, responsible for overall product definition and timely technical execution of one of the most widely-used and innovative technologies of the 1990’s and beyond.

Acquisitions often involve post-close code base integration and Russell has virtually unparalleled experience with technology integrations, having sat on the Microsoft Office “Triage Team” responsible for integrating major desktop applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc…) into a single product offering, Microsoft Office. It was one of the largest code base integration efforts ever and offered unequaled first-hand experience of the technology issues, business realities and human side of integrating massive separate technologies and teams into a cohesive profitable whole.

Russell was next tapped to oversee the complete re-architecture of MSN Chat, transforming it into one of the world’s first global, peer-to-peer, real-time SaaS messaging products to operate at scale.

After leaving Microsoft, he served as an architect for several early stage startups developing new consumer services for web and mobile platforms.

Russell is one of the earliest practitioners of technical due diligence, having been involved since 2008 when the field began to mature from a specialty into an industry in its own right. He has personally evaluated hundreds of millions of lines of code, and more than 10 billion of dollars’ worth of technology in all manner of acquisitions, from mobile to cloud to desktop in both B2B and B2C spaces.

Russell graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a dual B.S. in Information Systems and Industrial Management.

Michael Kauffman

Michael Kauffman

Principal and Chief Legal Officer


Michael has more than 20 years of technology experience and over 10 years of legal experience. He has advised Global Fortune 500 companies on both technical and legal matters, sometimes the two combined. Today, he oversees Tech DNA service offerings and advises companies on the business and management implications of the risks revealed by Tech DNA technology findings. He also leads the Tech DNA Open Source and General Data Protection Regulation Compliance Teams, regularly assisting client counsel with the technical and legal nuances of open source liability and privacy regulations.  Michael was recently published in Forbes on the GDPR’s effect on Facebook and Google.

Michael began programming for fun at age 9, and for a living at age 19. He started in software testing and worked his way up through programmer, DBA, database programmer, lead programmer, UX architect, systems architect and, finally, IT Director and CTO. He has worked as an employee, contractor or consultant to, among others, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, University of Washington and various startups, including Cesari Interactive, and DataPatrol.

Michael earned his JD (with honors) from The George Washington University Law School and has represented large multinational corporations, sovereign countries and startups on a range of legal matters, both in court and numerous private transactions and negotiations. Michael has, as an associate or law clerk, worked for the Center for International Environmental Law, the United States Department of Justice and American and European offices of Salans (now Dentons, the world’s largest law firm).

In addition to his JD, Michael was awarded a BA in History from Colorado College, where he was on the Dean’s List.