Mentors/Advisors

Co-Founder, Amol Sarva, Peek

Amol Sarva
Co-Founder, Peek, Virgin Mobile

 Dr. Sarva is an American entrepreneur and technology policy advocate known for founding two significant mobile service companies, Virgin Mobile USA and Peek.
At Virgin, he was one of the three earliest members of a team that created the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) concept in the US and built a public company with over $1 billion in revenue and 5 million customers. The company was among the first to aggressively market prepaid, no contract wireless services in the US, and was a joint venture between the UK’s Virgin Group and the US wireless operator Sprint.
Founder of Peek in late 2007, along with several of his former Virgin colleagues, he introduced the world’s first mobile device dedicated to email. The product evolved to support a wider range of real-time web services including email, SMS, social networking. Peek has launched services in the US, Europe, and Asia.  Read More    Wiki

Ben SiscovickGeneral Partner,  IA Ventures

Ben Siscovick
General Partner, IA Ventures

Ben Siscovick is a General Partner at IA Ventures. Prior to joining IA Ventures, Ben was an investment banker at Allen & Company and Barclays Capital as well as a startup operator at Kinetic Global Markets. Ben began his career as a web entrepreneur and founding partner at D202 – a startup building a proprietary mass collaboration platform for distributed and decentralized teams. Ben earned his B.A. in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, where he was the Early Stage President of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Read More

Charlie O'DonnellPartner, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Charlie O’Donnell
Partner, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Charlie O’Donnell has been an active member of the NYC venture capital and startup community for ten years in roles ranging from institutional fund investor to venture capitalist to entrepreneur–with a little product management in between. He has venture experience at two of the top venture capital firms in the country, Union Square Ventures and First Round Capital, and sourced First Round’s Investment in GroupMe, which sold to Skype in 2011. The investments he sourced at First Round Capital also include Refinery29, chloe + isabel, Backupify, SinglePlatform, Salescrunch and Docracy.He also teaches entrepreneurship and the business of technology at Fordham University, his alma mater.Charlie is, first and foremost, a community builder–believing that great companies thrive within strong networks. He actively helps portfolio companies with recruiting, public relations, and business development by leveraging his network and the community of digital professionals he actively participates in.  Read More

Director, David Lerner, Columbia Venture Lab

David Lerner
Director, Columbia Venture Lab

New York-based 3x Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Professor of Entrepreneurship @ Columbia Business School, Host of Venture Studio, Founder/Creator of the Startup Genome
Board Member New York Tech Meetup, Board Member New York Venture Community,
Board Member Columbia Venture Community,
Board Member Lang Entrepreneurship Center Columbia Business School and Director of the Venture Lab at Columbia University Technology Ventures- have spun-off 60+ technology companies over last 6+ years. Read More

Ella Gorgla CEO,I-ELLA.com

Ella Gorgla
CEO,I-ELLA.com

I-ELLA.com was founded by Ella Gorgla.  A native of Monrovia, Liberia, Ella received her BS in engineering from THE Ohio State University (go Bucks!), MBA from Columbia Business School and Masters from London Business School.I-ELLA was conceived from a LOVE of Fashion, INTEREST in Business + Technology and a DESIRE to give back.  The company was named after her grandmother. Read More

Jeb-MillerGeneral Partner, Jafco Ventures

Jeb-Miller
General Partner, Jafco Ventures

Jeb Miller joined Jafco Ventures in 2009 as a General Partner, bringing over fifteen years of experience working with early-stage technology companies as a venture capitalist, operating executive and investment banker. Jeb has relentless energy and is passionate about teaming with entrepreneurs to help build successful companies. He also serves as a consultant to the Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative program of the US Department of Defense.
Life Before Jafco
Jeb’s venture capital career began with Morgan Stanley Technology Ventures, a corporate venture group he co-founded in 2001. He then further developed his venture investing skills with two leading venture capital firms, three years as a Partner with ComVentures and three years as a Principal with Worldview Technology Partners. Prior to joining Jafco Ventures, Jeb was with the Silicon Valley office of The Carlyle Group focused on technology investing.  Read More

José de Cabo CEO,  Olapic

José de Cabo
Founder, Olapic

José de Cabo is one of the three founders of Olapic the NYC startup created to put user generated photos where they really belong. José and his co-founders Luis Sanz and Pau Sabria graduated from Columbia Business School in 2012 where they started building the technology that helps eCommerce, Brands and media Companies embrace a more visual communication with their users based on Intagram, Twitter and Facebook photos. Prior to Business School José worked in Roland Berger Strategy Consultants helping large multinationals with Sales, Marketing and Operation projects in Europe and Latin America.Current customers of Olapic include: Mashable, Guess, Free People, Lululemon, Nasty Gal, NY DailyNews, Time Inc, Conde Nast, Nikon, Pepsi, FC Barcelona among other. Read More

James WahbaFounder, , Projective Space

James Wahba
Founder, Projective Space

James is a founder of Projective Space. Projective Space is a community-centered coworking space for creative entrepreneurs that choose to make their home in NYC.  Read More

Hrishi Dixit CTO , LearnVest

Hrishi Dixit
CTO , LearnVest

Hrishi is a veteran technologist with over 16 years of experience in internet startups, software architecture and development, technology strategy and ideation, and technical team leadership, with particular vertical  expertise in financial technology and large-scale data-driven systems. He is currently the CTO of LearnVest (www.learnvest.com), responsible for defining the technology strategy for the company, architecture for all its products and managing its ever-growing team of tech superstars. Prior to LearnVest, he was the co-founder of Gordian Labs (www.gordianlabs.com), a boutique software firm specializing in bootstrapping tech startups. He holds a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science from Cornell University. Read More

Partner, Jerry Neumann, Neu Venture Capital

Jerry Neumann
Partner, Neu Venture Capital

Jerry is a veteran venture investor, investing in internet startups for the past fifteen years from his home base in New York City. He sits on the board of Lucky Sort, Magnetic, PlaceIQ, Simple, and Yieldbot. He is an advisor to BigML, Ginzametrics, PubGears and Sociocast.Jerry grew up in NJ and went to Columbia for his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering. His first job was as an engineer at IBM, where he designed a very small part of the CP microcode execution engine for the S/390 series of mainframes. He left to get his master’s in business from NYU.After school he went to work for Deloitte & Touche Consulting, ending up in their Restructuring Services Group. He joined Prodigy Services in 1995, and was part of the senior management team that successfully transformed Prodigy from a walled garden online service to an internet-centric ISP and portal. Read More

Founder, Kathryn Finney, DigitalUndivided

Kathryn Finney
Founder, Digital Undivided

 Kathryn Finney is the founder of digitalundivided ( digitalundivided.com ) . Currently, Kathryn is the Editor-At-Large at BlogHer, Inc and CEO of TBF Group, LLC, parent company of The Budget Fashionista brand, based on one of the most popular and influential fashion blogs, The Budget Fashionista. An honors graduate of Yale and Rutgers Universities, Kathryn has been featured in more than 600 media outlets, including TODAY show, Good Morning America, The New York Times, USA TODAY, and The Wall Street Journal. She is considered an expert in building branded, women-centered online properties and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences such as 92nd St Y, Decoded Fashion, South by Southwest (SXSW), New York Women in Communications, Women’s Funding Network, and numerous colleges and universities. Kathryn has won numerous awards and honors including, AOL’s Top 10 Women in Money, Black Enterprise’s 40 Stars Under 40, Silicon Alley 100, and Essence Magazine’s Woman of Style. Read More Wiki

Luis Sanz. Founder, Olapic

Luis Sanz.
Founder, Olapic

Luis Sanz. Luis is one of the founders of Olapic, a startup that helps online stores and media companies to crowd-source photos from their users. Olapic is based in NYC, has raised $1M to date and currently has 14 employees. Luis is a Telecommunications Engineer from Zaragoza University and started his career as engineer working for Accenture and Ericsson working on mobile networks. He also earned an MBA from Columbia Business School in 2010. Read More

Maryam KamvarResearch Scientist, Google

Maryam Kamvar
Research Scientist, Google

 Maryam Kamvar graduated from Columbia University with Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2008. She is currently a research scientist at Google, Inc. Her research interests include Human-Computer Interaction, Small Devices, and Search Interfaces. Read More

Chairman, Paul Tumpowsky, InSITE

Paul Tumpowsky
Chairman, InSITE

 Paul is the chairman of the Board of the InSITE Fellowship (www.InSITEny.org), a two year Fellowship program comprised of top graduate students from top Universities (Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Stanford, Memorial Sloan Kettering) who are passionate  about entrepreneurship, technology and venture finance.Paul advises entrepreneurs in developing and growing early stage businesses and lectures at the New York Academy of Sciences on technology entrepreneurship.  Paul was the CEO of Square Zero, a development stage company building a platform designed to achieve real-time data processing and analytic capabilities for large-scale data challenges. Paul was a principal with Metropolis Venture Partners in New York. Paul sourced deal flow, evaluated business plans, conducted due diligence and interviewed companies for early-stage venture fund focused on investing between $1-$10 million per transaction in the telecommunications, networking, wireless and enterprise software markets.Read More

Sharib Khan CEO,  Trial-X

Sharib Khan
Co-Founder, Trial-X

 Sharib khan is a tech visionary at Applied Informatics, an award winning Healthcare Information Technology startup in New York City. At Applied Informatics, he is responsible for overall product development and innovation initiatives at the company. He led the conceptualization of the company’s flagship product, TrialX.com, a leading platform to connect patients to clinical trial investigators. TrialX and its derivative products are now used in world-famous medical institutions such as The Cleveland Clinic, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. TrialX has won several awards including the NCI’s best Cancer Consumer Application Development challenge in 2011. Read More

Scott Ungerer, Founder & Managing Director,  Enertech Capital

Scott Ungerer
Founder & Managing Director, Enertech Capital

 Scott Ungerer is founder and managing director of EnerTech Capital. Mr. Ungerer has been a visionary and recognized leader in venture capital investing for the traditional and advanced energy sectors for nearly 20 years. With an extensive and proven track record in investment and management operations, he specifically looks for opportunities that reduce the cost and/or improve the customer experience related to all aspects of energy supply, delivery and usage. Mr. Ungerer’s areas of experience, interest and expertise include companies that sell into the following industry sectors: central and distributed power generation; electric transmission; electric, natural gas and/or water distribution; energy management for the customer premise; broadly defined smart grid; and transportation. Read More

Executive DirectorNYC Tech Connect

Executive Director,
NYC Tech Connect

 Shari Coulter Ford has been a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, and a non-profit board chair and board member in her career. Currently, she is the Executive Director of NYC Tech Connect (http://nyctechconnect.com), a public-private partnership funded by the Partnership for New York City Fund (http://fund.pfnyc.org), the Partnership for New York City (http://pfnyc.org) and the New York City Council. The mission is to develop a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in NYC in the hard sciences (e.g. biosciences, materials, programmable hardware). NYC Tech Connect collaborates with universities and strategic partners to provide programs, expertise and resources designed to accelerate the development of entrepreneurs and their resulting startups. Read More

Stephen Messer Chairman, Collective-i

Stephen Messer Vice-Chairman, Collective-i

 Mr. Stephen Messer is Co-founder and Vice Chairman of Collective[i], a software-as-a-service business intelligence solution for marketers. The first decision-support technology to manage large sets of business and marketing data, Collective[i] provides the technology, analytics and collaboration functionality that CMOs and other business leaders need to gain a 360-degree view of their target audience, campaign performance and internal operations. Mr. Messer is Chairman of the Council for Accountable Advertising, an industry association for best-of-breed advertising technologies, and is Co-Founder and President of World Evolved, a platform for global investment and expansion. Prior to these ventures, Mr. Messer, along with his sister, Ms. Heidi Messer, founded, built and managed LinkShare Corporation until its sale in 2005 to Rakuten for $425m. Mr. Messer is recognized as an authority on entrepreneurship and online marketing. Read More

Ted ShergalisAdvisory board member, CrowdScience, Tegu, bMuse, Magnuss, RGN

Ted Shergalis
CSO, X+1

Ted Shergalis is an online marketing expert and strategic thinker. His foresight in applying analytics techniques to Internet marketing led to early breakthroughs in predictive marketing. As a founder of [x+1] in 1999, he was one of the first marketers to develop products using the “software as a service” model and applying advanced statistical analysis for online user data. Today [x+1]’s products are used by many leading brands including Delta Airlines, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, GEICO, Allstate Insurance, and others. Ted is currently on the advisory board of CrowdScience, Tegu, bMuse, Magnuss, RGN and a member of the angel investment fund PCLLC. Read More

Wim SweldensTechnology, Innovation and Business Leader

Wim Sweldens
Technology, Innovation and Business Leader

Wim is an independent technology, innovation, and business leader.
Until the end of 2012, he was the President of Alcatel-Lucent’s
Wireless Division where he lead the global development and deployment
of LTE 4G technology and oversaw the introduction of the award winning
lightRadio small cell portfolio.
Earlier In his role as VP of Network Technology, Wim took the
company’s Applications Enablement strategy from paper to practice.
This strategy allows service providers to open and leverage their
networks for the development of new services and applications.
As founder and leader of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, a strategic new
business incubator and investment division inside of Bell Labs, Wim
managed the lifecycle, from concept to commercialization, for eight
ventures, ranging from enterprise & consumer applications to
groundbreaking mobile innovations for operators.Read More    Wiki