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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation team is paving the way for Chicago’s entrepreneurial spirit. Housed on a collaborative campus, we are a group of committed professionals dedicated to promoting and supporting students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs as they navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. To see a full list of Polsky Council members, click here. For general inquiries, questions, and feedback about the Polsky Center, please contact us at polsky@uchicago.edu.

Faculty

Steven N. Kaplan
Steven N. Kaplan

Steven N. Kaplan

Faculty Director and Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance

5807 South Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

steven.kaplan@chicagobooth.edu
773-702-4513

Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

Full Bio

Starr MarcelloStarr Marcello
Starr Marcello

Starr Marcello

Executive Director; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-2838

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $500K in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. This year the NVC is celebrating 22 years and is ranked the #1 university accelerator program in the nation. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more than 800 startups, with 230+ that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $13 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr spends her free time teaching entrepreneurship to high school students. She sits on the Executive Advisory Board of TechWeek and is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE).

Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an M.A. and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Waverly DeutschWaverly Deutsch
Waverly Deutsch

Waverly Deutsch

Academic Director for University-Wide Entrepreneurship Content

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
1-773-834-0484

Waverly Deutsch is responsible for cataloguing and coordinating how entrepreneurship is taught across campus. She looks at for-credit classes, workshops, programs, events and online materials to understand how information and tools are delivered to all University constituents across our entire Innovation Path journey. Additionally, Waverly teaches Building the New Venture. The class won her the 2005 Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She also teaches a course on Elements of Entrepreneurship to CPS students over the summer as part of the Collegiate Scholars Program. Deutsch’s advisory board experience includes Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Chicago Community Ventures.

Ellen A. RudnickEllen A. Rudnick
Ellen A. Rudnick

Ellen A. Rudnick

Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Professor

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
1-773-834-3781

Ellen Rudnick teaches the Entrepreneurial Internship Seminar and Developing a New Venture (New Venture Challenge). She is a successful start-up executive, having served as chairman of Pacific Biometrics and CEO of Health Care Knowledge Resources. She has held positions as corporate vice president at Baxter Healthcare and president of Baxter Management Services Division, which she founded. Her current board experience includes: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Patterson Companies (NASDAQ: PDCO), Health Management Systems (NASDAQ: HMSY), and First Midwest Bancorp (NASDAQ: FMBI). She was previously a venture partner for Inroads Capital.

See full bio

Jason Blumberg
Jason Blumberg

Jason Blumberg

Adjunct Professor - Energy & Cleantech Lab

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637

Raghu Betina
Raghu Betina

Raghu Betina

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Operations Management

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

raghu.betina@chicagobooth.edu

Raghu Betina, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Operations Management, teaches Application Development. Previously, he was Instructor & Managing Partner at The Starter League in Chicago, specializing in beginner-focused programming education.

Prior to that, Betina was an entrepreneur and an investor in southern India. He successfully built and managed technology companies, but only with great difficulty due to a lack of technical skills. He returned to the US to learn how to build ideas himself, and discovered that it is possible for beginners to become productive quickly as a student at The Starter League.

The ability to make ideas real was so empowering that Betina dropped everything else to help other beginners make the same leap, and he’s been teaching ever since.

Full Bio

Gregory D. Bunch
Gregory D. Bunch

Gregory D. Bunch

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

greg.bunch@chicagobooth.edu

Greg Bunch draws on a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, alderman, and teacher. He is the founder of Masterplan International Corporation, a strategy consulting firm. He was also a partner at Brandtrust, a brand strategy consultancy. Greg co-founded a healthcare software start-up in the Bay Area. He has served on corporate boards for financial services, healthcare, retail, franchising and marketing firms.

He works with Fortune 50 companies, family businesses and start-ups in the areas of innovation and strategy. He has worked with a broad array of companies including Abbott Labs, American Express, Danaher, Dover, ETS, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, McDonalds, PepsiCo, State Farm and Yum! Brands.

Greg was an alderman in the City of West Chicago, serving on the infrastructure, public safety and development committees.

Greg has lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to strategy, creating customers, and innovation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in philosophy and an MDiv from Harvard University.

Full Bio

Donald D. Eisenstein
Donald D. Eisenstein

Donald D. Eisenstein

Professor of Operations Management

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

773-702-2576

don.eisenstein@chicagobooth.edu

Donald D. Eisenstein’s research interests include services, logistical systems, health-care, and public transportation. His research has been funded by IBM and the National Science Foundation. His research has appeared in Operations Research, Management Science, and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, among other journals.

He has won the Hillel J. Einhorn Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Chicago and a 1999 Operations Research Meritorious Service Award. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the Production and Operations Management Society, and the Council of Logistics Management.

Eisenstein, who has worked as a systems engineer at E-Systems, Inc., in Dallas, has two bachelor’s degrees. One is in engineering management and the other in mathematical science. He received both from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1982. He received a master’s degree in operations research in 1983 and PhD in 1992 in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1992.

Full Bio

Robert Gertner
Robert Gertner

Robert Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
1-773-702-7203

Robert Gertner, Joel F. Gemunder professor of strategy and finance, focuses his research primarily on industrial organization, resource allocation and decision making in organizations, corporate investment, law and economics, and strategic pricing. Prior to accepting his position at Chicago Booth, Gertner was a research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, taught courses as a visiting associate professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and worked as a full-time consultant for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T). His work has appeared in the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Stanford Law Review, and the Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law.

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Jason Heltzer
Jason Heltzer

Jason Heltzer

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637

Lindsey Lyman
Lindsey Lyman

Lindsey Lyman

Clinical Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
 773-834-2533
lindsey.lyman@chicagobooth.edu

Lindsey Lyman is the founder of Growth Studios, an innovation consultancy that helps companies build profitable new businesses. Through her work as a practitioner, Lindsey also helps executives become stronger innovation leaders and helps organizations build innovation capabilities. She consults with leading design firms, consulting firms, large and small companies, and entrepreneurs to identify unique growth opportunities and to build commercially viable new products, services, and business models.

Prior to founding Growth Studios, Lindsey spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, where she helped build McKinsey’s global innovation practice and co-developed McKinsey’s Innovation Executive Education program. At McKinsey, Lindsey served Global Fortune 100 Asian, European, and North American clients on innovation topics ranging from large-scale innovation transformations, to embedding capabilities in user-centered design and product development. Lindsey currently serves as an External Advisor to McKinsey, focused on Product Development and Innovation.

Lindsey has a deep passion for teaching and coaching, which translates to her work both in the classroom and in the field.

Lindsey holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she graduated with highest distinction.

Full Bio

Chris McGowan
Chris McGowan

Chris McGowan

Adjunct Professor, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and SPITC Senior Advisor, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Chicago Booth; General Partner, CJM Ventures

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637

Chris McGowan is the General Partner of CJM Ventures (“CJMV”), a Chicago private-equity investment firm.

McGowan’s private equity career began 23 years ago with AEA Investors in New York City, after earning an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics from Columbia University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and following two years of mergers and acquisitions training at Morgan Stanley.

After completing an MBA at Harvard Business School, he joined Madison Dearborn Partners (“MDP”), where he co-headed their basic industries practice for the last five years of his 12-year career there. At MDP, he oversaw more than $2 billion of equity investments focused on growth equity and buyouts globally in the industrial, consumer, and energy and power sectors.  He continues to serves on the Board of prior MDP portfolio company Boise Cascade (Chairman of Audit Committee, NYSE: BCC) and formerly served on or advised the boards of Smurfit Kappa Group (LN: SKG), BWAY Holdings, FirstWind, US Power Generating, OPENLANE, The Illinois Venture Capital Association, and others.

In 2011, with the help of MDP leadership and mentors, McGowan formed CJMV, a private equity firm focused on buyouts and growth equity investments in companies located near Chicago. CJMV’s portfolio includes OPTO International, an Illinois-based manufacturer of retail shelving and display systems; Cedar Capital, a Chicago-based asset management firm; and Autism Home Support Services (“AHSS”), the largest provider in Illinois of home-based therapy for children on the autism spectrum.  He is also a member of the Advisory Boards of BigStep Cloud, Campus Cubed, Leadership Lyceum, Rise Interactive, Spikeball, and is a Board observer for Simple Mills.

Since Spring 2012, McGowan has taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (“Booth”), and currently serves there as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, and as an Entrepreneur in Residence and Faculty Advisor to Booth’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.   In Fall 2017, he begins his seventh year teaching Booth’s Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, his fifth year co-teaching Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, and third year conducting the Oxford-Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge.

McGowan is an active angel investor and currently serves as Chairman of the Limited Partner Advisory Committee for Hyde Park Venture Partners Fund I (and a member of Fund II’s Board), on the Board of Directors and Portfolio Advisory Board of Hyde Park Angels, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board for Valley Growth Ventures.  His angel investments include Agent.ai, Brilliant, EVA Automation, ExplORer, FarmLogs, FourKites, GeoFeedia, Ingenica Solutions, Hologram, Kenna, LandscapeHub, Luxury Garage Sale, Markit, MAX Analytical, NuCurrent, Occasion, Packback, Pangea, ParkWhiz, Polyphotonix, Psycle London, ShipBob, SonarMed, StreamLink, Tiz, TransparentC, Truss, TurboAppeal and YCharts.

McGowan married his high school sweetheart, Sandy, and they have three children:  one attending Walter Payton College Prep, and two attending the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools (“Lab”).  At Lab, McGowan has served for seven years on its Board of Directors including four years of leadership of Lab’s Development Committee (two as Chair, two as Co-Chair), including oversight for Lab+, the School’s recently completed $80 million capital campaign.  McGowan is the current President of Friends of Walter Payton College Prep (former Chair, Annual Fund), and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, as well as the SHSAA Board of Trustees for Stuyvesant High School, where he attended with Sandy in New York City.

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