Alumni New Venture Challenge (ANVC)

Asia-Pacific

Gita Sjahrir, AB ’04

Gita Sjahrir, AB ’04

Cofounder and CEO, RFitness

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Gita Sjahrir, AB ’04

Cofounder and CEO, RFitness

Gita is the cofounder and CEO of RFitness, Indonesia’s largest online and offline boutique fitness brand. She started her journey into wellness when she was diagnosed with Still’s disease, an autoimmune condition that affected her joints and lungs.

She began a fitness community in 2015 after wanting an inclusive, equitable, and non-judgmental space. In 2017 it became the first boutique fitness company in Southeast Asia to ever raise venture capital funding. Now R-Fitness is in 5 locations, the Rfitness app is available online, and it runs live online yoga, HIIT, cycling, and meditation classes daily for B2B and B2C.

Before R-Fitness, Gita has been in the startup space for 11 years, and has previously held positions in finance and business development. She is a graduate of the Wharton School (MBA) and the University of Chicago (BA).

Joyce Ng, AB ’99

Joyce Ng, AB ’99

Investment Director, Cyberport Macro Fund

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Joyce Ng, AB ’99

Investment Director, Cyberport Macro Fund

Joyce is the Investment Director of Cyberport Macro Fund that focuses on venture capital investments in the Cyberport community. Joyce was previously the Managing Director at OurCrowd, a hybrid venture capital platform for investing in global startups. With over a decade of experience in hedge fund management, Joyce was the partner and senior portfolio manager of Sumeru Capital, a Greater China-focused equity long/short fund. Prior to joining Sumeru Capital, she was a portfolio manager at LIM Advisors, managing an event-driven portfolio of Asia’s oldest hedge fund. Joyce started her career at Citigroup Hong Kong, where she first worked as a corporate finance analyst at Global Markets and then as an Investment Counselor at Private Bank. Joyce holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. 

Akshay Saxena

Akshay Saxena

Cofounder, Avanti

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Akshay Saxena

Cofounder, Avanti

Akshay is an award winning social entrepreneur and science teacher. He co-founded Avanti Fellows (www.avantifellows.org) in 2010 with the mission of creating equitable access to India’s top STEP professional colleges. Avanti runs test preparation and foundational mathematics programs for over 50,000 students in four government school systems – Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti. Avanti’s open source content and technology help over 1M learners every year. For his work at Avanti, he was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship, Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship and Echoing Green Fellowship. Before Avanti, Akshay served on the founding team of Heartflow, a venture-backed medical diagnostics company that raised over $300M from top venture funds. He also has prior work experience with the Boston Consulting Group, the World Food Programme and the International Save the Children Alliance. Akshay graduated from IIT Bombay in 2006 with a degree in Chemical Engineering and is on a leave of absence from the MBA program at the Harvard Business School. 

Lavine Hemlani, AB ’15

Lavine Hemlani, AB ’15

Founder and CEO, Xccelerate

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Lavine Hemlani, AB ’15

Founder and CEO, Xccelerate

Lavine is Founder and CEO of Xccelerate, an APAC education-to-employment platform headquartered in HK. Xccelerate is founded on the vision that the greatest opportunity for improving lives is education. Xccelerate addresses the colossal talent and skills challenges in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Software Engineering, FinTech and Design. With 25,000+ alumni, Xccelerate drives transformative outcomes for individuals, enterprises and governments by leveraging expert instructors, proprietary curriculum and learning software.  
 
Lavine serves as Vice President of the Artificial Intelligence Society of HK, Board of Directors of the 24 Hour Race, the largest movement against modern slavery, President of Founders Circle, an eco-system of high-impact entrepreneurs, Board Member of Clearbot, an AI start-up fighting ocean collapse and climate change, and Non-Executive Director of RH-Software, a marketplace tech platform for empowering high-potential talent. Lavine began his career in investment banking in NYC at Lazard’s Mergers & Acquisitions division and held investment roles at Atlas Capital, Marwar Capital, Union Park Capital and Thread Genius (acquired by Sotheby’s). 

Mandeep Julka, MBA ’13

Mandeep Julka, MBA ’13

VP, Chiratae Ventures

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Mandeep Julka, MBA ’13

VP, Chiratae Ventures

Mandeep Julka is Vice President at Chiratae Ventures India Advisors, and leads investing in Seed and Series A deals. 

Prior to Chiratae Ventures, Mandeep worked with Ola, where she headed Business Finance for Ola Financial Services, including Digital Lending and Digital Insurance verticals. Before that, she worked in the FinTech investing team at IFC, Washington DC, and at Brightriver Capital, a sector agnostic PE fund, in Singapore. Earlier in her career, she has worked at SBI Capital Markets, Mumbai, where she led fund raising for maritime projects.  

Mandeep holds a Bachelors degree in Metallurgical Engineering from PEC, Chandigarh, and has also studied in FMS, Delhi. Mandeep holds an MBA from Chicago Booth School of Business. She is an active CFA charterholder from the CFA institute, USA 

Mandeep enjoys reading, travelling, and staying up-to-date with her watchlists. 

LatAm

Carlos Ganoza, MBA ’10

Carlos Ganoza, MBA ’10

Founder and CEO, Quantum Talent

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Carlos Ganoza, MBA ’10

Founder and CEO, Quantum Talent

Carlos Ganoza is an economist and tech entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Quantum Talent, a startup that uses AI to match workers with jobs in LatAm. Previously he was chief of staff at the Peruvian Ministry of Finance, and CEO of Peru’s largest business media company. He is the coauthor of two bestselling books about the Peruvian economy. He obtained an MBA from Booth in 2010.  

Abel Bezares

Abel Bezares

Associate, Cometa

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Abel Bezares

Associate, Cometa

Abel Bezares is an Associate at Cometa, a Mexico City-based venture capital firm, where he carries out financial and market analysis for new & follow-on investment opportunities and supports portfolio companies. Prior to joining Cometa in 2016 as an Analyst, Abel was part of Kubo Financiero: a fintech startup whose platform connects investors and borrowers to offer competitive interest rates. Abel has a degree in Financial Management from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and passed the Level I Examen of the CFA Certification. 

Yelena Ioffe, MBA

Yelena Ioffe, MBA

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Yelena Ioffe, MBA

Yelena is a Rice University professor of management with a focus in entrepreneurship. She is an early stage VC investor, start-up mentor and an entrepreneur at heart. With over 10+ years of experience in the investments industry, she has been featured as one of the Top Women Investing in Latin American Tech by LAVCA. 

Prior to joining Rice, Yelena was a partner at Cantera Capital and a fund manager at Soldiers Field Angels (SFA), where she led seed and follow-on investments in early stage startups across Latin America. She started her career in venture capital after co-founding Zapatito Blanco, a marketplace for children’s products in Mexico. Her work experience also includes Laudex in Mexico City, J.P. Morgan & Chase in New York and Morningstar Inc. in Chicago. 

Yelena holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management and a BA degree in economics from Northwestern University. Originally from Kazakhstan, Yelena has lived in the United States, France, Brazil, and Mexico and is fluent in multiple languages. 

Patricia Desentis

Patricia Desentis

Associate., 500 Global

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Patricia Desentis

Associate., 500 Global

Patricia Desentis is an Associate at 500 Global. She helps in the investment process and accompany portfolio’s enterprises to scale through strategic, finance and operational guidance.

Previously, Patricia was the COO of an alternative education startup and Head of New Strategic Business in the largest private schools network in LatAm. Patricia has also more than 5 years investing in social enterprises and started her career in investment banking. Patricia loves helping startups scale up and solve problems. Patricia holds an MBT from Collective Academy and a BA in Actuarial Sciences and Finance.

East Coast

David Lefever, MBA ’84, JD ’84

David Lefever, MBA ’84, JD ’84

Partner, Silver Capital Advisors

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David Lefever, MBA ’84, JD ’84

Partner, Silver Capital Advisors

Mr. Lefever joined Silver Capital Advisors as a partner in 2017 to focus on the industrials, consumer, and retail industries. Previously, Mr. Lefever was the managing partner and cofounder in 2001 of Axiom Financial Advisors, LLC, an investment banking firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions, strategic reviews, and corporate finance advisory. From 1998 to 2001, Mr. Lefever was a managing director at CIBC World Markets (formerly Oppenheimer) in New York, where he headed the Transportation Equipment & Services Investment Banking Group. His principal responsibilities included M&A and corporate finance. Prior to joining CIBC, Mr. Lefever was a managing director in corporate finance at UBS Securities in New York, where he worked as an investment banker for ten years serving companies in a broad range of industries. 

Mr. Lefever has represented numerous domestic and international clients in a variety of advisory and financing transactions with deal values totaling over $10 billion. He has completed deals on four continents. These M&A and strategic review assignments were exclusive mandates on which Mr. Lefever was the senior banker. Clients include Fortune 200 companies, smaller corporations, private equity firms, hedge funds, and not-for-profit entities. 

Before joining UBS, Mr. Lefever was an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York, where he specialized in negotiated acquisitions. Prior to graduate school, he worked in the Banking Section of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. Mr. Lefever has published in the Federal Reserve Bulletin, American Economist and University of Chicago Literary Review. Mr. Lefever earned an honors degree in economics from Bucknell University and a MBA and JD from the University of Chicago, where he was the student government representative for both the law and business schools, as well as the recipient of a merit fellowship awarded by accounting firm Peat, Marwick & Mitchell. Mr. Lefever is married with three children. He is an avid SCUBA diver and a KCBS certified BBQ judge. Mr. Lefever is a director of the Art Deco Society of Washington and a member of the New York Bar.

Ellen Itskovitz, MBA ’81

Ellen Itskovitz, MBA ’81

Consultant, Healthcare Advisory Venture

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Ellen Itskovitz, MBA ’81

Consultant, Healthcare Advisory Venture

Ellen recently joined the Catalytic Impact Foundation, a mission driven healthcare venture capital company. She has followed the healthcare industry as an analyst and institutional investor, as well as working as a consultant within the industry. She initially worked as an analyst and investor with Lord Abbett where she was a partner (investing in retail and consumer-based companies), and UBS Asset Management. Most recently she served as an executive director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.   

Prior to that Ellen had worked in banking, at ING Barings, Chase and the French Merchant Bank, Worms et Cie.  At Worms, she developed an understanding of the unique considerations of smaller organizations and companies, investing in, structuring and negotiating bespoke private transactions.  

Ellen earned her MBA from the Chicago Booth, with a specialization in finance. At the Booth, she was a recipient of the Rockwell International Fellowship. Her BA is in economics and public policy from Duke University. She is a CFA charterholder. 

She currently serves on the advisory board of the Hot Bread Kitchen incubator, a New York city not for profit. She also is advising Carehaus, a unique senior co-housing venture led by two MIT faculty members, on healthcare and financial issues. 

Rohit Gandhi, MBA ’05

Rohit Gandhi, MBA ’05

Managing Partner, NYTCP

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Rohit Gandhi, MBA ’05

Managing Partner, NYTCP

Rohit is the Managing Partner at NYTCP, which is an early-stage venture capital firm and advisory firm that offers CFO/COO services for venture capital and private equity backed growth companies.  

Matt Hyland, MBA ’19

Matt Hyland, MBA ’19

Investment Manager, Growth Capital at Export Development Canada

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Matt Hyland, MBA ’19

Investment Manager, Growth Capital at Export Development Canada

Matt is an Investment Manager in the Growth Capital group with Export Development Canada (the Canadian export bank), where he makes direct private investments in high-growth, sector-defining, mid-market companies. 

Prior to EDC, Matt was an investor with Apex Capital LLC (in Toronto and London), where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, executing, and managing private investments across a range of industries and regions. Prior to Apex, Matt spent seven years as a management consultant with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants GmbH and Gotham Consulting Partners LLC (in Chicago and New York) focused on buy-side strategy, due diligence, corporate strategy, and portfolio improvement projects. 

In his career to-date, Matt has served as an investor or advisor on 25+ investments (and hundreds of investment evaluations) with cumulative closed deal value exceeding $20bn USD. Matt is actively engaged as a board member, mentor, and coach to management teams across a variety of industries in North America, Great Britain, Europe, and the Mideast. 

Matt holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2019), an HBA from the Ivey Business School at The University of Western Ontario (2011), and a BA from The University of Western Ontario (2010). 

 

Midwest

Alex Giannikoulis

Alex Giannikoulis

Founder and CEO, Goivee

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Alex Giannikoulis

Founder and CEO, Goivee

Alex Giannikoulis is a serial  entrepreneur with 3 exits. His specialty has been in commercializing early-stage technology. Alex spent 3 years as a VC investor at Graphene Ventures with placements in Lyft, Snap, and Zum. Currently, Alex is the founder of Ivee. Ivee personalizes the passenger experience, starting in ride-hail vehicles. Alex earned a BS in economics and communication from Northwestern University. 

Chris Happ

Chris Happ

CIO, Empirian Health

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Chris Happ

CIO, Empirian Health

Chris is currently the chief information officer at Empirian Health, which he joined in 2020. Additionally, as cofounder and CEO of Goby, Chris was responsible for sales, product, and executive leadership. He grew the business from a concept built initially on energy in the real estate vertical to a disrupter in the ESG and fintech industries. The cloud based Goby platform currently processes billions in annual invoice and utility bill spend in over 100 countries, streamlining business processes through RPA, AI, all while capturing invoice data to create actionable insights. Chris earned a BS in economics from Miami University. 

Leandro Bedollar

Leandro Bedollar

M25

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Leandro Bedollar

M25

Leandro is a VC at M25 investing in Midwest Pre-Seed and Seed startups across most industries where he is responsible for sourcing, meeting with founders, conducting due diligence, and supporting firm operations including monitoring & reporting and the annual Midwest Startup Cities Rankings.  

He co-leads Latinx VC’s Breaking into VC Fellowship and pre-Partner community, is involved with VCFamilia, mentors for Techstars and Venture Forward’s VC University, and was recognized by HBCUvc as an Emerging Venture Leader. 

Previously, Leandro was an associate for the Techstars Anywhere accelerator, a volunteer analyst for the Tech Coast Angels, and built up San Diego’s ecosystem as MD of sponsorships and a lead organizer of the San Diego Startup Week for 4K attendees. He graduated from Valparaiso University, grew up in Joliet, Illinois, and is originally from Central Mexico. 

Ashwin Mudra

Ashwin Mudra

Chief Revenue Officer, Kalderos

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Ashwin Mudra

Chief Revenue Officer, Kalderos

Ashwin Mundra is currently the Chief Revenue Officer at Kalderos where he helped the company to double customer count and triple ARR from 2020 to 2021. Previously Ashwin held 17 years of leadership positions at Medidata. During his tenure, Ashwin helped to transform and grow Medidata from a small startup to IPO to $750 million in annual revenue to their $5.8 billion acquisition. Ashwin brings immense expertise in collaborating with customers to help them achieve their business objectives through his many core competencies including SaaS/AI, sales management/operations/strategy, solution selling/negotiations, pricing and revenue operations. Ashwin also currently acts as a Board Member for the fast-growing startup Biosymetrics and acts as an advisor for multiple health tech startups.

Michael Gruber, MBA

Michael Gruber, MBA

Cofounder and Managing Partner, Salveo Capital and JLS Fund

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Michael Gruber, MBA

Cofounder and Managing Partner, Salveo Capital and JLS Fund

Michael Gruber has over 25 years of experience in building and investing high growth companies. Michael Gruber is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Salveo Capital, a private investment fund focused on the legalized cannabis sector as well as Managing Director of JLS Fund, a fund focused on psychedelics & technology focused on behavioral health. Each of these funds were amongst the first in each of these sectors. 

Prior to Salveo & JLS, Mr. Gruber was a founding Partner of Independence Equity, a committed venture capital fund focused on investments focused on improving resource utilization, with key areas of interest including: water; energy efficiency; material science; and agriculture. Mr. Gruber had served as Director at Taproot Ventures, an early stage investment affiliate of The Harbour Group, an investment holding company with assets under management exceeding $1.5 Billion.  Mr. Gruber has founded and run several private investment organizations of high net worth investors and family offices focused on growth stage investments, including Cornerstone Angels and its affiliate Cornerstone Opportunity Partners, LLC.  Collectively, the portfolio companies have raised in excess of $5.5 Billion in capital, including companies such as Robinhood, Teladoc, and more. 

Mr. Gruber’s prior industry experience includes key operational roles in high-growth corporations (Koei Corporation, Intuit, InsWeb, Silicon Investor), two of which went public and one of which was acquired by a strategic investor.  In addition, Mr. Gruber has significant investment banking and M&A transaction advisory experience. 

Mr. Gruber currently serves on several boards of emerging growth companies. Mr. Gruber received a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and a certificate in Japanese from Nanzan University in Japan. Mr. Gruber is also a frequent speaker and panelist relating to entrepreneurship and venture capital.   

Spencer Gordon-Sand

Spencer Gordon-Sand

Director of Operations, Lofty Ventures

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Spencer Gordon-Sand

Director of Operations, Lofty Ventures

Spencer Gordon-Sand is a co-founder of the Elemints NFT project and a partner at Lofty Ventures, an early stage venture group that supports underrepresented founders through a family of funds including a traditional venture fund, a venture syndicate, and a crypto/NFT token fund. Prior to his role at Lofty, Spencer was an executive at 4 startups, two of which were venture backed, one exited and another raised at a 125$m valuation a year and a half after it’s funding. Outside of the word of tech, Spencer was a photographer for Nike and Redbull and also competed as a World Cup fencer for Team USA. Spencer has a degree in economics and creative writing from the University of Chicago.   

West Coast

Tim Trampedach, MBA ’08

Tim Trampedach, MBA ’08

Founder and CEO, Torqued

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Tim Trampedach, MBA ’08

Founder and CEO, Torqued

Tim Trampedach is an angel investor and founder of Chicago Booth Angel Network (CBAN) Silicon Valley.  Through a long career in product management at various startups, Tim has incubated, built and run various products and businesses, including gaming platforms, logistics systems and financial services infrastructure at companies like Zynga, Chariot and LendUp. He is now founder and CEO of motorsports e-commerce startup Torqued. As an active angel investor and diligence lead for CBAN Silicon Valley, he sees companies across a variety of industries and stages, choosing to invest in companies where he feels he and his network can add substantive value. Tim holds a BS in Computer Science from Columbia and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Nancy Hayes, MBA ’80

Nancy Hayes, MBA ’80

Principal, NKH Group

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Nancy Hayes, MBA ’80

Principal, NKH Group

Nancy Hayes is a current active angel investor who serves as a mentor to women entrepreneurs and founders of color. She also advises corporate and nonprofit executives in management and leadership topics.

Nancy was a senior executive of the IBM Corporation for almost 20 years, CEO of two social services nonprofit organizations, Dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University, CFO of that university, cofounder of a rewards-based crowdfunding site and Managing Director of Golden Seeds angel group Silicon Valley chapter.

Nancy has an MBA from the University of Chicago and lives in San Francisco.

 

Patrick Ip, AB ’13

Patrick Ip, AB ’13

VP of Product Marketing, Fuel Cycle

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Patrick Ip, AB ’13

VP of Product Marketing, Fuel Cycle

Patrick is an ex-Googler and 2x CEO and Co-Founder of two venture-backed start-ups. He’s been featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 2020, and twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (2015, 2016). Prior, Patrick was the CEO of Catalog, which raised $3.1M to help brands use software to seamlessly design and order visual content.  

Rama Veeraragoo, MBA ’12

Rama Veeraragoo, MBA ’12

Offering Manager, Data Redaction at OneTrust, Co-founder Redacted.ai

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Rama Veeraragoo, MBA ’12

Offering Manager, Data Redaction at OneTrust, Co-founder Redacted.ai

Rama Veeraragoo is an entrepreneur based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His most recent startup, DocuVision.ai, was acquired by OneTrust. DocuVision.ai uses the latest AI technology to help companies find and manage personal information in their systems for privacy law, like GDPR in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act. Before that, Rama was an attorney who practiced law at Freshfields, a large law firm in London and then Credit Suisse, where he specialized in structured finance and derivatives. He has been active in the Booth community -he co-founded the Chicago Angels Network in London, and has been building a Booth founder community in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied law at Balliol College, Oxford University and has an MBA with High Honors from Chicago Booth.

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