Global New Venture Challenge (GNVC)

2021 Judges

Cornel Chiriac, MBA ’12

Cornel Chiriac, MBA ’12

Founding Partner, 2050 Capital

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Cornel Chiriac, MBA ’12

Founding Partner, 2050 Capital

 

 

Cornel is the founding partner of 2050 Capital, syndicate lead and early stage venture investor. Cornel focuses on deep tech enterprise software and biotech. 2050 invested in 30+ ventures, with 70% of the startups raising up-rounds of Series A – E. Cornel serves on several boards and advisory committees.

Complementary to 2050 Cap, Cornel heads the Chicago Booth Angels London chapter, was instrumental to scaling the investment group globally, and is involved with various University of Chicago venture initiatives.

In his earlier career Cornel built and scaled two entrepreneurship ventures in the USA to multi-million exits, was a strategy and deal consultant with L.E.K. in London, and a corporate VC with the World Gold Council. Cornel remains involved with Fieldstone Capital as a director and head of energy technology ventures. Prior to settling in London, Cornel lived and worked in the USA for over a decade and in China and Southeast Asia for four years.

Cornel earned a MBA from Chicago Booth.

Ian Drury

Ian Drury

General Partner, OCA Ventures

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Ian Drury

General Partner, OCA Ventures

Ian is a general partner at OCA Ventures. He has 25+ years experience as a business operator and entrepreneur with a background in technology in the financial services, data services, insurance, communications and retail industries. He has started businesses, raised money, bought/sold/integrated companies, pivoted to new business models, scaled businesses/teams, restructured companies and successfully led companies/teams through the Internet bubble bursting and the Great Recession.

His leadership experience includes partnership positions at Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Diamond Management & Technology Consultants (NASDAQ: DTPI), co-founder and president of BigEdge /MVP.com, president of a subsidiary of InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), chief information officer of a $500M P&C insurance company, and most recently prior to joining OCA Ventures, Ian was chief information officer for TransUnion’s US business. During his 5 years at TransUnion, he optimized a budget of $170M+ and more than 700 employees/contractors, created alignment across IT/sales/analytics, restructured the IT department and implemented IT best practices driving improvements in execution/quality, supported entry to new industry verticals, integrated 8 acquisitions, supported two sales of the $1B+ revenue company as the technology co-lead – first to Madison Dearborn in 2010 and to Goldman Sachs & Advent International in 2012.

His advisory and board responsibilities for OCA Ventures include: Ocient, Prisidio, Impossible Objects, dv01, Trim, Falcon Insurance Group, and SpiderOak.

Ian earned a BS in electrical engineering from University of Illinois in Champaign, where he was a two time varsity letter winner in wrestling. He enjoys running, fishing, and playing golf.

Melissa Harris, MBA ’16

Melissa Harris, MBA ’16

CEO, M. Harris; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Polsky Center

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Melissa Harris, MBA ’16

CEO, M. Harris; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Polsky Center

Melissa Harris began her career as a journalist, capping 15 years in media as a business columnist for the Chicago Tribune. While earning her MBA from the Chicago Booth, Melissa joined a real estate private equity firm as vice president of marketing.

Facing a mountain of MBA student debt and with a newborn infant, Melissa took the greatest risk of her life: She left the world of private equity to start her own company. Three years later, M. Harris & Co. has become one of the fastest-growing marketing firms in the Midwest.

 

Dipa Mehta, MBA ’12

Dipa Mehta, MBA ’12

Vice President Corporate Ventures and Innovation, Advocate Aurora Health

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Dipa Mehta, MBA ’12

Vice President Corporate Ventures and Innovation, Advocate Aurora Health

Dipa leads the Corporate Development and Ventures group at Advocate Aurora Enterprises (AAE). AAE is a subsidiary of Advocate Aurora Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States. She supports the AAE category leaders in sourcing, diligence, negotiating, and post- transaction reporting for a variety of different transaction types. Dipa was formerly a Managing Director at Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based venture capital firm which is the investment manager to the Blue Venture Fund. The Blue Venture Fund is a unique collaboration between BCBS companies, BCBSA, and Sandbox.  Sandbox is an independent company that provides healthcare-related investment management exclusively for the Blue Venture Fund. Prior to Sandbox, Dipa was at Amgen Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Amgen. At Amgen, Dipa worked closely with the global commercial and marketing organizations to identify companies in the digital health space for Amgen’s commercial products. Dipa started her career in the Global Healthcare Group at UBS and the Healthcare Fund at Paul Capital Partners, which invested in late-stage pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Dipa earned a BS from the New York University Stern School of Business and an MBA from Chicago Booth where she received the Chicago Booth Leadership Award of Distinction. Dipa is also a Kauffman Fellow.

She lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and twin toddler boys.

Renata Merino, MBA ‘02

Renata Merino, MBA ‘02

Founder, Blazin Babes Capital

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Renata Merino, MBA ‘02

Founder, Blazin Babes Capital

Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

Managing Partner, Origin Ventures

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Alex Meyer

Managing Partner, Origin Ventures

Alex Meyer is a managing partner at Origin Ventures, a leading early stage venture capital firm focused on Series A and Seed investments throughout North America. He is the founder and chairman of the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels and Entrepreneurship Council of Chicago and serves on the global board of the HBS Alumni Angels Association. He helped establish the Global Alumni New Venture Competition at the Harvard Business School, where he is an emeritus member of the school’s alumni board of directors and its executive committee. He serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and served as part of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s tech and economic development delegations to London, Israel, Tokyo, Beijing, and Boston. Earlier in his career, Alex held leadership roles at SAP, Deloitte, and House of Blues. He is a founder and vice chairman of the board of Chicago’s Stage 773 Theater. Alex earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Kathleen Swan

Kathleen Swan

Partner at Locke Lord, LLC

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Kathleen Swan

Partner at Locke Lord, LLC

Kathleen Swan is a partner in the Chicago office of Locke Lord LLP where her practice focuses on corporate finance, venture capital, private equity, and institutional private placements. Kathleen has represented clients within a number of diverse industries, including health care, retail, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and utilities operations. She has represented both venture capitalists and angels in connection with their respective purchases of common and preferred stock; institutional investors in connection with the purchase of both senior and subordinated secured and unsecured notes; and investment bankers in connection with the sale of several corporations.

Kathy Wanner

Kathy Wanner

Founding Partner, Fairway Capital Management

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Kathy Wanner

Founding Partner, Fairway Capital Management

Kathy Wanner is a founding partner of Fairway Capital Management. Ms. Wanner has served as an operating partner and advisor at Abundant Venture Partners from 2016 to 2020. She spent 22 years at Adams Street Partners, a global private markets investment management firm and its predecessor organizations, where she made 100+ primary and secondary investments in venture capital, growth, and buyout funds around the world. 

Ms. Wanner managed the US Primary investment team and oversaw deployment of client’s capital into US primary investments, annually totaling between $800 and $1 billion into 20+ funds. She served on the firm’s Global Primary Investment Committee, which was responsible for sourcing, analyzing and monitoring investments in private equity partnerships, implementing strategy and approving all global primary fund investments. Ms. Wanner served on many private equity and venture capital advisory boards and her team was responsible for monitoring all US private equity and venture capital general partner relationships.

Before joining the Adams Street Partners Private Equity Group in 1998, she was at Brinson Partners for five years and served in various roles within the finance, communications, and business development groups where she was responsible for the revenue cycle, statistical analysis, and market research. From 1989 to 1993, Ms. Wanner earned experience in statistical modeling, reporting, tracking and analysis as a senior financial analyst at Frontier Risk Management, Range Wise, Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Company. 

Ms. Wanner earned a bachelor of science in finance from Binghamton University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  

Ms. Wanner is a founding board member at DCALTA, a 501(c) non-profit organization created to educate the community on the benefits of including alternative investments within a defined contribution framework to better secure retirement outcomes for plan participants. In addition, she is a board member at CureSearch, a national non-profit foundation that accelerates the search for cures for children’s cancer. Ms. Wanner serves on the board and is the audit committee chair for New Fortress Energy (NASDAQ: NFE).

Quan Zhang, SM’ 08, PhD ’10

Quan Zhang, SM’ 08, PhD ’10

Managing Director, Pin Capital

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Quan Zhang, SM’ 08, PhD ’10

Managing Director, Pin Capital

Quan Zhang is managing director at Pin Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. Prior to founding Pin Capital, Quan was an investor at Guild Capital. As the head of e-commerce investments at Guild, he led a series of early-stage deals, such as Home Chef (acquired by Kroger) and MessageControl (acquired by Mimecast). Prior to venture capital, Quan was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, focusing on M&A and private equity projects in technology, retail, and healthcare sectors. Quan earned Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago and B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). 

2021 Regional Judges

Noura F.K.  Abdullah, MBA ’08 (EXP-13)

Mario Aquino, MBA ’99

Sinuhe Arroyo, MBA ’11 (EXP-16)

Ramzi Assaf, MBA ’17

Karena Belin

Larry Berlin, AB ’89, MBA ’94

Arnaud Bonzom

Hernando Bunuan, MBA ’07

Jeff Carter, MBA ’06

Carter II, MBA ’19 (EXP-24)

Vince Chan, MBA ’15 (AXP-14)

Jonathan Ellis

Magdalena Gatzinska, AB ’96, MBA ’00

Borislava Karageorgieva, MBA ’04

David Kokonas

Stephen Lee, MBA ’17 (AXP-16)

Alex Lintott, MBA ’12

Lindsey Lyman, MBA ’08

Renata Merino, MBA ’02

Julia Monfrini Peev

E.J. Reedy

Michael Ricks , MBA ’00 (IXP-5)

Jason Starr, MBA ’07

Tao Tao, MBA ’16 (AXP-15)

Sam Tsui, MBA ’00

Rags Vadali

Jun (JT) Wong, MBA ’14 (EXP-19)

Caroline Yeager

Tom Yoritaka, MBA ’98

Stella Zhou, MBA ’18 (AXP-17)

Katherine Ziegelbauer, MBA ’18

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