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Global New Venture Challenge

Global New Venture Challenge

Judges

Mus Chagal, MBA ’97
Mus Chagal, MBA ’97

Mus Chagal, MBA ’97

CEO, UICO; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Polsky Center

Mus Chagal has been involved in international trade acting as a bridge between American companies and suppliers from Turkey and Israel since 2002. He founded CWW/Kudox NA, a private label manufacturer and supplier of radiant heat and building products and materials to retailers like Home and wholesalers like Wolseley-Ferguson. Chagal started his entrepreneurial career at FastWeb, a technology start-up, as the senior vice president of sales and business development. FastWeb became the destination site and search engine for college bound students looking for scholarship, and the prominent one-to-one marketing and customer acquisition platform for companies targeting the youth market (acquired by TMP Worldwide).

Ian Drury
Ian Drury

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 and the Great Recession. His leadership experience includes partnership positions at Accenture and Diamond Management & Technology Consultants co-founder and President of BigEdge /MVP.com.

Peter Christman, MBA ’15
Peter Christman, MBA ’15

Peter Christman, MBA ’15

Senior Associate, Chicago Ventures

Peter joined Chicago Ventures in 2015 and focuses on enterprise SaaS, infrastructure, and B2B marketplace investments. Previously, he led growth efforts at Choose Energy, a venture-backed marketplace for residential and SMB energy plans, and business and product development at Eurasia Group, a political risk advisory firm that helps companies invest and operate in emerging and frontier markets.

Rob Gertner
Rob Gertner

Rob Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance; Faculty Co-director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth

Robert H. Gertner has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1986. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. He is co-author, with colleagues Douglas Baird and Randy Picker, of Game Theory and the Law. Gertner teaches courses in strategic decision-making, entrepreneurial strategy, and social entrepreneurship.

Gertner received a National Science Foundation Research Grant, an Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics and was a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has held visiting positions at CEPREMAP in Paris, Cornell Law School, The University of Chicago Law School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Gertner is a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest. He is also a board member of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a member of the Evaluation Advisory Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Gertner received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from Princeton University in 1981 and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He worked as a consultant for AT&T prior to attending MIT.

Melissa Harris, MBA ’16
Melissa Harris, MBA ’16

Melissa Harris, MBA ’16

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

As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Melissa Harris advises startups on all aspects of marketing and communications. In addition she teaches seminars on the press, content, social media, and television. Prior to joining the Polsky Center, she was vice president of marketing at real estate private equity firm Origin Investments, where she helped the firm raise more than $70 million and launch its online investing platform. Prior to that she capped her 15-year journalism career as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated business columnist at the Chicago Tribune

Samara Mejia Hernandez
Samara Mejia Hernandez

Samara Mejia Hernandez

MATH Venture Partners

 

 

Prior to joining MATH, Samara spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, where she was highly ranked in selling financial products, providing market insights, advising on portfolio construction, and consulting on business practices. She started her career in the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodity (FICC) group where she led multiple technology enhancing projects across global exchanges. Samara is actively involved in the Chicago tech community and passionate about helping underrepresented groups get into STEM education, venture capital and entrepreneurship. She is on the leadership council for Women Tech Founders and an active mentor at 1871 and with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Jason Starr, MBA ’07
Jason Starr, MBA ’07

Jason Starr, MBA ’07

Founder and Managing Director, CompanyFirst

Jason Starr has over two decades of experience spanning operations, technology, venture capital, and private equity. Before founding CompanyFirst, Jason was the fund manager at CircleUp in San Francisco, through which he invested in dozens of consumer ventures. Prior to CircleUp, Jason spent over eight years at Winona Capital Management, a consumer-focused private equity firm in Chicago with over $300 million under management. Jason’s Midwest roots set the guiding principles at CompanyFirst, which can basically be summed up as treat others as you would want them to treat you.

Kathleen Swan
Kathleen Swan

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.

Guy Turner, MBA ’10
Guy Turner, MBA ’10

Guy Turner, MBA ’10

Partner Hyde Park Venture Partners; Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Polsky Center

Guy Turner is a big fan of fast growth and entrepreneurs who know how to make it happen, and he strives to help them as much as possible. He blogs on all topics venture and startup at vcwithme.co. Guy co-founded Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2011 from Boston Consulting Group, where he focused on corporate strategy across a variety of industries. He started his investing career as an associate and transitioned to an actively investing member of Hyde Park Angels in 2009. Guy has led investments in numerous B2B software companies and is a director at Geofeedia, InContext Solutions, and Iris Mobile. Guy spent his early career as a mechanical engineer with Raytheon and General Electric.

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