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New Venture Challenge

New Venture Challenge

2019 Judges

Cindy Bayley, PhD ’90, MBA ’97
Cindy Bayley, PhD ’90, MBA ’97

Cindy Bayley, PhD ’90, MBA ’97

Affiliate, ARCH Venture Partners

Cindy is an affiliate at ARCH Venture Partners. She focuses on life science businesses and is a cofounder of several ARCH portfolio companies, including deCODE genetics, an Icelandic diagnostics company; Adolor, a pharmaceutical firm developing novel analgesics; and Elixir Pharmaceuticals, an anti-aging and metabolic disease company. Cindy has worked with ARCH since 1992 and has been instrumental in sourcing companies like Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Agios Pharmaceuticals. She has also participated in the planning and diligence for many other companies in the portfolio. Early in her career, she was a general field engineer with Schlumberger Offshore Services. She holds a BS in physics from the University of Rochester and an MBA and PhD in virology from the University of Chicago.

Dan Caruso, MBA ’90
Dan Caruso, MBA ’90

Dan Caruso, MBA ’90

Cofounder, Chairman, and CEO, Zayo Group

Dan Caruso is the chairman and CEO of Zayo Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ZAYO), a global provider of communications infrastructure. As founder of the business in 2007, he has led the company from startup to IPO to a company with a multi-billion dollar equity value. Zayo provides mission-critical bandwidth to the world’s most impactful companies, fueling the innovations that are transforming our society. Dan has been part of three fiber startups that have become decacorns, which means they eclipsed valuations of $10B. The first, which Dan joined as it began to scale, was MFS Communications. MFS was a pioneer in competing with the Bell system during the initial commercialization of the Internet. The second, which Dan joined as a founding executive, was Level 3 Communications. Dan served in a variety of strategic and operational leadership roles during his tenure at Level 3, including oversight of engineering, construction, operations and marketing. The third is Zayo. Dan is an investor in several high impact Colorado companies including Galvanize and Secure Set. Dan helped launch Envysion, another Colorado company, and served as its chairman from 2006 to 2013. Previously, Dan invested in the Colorado companies Datavail and New Global Telecom as well as the European telecom providers euNetworks and GTS Central Europe. Dan is an avid supporter of Colorado’s and Chicago’s entrepreneurial community and is particularly interested in the intersection between for profit impact investing, inclusion and entrepreneurship. He has received numerous industry and community awards. In 2015, Dan and his wife Cindy established the Caruso Family Foundation to inspire and support entrepreneurship, advance knowledge and empower healthier lives. Dan holds a BS from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Joanne Chen, MBA ’14
Joanne Chen, MBA ’14

Joanne Chen, MBA ’14

Partner, Foundation Capital

Joanne is a partner at Foundation Capital where she works with gritty entrepreneurs who build and leverage proprietary data assets to disrupt business functions. She studies the impact of AI, and invests in AI-first B2B applications and data platforms that are the building blocks of the automated enterprise. Joanne’s passion for technology developed early, when her mathematician dad and computer scientist mom taught her how to program. By the time she was nine years old, she had turned her skills into a business and made her first webpage for a client. Joanne began her career as an engineer at Cisco Systems and later cofounded a mobile gaming company. She also spent many years working on Wall Street at Jefferies & Company, helping tech companies go through the IPO and M&A processes, and at Probitas Partners, advising venture firms on their own fundraising process. She was an angel investor for two years at Hyde Park Angels prior to joining Foundation in 2014. Joanne is on the board of TubiTV and Findera, and observes the boards of Mya Systems, Custora, and Localytics. She has also invested in Simppler, Quilt Data, Brightback, Oasis Labs, CaptivateIQ, and Zengaming. Joanne has a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Art Collins
Art Collins

Art Collins

Retired Chairman and CEO, Medtronic; Managing Partner, Acorn Advisors

Art Collins is the founder and managing partner of Acorn Advisors, a consulting firm providing counsel on governance matters to nonprofit organizations. Previously, he served as CEO at Medtronic from 2001 and chairman of the board from 2002 until retirement in 2008. During his tenure as CEO and COO, Medtronic’s revenues and earnings per share both grew at an annual compound growth rate in excess of 15 percent. Art joined Medtronic in 1992 from Abbott Laboratories, where he had been corporate vice president, responsible for Abbott’s worldwide diagnostic business units since 1986. Art currently serves on the boards of directors at Arconic, Boeing, and US Bancorp, and he is a former director of Alcoa, Cargill, and Tennant. In addition, he was a senior advisor at Oak Hill Capital Partners. Art received a bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Law honorary degree from Miami University. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jai Das, MBA ’99
Jai Das, MBA ’99

Jai Das, MBA ’99

President and Managing Director, Sapphire Ventures

Jai Das is a managing director, president and cofounder at Sapphire Ventures. He invests in startups which he believes are developing groundbreaking products and services, and have embarked on their journey to become a company of consequence. He has more than 15 years of experience helping companies innovate their product and marketing strategies in order to scale and become market leaders. Eleven of Jai’s investments have become publicly traded companies including Alteryx, Box, Five9, Square and Nutanix, and nine of his investments have been acquired including Apigee (Google), CloudHealth (VMware), ExactTarget (Salesforce) and MuleSoft (Salesforce). Jai is currently a member of the board (director or observer) at Catchpoint, DataRobot, JFrog, Narrative Science, OpsRamp, Portworx, PubNub, Punchh, Splashtop, Sumo Logic and ThoughtSpot. Prior to joining Sapphire Ventures in 2006, Jai worked at Oracle, Intel Capital, Agilent Ventures, and MVC Capital. He has a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Brown University and an MBA from Chicago Booth where he was awarded the George Hay Brown Prize for academic excellence.

Laura Desmond
Laura Desmond

Laura Desmond

Founder and CEO, Eagle Vista Partners

Laura Desmond is a lead architect of reinventing and building the agency of the future, using data analytics and content. Her company, Eagle Vista Partners, has focused on senior advisor work with CEOs at Anaplan, Live Ramp, and Uptake Technologies, along with other media, financial services, and emerging SaaS companies. Previously, Laura was chief revenue officer of Publicis Groupe and CEO of Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG). While CEO, business at SMG more than doubled and successfully pivoted to a digitally-centric organization focused on emerging channels, data, analytics, and content. She led a diverse team of 6,500 employees across more than 100 offices. Laura has worked closely with some of the most successful marketers worldwide, including Samsung, Coca-Cola, Visa, Bank of America, P&G, and a host of emerging online consumer brands such as Airbnb, Spotify, EA Sports, and Twitter. In her work, Laura forged partnerships with media companies such as Google, Facebook, and Tencent. Laura is also an operating partner at Providence Equity Partners, working with the technology and media group on investments in the adtech and marketing service sectors. Laura serves on the boards of directors for Adobe Systems and CapGemini and is lead director of Double Verify. She is also past chair of the Advertising Council.

Jim Dugan
Jim Dugan

Jim Dugan

CEO, Cofounder, and Managing Partner, OCA Ventures

 

Jim has over 20 years of corporate finance, capital markets, and venture capital experience. He serves on the boards of EdMap, TradeKing, Cleversafe, TDJM, Javlin Capital, SumRidge Partners, Campus Explorer, Apparel Media Group (CustomInk), Automated Insights, Pangea, Falcon Insurance Group, Solovis, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, 1871, IIT, and NU Wave. Prior to cofounding OCA Ventures, Jim oversaw the OCA Ventures pledge fund, which made direct investments for the O’Connor Partners Investment Office. He also traded derivatives at the Chicago Board of Trade and worked in corporate finance with Continental Bank. Jim is a founding member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, where he has served as treasurer, director, member of the executive committee, and chairman of the legislative committee, helping to establish HB 3212 as Illinois law. Jim received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Northwestern University.

Scott Griffith, MBA ’90
Scott Griffith, MBA ’90

Scott Griffith, MBA ’90

Chairman and CEO, EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE

 

Scott took the helm of leading secondhand goods marketplace EBTH in 2018 after serving for four years as an executive-in-residence at General Catalyst Partners. Prior to joining General Catalyst, Scott served for more than 10 years as chairman and CEO of Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network. During his tenure, he transformed Zipcar from a small business into a profitable public company, growing it from $2M to nearly $300M in revenue through organic growth and acquisitions before taking it public in 2011. In 2013, Scott led the strategic sale of Zipcar to Avis Budget Group. Prior to Zipcar, Scott held senior-level positions at the Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), Information America, and The Parthenon Group. He serves as a Polsky Center advisory council member and on the boards of directors of TrueMotion (where he is cofounder), Envoy Global, EBTH, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Scott earned a BS in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Mar Hershenson
Mar Hershenson

Mar Hershenson

Cofounder and Managing Partner, Pear VC

Mar is a cofounder and managing partner at Pear VC, a seed-stage investment firm in Palo Alto, where she works closely with founders to take companies from an idea to a defining business. Mar was recognized in the Midas Brink List of Top Tech Investors in 2015. She made her mark as an entrepreneur by cofounding three companies: Barcelona Design, Sabio Labs, and Revel Touch. She ran each company from day one, being deeply involved in all aspects of the business, including product definition and development, business strategy, sales, recruiting, and financing. After the acquisition of Sabio labs, Mar served as vice president of product development for Magma Design Automation’s mixed signal division. Mar has received many awards throughout her career, including the renowned T35 Young Innovator Award by MIT for her technical work and the prestigious Marie R. Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement Award in 2010 for her entrepreneurial work. Mar served on the board of Palo Alto Community Child Care and she is a technical advisor to the US Soccer Federation. She received a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University for her breakthrough work in circuit design automation and taught the Analog Circuit Design course at Stanford for over a decade.

Brent Hill, MBA ’98
Brent Hill, MBA ’98

Brent Hill, MBA ’98

Partner, Origin Ventures

 

Brent Hill is a partner at Origin Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on software, marketplace, and consumer companies. He serves on the board of directors of portfolio companies Backlot Cars, 15Five, Fountain, Apptentive, Bound, Bonsai Analytics, Mighty, Pronto, and Kidizen. He is a board observer for the firm’s investments in Cameo, AppDetex, DirectScale and ViralGains. Other previous investments include Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) , Tubemogul (acquired by NASD: ADBE), Ahalogy (acquired by NYSE: QUOT) and Teem (acquired by WeWork).  Prior to joining Origin, Brent led sales organizations for Twitter, Google, and Feedburner. Before joining FeedBurner, he was the president of a national consumer services business, an entrepreneur-in-residence, and an EVP with a unit of Interactive Corp. He also cofounded MVP.com, an early e-commerce business. Brent started his career with Accenture, where he spent 10 years developing CRM software for the telecom industry. He received a BS in finance from Bradley University and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Venetia Kontogouris, MBA ’77
Venetia Kontogouris, MBA ’77

Venetia Kontogouris, MBA ’77

Founder and Partner, Venkon Group

 

Venetia has over 25 years of venture capital experience. She founded Venkon Group, a family office investing in early-stage technology companies, including BeHealth, Flow, Zumigo, Ruby Seven Studios, Bulger Capital, Simple Mills, and Energy Savvy. Previously, she was a senior managing partner at Trident Capital, where she managed $1.7B of venture investments focusing on early-stage enterprise IT, business process outsourcing, and marketing services. Companies she funded and successfully exited include Cognizant Technology, Vality, Invention Machine, Odyssey Logistics, Microland, Neilsoft, Shop Local, Viant, eCredit, and Sphere. She has served on the boards of more than 20 public and private companies and is currently a trustee of Northeastern University. She also serves on the boards of Bulger Partners and Pireaus Bank; chairs the investment committee of Kaizen Private Equity, an education-focused fund based in India; and serves as chairwoman of the Brain Institute at Virginia Tech.

Mark Koulogeorge
Mark Koulogeorge

Mark Koulogeorge

Managing General Partner, MK Capital

Mark has over 25 years of venture capital experience and deep functional expertise in developing product, sales and marketing strategies to achieve market leadership and in building high-performance executive teams. Mark has served on the boards of over 25 software companies, which have generated over $500M of realized gains for his investors. He has been the lead or first institutional investor in companies including Tradex Technologies (sold to Ariba for $1.8B), Aprimo (sold to Teradata for $540M), Initiate Systems (sold to IBM for $424M), The Cobalt Group (sold to ADP for $400M) and LLamasoft (sold to TPG for $350M).  Prior to founding MK Capital, Mark was a managing director at First Analysis and served as a general partner of the Productivity Funds III and IV. Prior to his career in venture capital, Mark was an executive officer of Eagle Industries, a $1.5B diversified manufacturer controlled by Chicago entrepreneur Sam Zell, and earlier a consultant with Booz Allen. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford University.

Mark Leahy, JD/MBA ’89
Mark Leahy, JD/MBA ’89

Mark Leahy, JD/MBA ’89

Partner, Fenwick & West LLP

Mark is co-head of the startup and venture capital group of Fenwick & West. He advises technology and life science companies, including those focused in the software, telecommunications, and semiconductor sectors. His practice includes startup counseling, venture capital financings, public offerings, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures. Mark represents companies in varying stages, ranging from privately-held startups to publicly-traded companies. Earlier in his career, Mark worked as an engineer. He received a BS in industrial engineering from Stanford University and a JD/MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mark Leavitt, MBA ’83
Mark Leavitt, MBA ’83

Mark Leavitt, MBA ’83

Chief Investment Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group

 

As Union Square Hospitality Group’s CIO, Mark is focused on USHG’s financing, equity structuring, and capital allocation, as well as investment strategy in hospitality and technology-related businesses. Union Square Hospitality Group, the hospitality company founded by Danny Meyer, operates some of the nation’s most beloved restaurants, such as Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, and also created Shake Shack, which went public in 2015. Mark is also a partner and member of the investment committee of Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), a growth equity fund affiliated with USHG with over $200M of capital commitments, that was formed to identify and invest in scalable businesses with proven category leadership and a committed focus on building shareholder value by building an employee, customer, and community-focused culture. Leveraging USHG’s more than 30 years of experience, relationships, and track record as operators and investors, EHI will primarily, but not exclusively, focus on fine casual restaurants and technology companies that fuel hospitality. Mark currently serves on the boards of Joe Coffee and Salt & Straw ice cream, portfolio companies of EHI. Prior to joining USHG, Mark enjoyed a successful career in investment banking advising middle market growth companies, most recently serving as the global head of Technology, Media, and Telecommunications at Piper Jaffray. In addition to Mark’s current board positions, Mark previously served on the boards of Trinity College, the Harlem Globetrotters, Leap Wireless (LEAP), Centennial Communications, Citadel Communications, T/SF Communications (TSF), and US Radio. Mark currently serves as chair of the board of Jacob’s Pillow Dance, a school and performance space in the Berkshires. Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Trinity College and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Tamim Majid
Tamim Majid

Tamim Majid

General Partner, OCA Ventures

Mac McCormack is a founding partner of Trident Capital, Inc., a private equity firm established in 1993 to invest in information and business service companies in a range of markets, including financial services, health care, general business, and select consumer markets. Previously, he was a managing director at Morgan Stanley and held various positions with the US Department of Defense, including as assistant secretary of the Navy (financial management). He is on the board of Illinois Tool Works and did serve on the boards of the Northern Trust Corporation and MeadWestvaco.

Matthew McCall
Matthew McCall

Matthew McCall

Partner, Pritzker Group Venture Capital

 

Matt McCall is a partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital and was formerly a founding partner with DFJ Portage. Over his 20+ years in the business, he has backed over 70 companies, completed more than 400 financings and evaluation over 20,000 business plans. He has had over $3 billion in exit value. He also has a strong interest studying the drivers & derailers to high performing cultures and sustainable entrepreneurial success. Matt has been involved with investments including: DollarShaveClub (acquired by Unilever), SMS-Assist, Facebook, Coinbase, Mapbox, Airmap, Signal, Honest Company, Feedburner (acquired by Google), Graphiq (acquired by Amazon), Lefthand Networks (acquired by HP), Performics (acquired by Doubleclick/Google), AwesomenessTV (acquired by DreamWorks), Playdom (acquired by Disney) and TicketsNow (acquired by Ticketmaster). He has been honored on Crain’sannual “40 under 40”, Crain’stop Tech 25 list, the Re/codetop 30 tech power list, a Top 100 VC, a Media 100 and a Hollywood 100 Power Player. He is the founder & trustee of the McCall Family Foundation, focused on encouraging social entrepreneurship and global human/girls’ rights. He has served on numerous regional high technology advisory boards. Prior to 1995, Matt worked in the Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago office, where he managed consulting and client teams on projects in the telecommunications, health-care and financial services industries. Matt holds a bachelor’s in economics and history from Williams College and an MBA with honors from Kellogg. He also holds a master’s in manufacturing management from Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.

Robert McCormack, MBA ’68
Robert McCormack, MBA ’68

Robert McCormack, MBA ’68

Advisory Director, Trident Capital

Robert McCormack is a founding partner of Trident Capital, Inc., a private equity firm established in 1993 to invest in information and business service companies in a range of markets, including financial services, health care, general business, and select consumer markets. Previously, he was a managing director at Morgan Stanley and held various positions with the US Department of Defense, including as assistant secretary of the Navy (financial management). He is on the board of Illinois Tool Works and did serve on the boards of the Northern Trust Corporation and MeadWestvaco.

Siddharth (Bobby) Mehta, MBA ’81
Siddharth (Bobby) Mehta, MBA ’81

Siddharth (Bobby) Mehta, MBA ’81

Former President and CEO, TransUnion LLC

 

Bobby is the former president and chief executive officer of TransUnion, a global provider of credit and information management services, from 2007 through 2012. From 1998 to 2007, Bobby held a variety of senior positions at Household International, HSBC Finance Corporation, and HSBC North America Holdings, including CEO of HSBC North America Holdings, CEO of HSBC Finance Corporation, and Group Executive (Credit Cards) at Household International. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president at the Boston Consulting Group and co-head of the firm’s North American financial services practice. He is currently on the boards of AllState Insurance, TransUnion, Datacard, Decision Resources Group, Piramal Enterprises, and Avant Credit. Additionally he serves on nonprofit boards of organizations including the Field Museum and the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Koichiro Nakamura, MBA ’07
Koichiro Nakamura, MBA ’07

Koichiro Nakamura, MBA ’07

Founding Partner, Sozo Venture

Koichiro is a founding partner at Sozo Ventures, a cross-border venture fund focused on helping start-ups achieve global expansion. Specifically, Sozo Ventures helps US technology companies go to the Asian market, especially the Japanese market. He started his career as a serial entrepreneur, launching his first successful company during college and spending a decade working on a multitude of start-ups. At Mitsubishi Corporation, he created relationships with large Japanese conglomerates, providing the credibility needed for portfolio start-ups to find alpha and beta customers. Prior to that, he launched the Innovation Kitchen, a Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary, which incubated seed-stage ventures in Japan and leveraged cross-border collaboration to yield sustainable advantage for portfolio companies, including Scigineer (IPO in 2014). Koichiro also founded Japan’s first application service provider, Datastations (acquired by ValueCommerce). Before Mitsubishi, he was a founding member of Yahoo! Japan. Koichiro is a member of the Kauffman Fellows Class 12 and a recipient of the Jeff Timmons Memorial Award. He received a bachelor’s of law from Waseda University and an MBA from Chicago Booth, where he was a two-time finalist in the New Venture Challenge.

Guy Nohra, MBA ’89
Guy Nohra, MBA ’89

Guy Nohra, MBA ’89

Cofounder, Alta Partners

 

Guy is a cofounder of Alta Partners, a leading venture capital firm in life sciences, funding over 150 companies in the healthcare and life sciences sectors since 1996 through eight venture capital funds. Guy is a life sciences investment veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Among Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists in biotech, he was named to Forbes’ Midas List in 2007. As one of the four original founders of Alta Partners, Guy was intimately involved with raising eight venture capital funds, leading to over $2B of investments in private and public companies. Through his guidance, Alta Partners has consistently ranked among the firms with the highest number of M&A or IPO exits in the life sciences industry. Alta Partners has had over 30 successful exits during the past five years, including 12 exits (10 IPOs and two acquisitions) in 2014. The firm has historically had more life sciences IPOs out of its portfolio since 1996 than any other venture capital firm worldwide, including 12 IPOs in 2000 and a 10 IPOs in 2004. Guy was involved in the funding and development of notable medical technology and life science companies including AcelRx, ATS Medical, Cutera, Innerdyne, R2 Technology, deCODE genetics, and Vesica. He serves on the board of directors of several companies, including Bioventus, Carbylan Biosurgery, PneumRx, USGI Medical, Vertiflex, and ZS Pharma, and is the chairman of the boards of USGI Medical and ZS Pharma. He has also served on the board of directors of the Medical Device Manufacturing Association from 2003 to 2013 and is now a board member emeritus. Guy holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Michael Oleshansky, MBA ’05
Michael Oleshansky, MBA ’05

Michael Oleshansky, MBA ’05

Managing Director, PSP Partners

Michael Oleshansky is a managing director in the private investments group of PSP Partners, where he leads various facets of transaction execution and portfolio management, as well as internal strategic planning and team development for both PSP Capital and PSP Growth. PSP Partners is a global private investment firm founded by Penny Pritzker, a business builder, civic leader, and philanthropist, and the former US Secretary of Commerce. Prior to joining PSP in 2011, MIchael was a senior investment professional at Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP), a middle-market private investment firm based in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to IOP, he was with Equity Group Investments, a multi-billion dollar private investment firm founded and led by Samuel Zell. He began his career as an investment banker in the mergers and acquisitions group of Merrill Lynch & Co. Michael earned a BS (magna cum laude) in business administration from Miami University and an MBA (with high honors) from Chicago Booth. He currently serves as a board member or observer of several privately-held companies and a member on the finance advisory board of the Miami University Farmer School of Business.

John Oxaal MBA ’81
John Oxaal MBA ’81

John Oxaal MBA ’81

General Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds

 

At Sevin Rosen Funds (SRF), John focuses on imaging, computing, photonics, RF communications, and semiconductors. Before joining SRF in 1999, he cofounded and was CEO of Volumetrics Medical Imaging and was on the founding team of the digital signal processing division of Analog Devices. He holds several patents in the field of real-time volumetric ultrasound imaging. He serves on the boards of AirWavz, Ethertronics, Luxtera, and Metabolon. John is on the board of visitors of Duke University Pratt School of Engineering and on the board of Element Genomics. He holds a BSE in biomedical engineering from Duke University and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Eric Pérez-Grovas
Eric Pérez-Grovas

Eric Pérez-Grovas

Cofounder, Jaguar Ventures

Eric is the cofounder of Jaguar Ventures, a VC fund focused on LATAM internet companies. Eric is in charge of Jaguar´s investments in Mexico, including Ben&Frank, Conekta, Konfio and Nexu. Eric is also cofounder and president of the board of the Mexican AssociaNon of Online Sales (AMVO), which among other things, organizes the most relevant e-commerce event in Mexico: HotSale. He also serves as board member of Walmart of Mexico and Central America, Kinedu, and Viajamex. Eric was distinguished by Endeavor as part of the top five influencers in the Mexican Technology Ecosystem. He was also named by BBVA as one of the top Innovators in Mexico. Eric actively participates in non-profits, serving as a board member of CMR Foundation. Eric’s internet experience began in 1999 when he opened and managed Mercadolibre’s Mexican operations. He also worked in consulting at McKinsey & Co. and Bain & Co., and held management positions at Cemex and Satmex. Eric holds a bachelor’s in industrial engineering, summa cum laude, from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. He received an MBA and MPP from Stanford, where he was elected co-president of the GSB Latin American Student Association and vice-president of the Mexican Student Association. Eric is also a Kauffman Fellow.

Deborah Quazzo
Deborah Quazzo

Deborah Quazzo

Managing Partner, GSV AcceleraTE Fund

 

 

 

Deborah is the managing partner of GSV AcceleraTE Fund, a venture capital fund investing in exceptional entrepreneurs and their companies in the $75B education and talent technology sector. In addition, she is the cofounder and managing partner of the ASU+GSV Summit, and founder and senior advisor of GSV Advisors. Now in its 10th year, the ASU GSV X Summit celebrates innovations and innovators across the global “preK to Gray” learning and talent landscape and attracts over 4,000 attendees. Deborah graduated cum laude with a BA in history from Princeton University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Linnea Roberts, MBA ’90
Linnea Roberts, MBA ’90

Linnea Roberts, MBA ’90

Founder and CEO, GingerBread Capital; Former Partner, Goldman Sachs

 

Linnea is a retired partner of Goldman Sachs. Linnea joined Goldman as a partner in 2004 and served as co-head of technology within the global technology, media, and telecom group through 2011. Most recently, Linnea served as diversity ambassador for the Investment Banking Division. Prior to joining Goldman, Linnea served as co-head of Lehman Brothers’ global technology group from 2001 to 2004. Before joining Lehman Brothers in 1990, she was assistant controller of OroAmerica from 1987 to 1988 and a senior auditor for Price Waterhouse from 1984 to 1987. Linnea created GingerBread Capital, a venture firm focused on investing in women founders and entrepreneurs. She also looks to connect great women owned and/or operated businesses with women investors. Linnea serves on the advisory council of Chicago Booth, the board of directors of Valparaiso University, and the board of trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Through the Roberts Foundation, Linnea is deeply involved in creating opportunities for educational equality, job training and creation, and children’s mental and physical health. Linnea serves on the national board of directors and chairs the New York board of Teach for America. She also serves on the national board of New Leaders, the board of directors of the Child Mind Institute, and the Ambassadors Council of Grassroot Soccer.

Jonathan Shulkin
Jonathan Shulkin

Jonathan Shulkin

Partner, Valor Equity Partners

Jon Shulkin is a partner of the firm and the designated fund manager for Valor Siren Ventures. Jon also serves as Valor’s CFO. Jon’s responsibilities include investment prospect generation, investment structuring and execution, capital raising, due diligence of potential acquisitions, and management of the firm’s finance function. Jon currently serves on the boards of directors of eatsa, Fooda, goPuff, Roti, and Wow Bao. Jon serves as a member of Valor’s investment committee. Jon began his focus on food and retail technology with Valor’s 2006 acquisition of Sizzling Platter, LLC. Jon has over 15 years of experience in private equity investing. Prior to Valor, Jon was part of MG Capital’s investment and portfolio team, where he worked on acquisition teams focused on executing transactions in the electronic connector industry. Jon served in operational roles at MG Capital’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining MG Capital, Jon worked with Bain & Company as an associate consultant. He worked in Dallas, Texas and Sydney, Australia for various Fortune 500 clients, in addition to consulting for leveraged buyout firms. Jon’s consulting experience includes portfolio analysis, marketing, joint ventures, operational efficiency, purchasing, and acquisition initiatives. Jon has served on the boards of directors of several charitable organizations, including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Chicago Children’s Museum. He is the former chair of the board of trustees for the Lycée Français de Chicago, and currently sits on the board. Jon holds a bachelor’s in accounting (with honors) from the University of Texas at Austin.

William Spiegel, MBA ’90
William Spiegel, MBA ’90

William Spiegel, MBA ’90

Co-president and Founding Partner, Pine Brook Partners

William Spiegel is responsible for managing Pine Brook’s financial services investing activities. He is also a member of the firm’s management committee and investment committee. He represents Pine Brook as a board director of Fair Square Financial Holdings LLC, Fidelis Insurance Holdings Ltd., and Global Atlantic Financial Group. William is also a board director of publicly-traded mortgage insurer Essent Group Ltd. William has 28 years of private equity investment experience. Before cofounding Pine Brook, he was with the Cypress Group from its inception in 1994 until 2006, leading its financial services and healthcare investing activities. Before joining the Cypress Group, William worked in the merchant banking group at Lehman Brothers. He has served on the boards of directors of 19 companies, including seven publicly traded corporations. William holds a bachelor’s in economics from the London School of Economics, a masters in economics from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Nancy Sullivan
Nancy Sullivan

Nancy Sullivan

CEO and Managing Director, IllinoisVENTURES

 

Nancy serves as the CEO and managing director of IllinoisVENTURES. With over 15 years of experience in the commercialization and entrepreneurial sector, Nancy leads the IllinoisVENTURES investment portfolio. She oversees over $75 million in assets under management. Nancy is responsible for overall fund operations including serving as the main point of contact for limited partner base and the investment management of leading portfolio companies. She promotes the development of new companies commercializing complex technologies by assisting the companies in obtaining venture capital funding, recruiting management talent and obtaining necessary business services. She serves on the boards of two Chicago based start-ups, Personify and Diagnostic Photonics. Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola University, her MBA from Northwestern University, and a master’s in biotechnology from Northwestern.

Immanuel Thangaraj, MBA ’93
Immanuel Thangaraj, MBA ’93

Immanuel Thangaraj, MBA ’93

Managing Director, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures

 

Immanuel serves as managing director of the firm’s legacy venture capital funds Essex Woodlands Funds. He joined EW as a partner in 1996 and was promoted to managing director in 1998. He has 20 years of experience as a seasoned investor in operations, venture capital, and growth equity opportunities. He began his career at ARCH Venture Partners, a leading venture capital firm with over $2B under management which makes early -stage technology and healthcare investments. He left in 1995 to run a startup telecommunications services company called Integrated Telemanagement, which was later sold to Cam-Net Communications. Immanuel serves on the board of directors for Acura Pharmaceuticals, Serene, Kona Medical, and Proteus Digital Health. In addition to the portfolio company boards on which he serves, Immanuel was also responsible for EW’s investment in Microport Scientific Corporation; China Cord Blood Services Corporation; VenturePharm; CBR Systems; iKnowMed Systems; and Novacept. He serves as the cochair of the council of Chicago Booth and the visiting committee of the College. He is also a trustee of Trinity School in Menlo Park, California; on the board of the India Community Center in Milpitas, California; and the former chairman of MAP International. Immanuel holds both a bachelor of arts from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Peter Wilkins
Peter Wilkins

Peter Wilkins

Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels

 

Peter leads Hyde Park Angels (HPA), the most active early-stage investor in the Midwest. HPA is transforming early-stage investing by taking a people-first approach. HPA helps entrepreneurs build incredible companies by leveraging HPA members’ market expertise, industry knowledge, and powerful network, which is comprised of successful entrepreneurs, top business executives and some of the best venture capitalists from across the country. Prior to HPA, Peter successfully founded, built, and turned around companies in multiple industries. He cofounded New Futuro, a socially innovative education company. Before that, Peter worked with KKR Capstone as president of PRIMEDIA Healthcare, where he turned around the company from record losses to record profits and built one of the premier online physician education communities. Prior to PRIMEDIA, Peter successfully served in senior sales and marketing roles for two technology startups that collectively sold for more than $2.8 B. Peter holds a degree in business from Indiana University and graduated from the Chicago Booth Executive Institute. Peter is an active advisor to many entrepreneurs, serves on several boards, and frequently speaks about entrepreneurship and venture capital. He also works with founders and CEOs to maximize personal performance with Omaxen.

Emily White
Emily White

Emily White

President, Anthos Capital

Emily has spent the last two decades helping build and operate some of technology’s most notable companies including Google, Facebook, Instagram and Snap. Currently, Emily is president of Anthos Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm. Emily is also a board member and advisor to companies including lululemon, a public athletic apparel retailer, Zayo, a public a communications infrastructure company, X-Prize, a non-profit devoted to creating industry-changing technology that brings us closer to a sustainable world, Virgin Hyperloop One, a privately-held company out to reinvent transportation and Graco, a 100-year-old public manufacturing company focused on fluid dynamics. She is also an advisor and former board member of the National Center for Women in I.T., a non-profit coalition working to increase the participation of girls and women in computing and technology. Emily is a wife, mother, artist, horseback rider, very bad guitar player, and breast cancer survivor. Prior to joining Anthos, Emily was COO at Snapchat, Inc. Prior to joining Snapchat, Emily was at Facebook where she held several key roles, most notably running business operations at Instagram, where she built and launched monetization. From 2001–2010 Emily worked at Google (employee 200), where she ran North America online sales and operations, Asia Pacific & Latin America online sales and operations, and the emerging businesses channel. Emily received her BA from Vanderbilt University, and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, and many animals.

Kevin Willer, MBA ’10 (XP-79)
Kevin Willer, MBA ’10 (XP-79)

Kevin Willer, MBA ’10 (XP-79)

Partner, Chicago Ventures

Kevin Willer is partner at Chicago Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund where he is overseeing all aspects of Chicago Ventures including fund management, deal sourcing and investments, and working directly with portfolio companies. He joined the fund in June 2013. Previously, Kevin was the president & CEO of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), which manages, operates, and programs 1871, one of the top ranked incubators in the world serving hundreds of startups building their early-stage businesses located at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. During this time, Kevin was also a venture partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital. Previously, Kevin cofounded the Google Chicago office in late 2000. In his over ten years with Google, Kevin helped grow this office to more than 400 professionals and led relationships with some of Google’s largest marketing partners based in the Midwest. Before Google, Kevin held business development positions at CMGI and USRobotics. Kevin is actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations. He was named to Crain’s2011 “40 Under 40” list as well as Crain’s2012 Tech 50 list. He is on the board of trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology and of Loyola University Chicago and is a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago. He currently serves on the boards of NorthShore University HealthSystem, the BigShoulders Fund, ChooseChicago, mHub, World Sport Chicago, the Future Founders Foundation, the CEC, and the inaugural Development Council for USA Soccer. In 2011, he served on the steering committee for Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs and currently is a member of the Mayor’s technology council, ChicagoNEXT. Previously, he was a director of The Economic Club of Chicago and was a trustee of his alma mater, Loyola Academy. Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and studied at the London School of Economics, and he earned his MBA from Chicago Booth.

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