Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon

Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon

Information on the 2023 Rattan L. Khosa SeedCon will be posted soon. For an overview of last year’s conference and speakers, see below.

11:30 - 11:45 a.m. // Introductory Remarks

Madhav Rajan

Madhav Rajan

Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting, Chicago Booth

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Madhav Rajan

Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting, Chicago Booth

Madhav Rajan is Dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. His primary area of research interest is the economics-based analysis of management accounting issues, especially as they relate to the choice of internal control and performance systems in firms. He has carried out analytical, empirical, and field-based research on the role of information in incentive contracting, the value of nonfinancial and subjective performance measures, and the structural properties and usefulness of common financial ratios.

Before joining Booth, Rajan spent 16 years on the faculty of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he was the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting, with a courtesy appointment in the Law School. He served as senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2010-2016, overseeing the school’s MBA program. From 2002-2010, he was area coordinator for the accounting faculty group. Previously, he served on the faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, from 1990-2001.

While at Stanford, Rajan received the Robert T. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service (2017), and the Notable Contribution to Management Accounting Literature Award (2004). He also was the recipient of the David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching at Wharton (2000) and the Alexander Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory (1990).

Rajan has served as editor of The Accounting Review, as well as Associate Editor for both the Accounting and Operations areas for Management Science. He has twice been a plenary speaker at the AAA Management Accounting Conference. He is coauthor of Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis, whose 16th edition was published by Pearson Prentice Hall in January 2017. He is also coauthor of Managerial Accounting, whose first edition was published by Pearson in January 2013. He is a Director of Cavium, Inc. and iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of the iShares Trust.

Rajan received his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Madras, India, and an MS in Accounting, an MS in Industrial Administration, and a PhD in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.

Rattan L. Khosa, ’79

Rattan L. Khosa, ’79

CEO and Founder, AMSYSCO

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Rattan L. Khosa, ’79

CEO and Founder, AMSYSCO

Rattan Khosa, MBA ’79, started AMSYSCO in 1981 out of the basement of his home that he shared with his wife and young son, with lifetime savings of $44,000 and no other financing. After nearly four decades, he has grown it into a highly profitable company that provides post-tensioning systems on commercial structures, and occupies a 55,000 square foot facility; the company captures some 65% market share.

“Starting a business from scratch is like jumping off a cliff in the middle of the night while blindfolded, hoping that there is a safety net down below,” Khosa said.

“When more than 80 percent of companies fail within the first year – even those with ample funding – it’s clear that there is much more to a startup’s success than just money,” Khosa said. “I don’t simply want to provide the money for this new program; I plan to serve as a thought leader, mentor and guide for these aspiring entrepreneurs, so that my years of experience, my struggles and my successes may serve as an additional resource to help them succeed.”

“I know from personal experience that everyone needs help at some point in their lives. No one has succeeded on their own.”

Khosa is actively involved with the Polsky Center as a member of its advisory board, the Polsky Council.

Learn more about Rattan Khosa’s story.>>

11:50 - 12: 45 p.m. // Investor Panel

Lucas Matney

Lucas Matney

Senior Editor, TechCrunch

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Lucas Matney

Senior Editor, TechCrunch

Lucas Matney is a senior editor at TechCrunch based in San Francisco. He has written thousands of stories on early stage startups and venture capital deals since joining TechCrunch in 2015. Matney has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill school.

These days, Matney is focused on coverage of the crypto/web3 industry as well as gaming platforms and the AR/VR space. Since 2016, Matney has also been writing the “Week in Review” newsletter, which is sent to hundreds of thousands of subscribers every Saturday morning.

Dan Wenhold

Dan Wenhold

Partner, Fifth Wall

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Dan Wenhold

Partner, Fifth Wall

Dan Wenhold is a partner at Fifth Wall, where he co-leads the real estate technology investment team. Prior to joining Fifth Wall, Wenhold was the first employee and director of retail at The Black Tux and a growth equity investor at Battery Ventures. Wenhold started his career as a financial analyst at Robert W. Baird.Wenhold was born in Philadelphia, grew up in Chicago, and currently lives in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance.

Sam Yagan

Sam Yagan

Co-Founder & CEO, Corazon Capital

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Sam Yagan

Co-Founder & CEO, Corazon Capital

Sam Yagan serves as co-founder and CEO of Corazon Capital, an early stage venture capital firm. He recently served as the chief executive officer of ShopRunner, which provides its millions of members with free two-day shipping and seamless checkout at over 100 leading online retailers; in 2020, he led the sale of ShopRunner to FedEx. Prior to ShopRunner, Sam served as vice-chairman of Match Group, a position he assumed after leading the company as chief executive officer through a period of explosive growth that culminated in its IPO in 2015. 

In addition to its two early-stage funds, Corazon Capital also manages a fund-of-funds and two crypto-focused special-purpose vehicles. Several of Corazon’s portfolio companies have achieved meaningful success, including Pretty Litter, LitCharts, Brilliant Worldwide, Pinterest, Knock, and Telnyx. 

Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes (founded in 1999), still the dominant brand of study guides and eDonkey (founded in 2002), once the largest peer-to-peer file- sharing network in the world. He sold SparkNotes to iTurf and then to Barnes & Noble, where he served as vice-president and publisher and oversaw the expansion of the digitally-native brand into an expansive multi-platform media business. He also co-founded OkCupid, which he led as its CEO through its sales to Match Group in 2011. 

Outside of work, Sam devotes himself to mentoring technology entrepreneurs and civic leaders. In 2009, he co-founded Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first chief executive officer. Sam sits on the board of several private companies, including Chamberlain Group, SpotHero, Brilliant Worldwide, and Grindr. He also advises several venture capital funds, including Hyde Park Venture Partners and the FireStarter Fund, which he co- founded. He serves on the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Fund Board, and previously served on Target Corp’s Digital Advisory Council, the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, and as an advisor to Procter & Gamble. He also sits on the boards of nonprofits Start Early, Leaders in Tech, and the Rush University Medical Center. 

Sam has earned recognition on TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune Magazine‘s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50″ and “40 Under 40”, Billboard Magazine’s ”30 Under 30,” D Magazine’s “Dallas 500” and ranked #19 on Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.” He has received the Chicago Innovation Awards’ “Visionary of the Year Award,” IMSA’s “Distinguished Leadership Award,” the DCIA’s “Pioneer’s Award,” and admission to Chicago Innovation’s Hall of Fame. Sam has testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and has spoken at the CATO Institute, Digital Hollywood, IRCE, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous other industry events. 

Sam has a BA with honors in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned distinction as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the award granted to each class’s valedictorian. 

Dami Osunsanya MBA ’15

Dami Osunsanya MBA ’15

Head of Value Creation, Softbank's SB Opportunity Fund

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Dami Osunsanya MBA ’15

Head of Value Creation, Softbank's SB Opportunity Fund

Dami Osunsanya is head of value creation for the SoftBank Opportunity Fund, where she’s charged with helping the portfolio companies grow and scale.  At SoftBank, she’s led ecosystem partnerships and value creation work for companies in SoftBank’s $100B Vision Fund including WeWork, Uber, Bytedance, amongst others. She also created and launched SoftBank’s early-stage global accelerator, Emerge, where she led the sourcing, investing and support of companies across health tech, fintech, e-commerce, edtech, and software industries, and sat on the investment committee. She’s invested in 12 companies from this inaugural cohort, which has now gone global.  

Prior to joining SoftBank, Osunsanya helped lead Intel’s $75B corporate finance and strategy team, and managed an extensive fulfillment operation with more than 100 employees, filling 15,000 orders a day at McMaster-Carr. She’s also led operations and finance teams at Sprint Corporation and Kraft Foods. 

Osunsanya holds a degree in finance and Chinese from Emory University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Sara Garson, MBA ’16

Sara Garson, MBA ’16

Director, 25madison

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Sara Garson, MBA ’16

Director, 25madison

Sara Garson invests in and builds early-stage start-ups at 25madison, a venture studio and fund. Prior to 25madison, Garson spent 6 years building consumer startups. She was the fifth employee at Daily Harvest, one of the fastest growing ecommerce brands, where she was responsible for launching and scaling their end-to-end supply chain. She then founded a venture-backed party supplies brand called Coterie. At 25madison, Sara is applying her experience as a founder and operator to help ideate, launch and invest in the next generation of brands.

LLoyd Rothenberg

LLoyd Rothenberg

Partner, Loeb & Loeb

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LLoyd Rothenberg

Partner, Loeb & Loeb

Lloyd Rothenberg works with early-stage growth and more mature companies — primarily in the evolving areas of technology, media, marketing and advertising — to help these businesses succeed through mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and equity financings, joint ventures, and other strategic transactions. 

He represents multinational companies, closely held and family-owned businesses, and private equity and venture capital investors in matters ranging from day-to-day business activities to financing and corporate transactions. He is passionate about working closely with innovative startups and their founders, and is regularly called upon to advise during an organization’s earliest stages. 

Rothenberg negotiates complex merger agreements and stock, membership interest, and asset purchase and sale agreements, primarily for intellectual property and technology-centric businesses, including in the payments technology area. In addition, he structures stockholder and limited liability company agreements and subscription and contribution agreements related to raising seed stage and venture capital for the formation of new ventures. 

He is known for his extensive experience representing startup and high-growth companies from emerging markets, most notably Israel, in capital raising and corporate finance matters. Rothenberg serves as outside corporate counsel to leading Israeli tech companies and is a frequent speaker and thought leader on corporate innovation and investment issues. 

Rothenberg also has experience advising prominent media personalities in corporate matters. Most notably, he represented Oprah Winfrey in her groundbreaking strategic partnership with Weight Watchers International, a sale of a portion of her investment in OWN – The Oprah Winfrey Network, a joint venture with Kraft Heinz and an equity investment in True Food Kitchen.

12:50 - 1:30 p.m. // Lunch and Learn: Building Chicago

Ira Weiss, MBA ’99, PhD ’01

Ira Weiss, MBA ’99, PhD ’01

Clinical Professor of Accounting and Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth; General Partner, Hyde Park Venture Partners

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Ira Weiss, MBA ’99, PhD ’01

Clinical Professor of Accounting and Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth; General Partner, Hyde Park Venture Partners

Ira Weiss is a clinical professor of accounting and entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth, and a partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners.  At Chicago Booth, Weiss teaches accounting, entrepreneurship and venture capital. Weiss has been actively investing in private companies for the past 20 years and has made over 150 venture capital and angel investments.  Weiss formerly served as the faculty liaison to Hyde Park Angels, and was formerly a partner at RK Ventures, a NY based pledge fund. 

Weiss currently serves on various boards as a director or observer, including Cove Markets, FourKites, LandscapeHub, Leap, NestEgg, PartySlate, and ShipBob. Previously, Weiss was on the board of Concerro (acquired by API Healthcare) and also a board member or an observer at Ahalogy (acquired by NYSE: QUOT), G2Crowd, and Streamlink Software.  His most notable exited investments include Rackspace (NASD: RAX), Avid Radiopharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly), Edusoft (acquired by Houghton Mifflin), and Axioma (acquired by Deutsche Borse and General Atlantic). Weiss started his career as an accountant at Coopers and Lybrand, and received his MBA from Chicago Booth and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Neal Sales-Griffin

Neal Sales-Griffin

Managing Director, Techstars Chicago

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Neal Sales-Griffin

Managing Director, Techstars Chicago

Neal Sales-Griffin is currently the Managing Director for Techstars Chicago, Techstars is a Worldwide Network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006 by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams are able to connect to other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners that will help their companies grow. 

Previously, he served as the CEO of CodeNow, a Y Combinator-backed nonprofit that hosts coding workshops for students from low-income backgrounds in six cities across the US. Before heading CodeNow, Sales-Griffin was the CEO of The Starter League, an institution determined “to teach everyone to code,” with an innovative curriculum and strong alumni connections. He also serves as a coordinator to the non-profit International Game Developers Association (IGDA®). Sales-Griffin lends his mentorship to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.Sales-Griffin earned his B.S. in Education and Social Policy (with a concentration in Learning and Organizational Change), and his Minor in Business Institutions from Northwestern University in 2009. He currently also serves as a Faculty Coach at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, while also teaching ENTREP 325: Engineering Entrepreneurship for the Farley Center.

Joey Mak

Joey Mak

Managing Director, ChicagoBlend

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Joey Mak

Managing Director, ChicagoBlend

Joey Mak is Chicago:Blend’s first executive director and leads the organization’s efforts to build a more inclusive venture capital and startup community for the region. Before joining Blend in 2021, Mak was the vice president of programs at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, where he created their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative and oversaw the Chamber’s COVID-19 economic recovery task force. Prior, Mak served as director of innovation & economic development for University of Illinois System and as a deputy director at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. 

Mak currently serves on the board of directors for the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, a non-profit social services agency serving low-income immigrants and refugees. In 2019, Mak was included on the Notable LBGTQ Executives list by Crain’s Chicago Business. He is a proud resident of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

Julie White Schuster, MBA ’21

Julie White Schuster, MBA ’21

Venture Program Manager, World Business Chicago

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Julie White Schuster, MBA ’21

Venture Program Manager, World Business Chicago

Julie White Schuster leads venture programs for World Business Chicago (WBC),  a public-private partnership between the city of Chicago, philanthropies, and the business community aimed at driving inclusive economic growth. In her role as venture program manager,  she runs the Chicago Venture Summit, the city’s flagship VC conference and one of the largest events in the Midwest region, and Startup Chicago, WBC’s startup growth and venture attraction program connecting investors with 200+ venture-ready entrepreneurs. In 2019, Schuster co-founded the United State of Women startup accelerator to empower women-owned businesses on the South and West sides of Chicago. She also volunteers with GET Cities as an active member of their tech equity working group.

Prior to her role at WBC, she worked in the non-profit arts world as tourism marketing manager for the Art Institute of Chicago and in foreign trade as the project manager and trade promotion specialist at the Taiwan Trade Center. She also lived and worked in Asia from 2010 to 2014, becoming fluent in Mandarin. Schuster graduated from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2021 with concentrations in entrepreneurship, strategic management, general management, and economics. While at Booth, she participated in the New Venture Challenge where her team was a finalist, in addition to the Private Equity Case Competition, the Venture Capital Investment Competition and the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge. Schuster also worked as a student intern with various family offices and search funds during her time at Booth. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College where she studied art history, asian studies, and international affairs.

1:35 - 2:30 p.m. // Founder Panel

Mark Tebbe

Mark Tebbe

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth and Chairman, ChicagoNEXT

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Mark Tebbe

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth and Chairman, ChicagoNEXT

After many years of judging and mentoring Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), Tebbe brings a wealth of successful entrepreneurial experience into the classroom by leveraging his founding of two NASDAQ-listed corporations as well as direct involvement in numerous startup and high-growth companies over the past thirty-five years. For over ten years, as both an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Polsky Center, Tebbe aids students in their entrepreneurial efforts and helps other professors enhance their classes. Outside of the classroom, Tebbe serves as chairman of World Business Chicago’s Innovation and Venture Strategy Council, a dedicated public-private effort to improve Chicago’s economic development as well as national and world competitiveness in science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Jasmine Shells, MBA ’21

Jasmine Shells, MBA ’21

CEO, Five to Nine

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Jasmine Shells, MBA ’21

CEO, Five to Nine

Jasmine Shells is the co-founder & CEO of Five to Nine – an event management and evaluation software for program leaders at companies. A few of Five to Nine’s customers include DoorDash, MasterClass, and Yahoo, among others.

Shells was named Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology, a Google for Startups recipient, and a US Department of State Fellow for teaching entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Shells graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where she was named an entrepreneurial scholar.

Shells currently serves on the board of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and on advisory committees for P33 Chicago All Raise Chicago. Shells also teaches entrepreneurship to companies, universities and non-profits globally and previously served on Notre Dame’s Black Alumni Board. She’s been featured in Vice, Forbes, Business Insider, TEDx, Black Enterprise, Yahoo Finance, and Marketwatch.

Navrina Singh

Navrina Singh

Founder & CEO, Credo AI

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Navrina Singh

Founder & CEO, Credo AI

Navrina Singh is the founder of Credo AI and a technology leader with over 18 years experience in Enterprise SaaS, AI and Mobile. Singh has held  multiple product and business leadership roles at Microsoft and Qualcomm. Singh is an executive board  member of Mozilla guiding their trustworthy AI charter. Singh is also a young global leader with the world economic forum and was on their future council for AI guiding policies and regulations in responsible AI. Singh holds a MS in electrical and computer engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison, an executive MBA from University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and a BS in electronics and telecommunication from India.

Ray Sturm, MBA ’07

Ray Sturm, MBA ’07

Co-founder & CEO, AlphaFlow

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Ray Sturm, MBA ’07

Co-founder & CEO, AlphaFlow

As co-founder and CEO of AlphaFlow, Ray Strum is obsessed with ensuring that users have a good experience while getting up to speed within the real estate investing space. He created AlphaFlow to empower real estate investors with the data, transparency and tracking that used to be accessed only by investment professionals.

Strum is a leading entrepreneur in financial technology. Prior to launching AlphaFlow, he founded RealtyShares, one of the industry’s top platforms for real estate investing. His early career in finance included investment banking at Bear Stearns, Lazard Frères and CCMP Capital and serving as director of business development for SmartDrive Systems. Strum has a BBA-Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a JD/MBA from the University of Chicago.

Outside of the office, Strum enjoys hiking, camping, and working on his small pinot noir production in Oregon.

 

Kendra Kawala

Kendra Kawala

Co-founder & COO, Maker

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Kendra Kawala

Co-founder & COO, Maker

Kendra Kawala is the COO and co-founder at Maker Wine, a venture-backed, direct-to-consumer canned wine company. Maker has raised funds from some of the best investors in Silicon Valley, business, entertainment, and sports, and is quickly changing the way we experience wine with the highest rated canned wine in the world. A Chicago native, Kawala did her undergraduate at Vanderbilt and MBA at Stanford, where she co-founded a wine-tech company and subsequently put down roots in Marin County, California.

2:45 - 3:45 p.m. // Executive Panel

Alyssa Rapp

Alyssa Rapp

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth

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Alyssa Rapp

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth

As of February 2021, Alyssa Rapp joined the ranks of one of the few women to launch a special-purpose acquisition corporation (“SPAC”), by filing an S-1 with the SEC for Healthwell Acquisition Corporation I.

Previously, Rapp served as the CEO of Surgical Solutions, hired first by Chicago-based private equity firm Sterling Partners in January 2018. Within six months, she was named one of Crain’s Chicago’s “Notable Women in Health Care”, and made the list for a second year in a row in 2019. She was also named one of the Top 100 Healthcare Leaders by the International Forum on Advancements in Healthcare in 2019.  In February 2020, Rapp shepherded a transaction of Surgical Solutions to a private equity-backed, global strategic player in the healthcare services space, Grupo Vitalmex, and remained CEO of the company’s U.S. subsidiary post-transaction.

Starting in 2014, Rapp joined the ranks as a lecturer-in-management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She was also named an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School, commencing April 2020, to create and teach a course on Women as CEOs, investors, directors, and executives.

From 2005-2015, Rapp served as the founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine, craft beer, and artisanal spirit industries.  During the Bottlenotes years, Rapp was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs in America (September 2008) and routinely one of the wine industry’s top 25 of 100 most influential people by Intowine.com (2012 onward). Bottlenotes also received the “Best Advertising and Marketing Company” and the “People’s Choice Award” at the Empact 100 in September 2013 at the United Nations, honoring the top 100 companies with founders under 35.

Rapp earned a B.A. in political science and the history of art from Yale University in 2000 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2005. At Yale, she earned the Frank M. Patterson prize for the best essay on the American political system for her senior thesis on public housing reform in Chicago. Rapp was honored to have been appointed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner  in 2015 to serve a four-year term on the board of directors of the Illinois Housing Development Authority. She served on the organization’s audit committee during her tenure, auditing $1B of assets and $100MM operating expenses in partnership with KPMG. In March 2020, Governor Rauner’s Successor, Governor JB Pritzker, appointed Rapp to the Illinois Humanities Council. In April 2021, Rapp was elected to the School Board of District 36 in Illinois.

When not immersed in business and civic life, Rapp loves to Peloton, do yoga, ski fast, and try as hard as possible to decipher a slider from a curve ball from her husband, 1990 MLB World Series champion and current partner at X10 Capital, Hal Morris. Rapp and Hal are the proud parents of Audrey Margaret Morris and Henriette Daniella Morris.

Rob Webb, JD MBA ’07

Rob Webb, JD MBA ’07

SVP Growth, Tonal

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Rob Webb, JD MBA ’07

SVP Growth, Tonal

Rob Webb is the senior vice president of growth at Tonal where he oversees all aspects of paid media, analytics, ecommerce and financing. Webb also ran the pilot and launch of the inside sales, retail and hospitality programs at Tonal. Prior to Tonal, Webb was the chief operating officer and acting CMO at Liftopia, and also has product leadership experience from his time at AdRoll and WebTrends. Additionally, Webb is a growth advisor to a variety of startups and served as board chair of Protect our Winters for three years. He graduated from Colby College and holds a JD/MBA from The University of Chicago Law School and Chicago Booth.

Rohit Tripathi, MBA ’05

Rohit Tripathi, MBA ’05

Chief Product Officer, Honeywell

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Rohit Tripathi, MBA ’05

Chief Product Officer, Honeywell

Rohit Tripathi is the chief product officer at Honeywell, driving transformation of the product portfolio to become software, autonomous centric with an emphasis on sustainability. Prior to Honeywell, Tripathi spent 13 years at SAP, including 7 years as the SVP and chief product officer of SAP Digital Interconnect.

Tripathi holds an MBA with high honors from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago; M.S. in engineering from Iowa State University and B.TECH. from IIT Kanpur. He has been elected to various honor societies in the field of business and engineering based on his accomplishments. He is also an avid long distance runner and actively participates in half marathons and marathons around the globe.

Peggy O’Flaherty

Peggy O’Flaherty

Co-Founder & Chief Community Officer, Mavely

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Peggy O’Flaherty

Co-Founder & Chief Community Officer, Mavely

Peggy O’Flaherty is an accomplished entrepreneur, author and community-centric business leader with over 30 years of experience managing and growing female-founded and mission-driven businesses and organizations. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Start-up Hustle, Chicago Inno, Business Insider, Women’s Wear Daily, Modern Retail, and more. 

In her current venture as the co-founder and chief community officer of Mavely, O’Flaherty has merged her experience in consumer engagement, fundraising, sales, and account management with data-driven and growth-oriented functional solutions. O’Flaherty co-founded the Mavely platform to help brands lower their customer acquisition costs and increase their customer lifetime value by leveraging communal commerce and proprietary technology that converts everyday consumers into a virtual salesforce for brands. Mavely’s products include: brand sales teams, a B2B offering that helps brands turn their most loyal customers into dedicated sales teams via exclusive invites; and the Mavely sales team, a network of 25K consumers-turned-sellers who represent some of the world’s top direct to consumer brands. Early adopters of Mavely report having a consistent 3x increase in lifetime value, as well as a 25% decrease in overall customer acquisition costs since joining the program. 

O’Flaherty has found success in start-ups that pivot quickly, stay lean, and remain true to their northstar by building upon their KPI to exceed the expectations of both their customers and their complementary teams. 

O’Flaherty is known by her professional colleagues as someone who inspires them to stay rooted in their strengths and purpose in order to achieve value-driven success. To date, O’Flaherty has built a community of over 30,000 influential men and women who have earned partnerships with over 300 e-commerce brands with an average of 20% conversion.

3:50 - 4:45 p.m. // Keynote

Andy Dunn

Andy Dunn

Co-founder, Bonobos

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Andy Dunn

Co-founder, Bonobos

Andy Dunn co-founded menswear brand Bonobos in 2007 and served as CEO until its 2017 acquisition by Walmart. As an investor, he has backed more than eighty startups, including Warby Parker, Coinbase, Away, Glossier, Real, Parade, ID.me, Dia & Co, Alula, Blueland, SeatGeek, and Ethena. Dunn’s next venture, code named Whipped Cream, is a social media application currently in beta and aims to detoxify digital culture. He also recently finished writing a memoir with Penguin Random House which explores the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental illness. 

Dunn, a graduate of Northwestern and Stanford’s MBA program, was named to Fortune’s 40 under 40 list in 2018. He serves on the boards of Monica + Andy, an organic baby apparel company founded by his sister Monica Royer, the tech social good nonprofit Raised By Us, and the Network for Executive Women. He is a native and current resident of Chicago where he lives with his wife and son.

4:50 - 5:00 p.m. // Closing Remarks

Dan Sachs

Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Education and Programs, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Dan Sachs

Executive Director, Education and Programs, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Dan Sachs serves as the executive director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, he oversees the education and programming functions for the Polsky Center, leading a team in developing co-curricular programs and experiential learning opportunities for students, alumni, faculty, and community entrepreneurs. He is also responsible for developing and nurturing relationships with key stakeholders across UChicago and in the business community.

A seasoned business executive and entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, Sachs has strong ties to Chicago. He recently served as president of Meerkat Advisory, an A-list hospitality and leadership development advisory group, and was a professor of management and entrepreneurship at DePaul University. Before that, he was the founder and owner of BIN 36 Restaurant Group and grew the company’s wine brand domestically as well as to international acclaim. With 25 years of operating experience in the restaurant and service industry, Sachs has become a trusted expert for private equity firms, large hotel corporations, and owners of live entertainment venues. He published the book The Million Dollar Greeting, which provides insights on how to apply hospitality industry best practices to strengthen company profit, customer retention, and employee morale.

Sach earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, a doctorate in business administration specializing in organizational behavior from DePaul University, and a grand diplôme from École de Cuisine La Varenne.

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. // Networking Reception

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