Past Events
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Opening Reception

(TheRoof at the Wit Hotel)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Continental Breakfast and Registration

(Google Chicago)


Welcome Remarks

Mark TebbeChairman, ChicagoNEXT and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth School of Business

Jim Lecinski Vice President, U.S. Sales and Service, Google

Mayor Rahm Emanuel – City of Chicago


Launching a New World’s Platform
Mention virtual reality (VR) and people visualize fantasy worlds; but like the introduction of other new platforms such as the WWW and smartphones, practical applications are not always immediately obvious. VR is one of these new platform opportunities. Industry-leading Professor Steve Lavalle will share how his research was married with the dreams of the Oculus founders to bring us the Rift, but will also open our eyes to where this new platform is going and why we should care.

Steve LaValle – Former Chief Scientist, Oculus & Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Moderated by Mark Tebbe


Startup Spotlight: Xaptum, presented by Rohit Pasam –

Co-Founder and CEO

Introduced by Jai ShekhawatCo-Founder and CEO, Fieldglass


Today’s Universities are Tomorrow’s Startup Foundation
Through curriculum enhancement, laboratory effort commercialization, or leveraging world-class researchers, today’s universities are the powerhouses that are uniquely empowering tomorrow’s entrepreneurial activities. These leading University presidents will offer insights into their directions, approaches and efforts that are underway to help enhance today and tomorrow’s startups.

Alan Cramb – President, Illinois Institute of Technology

Timothy Killeen – President, University of Illinois

Robert Zimmer – President, University of Chicago

Moderated by Noah Wintroub – Vice Chairman, JPMorgan


Startup Spotlight: Caremerge, presented by Asif KhanFounder and CEO

Introduced by Howard Tullman – CEO, 1871


Morning Break


Startup Spotlight: LearnMetrics, presented by Julian Miller Co-Founder and CEO

Introduced by Jessica Yagan – Partner and CEO, Impact Engine 


From the Heartland: Insights from J.B. Pritzker – Managing Partner, Pritzker Group


Lessons Learned by Building Chicago’s Successful Startups

Building a startup is really hard. Historically, building one in Chicago has been even harder. Hear what it has taken to build a successful startup in Chicago from five entrepreneurs who have. The panel will share what makes the Chicago community a great place to build your startup and why outside investors should be looking to Chicago for their future investments.

Shradha Agarwal – Co-Founder and President, ContextMedia

George Bousis – Founder and CEO, Raise

Chris Gladwin – Founder, Cleversafe

Al Goldstein – Founder and CEO, Avant

Andrew Sieja – President and CEO, kCura

Moderated by Jim O’Connor Jr.Chairman, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center & 1871


Remarks from Governor Bruce Rauner State of Illinois

Introduced by Alya Adamany Woods, Director, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago


Luncheon Networking


Startup Spotlight: DRYV, presented by Dan Parsons – Co-Founder

Introduced by Sam Yagan – Vice Chairman, Match Group


The Magic Marriage: Integrating Startups with Corporations

As corporations seek new ways to become intrapreneurial and customer-hungry startups are looking to corporations as anchor partners, their introduction has become mutually beneficial. The Midwest is home to numerous examples of successful partnerships between startups and corporations. This panel will share how startups are integrating with corporations and how corporations are valuing startups.

Jacob Babcock – Founder and CEO, NuCurrent

Rumi MoralesExecutive Director, CME Ventures, CME Group

Reese Schroeder – Managing Director, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital

Adam Tilton – Co-Founder and CEO, Rithmio

Michael Young – General Manager, Caterpillar Ventures

Moderated by Caralynn CollensCEO, UI LABS


Startup Spotlight: Synap, presented by Jeremie Bacon – Co-Founder and CEO

Introduced by Terry Howerton – CEO, TechNexus


Startup Spotlight: AMPY, presented by Tejas Shastry – Co-Founder and CEO

Introduced by Melissa Crounse – Executive Director, The Garage, Northwestern University

Startup Spotlight: Motion AI, presented by David Nelson – CEO

Introduced by Peter Wilkins – Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels


Afternoon Break


Startup Spotlight: PartySlate, presented by Julie Novack – Founder and CEO

Introduced by Nicole Yeary – Founder and CEO, Ms. Tech and Co-Facilitator, WiSTEM


Deploying Private Capital: Insights from the Quiet Capital

Whether from a family office or a wealthy individual, the priorities of private capital are often elusive to startups seeking funding and venture firms seeking LPs. In this panel, this class of quiet capital will share what motivates them, their capital expectations, and the current trends that are capturing their venture-oriented interests.

David Bradley – President, Huizenga Capital Management

Mike Flannery – President, Duchossois Group

Michael Frerichs – Treasurer, State of Illinois

Priya Parrish – Chief Investment Officer, TCS Group

Kim Trautmann – Director, Venture Capital Investments, DRW

Moderated by Michelle SeitzPartner and Head of Investment Management, William Blair & Company


Why MATTER matters, Steve Collens – CEO, MATTER


Startup Spotlight: PhysIQ, presented by Gary Conkright – CEO

Introduced by Steve Collens


Introduction by Chris KeoghPartner, Goldman Sachs

Fireside Chat: Backing the Future

Steve JurvetsonPartner, DFJ
Moderated by Miyuki MatsumotoManaging Director, Global Head of Emerging Entrepreneur Coverage, Goldman Sachs


Closing Comments

Chris GladwinFounder, Cleversafe


Thanks and Final Wrap-up

Mark Tebbe


Networking Reception
(Fulton Market Kitchen)

Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel is the 55th Mayor of the City of Chicago and has served since 2011. During that time he has made the tough choices necessary to secure Chicago’s future as a global capital. The Mayor lengthened the school day and added more than 200 hours to the school year, taking Chicago from having the least educational time of any large school district in the country to being on par with its peers. He implemented full-day kindergarten for every Chicago child, and fought for and won new accountability measures to ensure that every teacher and principal had the necessary resources to succeed. The Mayor’s comprehensive public safety strategy is focused on expanded prevention programs for at-risk youth, smarter policing strategies, and empowering parents and communities to reduce violence in their neighborhoods. He attracted numerous companies to Chicago and helped to build the next generation of start-ups, while investing in the infrastructure, public transportation, open space and cultural attractions that make Chicago a great place to live, work, and play. And he has worked to make our government more effective, to deliver better services at a more competitive price, and to open government to the public.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Emanuel served as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Chicago’s 5th District. He previously served as a key member of the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998, rising to serve as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.

Mayor Emanuel graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981 and received a Master's Degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985. He is married to Amy Rule, and they have three children.
Abby Ross
Company Description
ThinkCERCA is an edtech platform that teaches critical thinking skills through writing across subjects. With students and teachers using its platform in all 50 states and adopted across 200 districts, ThinkCERCA was recognized as the most innovative writing tool by Bill Gates, because of the produced student results. In a recent evaluation of 26 ed tech products, ThinkCERCA had the largest impact on student reading growth, which was four times higher than the next best company.
Adam Koopersmith
Adam joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2004 and primarily focuses on companies dedicated to bringing novel SaaS applications, marketplace-driven solutions or interactive health applications to market. Prior to joining Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Adam held various senior operating and business development roles at Sportvision (the world’s leader in technology-based enhancements for live sports programming, and a Pritzker Group portfolio company), helping the company grow from the “business plan” stage to eight figures in annual revenue. Prior to Sportvision, Adam worked at Berkshire Partners, a leading private equity investment firm with $15 billion of capital under management. Before joining Berkshire, Adam worked as an investment banker for Alex Brown (now Deutsche Bank) and participated in a broad range of merger and acquisition and public equity transactions for mid-sized companies.

Adam currently serves on the boards of Advantage Optics, Analyte Health, Apervita, Firm58, G2 Crowd, Kollective and SilverVue, and works closely with AiCure, Outcome Health, Shiftgig and SpotHero. Adam also serves on the Investment Committee for Chicago Ventures – a seed-stage investment fund. Adam graduated with a B.S. in economics with concentrations in finance and international management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with concentrations in organizational behavior and decision sciences.
Alex Niemczewski
Company Description
BallotReady provides data and tools to drive downballot civic engagement - powered by the most comprehensive and complete dataset to every level of government. In 2016, BallotReady was live in 12 states, covering 15,000 candidates, and had over a million visits to the site. Our bipartisan board of advisors is led by presidential advisor David Axelrod (D) and campaign strategist Mike Murphy (R). By 2018, we will be nationwide, all the way down the ballot.
Amanda Lannert
Amanda Lannert is the Chief Executive Officer of The Jellyvision Lab and has been a key figure in driving the company since its founding in 2001. Under Amanda’s leadership, Jellyvision has become one of Chicago’s fastest growing tech companies, adding about 100 employees a year while remaining cash flow positive. The company has grown to serve hundreds of mostly Fortune 1000 clients with interactive communication solutions for desktop, mobile, and emerging platforms via the company’s digital agency work and ALEX, the most helpful employee decision support platform on the planet ( In 2016, nearly 14 million employees and $91 billion dollars’ worth of premium decisions were entrusted to ALEX. Meanwhile, the company has been recognized as the Best Software Company and Best Culture by the Moxies, the 2015 Lighthouse winner by the ITA, a top 10 best place to work in Chicago by The Chicago Tribune and the #1 place for millennials to work in Chicago according to Crain’s.

Prior to joining The Jellyvision Lab, Amanda managed global brands for Kellogg’s while at Leo Burnett, where she developed strategies and implemented campaigns for Pop-Tarts and Nutri-Grain bars, in addition to spending two years in a new business and new brand development think tank. She attended Haverford College and Edinburgh University.

Amanda was named CEO of the Year at the Moxie Awards in 2014 and 2015, Woman in Tech in 2016, and was recognized as 2016’s Industry Champion by the Illinois Technology Association, and she has been profiled in the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s. She is also active in Chicago’s startup community, having served on the advisory boards of 1871 and Starter League, a board member of NowSecure and JB Training Solutions, and as a member of ChicagoNEXT, an organization dedicated to driving growth and opportunity in the Chicago business community. She also serves as “Super Mentor” for Chicago incubators Impact Engine and TechStars, where she was also named Mentor of the Year. Mrs. Lannert is quick to laugh and enjoys a good cupcake.
Ben Horowitz
Co-founder and Partner
Ben Horowitz is a cofounder and general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and The New York Times bestselling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which is now available in over 16 languages.

Prior to a16z, Ben was cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2007 for $1.6 billion, and was appointed vice president and general manager of Business Technology Optimization for Software at HP. Earlier, he was vice president and general manager of America Online’s E-commerce Platform division, where he oversaw development of the company’s flagship Shop@AOL service. Previously, Ben ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications. He also served as vice president of Netscape’s widely acclaimed Directory and Security product line. Before joining Netscape in July 1995, he held various senior product marketing positions at Lotus Development Corporation.

Ben has an MS in Computer Science from UCLA and a BA in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Ben serves on the board of the following Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies: 21, Capriza, Databricks, Foursquare, Genius, Lyft, Magnet Systems, Medium, NationBuilder, Okta, SignalFX, Tanium, TransferWise, and Usermind. He is also on the board of Columbia University and CODE2040.
Brad Keywell
Co-Founder and CEO
Brad Keywell is the co-founder and CEO of Uptake, the Chicago-based predictive analytics platform delivering products that produce outcomes to make industry more reliable, productive, safe and secure. Uptake empowers companies and people to turn their data into action. Uptake integrates unparalleled data science, machine learning, and state-of-the-art security with deep industry knowledge to deliver results for customers in eight core industries: oil and gas, mining, smart cities, rail, retail, construction, aviation, and energy. In 2015, Uptake was named “Startup of the Year” by Forbes, and has since become the fastest U.S. startup to reach a $2 billion valuation, working with customers such as Caterpillar and Berkshire Hathaway Energy. In 2017, Uptake was ranked in the top five of CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list and was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, an honor bestowed annually on 30 of the world’s most innovative companies.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Brad has co-founded 14 companies – all with a focus on disruption through technology – including Groupon, Echo Global Logistics, Mediaocean, and Lightbank. Brad founded Chicago Ideas in 2011, which has grown into one of the largest, most inclusive and most affordable innovation and ideas gatherings in the world, attracting 30,000+ attendees and 250+ speakers from across the globe to hundreds of events annually. Brad is also the host of the Upside Podcast, a collection of stimulating stories, inspiring guests and thought-provoking ideas that can transform business, the world, and the way we think. Brad earned his J.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan.
Brian Fitzpatrick
Founder & CTO
Brian Fitzpatrick is Founder and CTO of Tock.

Brian started Google's Chicago engineering office in 2005 and led several of Google's global engineering efforts, including the Data Liberation Front, and Transparency Engineering. He also served as internal advisor for Google's open data efforts, having previously led the Google Code and Google Affiliate Network teams. Prior to joining Google, Brian worked as an engineer at CollabNet, Apple, and a local Chicago development shop.

Brian first started contributing to open source software in 1998 and was a core Subversion developer from 2000 to 2005 as well as the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and former VP of Public Relations for the ASF. Brian has written numerous articles and given dozens of presentations, including co-writing "Debugging Teams: Better Productivity Through Collaboration," "Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others," "Version Control with Subversion" (now in its second edition), and chapters for "Unix in a Nutshell" and "Linux in a Nutshell."

Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Brian resides in Chicago.
Chris Campbell
Founder & CEO
Chris Campbell is the CEO and Founder of ReviewTrackers, an award-winning customer feedback software platform for managing online reviews and harnessing the voice of the customer. A digital marketing strategist with over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience, Chris sold his first company (with over $1 million in revenue) at age 19. He has also successfully developed marketing and customer engagement campaigns for the United Nations, Dell, University of Chicago, PepBoys, Nissan, and Jamba Juice, among others. He graduated from DePaul University, where he won the 2009 Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Connect with Chris via:
Twitter: @chrisrcampbell / @reviewtrackers
LinkedIn: Chris Campbell
Chris McGowan
General Partner
Chris McGowan is the General Partner of CJM Ventures (“CJMV”), a Chicago private-equity investment firm. McGowan’s private equity career began 23 years ago with AEA Investors in New York City, after earning an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics from Columbia University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and following two years of mergers and acquisitions training at Morgan Stanley.

After completing an MBA at Harvard Business School, he joined Madison Dearborn Partners (“MDP”), where he co-headed their basic industries practice for the last five years of his 12-year career there. At MDP, he oversaw more than $2 billion of equity investments focused on growth equity and buyouts globally in the industrial, consumer, and energy and power sectors. He continues to serves on the Board of prior MDP portfolio company Boise Cascade (Chairman of Audit Committee, NYSE: BCC) and formerly served on or advised the boards of Smurfit Kappa Group (LN: SKG), BWAY Holdings, FirstWind, US Power Generating, OPENLANE, The Illinois Venture Capital Association, and others.

In 2011, with the help of MDP leadership and mentors, McGowan formed CJMV, a private equity firm focused on buyouts and growth equity investments in companies located near Chicago. CJMV's portfolio includes OPTO International, an Illinois-based manufacturer of retail shelving and display systems; Cedar Capital, a Chicago-based asset management firm; and Autism Home Support Services (“AHSS”), the largest provider in Illinois of home-based therapy for children on the autism spectrum. He is also a member of the Advisory Boards of BigStep Cloud, Rise Interactive, Spikeball, and is a Board observer for Simple Mills.

Since Spring 2012, McGowan has taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (“Booth”), and currently serves there as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, and as an Entrepreneur in Residence and Senior Advisor to Booth’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In Fall 2017, he begins his seventh year teaching Booth’s Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, his fifth year co-teaching Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, and third year conducting the Oxford-Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge.

McGowan is an active angel investor and currently serves as Chairman of the Limited Partner Advisory Committee for Hyde Park Venture Partners Fund I (and a member of Fund II’s Board), on the Board of Directors and Portfolio Advisory Board of Hyde Park Angels, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board for Valley Growth Ventures. His angel investments include, Brilliant, EVA Automation, ExplORer, FarmLogs, FourKites, GeoFeedia, Ingenica Solutions, Hologram, Kenna, LandscapeHub, Luxury Garage Sale, Markit, MAX Analytical, NuCurrent, Occasion, Packback, Pangea, ParkWhiz, Polyphotonix, Psycle London, ShipBob, SonarMed, StreamLink, Tiz, TransparentC, Truss, TurboAppeal and YCharts.

McGowan married his high school sweetheart, Sandy, and they have three children: one attending Walter Payton College Prep, and two attending the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools (“Lab”). At Lab, McGowan has served for seven years on its Board of Directors including four years of leadership of Lab’s Development Committee (two as Chair, two as Co-Chair), including oversight for Lab+, the School’s recently completed $80 million capital campaign. McGowan is the current President of Friends of Walter Payton College Prep (former Chair, Annual Fund), and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, as well as the SHSAA Board of Trustees for Stuyvesant High School, where he attended with Sandy in New York City.
Constance Freedman
Founder & Managing Partner
Constance Freedman is the Founder and Managing Partner of Moderne Ventures and the Moderne Passport Program, an early stage investment fund and industry immersion program focused on investing in technology companies in and around the multi-trillion dollar industries of real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance and home services.

Constance has invested in more than 50 companies and helped bring them to market by partnering 300+ executives and corporations focused on using innovation to create a leading edge within their industry. She is active on company boards, past and present, including DocuSign, Updater, UrbanBound and TaskEasy.

Prior to launching Moderne Ventures, Constance launched and managed the early stage investment fund, Second Century Ventures and founded its accelerator program, REach; she was an investor with Cue Ball and had previously spent 7 years in tech and 3 years in real estate. Constance is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Crain’s Business 40 under 40 and has appeared multiple times on Crain’s Chicago Top Tech 50, Swanopoel’s Power 200 and Inman’s Top 101 in Real Estate.

Constance earned a BS from Boston University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Dan Wagner
Founder & CEO
Dan Wagner is the Founder and CEO of Civis Analytics, a data science technology and advisory firm, working to democratize data science for all organizations.

Before founding Civis Analytics, Dan served as the Chief Analytics Officer on the 2012 Obama campaign, overseeing a 54-person team that provided analytics and technologies for voter contact, digital, paid media, fundraising and communication. His department’s work was credited with “reinventing how national campaigns are done.”

Prior to the campaign, Dan served as the Deputy Voter File Manager during the 2008 Iowa caucuses, and had several Targeting Director roles including the Great Lakes Targeting Desk, National Get Out the Vote (GOTV) and the Democratic National Committee.

Dan was named to the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship in 2016. He received his degree in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Darren Guccione
Co-Founder & CEO
Darren Guccione is the CEO and co-founder of Keeper Security, Inc. creator of Keeper, the world’s most popular password manager and secure digital vault. Keeper is the first and only password management application to be preloaded with mobile operators and device manufacturers including, AT&T, Orange, America Movil and HTC. Keeper has more than 11 million consumer customers and the business solution protects more than 4,000 organizations worldwide. He started the company with extensive experience in product design, engineering and development. At Keeper, Darren leads product vision, global strategy, customer experience and business development.
Desiree Vargas Wrigley
Founder & CEO
Company Description
Pearachute is building the world's largest marketplace for family activities. From classes, to field trips, to camps, we make it easy and affordable for families to discover, book, and drop into the best activities in your city at the touch of a button.
Dhruv Saxena
Dhruv Saxena is the CEO of ShipBob, a technology company that streamlines shipping and fulfillment for e-commerce businesses. Saxena co-founded ShipBob in May 2014 with Divey Gulati, out of Y Combinator. Prior to ShipBoB, he spent two years as a software developer at InContext Solutions. Saxena holds both an MS and BS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
Don Thompson
Co-Founder & CEO
Don Thompson is the Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue and the former President and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation.

Retiring in 2015 after a 25-year career with the Golden Arches, Don and his wife Liz formed Cleveland Avenue, LLC and the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFÉ).

Bringing together global restaurant expertise, a passion for consumer innovation, and a deep respect for entrepreneurs, Don and the Cleveland Avenue team are investing in and accelerating the growth of forward-leaning food and beverage restaurant and retail concepts and brands.

Constantly giving back, Don is a member of numerous civic and community organizations throughout the city of Chicago. He also serves as a Trustee on the board of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education. He is a Director of The Northern Trust Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Beyond Meat and as an Advisory Board member of DocuSign, Inc.

Don received a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an Honorary Doctorate degree in Science from Excelsior College.
Howard Tullman
Howard A. Tullman is the CEO of 1871 in Chicago – where digital startups get their start – and the General Managing Partner for the Chicago High Tech Investment Partners, LLC and for G2T3V, LLC – both Chicago-based venture capital funds. He most recently was the Chairman/CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint College which he co-founded in 2007. He is the former President of Kendall College in Chicago and the former Chairman/CEO of Experiencia, Inc. He is also the Chairman of the Endowment Committee of Anshe Emet Synagogue; a member of Mayor Emanuel's ChicagoNEXT and Cultural Affairs Councils; the Innovate Illinois and Illinois Arts Councils; a member of President Preckwinkle’s New Media Council, an Advisory Board member of HighTower Associates, Built in Chicago, and Imerman Angels, and an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School, as well as a regular guest lecturer at the Northwestern University School of Law. Mr. Tullman also serves as a Director of Vehcon, SnapSheet, and PackBack Books and served as a long-time Director and Board Chairman of The Cobalt Group, a Trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and of the New York Academy of Art and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, and as the lead Director (and briefly Chairman) of The Princeton Review. Over the last 48 years, he has successfully founded more than a dozen high-tech companies. @tullman @1871Chicago
Ira Weiss
Founder & Partner
Ira is a partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners and a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he teaches entrepreneurship and tax strategy. Ira has been actively investing in private companies for the past 15 years and has made over 125 venture capital and angel investments. Prior to his role at Hyde Park Venture Partners, Ira was a managing director of RK Ventures, a NY based pledge fund. Ira’s primary investing interests are technology-enabled consumer and business services and healthcare IT.

Ira currently serves on various boards as a director or observer, including FourKites, Parkwhiz, and ShipBob. Previously, Ira was on the board of Concerro (sold to API Healthcare) and also a board member or an observer at Ahalogy, G2Crowd, PartySlate and Streamlink Software. His most notable prior investments include Rackspace (NASD: RAX), Avid Radiopharmaceuticals (sold to Eli Lilly), Edusoft (sold to Houghton Mifflin), and Axioma. Ira started his career as an accountant at Coopers and Lybrand, and received both his MBA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
J.B. Pritzker
J.B. Pritzker is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He is founder of Pritzker Group, a private investment firm with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Pritzker Group has three principal investment teams: Private Capital, which acquires and operates leading North America-based companies; Venture Capital, which provides early-stage and growth venture funding to technology companies throughout the United States; and Asset Management, which partners with top-performing investment managers across global public markets.

Pritzker Group Private Capital acquires North America-based middle-market companies with leading positions in the manufactured products, services and healthcare sectors. Pritzker Group brings significant resources, expertise and credibility in building businesses and is an ideal partner for entrepreneur- and family-owned companies.

Pritzker Group Venture Capital, founded in 1996 as New World Ventures, is the largest technology venture investor based in the Midwest. The firm invests nationally in rapidly growing technology companies during their early and growth stages, with a principal focus on enterprise, consumer, digital health and emerging technologies.

Pritzker Group Asset Management partners with leading investment managers across the global public markets.

Mr. Pritzker has won numerous business awards, including EY’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award, ACG’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Tech Investor of the Year by the Moxie Awards, Entrepreneur Champion by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and numerous awards from Young Presidents Organization.

Mr. Pritzker earned an A.B. in political science from Duke University and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law. He lives in Chicago with his wife, M.K., and their two children.
Jai Shekhawat
Founder & Former CEO
Jai Shekhawat is the Founder and former CEO of Fieldglass, a cloud platform for the management of contingent labor and services. Under his leadership, Fieldglass grew globally with users in 100+ countries in 30 languages and emerged as the largest firm in the world in the fast growing vendor management software category. He was Ernst & Young's 2012 Midwest "Entrepreneur of the Year" as well as the 2012 recipient of the Peter Yessne Staffing Innovator Award, recognized for pioneering the Vendor Management Software (VMS) space. Fieldglass was also recognized as the Illinois Venture Capital Association's 2014 Private Equity Portfolio Company of the Year and has received many other awards. The company was acquired by SAP in 2014.

Jai is a former strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company where he served clients in areas of corporate strategy, technology and cross-border alliances. He is also a former senior executive at Syntel, a software services firm in Michigan and the co-founder of Quinnox, an application outsourcing firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Jai is a Trustee of the Field Museum of Chicago, serves on the Board of 1871 (Chicago's entrepreneurial hub for digital startups), on Governor Rauner’s Illinois Council for Innovation and is a member of the Commercial Club and the Commonwealth Club of Chicago. He is an adviser to Starvest Partners, a New York based venture capital firm and serves as an Advisory Board Chairman for Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago. He currently serves on the Boards of Signal, Semantify, Fleet Complete, Highground, Utopia, HealthEngine, Four Kites, Xaptum, SomruS, BlueCat Networks and OfficeLuv along with being an investor and adviser to many high growth firms. He is a founding member of the Firestarter Fund, which mentors and invests in Chicago startups. He has previously served on the Mayor’s Council of Technology Advisers, the Technology Membership Committee of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Board of Tie-Midwest and the Board of MetroSquash. He is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and strategy at the Kellogg and Booth Business Schools as well as at various industry events.

Jai holds an MBA with specializations in finance and strategy from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and a bachelor's degree in management science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India.
Jennifer Fried
Co-Founder & CEO
Digital playbook for surgery and interventional procedures.
Jessica Tenuta
Co-Founder & CPO
Company Description
Packback is a smart discussion platform that uses AI to teach college students how to ask better questions, and be self-led in their learning. Where most discussion solutions are clunky, manual and disengaging, Packback is automated and social.

30K students from 50 universities are currently using Packback, and they have created over 1 million posts to-date.

Packback counts Mark Cuban, Howard Tullman, and Mark Tebbe among its investors, and has raised 3.5 Million in funding to date.
Jim Dallke
Associate Editor
Jim Dallke is the Associate Editor at Chicago Inno, a digital media company that covers local innovation. As part of the team that launched Chicago Inno in 2014, Jim covers the ins and outs of Chicago's startup and tech scene. Prior to Chicago Inno, Jim was a reporter at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper in Chicago's Northwest suburbs. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Jim Lecinski
Vice President
Lecinski is the Vice President of U.S. Sales and Services at Google, working with major brand marketers and media agency partners in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Healthcare, Restaurant, B2B and Local Markets industry verticals. Prior to Google, he had held leadership positions at ad agencies DDB, marchFirst, Young & Rubicam, and EuroRSCG.

Lecinski also holds the positions of Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern's Medill School and Visiting Executive Lecturer at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business. His book about the new marketing model, "Winning the Zero Moment of Truth" known as ZMOT (pronounced: "Zhee MAHT”) was published in 2011, and has been read by over 300,000 marketers worldwide and featured in the New York Times, Advertising Age and Forbes.
Jimmy Odom
Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Jimmy Odom was co-founder and Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of Intersect Illinois, the State’s public-private partnership driving business and economic opportunity. He is the immediate past Senior Advisor for Minority Business Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. In that role, Jimmy worked with communities across the state to help create, develop, and mature minority-owned businesses in the State of Illinois. Before joining the Department of Commerce, Jimmy founded WeDeliver, the largest hyper-local logistics service in Chicago. As CEO of WeDeliver, Jimmy was responsible for creating, communicating and implementing the vision, mission, and corporate direction. Prior to launching WeDeliver, Jimmy worked at Apple Inc. as the Head of Customer Experience for the Midwest region. Jimmy has been recognized by many business leaders within the Midwest entrepreneurial community. IBM awarded his team North America’s Most Innovative Company Award (2014). The Chicago Urban League presented him with the Chicago Urban League Innovator Award that same year (2014). He was featured on Crain’s Business Chicago’s 50 Most Influential People list (2014) and at the Moxie Awards, his peers voted him the Best Founder in Chicago (2014).
John Flavin
Associate Vice President
John Flavin leads the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which drives the creation of new businesses at the University of Chicago and on Chicago’s South Side. In this role, he helped the University of Chicago Medicine attract a $100 million gift from the Duchossois family to further research into how the bacteria in our bodies influence wellness and disease, and then commercialize the new treatments that emerge from laboratory discoveries.

Prior to leading the Polsky Center, Flavin launched the Polsky Exchange, a 34,000-square-foot incubator, fabrication lab, and co-working space for university and community entrepreneurs. The Exchange, located on 53rd Street in Hyde Park, now has more than 3,500 members.

Flavin helped launch and scale Chicago Innovation Mentors, a consortium of Illinois universities and national labs supporting faculty-led startups, and co-founded MATTER, Chicago health-tech startup hub. He has also co-founded and built several biotech companies, raised more than $250 million in private and public capital, and led two successful NASDAQ IPOs. Flavin holds a BS from Marquette University and a MBA from Lewis University. He is a board member at the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. He serves on Governor Bruce Rauner’s Illinois Innovation Council, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ChicagoNEXT technology council, and the City of Chicago’s Small Business Advisory Committee.
John Pletz
Senior Reporter
John Pletz covers technology, venture capital and startups for Crain’s Chicago Business. He joined Crain’s a decade ago from the American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, where he directed the paper’s technology coverage. He is a University of Illinois graduate.
Julie Novack
Co-Founder & CEO
Company Description
PartySlate is a beautifully designed platform where leading event professionals share their work with the world, build their brand, collaborate with clients and drive leads. In turn, people planning larger scale parties can find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to corporate events, connect with top local event professionals and find stunning venues.
Karen Kerr
Managing Director
At GE Ventures, Karen Kerr leads a team focused on making investments and developing partnerships in the advanced manufacturing ecosystem. Karen came to GE with two decades of experience in developing technology based businesses and venture investing. Previously she served as Senior Director of New Ventures and Alliances at the University of Southern California (USC) Stevens Center for Innovation where she was responsible for accelerating the formation of startup companies out of university research.

Highly acclaimed, Karen was named one of LA’s Top Innovators in 2012 by C Suite Quarterly, selected to C200 leading business women in 2004, and selected by Crain’s Chicago Business for its 40 under 40 list of leading business professionals in Chicago. Karen earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago and an AB in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College.
Kathryn Madden
Company Description
OfficeLuv creates happier and more productive workplaces by centralizing office services through one product. We combine on-site personnel with technology to help office management teams off load tasks, restock and order supplies and groceries, manage vendors, gather employee insights, and analyze office spend. Headquartered in Chicago, OfficeLuv works with over 250 customers helping them create a better office experience.
Kevin Willer
Kevin is a Co-Managing 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.

From 2011 to 2013, Kevin was the President & CEO of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The CEC manages, operates, and programs 1871, a leading co-working center serving hundreds of startups building their early-stage businesses located at Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart. Since opening in May 2012, 1871 has welcomed thousands of visitors to events and curated hundreds of workshops and office hours with mentors for entrepreneurs. During Kevin’s time there, high-profile visitors included former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, AOL Founder Steve Case, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy, and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen - shining a spotlight on Chicago’s growing startup community nationally and globally. During this time, Kevin was also a Venture Partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, overseeing their early-stage Seed Investments.

Previously, Kevin co-founded the Google Chicago office in late 2000. In his over 10 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, an early internet incubator, and USRobotics, the pioneer in modem technology.

Kevin is actively involved in several civic and charitable organizations. He was named to Crain’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list as well as Crain’s 2012 Tech 50 list. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology and of Loyola University 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, the Campaign Committee for The 606, 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 his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business (’10) where he previously served on the Executive Advisory Board for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College (’96) and studied at the London School of Economics. Kevin, his wife Victoria, and their children, Jacqueline, Max and Lizzie, reside in Winnetka.
Kristi Ross
Co-CEO & President
Kristi Ross is the co-CEO and President of dough, Inc. dba tastytrade (“tastytrade”), the most-watched online financial network making finance fun and actionable. tastytrade recently launched a new brokerage firm, tastyworks. The collective offering focuses on empowering the do-it-yourself investor to engage more with their finances, through the unique combination of content, technology and fees. Ms. Ross also co-hosts the show Bootstrapping in America, where she interviews innovative entrepreneurs. Previously, Ms. Ross was the CFO of thinkorswim Group as a private company where she led numerous mergers, acquisitions and integration. thinkorswim sold to TD Ameritrade for $750M in 2009. Prior to thinkorswim, Ms. Ross was CFO of Automated Trading Desk Specialists, a stock specialist on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Ms. Ross started her career in public accounting, specializing in financial services industry clientele including individual traders, proprietary, market makers, specialists, discount brokerage and advisory firms and has been in and around the trading business for more than 25 years.

As co-CEO and President of tastytrade, Ms. Ross has been honored as the Illinois Technology Association CityLights’ Prominent Tech Woman, the Moxie Awards’ Woman in Tech, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, James Haugh Award and has been named to Innovate Finance Global Women in Fintech Powerlist, Crain’s Chicago’s Tech 50, the Techweek 100 list and Chicago Business Journal’s Women of Influence list. Ms. Ross has spoken at Techweek, WiSTEM, Ms. Tech and Woman 2.0 and Chicago Ideas Week and has been featured by prominent publications such as Fortune, Chicago Tribune, and Crain's Chicago. In addition, Ms. Ross is an active board member of companies in the technology as well as the trading industry, is an active member of the ChicagoNEXT Fintech Council of World Business Chicago, board member of CEC/1871 and an Economic Club of Chicago member. Philanthropic passions include Midtown Educational Foundation, Rock the Street Wall Street, Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy, EveryHandCounts.
Laura Ferris Anderson
Managing Director
Laura Ferris Anderson is a Managing Director and Head of Industry Strategy and Innovation for J.P. Morgan Merchant Services’ U.S. Division. Her team serves some of the world’s largest U.S. based digital and ecommerce companies.

From 2010-2016, she served as the Chief of Staff in the JPMorgan Chase Midwest Chairman’s Office and has also served as a Senior Banker in J.P. Morgan's Private Bank. Earlier in her career at J.P. Morgan, Laura held roles in payment strategy and ecommerce, including leading a project to digitize check processing.

An active civic leader, Anderson serves on the Executive Committees of the Board of Directors of 1871, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, MATTER and the Wood Family Foundation.

She is a member of the Alumni Board of Governors of Georgetown University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration.
Laura Van Peenan
Managing Director
Laura Van Peenan is Managing Director and Head of Chicago Coverage for William Blair, where she has worked for 20 years, including many as a technology investment banker. She also Chairs William Blair’s Community Impact Steering Committee and is a founding and current member of its Global Inclusion Council.

Laura’s non-profit boards include The University of Chicago Charter School, The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, The University of Chicago Women’s Board and HFS Chicago Scholars.

Despite all of her University of Chicago involvement, she received her MBA from Kellogg and her undergraduate degree from Duke.

And she is happy to be the mother of two teen-aged girls.
Liz Thompson
As President of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, Liz Thompson is deeply engaged in the non-profit community and passionate about youth development and education.

She began her formal role working with non-profits in 1993 when she was named founding Executive Director of City Year Chicago, a national service organization that was the template for the AmeriCorps Program.

In 1995, Liz was named Executive Director of Family Star Early Head Start Montessori School in Denver, Colorado, where she led a $5 million expansion of the organization. In 1998, she became active with local boards in the San Diego area where she gained further insight and experience in education and expanded her interest in philanthropy.

Prior to her work with non-profits, Liz had a ten-year career with Ameritech Corporation. As one of very few women in their Network Operations organization, she led various technical departments and was eventually named special assistant to the CEO of Ameritech Illinois and director of a three-state region for Field Operations.

Liz serves as Vice Chairman of The Partnership for College Completion and is a Special Advisor to OneGoal. She is a director for The Museum of Science and Industry and serves as co-chair of Purdue University’s Minority Engineering Program Advisory Panel. She is an alumnus of the Non-Profit Leadership Program of Denver and of the Leadership Greater Chicago Program where she currently also serves as a Director.

Liz is married to Donald Thompson, retired President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Corporation. They live with their two children just outside Chicago, Illinois.
Mark Tebbe
Mark Tebbe is a wealth of successful entrepreneurial experience including the founding of two NASDAQ-listed corporations as well as direct involvement in numerous start-up and high-growth companies over the past 30 years. As an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Mark instructs students in the creation and growth of entrepreneurial businesses; while In his Entrepreneur in Residence role at the University of Chicago, Mark aids students in their entrepreneurial roles as well as helping professors enhance the technical reality for their classes. Prior to his University of Chicago role, Mark was also a founder and the vice chairman of Answers Corporation (NASDAQ:ANSW), which created one of the first and most authoritative public websites. Mark was also the founder and chairman of Lante Corporation, which he grew from a two-person firm in 1984 to an 1300-employee NASDAQ-listed international corporation that was acquired by SBI Group in 2002. Over the years, Mark has been a consultant to executive management of many leading companies including American Express, Dell and Microsoft as well as non-profit organizations such as National Park Service, United Nations and World Economic Forum.

Mark is a recognized and published industry expert on emerging technologies whose insights have appeared in leading national publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Mark is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, focusing on fostering values-based leadership and open-minded dialogue. In light to his service to the University of Illinois, the alma mater of his B.S. in Computer Science/ Engineering degree, Mark was honored with the Chicago Illini of the Year Award as well as the national Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service. He also supports numerous children-oriented, educational and environmental causes.
Matt Maloney
Founder & CEO
Matt Maloney is founder and CEO of Grubhub, the nation's leading online and mobile food ordering company dedicated to connecting diners with local restaurants. Under Matt's leadership, Grubhub has grown its active diner network to more than 9 million users who can order directly from more than 55,000 takeout restaurants in over 1,200 cities. He led the company through five rounds of investment funding, a 2013 merger with Seamless, and a 2014 initial public offering. Matt currently serves as an advisory board member for The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and a member of ChicagoNEXT, an organization dedicated to driving growth and opportunity in the Chicago business community. He also serves on the board of directors of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Matt was named one of America's most powerful CEOs 40 and under in Forbes Magazine in 2016 and one of the top 50 business people of 2014 by Fortune Magazine. He holds a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and two master's degrees, including an MBA, from the University of Chicago.
Michael Slaby
Michael Slaby has spent his career at the intersection of politics and technology. He was the Chief Technology Officer for Obama '08 and the Chief Innovation Officer for Obama '12. He lives in Chicago.
Nandini Ramani
Chief Engineering Officer
Nandini Ramani is Chief Engineering Officer at Outcome Health, where she will lead the technology platform to transform the healthcare experience and enable physicians to better discuss diagnoses and treatments with patients.

Ramani was previously at Twitter, where she led engineering effectiveness for the social media company’s 1,300+ person technical organization. Prior to this, Ramani led the $320M Java business unit for Oracle. Ramani has extensive experience leading both hardware and software engineering teams, which is expertise she will have the opportunity to combine at Outcome Health. In addition to her engineering and business leadership, Ramani has extensive international expansion experience.
Nizar Tarhuni
Analysis Manager
Nizar Tarhuni leads the research and data analyst groups at PitchBook Data, a Seattle-based private markets research firm that was acquired by Morningstar in 2016. He is responsible for overseeing PitchBook’s analyst coverage across private equity, M&A and venture capital, as well as the firm’s emerging technology research. Tarhuni is also responsible for managing and driving the content strategy and distribution behind PitchBook’s written research offering.

As the head of the data analyst group, Tarhuni is responsible for developing operating efficiencies across the team to better serve internal and external client research requests. Previously, he served as PitchBook’s lead private equity analyst and launched the firm’s emerging technology coverage in 2015. He has been regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg and the Financial Times, among other publications.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Linfield College.
Paul Lee
Co-Founder & Partner
Paul Lee is a founding member and GP at BuildersVC where he looks to work with teams leveraging technology to disrupt large, archaic industries. Paul also serves as Founder and CEO of Builders Studios (formerly known as RONIIN).

Previously, Paul was a General Partner at Lightbank where he was a board member at Udemy, Sprout Social, Contently, Talentbin (acquired by Monster Worldwide), Benchprep, and BabbaCo (acquired by Barefoot Books, Inc). He also led the firm’s investment in DoubleDutch, ElaCarte, and Cleversense (acquired by Google).

Prior to his role at Lightbank, Paul was a Founding Partner at the Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture between NBC Universal and GE Ventures. Peacock Equity’s investments include Adify (acquired by Cox Communications), BigPoint GMbH (acquired by TA Associates and Summit), Rubicon Project (NASDAQ: RUBI), and Greystripe (acquired by ValueClick).

In addition, he is also an independent board director for Lifeway Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: LWAY). Paul received a dual undergraduate degree in Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences (MMSS) and Economics from Northwestern University. In his spare time, Paul aspires to become a national champion in competitive BBQ where he relies on his Yoder Cheyenne Smoker.
Peter Wilkins
Managing Director
Peter has successfully founded, built, and turned around companies in the education, healthcare, and technology industries. He has also leveraged his entrepreneurial experience to help build one of the top early-stage venture groups (angel investors) in the country.

Currently, Peter leads Hyde Park Angels (HPA) as the managing director. Prior to HPA, he co-founded New Futuro, a socially innovative education company. Before New Futuro, Peter worked with KKR Capstone (KKR’s operations group) 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 billion. Peter holds a degree in business from Indiana University and graduated from the University of Chicago Booth Executive Institute.

Peter serves on a number of boards, is an active advisor to many entrepreneurs, and frequently speaks about entrepreneurship and venture capital. He also works with founders, CEOs and company boards to develop strategic solutions to address their growth and capital needs with the Omaxen Group.

Throughout his career, Peter has been passionate about developing startup leaders. He believes when entrepreneurs lead with purpose, optimize their performance, and take a people-first approach they improve their lives, their companies, and the world in incredible ways.
Rohit Pasum
Co-Founder & CEO
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Xaptum, Inc. - an industry trailblazer who runs technology businesses through the life cycle of start-up to exit with an incisive understanding of value drivers for technology products in the marketplace. Pasam had previously founded successful technology businesses in technology services and outsourced product development. In 2013, AT&T named him one of AT&T’s innovators in Internet of Things. Pasam is the co-founder & CEO of Xaptum, the company that built the Internet for Things – a IP network optimized for IoT that exchanges IoT data between the world of Things and the world of Cloud Applications and Big Data securely, reliably at massive scale.
Shivani Jain
Co-Founder & CMO
Company Description
Cubii designs and manufacturers connected fitness products that help integrate exercise in our daily lives. This results in better health outcomes for individuals and lower costs for their employers. Cubii’s first product is a compact elliptical trainer that lets you keep moving while you sit– at your desk or couch. Cubii’s mobile app keeps track of your progress and syncs with Fitbit & Apple HealthKit.
Shradha Agarwal
President and Co-Founder
Shradha Agarwal has a lifelong passion for building organizations to connect people and information, and to align profit and purpose. She co-founded Outcome Health in 2006, the leading health decision platform, with a vision to activate the best health outcome possible for every person in the world. As President, Shradha has lead product innovation, scaling operations and talent development. OH has doubled its revenue, profitability and distribution year-over-year while being consistently recognized for its people operations, customer service and technology leadership.

Shradha co-founded JumpStart Ventures in 2011 to fund other passionate entrepreneurs who are executing ambitious solutions in healthcare, education and media communications, and has since backed more than 40 companies with over $10 million in venture investments. She mentors entrepreneurs at Techstars, Impact Engine & Blueprint Health, but is equally invested in the venture philanthropy model for scaling nonprofit solutions through SVP Chicago and The Chicago Public Education Fund. She serves on the boards of OneGoal and Chicago Children’s Choir and spiritedly supports youth education, women leadership and civic engagement. The CEC recently honored the two Outcome Health co-founders with the “2015 Chicagoness Award” for their deep commitment to developing the city’s ecosystem. Shradha was also recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House and was named to Fortune's 40 under 40 in 2017. She enjoys sharing stories, traveling internationally and exploring new cultures, food and music.
Sonny Garg
Energy Solutions Lead
Sonny Garg leads Uptake’s Energy vertical. With the transition from a centralized grid to an increasingly intelligent and distributed energy grid, advanced analytics are essential to ensuring a safe, reliable, affordable, and clean future. Prior to Uptake, Sonny spent 13 years at Exelon Corporation in a variety of senior executive positions, including chief information and innovation officer and president of Exelon Power. Sonny began his career in the public and nonprofit sectors. He served as an assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was appointed a White House Fellow by President Bill Clinton. Sonny holds a master’s degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an M.P.P. from Harvard University.
Stacy Lindau
Company Description
NowPow is a women-owned and led company that has developed a community resource network management technology. NowPow empowers care professionals to make highly matched, data-driven social referrals, communicate with patients and social service providers about those referrals, and ultimately track referral status and outcomes. The multi-sided platform improves care transitions across the care continuum and helps people with chronic health and social conditions get and stay well.
Tim Handorf
Co-Founder & CEO
Tim has spent more than 15 years developing and delivering software in a variety of roles including professional services and product management. Prior to G2 Crowd, Tim was responsible for Product Management at BigMachines and led efforts to deliver the top-rated quoting tool on‘s AppExchange for three years in a row. Tim loves making life better by solving problems using software technology and is passionate about working in an entrepreneurial environment, where each day is unique and learning is constant. When not at work, he helps coach his kids’ wrestling team and serves at his local church. Tim grew up in rural Iowa on his family farm, so building software was a natural transition. He also appreciates good sarcasm (except when directed at him from his children), and has the worst penmanship in the company.
Troy Henikoff
Managing Director
Troy Henikoff is Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners. Additionally, Troy is also an active mentor with Techstars. Troy was a Co-founder of Excelerate Labs, which became Techstars Chicago in 2013. He also helps manage the FireStarter Fund, teaches Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business, is on the board of the Chicago-land Entrepreneurial Center. Prior to Techstars Chicago, Troy was the CEO of, President of Amacai, and co-founder and CEO of Troy built the technology for Jellyvision (creators of “You Don’t Know Jack!”), was the President of Systemetrics, and his first company was Specialized Systems and Software. Troy has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Project Management from Northwestern.

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