Continental Breakfast and Registration
Mark Tebbe – Chairman, 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
Steve LaValle – Former Chief Scientist, Oculus & Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Startup Spotlight: Xaptum, presented by Rohit Pasam –
Co-Founder and CEO
Introduced by Jai Shekhawat – Co-Founder and CEO, Fieldglass
Today’s Universities are Tomorrow’s Startup Foundation
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 Khan – Founder and CEO
Introduced by Howard Tullman – CEO, 1871
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
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 Morales – Executive 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 Collens – CEO, 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
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 Seitz – Partner 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 Keogh – Partner, Goldman Sachs
Fireside Chat: Backing the Future
Steve Jurvetson – Partner, DFJ
Chris Gladwin – Founder, Cleversafe
Thanks and Final Wrap-up
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 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.
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 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 (www.meetalex.com). 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 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 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 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 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: E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @chrisrcampbell / @reviewtrackers LinkedIn: Chris Campbell
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 Agent.ai, 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Digital playbook for surgery and interventional procedures.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 Salesforce.com‘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 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 OneWed.com, President of Amacai, and co-founder and CEO of SurePayroll.com. 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.
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.
Penny Pritzker is the founder and Chairman of PSP Partners and its affiliates, Pritzker Realty Group, PSP Capital and PSP Growth. From June 2013 through January 2017, she served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Ms. Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist, with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries. Ms. Pritzker founded Vi Senior Living (formerly known as Classic Residence by Hyatt), and co-founded The Parking Spot and Artemis Real Estate Partners. Ms. Pritzker is the former chairman of the board of TransUnion and is a past board member of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Marmon Group, and LaSalle Bank Corporation. Ms. Pritzker is currently a member of board of Microsoft, a member of the Harvard Corporation, chairman of board of trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group and Aspen Strategy Group and a co-chair of the Cyber Readiness Institute. Ms. Pritzker was formerly a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, the board of trustees of Stanford University, the Harvard University Board of Overseers and founded Skills for America’s Future. Ms. Pritzker also served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Ms. Pritzker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University. Ms. Pritzker and her husband, Dr. Bryan Traubert, co-founded The Pritzker Traubert Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation that works to foster increased economic opportunity for Chicago’s families. To learn more about The Pritzker Traubert Foundation, visit www.ptffoundation.org.
Karen is vice president of sales at Google and serves as site lead for the company’s Chicago office. She joined Google in 2011 to launch the company’s Chicago-based consumer goods division to cultivate advertising clients in the food, beverage and restaurant businesses across the U.S. Prior to her role as vice president, Karen led Google’s largest global integrated marketing teams, consulting with agencies and customers on how to grow their businesses in a rapidly changing consumer landscape and working with key customers like Apple and Microsoft. She brings a wealth of experience advising C-suite executives and boards of directors on consumer marketing, go-to-market strategy, product innovation and data strategy. Karen has spearheaded several global marketing initiatives, including developing partnerships with third party brand measurement and improving brand safety policy and practices. Karen joined Google from FCB, a division of the Interpublic Group of Companies where she was the executive vice president and managing director. Karen was responsible for blue chip clients including SC Johnson, MillerCoors, Boeing, Dow, United States Postal Service, Motorola and Kraft among others. For four years, she led the team of 1200 to achieve record double digit growth and profit each year, becoming the largest single agency office of any network in the country. Prior to FCB, Karen was president at Zipatoni, a boutique creative agency also owned by IPG. She began her career at Anheuser-Busch and Frito-Lay where she led teams in marketing, sales, wholesaler development and key accounts. Karen is passionate about community involvement and serves on multiple boards, including the World Business Chicago Board of Directors, the medical board of Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where she is chairwoman of the marketing committee, and the board of Off The Street Club. She is a member of The Chicago Network. Karen has also been recognized for her professional contributions as Chicago Advertising Federation's Woman of the Year (2009) and Ad Age's "Women to Watch" (2010). Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Missouri and is a graduate of the Executive Education programs at both Harvard Business School and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. A married mother of two teen boys, she is an avid athlete who can often be found on the soccer field, the golf course or in a pair of waders casting a fly.
Alyssa Jaffee is an investor at the Pritzker Group Venture Capital. She is currently a board observer for Tovala, Apervita, AiCure, Eved, Bright.md, and SilverVue. Alyssa was also the co-founder of TransparentCareer, 2016 New Venture Challenge winning company focused on helping people make more data-driven career decisions. Alyssa’s prior experience in venture capital includes time at Hyde Park Angels (HPA), one of the Midwest's largest angel organizations as well as Healthbox, an early stage healthcare innovation firm, supporting their accelerator program called the Studio. Prior to business school, Alyssa worked as the Senior Director of Performance Technologies for the Advisory Board Company. There, Alyssa was charged with expanding new business through the sales of technology platforms. With an extensive travel regimen, Alyssa met with hundreds of hospital executive teams to understand their strategic needs and recommend various solutions. She has copious amounts of experience in launching new products and thinking about go-to-market strategies. Alyssa holds a bachelor degree with honors in Marketing and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago – Booth School of Business.
Andrea Zopp is the President and CEO of World Business Chicago, where she leads the organization’s mission of inclusive economic growth, supporting businesses, and promoting Chicago as a leading global city. Most recently, she served as Deputy Mayor, Chief Neighborhood Development Officer for the City of Chicago. Andrea has dedicated her career to being a force of change. She has championed job creation, access to education, corporate responsibility and promoting economic development initiatives in underserved communities. Andrea served in the United States Attorney’s Office and was the first woman and African American to serve as the First Assistant in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In these roles, she fought to keep neighborhoods safe by taking on illegal guns, violent crime and gangs, worked to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Andrea is a successful businesswoman and has held executive leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies, including Sara Lee, Sears Holdings and Exelon. As the former President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, she led the nationally-recognized organization’s focus on expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities, helping youth and young adults achieve academic and career success, and advocacy for social justice. Andrea has held multiple civic and business appointments. She was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and to the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Andrea also currently serves on the board of the Urban Partnership Bank. Andrea Zopp is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School. She lives on Chicago’s South side with her husband Bill. They are the proud parents of Alyssa, Kelsey, and Will and the proud owners of three cats and three dogs.
William H. Sanders is the interim director of the Discovery Partners Institute and a Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As DPI’s interim director, Sanders will lead all facets of strategy, planning and operations including planning to build the new downtown Chicago institute, faculty and staff engagement and hiring, development of research and educational programs, and forging agreements with corporate and academic partners. Formerly the head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UIUC, Sanders is a professor in ECE and in the Department of Computer Science. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, and the AAAS; a past Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Fault-Tolerant Computing; and past Vice-Chair of the IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing. He was the founding Director of the Information Trust Institute at Illinois (2004-2011), and served as Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at Illinois from 2010 to 2014. Dr. Sanders' research interests include secure and dependable computing and security and dependability metrics and evaluation, with a focus on critical infrastructures. He has published more than 270 technical papers in those areas. He served as the Director and PI of the DOE/DHS Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG) Center, which did research at the forefront of national efforts to make the U.S. power grid smart and resilient. He was the 2016 recipient of the IEEE Technical Field Award, Innovation in Societal Infrastructure, for “assessment-driven design of trustworthy cyber infrastructures for societal-scale systems.” He is also co-developer of three tools for assessing computer-based systems: METASAN, UltraSAN, and Möbius. Möbius and UltraSAN have been distributed widely to industry and academia; more than 1,900 licenses for the tools have been issued to universities, companies, and NASA for evaluating the performance, dependability, and security of a variety of systems. He is also a co-developer of a tool for assessing the security of networked systems that is available commercially under the name NP-View from the startup company Network Perception, which he co-founded.
Brad Koeppen is the head of cryptocurrency trading at CMT Digital, a division of CMT, where he has been employed since 2010. CMT Digital is focused on crypto asset trading, blockchain technology investments, and legal/policy engagement in the crypto asset/blockchain technology industry. Brad started his career trading equity options on the floor of the of the CBOE. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and is currently pursuing his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
David is the co-founder and CEO of Tovala - a company that has built a smart oven and tandem meal service that allow you to enjoy fresh, healthy and home-delivered meals at the touch of a button. As CEO, David has taken the company from an idea in business school to an operating company - with Tovala ovens and meals now available in homes across the U.S. David launched Tovala while earning his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At Booth, David worked part-time for the venture firm, Foundation Capital, ran the entrepreneurship club on campus and spent his summer interning at Google. Prior to Booth, David co-founded the mobile app Draftpedia - the first sports encyclopedia built exclusively for mobile. David’s first taste for entrepreneurship came before that, when he was responsible for running a bi-coastal chain of frozen yogurt stores. He trained for that role by spending two years working directly under the CEO of the Veggie Grill – the largest chain of vegan restaurants in the country. David graduated with high honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2009 with a B.A. in History. He's spent time living in China, and studying in London and Madrid. He speaks four languages, is an avid NY Jets and Los Angeles Lakers fan and has been passionate about eating right since attending a health retreat at age 18. He lives in Lincoln Park with his wife, Jessica, who he met at Chicago Booth.
David Nevas is a Partner at Edison Partners since January 2017. Mr. Nevas joined Edison Partners as an Associate in December 2007 and served till December 2011. He was a Principal since December 2011. He served as a Business Development Associate at Edison Partners. Mr. Nevas focuses on generating investment opportunities and conducting analysis of emerging information technology companies as a part of the business development team. He specializes in eCommerce, Interactive Marketing, and Enterprise 2.0 industries at Edison. He focuses on partnering with entrepreneurs in emerging eCommerce, Interactive Marketing, and Education companies. He focuses on Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey regions. He worked at A.C. Lordi and helped grow it to its eventual acquisition by a group of private equity firms. Mr. Nevas served as a Manager of Carpathia Consulting, where he led engagements with early and growth-stage clients. He served as Developer and Management Consultant at IBM and at PricewaterhouseCoopers on strategy and technology engagements within the high-technology, media, and manufacturing industries. Mr. Nevas began his career as a Member of the product development team at Bookingzone.com. He serves on the Board of RealMatch Inc. He has been a Director of Pixability, Inc. since April 08, 2015, itemMaster, LLC and Arkadium. He served as a Board Observer at The Neat Company Inc. and CheckpointHR. Mr. Nevas is a Speaker at numerous regional events. Mr. Nevas has experience in software development, product management, and management consulting. He spent his entire career in the technology industry, in companies ranging from small startups to the Fortune 500. Mr. Nevas has over seven years of experience in both operating and consulting roles within the technology industry. Mr. Nevas has an M.B.A. degree in Finance and Strategy from New York University’s Stern School of Business from 2006 to 2008 and a B.S. degree in Business Information Systems from Lehigh University from 1996 to 2000.
Derek Brigham is co-founder and COO of Clearcover. Derek oversees operations, finance, and insurance product strategy. Prior to helping found Clearcover, Derek held positions at American Family Insurance and CUNA Mutual Group. He was responsible for a variety of insurance industry roles for the past 25 years including positions related to agency management, product development anddirect marketing.
Jamison invests in commence technology at Bain Capital Ventures, with a focus on supply chain technologies like FourKites, ShipBob, and Onera. Prior to Bain Capital Ventures, Jamison held operational roles at Bonobos, where he focused on building out the brand’s analytical capabilities across finance, retail, and marketing. Before Bonobos, Jamison was a management consultant at Bain & Company in Boston, advising clients across a wide range of digital transformation projects. He was named to Forbes “30 Under 30” Venture Capital list in 2016.
Jason Lobel is the CEO and Co-founder of SwiftIQ, founded in 2013 in response to Amazon announcing Amazon Fresh. Prior to founding SwiftIQ, Jason was a Director of Investment Banking for Duff & Phelps, LLC. SwiftIQ is a leading convenience analytics platform enabling both large and independent retailers and their vendors to measure, share and enrich highly granular basket-level transaction and other retail insights. SwiftIQ makes retail analytics easy and fast through high scale automation and artificial intelligence to optimize store-level execution, category management, promotions, merchandising and pricing. SwiftIQ analyzes over $100 billion POS data serving retailers and leading brands like Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Hershey, Mars Wrigley, Dr. Pepper, and others. SwiftIQ named a 2016 and 2017 Vendor of the Year by RaceTrac Petroleum and 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor for CPGs, has also been recognized by McKinsey & Company, Forrester, Forbes, and Progressive Grocer for its achievements.
Jennifer O'Rourke is the Co-Founder and President of Attest, a blockchain-enabled digital identity company and also serves as the Director of Public Engagement at the Chicago Blockchain Center. Prior to Attest, Jennifer served as the Illinois Blockchain Business Liaison, where she supported distributed ledger technology development throughout the state of Illinois and also served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology at the Illinois Department of Commerce where she led projects supporting economic development throughout the state. Prior to this, O’Rourke held a number of strategic and market development positions in the financial services industry. Most recently, O’Rourke was with CME Group, serving as a Manager of Global Business Development where she was responsible for expanding CME Group’s presence in the developing and frontier markets. Previous to this, O’Rourke worked for Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank in London. O’Rourke attended the University of London where she received a Masters of Arts and the University of Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Arts. O’Rourke serves as a member of the board of directors in the FinTech Incubator: Currency and volunteers as a mentor to the Chicago Innovation Women’s Coop Group.
Mr. Nelson is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in business development, distribution and strategic relationships in startups as well as in fortune 500 companies. Jim brings a depth of experience from building and managing customer service organizations to sales leadership at Apropos Technology, Inc leading to a successful IPO. Along with a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Norbert College Jim has an MBA from Northern Illinois University.
John is the Chief Technology Officer at Enova International, a large publicly-traded FinTech company based in Chicago. At Enova, John is responsible for driving the company’s technology and product strategy to leverage advanced digital experiences and data science to deliver on its mission to help hard-working people access fast, trustworthy credit. In addition to his work at Enova, John is a member of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Technology Association, and a member, investor, and advisor with Hyde Park Angels working with early stage companies. He also serves an adjunct professor at Lewis University teaching MBA courses on technology and entrepreneurship. Prior to Enova, John served as the CTO for FTD Companies, Wheels, and Applied Systems. Flowers, cars, insurance, and now money — proof that technology powers every facet of our lives. John holds a B.A. from Northern Illinois University and M.S. in IT and Privacy Law, with honors from The John Marshall Law School and is a frequent writer and speaker on diversity, technology, and leadership.
Jordan Shapiro joined NEA in 2017 and is an Associate on the Tech Team focusing on enterprise and consumer technology investments. He observes on the boards of Catalog and Catalytic and has supported NEA’s investments in Enigma, Choosy, Dandelion, and Zuoyebang, among others. Prior to NEA, Jordan worked in cross-border China/US venture capital and led multiple development teams in Silicon Valley as a product manager for Samsung SmartThings, Intuit, and Synack. Jordan earned his Master’s in Global Affairs as a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He also graduated Tau Beta Pi with an MS in Management Science & Engineering and a BS in Bioengineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow, class president, and convocation speaker. At Stanford, Jordan also served as chief of staff to the student government and as co-founder/president of BIOME, the first student-organized bio-maker environment on a university campus.
Dr. Vozenilek is the Chief Medical Officer of the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center and the Duane and Mary Cullinan Endowed Professor for Simulation Outcomes at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. “Dr. Voz” is the leader of the Jump center, which focuses on improved quality and safety in healthcare while reducing healthcare costs through simulation. Under his direction, OSF Healthcare System and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria have created tremendous organizational capabilities and infrastructure, building resources for engineers and educators who wish to use innovative technologies for the improvement of clinical performance. Dr. Vozenilek is appointed as full-time faculty of the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Peoria, as a Clinical Professor in Emergency Medicine, where he teaches a variety of subjects leveraging simulation, augmented and virtual reality, and serious gaming. These include simulations for the improvement of communication and rapport building skills required for effective patient, provider, and clinician relationship. For the College of Medicine at Peoria he is Executive Director of the Jump Simulation program while also serving as Co-director of Jump Simulation Urbana for the distinctive engineering-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Vozenilek is appointed as full-time faculty of the University of Illinois College of Engineering at Urbana-Champaign, as a Clinical Professor in Bio-Engineering, where he teaches Biodesign, Clinical Immersion, and Senor Design and a member of the HealthCare Systems Engineering Center at UIUC. He is a collaborator and investigator at the OSF Lab at the UIC Innovation center and for Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago. Dr Vozenilek leads the Jump ARCHES $62.5M endowment. This endowment partners UI engineering faculty and OSF’s mission in healthcare to improve community health through engineering and simulation. Dr. Voz actively exploits the synergies of programs which cross traditional departmental boundaries. Other endowments under his direction include $15M for Advanced Imaging and Modeling and $2.5M for Inter-professional Education. There are a number of smaller endowments under his direction. All told to date, he has raised approximately $92.5M for OSF and its academic partners for simulation.
Karen is Executive Managing Director, Equity Investing. Based in Chicago IL, she joined the business in 2014. Karen leads a team which invests in advanced manufacturing technologies and enterprise software solutions that drive efficiency and productivity at GE. Karen comes to GE with two decades of experience building technology-based companies as an investor, instigator, and advisor to intrepid entrepreneurs. She was previously a Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners and started her career as a Sr. Associate and Kauffman Fellow at Patricof & Co. Karen helped to launch numerous startups as Senior Director of New Ventures and Alliances at the University of Southern California and developed an expertise in intellectual property while a Director at Intellectual Ventures. Karen earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago and a AB in Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She is a member of the Charter Class Kauffman Fellows and is active on multiple boards including the Kauffman Fellows board, NSF SBIR/STTR AdComm, mHub board, University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division and Institute of Molecular Engineering Visiting Committees, and the Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees Investment Sub-committee. She is also a board observer of Catalant, Sight Machine, and NYSHEX. Karen has been recognized as a CVC Rising Star, one of LA’s Top Innovators, Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40, and C200 Women Business Leaders.
Kevin is a 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 Founding CEO of 1871, one of the top ranked incubators in the world serving hundreds of startups building their early-stage businesses located at Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart. Since Kevin helped launch 1871 in May 2012, the center has welcomed thousands of visitors to events and curated hundreds of workshops and office hours with mentors for entrepreneurs. During Kevin’s time as CEO, high-profile visitors included former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 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 is a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago and Vice Chairman of the Technology Membership Committee of The Economic Club of Chicago. He currently serves on the boards of NorthShore University HealthSystem, the BigShoulders Fund, ChooseChicago, mHub, The Resurrection Project, the Future Founders Foundation, the CEC, the Chicago Fire Foundation, 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 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.
As Chief Scientist and co-founder, Kris focuses on R&D at Narrative Science. His main priority is to define the future of Advanced NLG, the democratization of data rich information and how language will drive both interactive communications and access to the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition to being Chief Scientist, Kris is a professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University. Prior to Northwestern, Kris founded the University of Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research has always been focused on artificial intelligence, machine-generated content and context-driven information systems. Kris previously sat on a United Nations policy committee run by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). Kris received his PhD from Yale.
Kristi Ross is the co-CEO and President of 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, Chicago Business Journal’s Women of Influence list, and the Midwest Women in Tech’s Women Tech Founder Award (2017). 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. tastytrade is one of the most-watched online financial networks, engaging investors and traders across 150 countries with 8 hours of daily, live, cost-free and commercial free programming and accessible through video ondemand 24/7. tastytrade’s research-based content teaches a logical, mechanical approach to investing and identifying opportunities based on probability and volatility. Investors are continually challenged with financial math, humor and new market perspectives. tastytrade has over 30 million hours watched of free archived programming. tastytrade distributes its shows through www.tastytrade.com, www.tastyworks.com, iTunes, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube. tastytrade has been awarded the Chicago Innovation Award 2013 People’s Choice & 2014 for its visual trading technology, Best in Biz Most Innovative Company in 2013, Most Innovative Consumer Product 2014, silver Most Innovative Consumer Product and bronze Most Innovative Consumer App 2015. In 2017, tastytrade won the CEC Momentum Award. The award, presented by the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center and tech incubator 1871, recognizes a company more than five years old that is on track to become one of the next great companies to emerge in Chicago.
Leslie Munger is the newly appointed Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). In February of 2017, Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Munger Deputy Governor of Illinois. As senior advisor to the Governor, Munger advises on strategy and policies that benefit businesses and human services and serves as a liaison to the community. As Deputy Governor and Acting Director of DCEO, Munger partners with Intersect Illinois to drive economic development throughout the state. Munger also oversees the Illinois Bicentennial Team to execute a statewide, yearlong celebration in honor of the state’s 200th birthday in collaboration with local governments and community groups. Prior to her roles as Deputy Governor and Acting Director of DCEO, Leslie served as Illinois State Comptroller. She is a former brand management executive with Helene Curtis/Unilever where she led the $800 million U.S Hair Care business. Before that Munger worked at Procter & Gamble and at McKinsey and Company, Inc. Munger earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois and her master’s degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a native Illinoisan (born and raised in Joliet) and a longtime resident of Lincolnshire. She has been an active community volunteer and leader for the Riverside Foundation, a not-for-profit organization serving developmentally disabled adults. In 2013, the Riverside Foundation named Munger the Volunteer of the Year; and in 2016, she received the Distinguished Service Award. Leslie and her husband John, have two adult sons, Tom and Andy, and two yellow labs, Daisy and Luna.
Lon Chow joined Method Capital in September 2016 as a partner, and he will focus on deal sourcing and oversight of portfolio companies. Prior to joining Method Capital, Lon was a general partner with Apex Venture Partners, a Chicago-based venture group, where he spent 18 years investing in software and software-enabled businesses. Prior to Apex, Lon was a partner with Mercer Management Consulting (formerly Strategic Planning Associates), where he developed and implemented growth strategies for clients in computing, media, and telecommunications industries. He also held various operating management positions with Pacific Telesis. Lon received an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Davis. Lon currently serves on the Board of Directors of Music Audience Exchange, NexLP, SpiderOak and SwiftIQ.
Lucas is the Cofounder of Amber Agriculture, an agtech company focused on helping farmers manage and market grain assets leveraging the latest in sensing, analytics and automation. Growing up on a grain farm in Central Illinois, he majored in Ag Economics and continued into MBA studies at the University of Illinois. During undergrad, Lucas served as the Council President of the College of ACES (Agriculture) and was elected by the student body to represent the campus of 44,000 as the Student Trustee on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Experiences across the agriculture value chain including seed production with Monsanto, credit and crop insurance with Farm Credit, and agribusiness strategy consulting with Adayana, led Lucas into early stage enterprise development in agriculture. In building Amber, Lucas was awarded: the 2017 Illinois Innovation Prize, given each year to the most innovative student at the University of Illinois. Named Poets and Quants Best MBAs nationally for the Class of 2017. And is a Crain’s Chicago Business 20 in their 20’s for 2018. About Amber Agriculture Amber Agriculture is on the frontline of internet of things technology development in agriculture. Leveraging the latest in analytics and automation- Amber’s new, industry-first wireless sensors power practical decision-making tools for farmers. The team’s flagship offering aims to help farmers manage and protect grain assets. Amber’s IoT enables them to deliver the highest quality grain at peak moments so they can capture high market prices. Amber was launched at the University of Illinois, accelerated @ Hax (China) + Alchemist (Silicon Valley), and is now headquartered and building in Chicago. The company’s cofounders have a farm + fitbit background, and were named Best Startup at the world’s largest tech show, CES in Las Vegas in 2017.
Mark Harris is the President & CEO of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a member-driven, 1871-based, nonprofit organization that measures, connects and advocates for the Illinois innovation economy. Created by the State of Illinois 25+ years ago, ISTC makes powerful links between the state’s universities, industry, startups and high schools to strengthen our economy and talent pipeline through data collection, policy advocacy and programs. Mark also leads the 501c3-affiliated Illinois Science & Technology Institute, (ISTI), which focuses on Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) education by connecting classrooms with companies to better prepare the next generation of problem-solvers. Mark serves on board of Energy Foundry and mHub, and is a member of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Steering Committee, the City of Chicago's tech council ChicagoNEXT, and the Economic Club of Chicago. He holds a BS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an MA from the University of Chicago.
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.
Mike Gamson joined the company in August 2007. He currently leads LinkedIn's Global Solutions Organization across the company's 30 offices worldwide. The GSO includes various functions ranging from field sales and professional services representatives, to research analysts, account managers and operational experts. There are three primary business groups within the GSO focused on servicing corporate customers – Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Sales Solutions. Previously, Mike was director of product marketing at Advent Software, a provider of enterprise software for investment managers, where he led the trading and order management business. Mike began his career as an entrepreneur in Costa Rica, founding a restaurant and boutique hotel in 1996. He sold the business to American investors and joined Bank of America as a financial analyst in Chicago the following year. Mike holds a BA from Amherst College.
Mindi S. Knebel is the Founder & CEO of Kaizen Health. Kaizen Health is a healthcare logistics platform which brings together transportation, courier and other partnerships to support patient needs across the social determinants of health (transportation, food insecurity, education, isolation, employment). Kaizen Health serves healthcare providers, healthcare payers, pharmaceutical companies, senior living, in-home healthcare, non-profits and municipalities. Through Kaizen Health’s platform, their customers are able to arrange transport for any person with any medical or other need (ride to the grocery store, pharmacy, social services, counseling, court) through the appropriate service to serve the person’s abilities (curb to curb, door to door, door through door and bed to bed). Through the same platform, arrangements can be made to deliver most anything that a person or customer might need to maintain a healthy, such as: food, pharmaceuticals, DME, medical files and equipment. Prior to starting Kaizen Health, Mindi was part of the founding team or an early employee of several other startups (including the incubator MATTER in Chicago) and has seen companies from inception through exit. Mindi holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s in business from Colorado Technical University. Mindi enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, doing yoga, reading and is an avid sports fan.
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 Bauerschmidt is the product lead for Coinbase Markets, the centralized pool of liquidity that underpins all Coinbase products. He is also a director of the company’s institutional businesses, which include Coinbase Prime, Coinbase Markets, Coinbase Custody and the Coinbase Institutional Coverage Group. Prior to joining Coinbase, Paul spent 13 years at CME Group, most recently as the head of its swap execution facility. His previous work at CME included the development of its exchange matching engine and trading screen. Most recently, Paul was the Managing Director and Head of Product at Eris Exchanges where he focused on interest rate swap futures. He is active in the Chicago financial community through the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Economic Club of Chicago. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
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.
Ravin Gandhi is founder and CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, one of the world’s largest suppliers of nonstick coatings to the $9 billion housewares industry. Its products are found on iconic brands such as Calphalon, KitchenAid, Farberware, George Foreman, Black and Decker, Wilton, Sunbeam, and Pyrex. In 2017, GMM was acquired by SDK, a $7B Japanese conglomerate, in what was the largest buyout in the history of the nonstick coatings industry. Gandhi is also a venture capital investor. He was the first investor in KeyMe, a manufacturer of robotic kiosks that is revolutionizing the $8 billion locksmith industry, and which has subsequently raised over $100 million in funding. He also was an early investor in Hester Biosciences, an animal health company that has subsequently gone public. Gandhi frequently appears on CNBC and MSNBC to discuss business and politics, and he is a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Magazine and Fortune Magazine. He holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from the College of Business at the University of Illinois, an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Gandhi serves on the Board of Directors of Hester Biosciences, City Year Chicago, and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Rumi Morales is a pioneer in identifying, investing and cultivating the emerging technologies that will define our economy’s next generation. An early specialist in digital currency, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, Rumi is also a leading early investor in artificial intelligence and next generation data computing as they will affect traditional industries. Institutional Investor magazine noted her as one the “most powerful dealmakers in financial technology” two years in a row, and Crain’s recognized her in their esteemed “40 Under 40” list. Rumi is currently Partner at Outlier Ventures, a trans-Atlantic investment platform focused on the convergence of advanced technologies, and Managing Partner of its venture fund, OV+. She also is Founding Partner of Chicago Surge, an innovative program that helps startups scale in the Midwest region. She previously led the venture arm of the CME Group, as well as serving as a long-time executive at Goldman Sachs where she established its Global Markets Institute. She began her career in venture capital in London, Kuala Lumpur and New York, and has invested across three continents and lived in seven countries. Rumi is a member of the Boards of the Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the BitGive Foundation, and is an Advisory Board member of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. She received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received her MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. She is a proud daughter, sister, wife, and mother of two young children.
Sara leads venture investment activity for Energy Foundry, an early-stage venture fund based in Chicago. She was instrumental in founding the high-profile fund, and she is the backbone of driving forward the firm and its endeavors. This includes leading investments in many of the fund’s portfolio companies, which have gone on to raise over $100 million in additional capital and contracts. In particular, she sits on the Board of Omnidian, Tank Utility, SiNode Systems, FLEx Lighting, and Advanced Diamond Technologies. Prior to Energy Foundry, Sara built a government advisory practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and helped energy startups raise $300M in non-dilutive funding. She has also held roles with GE Energy and environmental consulting firm, GaiaTech. Sara holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and an undergraduate degree from Emory University. In 2015, she was recognized by Midwest Energy News “40 Under 40.”
Saurabh Sharma is a Partner at Jump Capital - an early and growth stage venture firm. Saurabh leads Jump's efforts in Enterprise Software, IT Infrastructure and Blockchain enabled technology companies. Prior to joining Jump, Saurabh led various roles at Groupon in product, marketing & operations. Previously, he was an early stage investor at Lightbank, an Investment Banker with Barclays Capital, an algo trader with Lehman Brothers, and was a founding team member of Benchprep (a venture-backed digital learning platform). Saurabh started his career as a High-Performance Computing researcher at French National Institute for Scientific Research where he focused on Compiler Optimization for mission-critical computing. Saurabh holds a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell University and an MBA from Chicago Booth.
Scott is a Principal at Lewis & Clark Ventures, a venture capital fund manager that focuses on the highest potential Series A and B stage startup innovation between the US coasts. Scott spent his early career in Chicago's financial services industry, working for BMO Harris Bank, MainStreet Advisors and, subsequently, Citadel Solutions, which was ultimately acquired by Northern Trust. Scott then relocated with his family to St. Louis and led strategy for one of Coolfire Solutions' product lines, a mobile communication and coordination platform for teams operating in complex environments, and went on to manage the operations of Capital Innovators, a local tech accelerator. Scott holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado Boulder. Scott is a Kauffman Fellow and was named to the St. Louis Business Journal's "40 Under 40".
Sean Chou is the CEO and Co-founder of Catalytic, a company he founded in 2015 built on his lifelong obsession with working better. The company’s people-friendly automation platform frees up people to do more meaningful work, increases the speed of doing business, and improves the quality of outcomes. Prior to Catalytic, he was the founding CTO and EVP of Services at Fieldglass, a software-as-a-service pioneer acquired in 2014 by SAP.
Steven Galanis is the co-founder and CEO of Cameo, the world’s leading marketplace for personalized video shoutouts. He launched the company in 2017 after seeing a personalized video message taped by a prominent NFL player congratulating a friend on the birth of his son. To date the company has sold over 60,000 Cameos and seen over 4,000 athletes, actors, and influencers join the platform. He is LinkedIn alum who previously worked as a trader on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and founder of two film investment companies where he produced movies featuring stars such as Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro. Outside of work he is an avid Chicago sports fan and serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity Chicago. Steven is a 2010 graduate of Duke University where he majored in History.
Vic is Managing Partner of lightbank. Founded in 2010, lightbank is top performing $300+ million seed and series a venture capital firm headquartered in Chicago. Lightbank is best known for its entrepreneurial DNA, propriety investment opportunities and track record for producing outsized returns. Over 70% of lightbank’s investments are in Chicago / Midwest. Vic is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and began his professional career in Chicago in 1995. He has over 20 years of experience in venture capital, fintech investing and financial services. He has been a part of over $650M in venture capital and M&A transactions. Vic has taken multiple companies public and through successful acquisitions. He currently services on the boards of Clearcover, CarLease.com, Snapsheet, Fooda, Sprout Social, Hireology, Ionic, BillTrim, BenchPrep, Udemy and Hatch Loyalty. Vic is also an advisor to the Chicago Blockchain Center, Currency and Fintech 71. He is an active supporter of financial services innovation efforts. Prior to lightbank, Vic built and led USAA’s $330 million corporate venture capital program where he led investments in fintech (insurtech, banking, investment management), consumer internet, enterprise technologies and digital capabilities. He also held responsibility for the company’s M&A, joint ventures and intellectual property transactions. More recently, Vic was a Partner with Munich Re| HSB Ventures where he led their investment activities in insurtech including trov, super, slice labs and Next Insurance. Investments Vic has led and boards he has served on include: Narrative Science, TRUECar (NASDAQ: TRUE), Care.com (NYSE: CRCM), ID.me, Automatic Labs (acquired by Sirius XM), Prosper Marketplace, Personal Capital, Coinbase, MX, Roost, Cartera Commerce (acquired by EBates), Roostify, RepairPal, Saffron Technologies (acquired by Intel Corp), CafeX, MindMeld (acquired by Cisco) and VAST. Preceding financial services, Vic’s background includes Chicago start-ups and leadership positions in law. Vic has consulted to numerous financial services companies and venture capital firms on their fintech/insurtech investments as well as broader strategic initiatives. He has served as chairman of the National Venture Capital Association’s (NVCA) Education Committee for the Corporate Venture Group and served on the Board of Advisor’s for the NVCA. Vic has been featured in Andrew Roman’s best-selling book, The Masters of Corporate Venture Capital. He is also a TedX speaker and regular participant on insurtech and fintech discussion panels.
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