The Keller Center’s eLab Summer Accelerator Program at Princeton University is a launch pad for student startups. The program is open, by application only, to some of Princeton’s brightest and most dynamic students. The eLab is based in the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub at 34 Chambers Street in downtown Princeton. Over a period of ten weeks, student teams work intensively on their startup ideas, follow a specialized entrepreneurship curriculum, attend a series of targeted workshops, and receive valuable mentorship and advising through a network of seasoned entrepreneurs and technology experts, all with the goal of developing their startup ideas into viable, scalable ventures.
The Keller Center’s eLab Mentorship Program aims to provide tremendous value and benefits for both students and mentors. The purpose of mentoring must be mutually established by the mentor and mentees, with clearly deﬁned goals and outcomes. Mentoring requires a trusting, confidential relationship based on mutual respect. Further, any individual engaging in University programs shall understand and abide by the University’s Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities and take note of the recently updated policy on Sex Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct.
Mentors should not have a vested interest in their startup team; they may not seek to invest in the startup, assume a board position, or take on any other company role. If a mentor is interested in establishing any such role with the startup, the Keller Center program manager must be notified and resignation from the mentor program will be necessary.
Mentors who are part of the eLab Mentorship Program will be helping Princeton’s young entrepreneurs grow and learn what it takes to successfully start a company while enjoying the interaction with fellow mentors and affiliated industry professionals.
- Pairing with one student startup for the duration of the program (fall/spring or summer)
- Bi-weekly mentor-team meetings over the course of the program
- Meetings can be held via phone/Skype if geographically necessary
- Invitations to various Keller Center events throughout the year
Interest in entrepreneurship at Princeton has been steadily rising over the past few years, and this academic year we are pleased to have more than twenty startup teams working in the eLab Incubator. With the eLab Summer Accelerator application deadline approaching on December 15, we anticipate an equally robust number of applicants.
A key component of eLab is mentorship, and the Keller Center currently seeks individuals who are interested in lending their time and expertise to the program.
Faculty, alumni, local entrepreneurs, and industry experts are invited to learn more about the eLab Summer Accelerator Program and find out how they can contribute to the success of Princeton’s young, ambitious entrepreneurs.
Stephanie Landers – Program Manager, Keller Center: email@example.com, 609-258-3979
Jon Beyer '05
Jon is the founder of White Goose Technology, a full-stack software development firm specializing in custom software for small to mid-sized businesses. The developers at White Goose have worked with a diverse set of companies, from defense contractors to local print shops, and they pride themselves on developing a deep understanding of their clients’ unique needs and business models. Previously, Jon was co-founder of TerraCycle, an award-winning company focused on eliminating the idea of waste by recycling the "non-recyclable". Jon was also co-founder and CIO of Princeton Asset Management Group, a statistical arbitrage hedge fund.
Geoffrey Cook is a serial entrepreneur and CEO. The Meet Group started out as a single brand, which Geoff grew to over $30 million in revenue before merging with a public company in a $100 million deal. Since then, Geoff has led the company to acquire three additional social apps -- Andreessen Horowitz backed Skout for $55 million, Tagged or $60 million, and LOVOO for $70 million.
Geoff has won a number of awards, including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Philadelphia region. Geoff began his entrepreneurial journey in school, founding EssayEdge and ResumeEdge from a Harvard dorm.
When he’s not working, Geoff is writing. His debut middle-grade novel Veronica and the Volcano took First Place in the 2018 Reader Views Reviewer’s Choice Awards. It also landed a spot as Book of the Year Finalist in the Foreword Reviews literary contest. Geoff lives in Princeton, NJ, with his wife, two daughters, and son.
Dan Day has been assistant vice president for communications at Princeton since 2015, and was in acting charge of the Office of Communications for one year before that. He joined the University as director of news and editorial services in 2012 from The Modesto (California) Bee, where he was director of interactive media and audience development, and had been managing editor.
Prior to the Bee, Day spent 23 years with The Associated Press, where he worked as an executive at headquarters in New York and as a reporter, editor and bureau chief in Trenton, New Jersey; San Francisco; Seattle; Omaha, Nebraska; and Milwaukee. He also worked as a reporter at The Daily Times of Ottawa, Illinois.
A Cleveland native, Day has an M.A. degree in journalism from Marquette University and an A.B. degree in the classics from the College of the Holy Cross. At Princeton, he is a fellow at Mathey College and an academic fellow with the baseball team.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Princeton Federal Credit Union and a past president of the First Amendment Coalition, a California-based non-profit that advocates for freedom of speech. He delights in taking photos of his family, his travels and the birds in his backyard. He also enjoys playing guitar and cycling (on one wheel or two).
R. Gordon Douglas Jr., M.D. '55
Princeton Studies Food co-founder, is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and is director of three biotech companies: Vical, Inc. Novadigm, and Protein Sciences. He was president of the Merck Vaccine Division from 1989 until 1999. Previously, he was an infectious disease specialist with research interests in respiratory viral infections, vaccines, and antivirals at Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He received his medical staff training at The New York Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Douglas holds a Bachelor's Degree from Princeton University, an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.D. Degree from Cornell University Medical College.
Karthik Eticala has a track record in leading strategic new business innovation within CPG, Oil & Gas and EPC industries. He has more than 10 years of experience in new product development, operations management, and large scale plant design. Karthik is an innovative and resourceful problem solver with consistent success at delivering exceptional results, leading change, and driving forward-thinking transformational capabilities. Karthik received his MBA from New York University and his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. He enjoys playing basketball, golf and spending time with his family in East Brunswick, NJ.
Dror Futter '86
Dror Futter is a venture and technology partner at the Rimon Law Firm and brings more than 20 years of high tech and intellectual property legal and business experience to Rimon and its clients. Prior to joining Rimon, Dror was a partner at McCarter & English and SorinRand. Previously, Dror was General Counsel to Vidyo, Inc., one of the nation’s top 50 venture-backed companies, where, among other things, he negotiated and documented sales agreements for both direct and indirect channels, purchase agreements, software licenses, service agreements, and strategic agreements in the US, Asia and Europe. Previously, he was a partner and General Counsel of renowned venture capital fund New Venture Partners LLC. While there, he helped to form funds, and advised multiple start-ups and corporate spin-offs in the information technology and telecommunications industries, as well as serving as the venture fund’s legal counsel. He also advised portfolio companies with respect to commercial, mergers and acquisitions, employment, Internet/ecommerce and intellectual property law matters. In addition, during his tenure at New Venture Partners, Dror negotiated, structured and documented strategic alliances with British Telecom and Philips and handled the acquisitions of assets of over twenty ventures from companies including British Telecom, Philips, Intel, IBM, Boeing, Freescale, Unilever, IDEO, Maxim and Telstra.
Earlier in his career, Dror was Corporate Counsel at Lucent Technologies, Inc., representing the New Ventures Group, Optoelectronics Unit, CIO organization and various procurement organizations. He began his legal career as a corporate associate in the New York law firm Battle Fowler LLP and later as an associate in the Computer and High Technology Group of McCarter. Dror’s background and combined experiences uniquely qualify him to serve McCarter’s client base of startup, early stage, emerging growth, and middle market technology and tech-enabled enterprises and the investors who support them.
Dror is a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and 1989 graduate of Columbia University School of Law. He also earned an Executive MBA in 1999 from the American Electronics Association Executive Institute of Stanford University. In addition to his academic and legal career accomplishments, Dror is a recognized thought leader in the areas of venture capital and technology transactions. Among other things, he has served on the Model Forms Drafting Group of the National Venture Capital Association. Dror is also a frequent speaker on venture related topics for area Meetups and conferences.
Pam Gregory is President and CEO of Princeton Blairstown Center. Pam joined PBC in 2013 after spending two years at Cirque du Soleil as Director of Global Citizenship US overseeing corporate giving, employee engagement, public affairs, and the company’s Cirque du Monde programs for at-risk youth. She spent more than 20 years working with at-risk youth though progressively responsible roles at Inwood House, Children For Children, and Girls Quest where she focused on strategic planning, board development, program development & evaluation, and all aspects of fundraising, marketing, and public affairs. Pam has a wealth of experience in social-emotional learning and experiential education, having served as both the Program Director and Executive Director of Trail Blazers, one of the oldest continually operating summer programs for at-risk youth in the U.S. She holds a BA from the University of New Orleans and a MA in Environmental Education from Goddard College. She also completed the Executive Level Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Non Profit Management. In 2017, she joined the New Jersey Institute of Technology Martin Tuchman School of Management Advisory Board.
Brandon Holley is the CEO of Everywear.com, a new fashion styling app that uses Tinder-like swiping and live chats with some of her fashion editor colleagues to help women, akin to Lucky readers, put looks together. Brandon's resume includes the top editor job at Elle Girl, Jane and, most recently, Lucky magazine. Her first major stint working at a digital media company was as general manager and editor in chief of Yahoo’s first foray into women’s content, Yahoo Shine, from 2007 to 2010. There, she catered to more than 24 million readers (as of October 2010), according to comScore. Holley’s latest role is CEO of Everywear.com, launched in spring 2015.
Andrew is Partner at Food-X. He is responsible for building, innovating and supporting the emerging Food-X ecosystem. This includes sourcing teams, building a robust program curriculum, and developing relationships with co-investors and partners to solidfiy Food-X’s position as the premier accelerator for food-related ventures. While in his dorm room, Andrew took a new product idea, raised angel funds, established a manufacturing facility in China and a sales force to sell his first solo product line into major US retailers. In his second Silicon Valley-based venture Open Shelf, Andrew raised $20M+ from VCs to focus on the data challenge between retailers and their vendors. That company was acquired.
Andrew has focused on innovation, developing high-growth businesses opportunities and as a business advisor in multiple verticals. He served on the Board of the Small Business Council of the Department of Trade and Industry advising the UK Government on entrepreneurialism and high growth companies; the National Science Foundation on startup grant awards, the Investment Task Force and the Centre for Policy Studies, Small Business Council (UK Think Tank). In addition to his extensive startup and policy background, Andrew has held senior brand management roles with Proctor & Gamble and Rabobank. Andrew is also an author and currently has a bestselling book, ‘Choose Your Startup: How to Fund Your Business’. He holds a BSc from the University of London and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. His first product design, the X-IT Ladder, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Sachin Jade is an entrepreneur, investor and a seasoned executive with a focus on Growth Advisory, Innovation, Investments & Emerging Technologies. His entrepreneurial roots started in early 2000's as one of the first employees of a Startup in Boston that was acquired by a Global Technology Firm. In 2006, he co-founded an Investment Management & Advisory firm focused on Primary & Secondary alternative investments and strategic advisory services to clients on financial structuring, investment due diligence, new initiatives & innovation, emerging technologies & disruption that subsequently got acquired by one of the Big 4. He currently assists mid-market operating firms with growth strategy, operations & technology initiatives and investment firms with due-diligence & post-investment operations. He has participated as an advisor & investor to emerging companies and spin-offs from existing institutions. He has an MBA from Wharton, an MS in ECE from Boston University and a BTech from IIT Bombay. He is a frequent panelist and speaker on Alternative Investments, Growth Strategy, Digital transformation & Operations.
Brian Johnson, Ph.D. '96
Brian H. Johnson, Ph.D, is Senior Director of Digital Solutions at Johnson & Johnson Medical, where he explores ways to augment procedures, interrogate data, activate patients and connect heretofore disparate data sets to transform the practice of medicine.
Prior to his current role, Brian was the Senior Director leading the R&D, Clinical, and Regulatory IT organizations, within Johnson & Johnson’s device sector. His scope of leadership encompassed product development resulting in $11B in sales within seven distinct franchises. He has worked within J&J for over 17 years and has lead R&D organizations within the pharmaceutical, consumer, and device and diagnostic sectors. He has served as a board member for J&J’s Baby & Therakos franchises, as well as a member of the leadership team for an incubation program, TruMatch, a customized knee and joint replacement product. Before joining J&J, he consulted within insurance and financial services, small biotech, and big pharmaceuticals, focusing on strategy development, process improvements, and technology enablers.
Johnson completed his Ph.D. at Princeton University, where he studied chemistry and molecular biology, focusing on the fundamentals of protein folding, which included significant wet lab activities as well as computational modeling. He is a founding board member for GTG, a 501(c)(3) foundation focused on leadership development and networking for people of color in the healthcare industry.
Julia Macalaster '12
Julia Macalaster is a technology professional who has worked in data analytics, strategy consulting, e-commerce and mobile solutions. In her current role as Head of Strategy at Def Method, Julia partners with clients ranging from small startups to large enterprises to build strong and sustainable digital products. Additionally, Julia continues to focus on her startup, PreeLine, which she co-founded in 2014. PreeLine is a digital focus group solution that helps fashion brands test future merchandise to gain insight on inventory purchase decisions. Julia started her career as a management consultant with Booz Digital. There she worked on a range of projects, including working with one of the largest public companies in the US to develop a mobile payment and loyalty strategy. She attended Princeton University and rowed on the varsity crew team. Her goal is to find technical solutions to everyday problems.
Fadzi Makanda 07
Fadzi Makanda received an AB in English from Princeton University in 2007 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2012l. She currently sources and executes early stage investment opportunities at iHeartMedia, a multi-billion dollar media and entertainment company. Prior to iHeartMedia, Fadzi worked at iROKOtv, the largest distributor of African content online. As Head of International Content Acquisition, she led the start-up's international content strategy and structured licensing deals with major Hollywood studios. Fadzi began her career at Credit Suisse within the Equities division, where she developed financing transactions for $BN+ institutional investors.
As the co-founder and CEO of GEP, the world’s leading procurement software and services firm, Subhash has led the firm since its inception in 1999, overseeing an extraordinary record of strong revenue growth and profitability. Under his leadership, GEP has become known for its culture of innovation and creativity. Today GEP has more than 3,000 employees in 15 countries and is recognized as a leading global provider of procurement and supply chain solutions, serving more than 250 blue-chip market leaders, such as ExxonMobiI, Google, Kellogg, AT&T, Honda, John Deere, Bank of America, Brooks Brothers, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among others. Despite its increasing size and success, the firm continues to grow consistently at a 30-35% annual growth rate year after year, with revenues projected to exceed $1 billion in the next few years.
A self-professed gearhead, Subhash is passionately committed to developing the potential of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, incorporating them into the company’s cloud-native SMART by GEP source-to-pay software platform. Prior to co-founding GEP, Subhash was a senior executive in the strategy practice of Accenture. Among other industry honors, he has beennamed a “Pro-to-Know” by Supply and Demand Chain Executive. He is frequently sought for commentary, insight and analysis from business and technology media, analysts and research firms. In 2016, Subhash was named Entrepreneur of the Year by E&Y. Subhash has several patents to his credit, including an intelligent search-and-match engine for procurement and a tool for managing multiple auctions. He is an active current member of the Clinton Global Initiative and is a strong proponent of and contributor tothe firm’s robust program (GEPSI) of corporate social responsibility initiatives, undertaken in communities around Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Subhash has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, an MBA with highest honors from the University of Chicago, and an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. His undergraduate degree is from the University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), Bombay.
Weidong Mao *91
Weidong Mao is currently Senior Fellow leading video architecture group in Technology and Product at Comcast Cable. He has more than 20 years of experience in digital video compression, IP streaming, and Content Delivery Network. Prior to joining Comcast, he was Chief Architect at Liberate Technologies. Previously, he was co-founder and CTO of MoreCom that was acquired by Liberate. He also held various senior management and technical positions at Motorola and Philips. Weidong received M.A. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1991, and B.S. in electrical engineering from Peking University, Beijing, China in 1986. He has 20 awarded patents and numerous publications and presentations and is a member of SCTE, SMPTE, and an IEEE Fellow.
Javier Garcia Martinez
Javier Garcia Martinez is Chemistry Professor and Director of the Nanotechnology Molecular Laboratory at the University of Alicante, Spain. He has published extensively in the areas of nanomaterials, catalysis and energy. His later books are “Nanotechnology for the Energy Challenge” (Wiley-VCH) and “The Chemical Element: Chemistry´s Contribution to our Global Future” (Wiley-VCH). Javier is also co-founder of Rive Technology Inc (Boston, MA), a clean energy company, commercializing advanced catalyst technology. The proprietary technology, invented by Javier during his post-doc MIT, makes traditional zeolite catalysts more accessible to large hydrocarbon molecules. Javier is also member of the World Economic Forum General Assembly Council on Emerging Technologies and Titular Member of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Javier has been recognized as a leader in nanotechnology and materials science. In 2005, Javier was awarded the Europa Medal, awarded annually to the outstanding European chemist under the age of 35, and he received the Silver Medal of the European Young Chemist Award in 2006. In 2007, Javier received the TR 35 Award from MIT’s Technology Review magazine, and in 2009 Javier was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Theresa is a senior strategic executive with over 15 years of in-depth financial, operating and strategic consulting experience. She is a Director at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. Theresa has led or participated in a significant number of complex, multi-faceted advisory engagements, with senior management roles in both global institutions and start-up platforms. She has provided strategic and operational advisory services to global pharmaceutical companies, hospital systems, and leading medical device manufacturers. While at Mercer Management Consulting, Theresa advised Fortune 500 companies, a broad range of international conglomerates, and governmental authorities in the United States, Latin America and Eastern Europe. After Mercer, Theresa created a global growth strategy and operational redesign for the medical device division of a leading global electronics company. Theresa also directed the North American business lines of European-based financial advisory and consulting firm. Theresa earned her M.B.A. from The Wharton Graduate School of Business, her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. Magna cum Laude from Dartmouth College.
Mark has been an active Angel Investor with the Delaware Crossing Investor group for the past 2 1/2 years, and leads the screening committee. Prior to that he spent 21 years with Tyco International as an Operating CFO for various Global Fire & Security Operations. Mark was born & raised in Sydney Australia, and has Law & Marketing degrees from UNSW in Sydney, as well as an MBA from INSEAD in France.
Vaidhy Murti '15
Vaidhy Murti is from Marlboro, New Jersey. He graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a degree in Computer Science. While at Princeton, he founded Friendsy, an app that facilitates connections between college students (friendsyapp.com). Friendsy went on to find success, growing to over 300,000 users and making 3 million matches between students. He raised close to $1 million in venture capital funding. Now, Vaidhy and his team run a startup studio, focusing on launching new apps. When he's not working, Vaidhy enjoys playing and watching sports, cooking, and spending time with his family. He also loves playing with his two dogs!
Joe Seldner is a writer, producer, communications strategist, media, entertainment, business and politics veteran who has produced movies for and television for HBO, Paramount Pictures, and independently, been creative executive to actor Tom Hanks at Disney Studios, Assistant to the President of Columbia Pictures, and worked with leaders in many arenas for more than 30 years. Joe is constantly writing and developing entrepreneurial projects in business, education and entertainment and has taken the lead in raising awareness of, and creating program for, people over 50 who are in or near dire economic circumstances. He began his career as a journalist, earning a Pulitzer Prize nomination. His work – then and since - has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Magazine and dozens of other publications. He is currently a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and other publications writing about social issues that are important to people over 50. He is an exceptional interviewer and listener, always eager to hear people’s stories, and a gifted and tireless storyteller and content creator. His writing and thinking is clear, effective fresh, witty, insightful and direct. Joe is high energy, innovative, entrepreneurial, insatiably curious, and always open to reinvention and new ideas.
Ronda Siegel is a strategic marketing leader who has experience across multiple marketing disciplines. She is currently leading global demand generation for IBM’s Banking & Financial Markets, Insurance, and Watson Financial Services business units. Her worldwide team is responsible for delivering qualified pipeline and win revenue. The marketing priorities are to be buyer centric, data driven, and outcome focused. Key areas of responsibility include Integrated Campaigns, Content Marketing, Events & Global Conferences, Web Infrastructure, Social Media Initiatives, SaaS Solution Launches, Customer Reference Development, Analytics & Metrics, Vendor Management. During her career Ronda has also been in sales management and spent many years in Business Partner ecosystem development. Ronda holds a Master of Professional Studies in Interactive Telecommunications (ITP Program) from New York University and graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts.
Erika Smith is the CEO of ReNetX Bio which is developing new therapeutics to treat injury/damage to the central nervous system in conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, and glaucoma. She was formerly the Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation that supports efforts to turn Yale faculty discoveries into life science treatments, drugs and devices. Prior to this role, Erika was the Deputy Director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute where she oversaw the YEI Innovation Fund(link is external), a fund supporting Yale entrepreneurs with $100,000 in seed-stage capital, and the Technology Commercialization Program, which matched business students with faculty discoveries to launch successful companies like GestVision and IsoPlexis. Before she came to Yale, Erika was the Senior Director of Investments with the Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT) where she launched the CIT BIO Lifescience seed fund in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, managing deal sourcing and the investment portfolio. Before investing in startups, she spent 15 years in industry working at leading companies such as Respironics/Philips and IVAX holding key positions in product development, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, business development and Mergers and Acquisitions. She has taken an active role in advancing capital into early companies holding board positions with the Maryland Innovation Initiative Fund in partnership with Johns Hopkins and MD Universities, the UConn Prototype Fund and SBIR/STTR initiatives, and is a Venture Advisor to the seed fund Epidarex Capital. Erika has taught at the National Institutes of Health and has been a recognized guest speaker at Georgetown University’s Masters of Biotechnology program. She holds a bachelor’s in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.
Steve Snyder is focused on the strategic planning, launch and operation of new businesses, products and services in the telecom, media and renewable energy sectors in the US and emerging markets. He has over 30 years of international business and technology/ strategy consulting experience in Europe, China, Asia and North America including the launch of Accenture’s Greater China business, the launch of the worlds first commercially scaled and profitable IPTV service, the launch of nationwide VoiP services in the US and Asia, and the launch of multiple ground-up operating wireless and wireline carriers and interactive media/ web businesses. He has been responsible for driving growth, profitability and managing the P&L of services businesses greater than $100m annual revenue and has been actively involved in multiple startups and M&A activities in the media/ IoT/ telecom and services space as investor, board member and mentor. Steve is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and has received numerous industry accolades for the research, products and ideas developed under his watch including recent participation in authoring the Economist’s 2015 Digital Disruptions in Telecoms report, Internet of Things (IoT) award in 2015 for new products and services in the sector by Aegis Graham Bell, and business innovations awards at the Global Telecoms Business Awards 2014 for ways to increase broadband penetration and carrier profitability. He continues this passion in his involvement with new startups targeting creative technologies, business processes and operations in the telecom, media and energy sectors. Steve graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1979 with honors in Civil Engineering (BSCE) and a focus on construction management and extended this through 1981 with research and Masters studies on nuclear construction optimization, renewable/ solar energy development and the effectiveness of systems technologies for improving business profitability in the construction industry.
Lawrence Spera is founder and managing partner of Residential Capital Asset Management, LLC, a socially responsible investment company that specializes in residential mortgages and real estate related activities. The company specializes in investment and financing alternatives to keep financially troubled homeowners out of default and foreclosure as well as providing access to home ownership to those unable to qualify under current banking requirements.
Mr. Spera is a serial entrepreneur providing seed funding and early stage financing to companies that focus on social innovation and community impact. Investments include start-up restaurants in urban enterprise zones and foodservice businesses that practice sustainability and social responsibility. In addition, Mr. Spera provides grants to non-profit organizations that support community projects and participates as an active member on the board of directors for various non-profit organizations.
He is a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics on business and entrepreneurial studies and a judge at the annual UNH Holloway Innovation-to-Market Competition.
Mr. Spera is a graduate of North Carolina State University and holds an MBA from Rutgers University School of Business.
Joan Spindel is Managing Partner at The Scarsdale Group, a boutique business consultancy, where she partners with clients to develop and drive go-to-market strategies as well as critical elements of the marketing program mix. Joan has worked closely with high technology and service–led companies as well as venture capitalists to accelerate the delivery of marketing and sales initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing executive with 25+ years of experience building teams and brands, developing IPO initiatives and crafting successful market entry and growth programs. Joan understands a broad range of technology areas and industry sectors including communications/media, financial services, consumer packaging goods and healthcare. She has a knack for translating technical concepts into compelling value propositions, communications and sales pipeline programs to increase mindshare and win rates. Joan has consulted with and/or held senior marketing and channel development positions at venture backed and public big brand technology companies including EMC Corporation, Lotus Development Corporation (purchased by IBM). CenturyLink, Lucent/Avaya, Avanade (a joint venture with Microsoft and Accenture), Westcon-Comstor (Cisco’s largest distributor outside the US,) and others. She is a graduate of Hamilton College, completed her masters course work at Boston University in Marketing, sits on the Princeton Environmental Commission and is the Special Education Liaison for the John Witherspoon Middle School. Joan lives in Princeton with her husband, son and two King Charles Cavaliers.
Christian Theriault '07 *08
Christian Theriault is Co-Founder and CEO of TAG Optics, a specialty lens manufacturing company which develops and produces custom built tunable acoustic gradient index lenses. Christian and mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Craig Arnold won 1st prize for their TAG lens in the Keller Center’s 2011 Innovation Forum. Prior to starting TAG Optics, Christian held business and corporate development roles at a health care start-up. His first start-up experience was during his master’s when he founded a medical device company to commercialize aspects of his academic research. Christian has been involved with the Princeton entrepreneurship scene since 2006. He completed both an A.B. in Molecular Biology and a Master of Science in Engineering with concentrations in Materials Science and Engineering Management at Princeton University.
Shikha Uberoi Bajpai '14
Shikha Uberoi Bajpai is the Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships at Indi.com, a global, video platform generating engagement and sales for e-retailers and brands. She also creates and produces feature film and digital/television formats with her company Impact Media 360 which endeavors to mainstream social change through programs with purpose. She mentors, advises, and serves as a trustee for many startups serving a range of sectors. Currently, she is mentoring entrepreneurs for Facebook She Leads Tech, NCode, and Round Glass.
Prior to co-founding Indi.com and founding Impact Media 360, Inc. she was a professional tennis player reaching top 100 on the WTA Tour and winning India a silver medal at the Asian Games. She’s one of India’s top 10 most glamorous athletes and the top 10 fastest server in the world. She graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in South Asian Studies. She is honored to have won Princeton's prestigious Kit Harris Memorial Award for Leadership and Ethics.
She considers herself an impact entrepreneur and is passionately engaged with women's self-empowerment and leadership, social entrepreneurship, female empowerment through sport, e-commerce, and content creation.
Benedikt von Schröder
Benedikt von Schroder has been active at a senior level in corporate finance and private equity for close to 30 years. Since 2012 he has shifted focus to venture capital working as an angel investor and mentor out of Princeton. Most recently he has invested in startups in the life science, eHealth sectors and ed-tech sectors. Until December of 2013 he has been a Partner at G.C.Andersen, the NY based investment banking boutique, were he focused on cross border M&A transactions. Prior to that he was for eight years a Partner at Augusta & Co plc in London and Frankfurt where he has worked on a number of significant M&A transactions, debt financings and equity raises for SMEs in various industry sectors including renewable energies. Until December of 2002 he was a Partner at Clayton Dubilier & Rice, the US private equity firm, which he joined in April 2000 to help identify investment opportunities in Germany and Europe and taking advantage of the massive restructuring of German industry underway at the time. Prior to joining CD&R, he was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and a Member of the Management Board of Morgan Stanley Bank AG in Frankfurt, responsible for its German and Austrian investment banking business. Since 2013 he has moved back to the principal side mentoring young entrepreneurs and investing as business angel in life science, healthcare IT and ed-tech start-ups both in the US and Europe. His investments are tech driven and typically at the seed stage. Benedikt is married and the father of three children.
James Walsh, a life sciences technology commercialization specialist, has spent the past 15 years working with US and European academic centers, and private and public companies to commercialize early stage technologies. He is currently a business advisor to University City Sciences Center QED (Proof-of-Concept) Program. Previously, James worked in technology development and commercialization roles for a number of leading universities in London, UK, and for Enterprise Ireland, the Irish export focused economic development agency. His focus is to ensure early stage and established companies grow through research & innovation and by strategic R&D collaborations with partner companies and international research centers. He has worked across many sectors in the life sciences including medical devices, clinical diagnostics, drug development, bioenergy technology and nutraceuticals. James also has a long track record in basic and applied clinical research with positions at Oxford University, the UK Medical Research Council, and Imperial College London where his research contributed to a number of significant medical research breakthroughs.
James holds a Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law from Queen Mary College, London PhD in genetics from Imperial College London. He also holds Bachelor of Science degrees from the National University of Ireland. He grew up in Galway, Ireland. He currently resides in Princeton with his family.
John Weaver is the founder and CEO of Varsity Software, Inc., a technology company that develops interactive software solutions. Over the past two decades, John has held multiple leadership roles in business and technology. Most recently, he co-founded Reunion Technologies, a technology company that developed affinity and fund-raising software. His former positions include serving as a consultant at the Citibank Private Bank in the Global Wealth management division, Vice President of Information Technology at Time Warner’s Elektra Records and Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). John serves his community in a number of capacities. He is the co-founder of the Princeton Chapter of the Princeton Entrepreneurs Network (PEN), the Vice Chairman of the Shiloh Community Development Corporation (SCDC) and the President of the Zeta Iota Lambda (Trenton) chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. John received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Princeton University. John is married to Dr. Karen Jackson Weaver, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity at thePrinceton University Graduate School. John, Karen and their two children reside in Lawrenceville, NJ.
Kevin Wong '05
Kevin Wong '05 studied ORFE at Princeton and tutored extensively when he was a student. After graduating, he hired a specialized team of tutors and co-founded Princeton Tutoring with his brother, Greg Wong '02. Kevin continues to operate Princeton Tutoring, and he specializes in mentoring and motivating students to help them reach their personal and professional potential. He is also working on startup designed to help high school students access quality college counseling. Outside of the education industry, Kevin has extensive experience in the financial services industry (He is a former quantitative hedge fund manager). He also enjoys playing tennis, training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and spending time with his family in Princeton, NJ.