8B Education Investments is fintech company using innovative guarantees and income-share agreements to facilitate affordable financing to African students in leading global universities.
Obinna Onyenedum is a Program Assistant for Entrepreneurship Programs for Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA). He works closely in supporting entrepreneurs in residence across various programs and assists with program coordination of the Southern Tier Startup Alliance (STSA), Hardware Accelerator Program, and Rev:Ithaca Startup Works.
Prior to joining CREA Obinna worked for the City and County of San Francisco first as an SF Fellow and then as a Property Manager for the San Francisco International Airport’s Revenue, Development and Management division.
He earned his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Amy Cheney is a go-to-market sales and business development executive with 20 years of experience launching new technology solutions across industries. As SVP of Strategic Accounts at Dataminr, Amy is part of the leadership team that is accelerating growth at one of the leading companies in A.I. and Machine Learning Technology. Amy was previously the Global Head of Sales and Business Development for Bloomberg Vault, a SaaS compliance data solution that she co-launched and grew to a profitable business. She was also part of the start-up team at Bloomberg Law, which is used in 99% of the AmLaw 100.
As a certified executive coach, Amy enjoys working with entrepreneurs on sales. She is a guest speaker at Cornell Tech where she teaches a class on sales for new venture business. Amy has an M.B.A. from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and a B.A. from Bucknell University where she double majored in Economics and English, and minored in Dance. She holds a professional coaching certification from IPEC.
Greg is a Program Lead and Entrepreneur in Residence at the Center for Regional Economic Advancement and an instructor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Previously, Greg served in a number of roles for Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a program for early-stage technology-based companies. During his time at CDL, Greg worked on expansion, pedagogy, operations, recruiting, and partnerships while based out of Toronto, New York, and Atlanta. CDL’s cumulative equity value created increased by more than $6B CAD during Greg’s tenure. Before CDL, Greg served as project manager for the launch of a private hospital in Kuwait and worked on strategy for a Dubai-based agriculture start-up. Greg holds a BA (Biochemistry) from Hamilton College, an MBA (Strategy) from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. (Molecular Biology) from Cornell University.
Ryan Nadeau is currently the Operations Assistant at Rev Ithaca Startup Works. He oversees daily Rev operations along with its facilities, systems, information technology and billing. He also supports special program events in conjunction and collaboration with CREA staff. Ryan has a background in digital marketing with a demonstrated knowledge of music and live event promotion. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing and Communications from Ithaca College.
Greg Thomson is an attorney and strategic advisor based in Ithaca and New York City, with over 20 years of experience in digital media, entertainment and technology. He also serves as Strategic Advisor to Cornell’s Center for Technology Licensing.
Greg has headed business development for venture-financed startup companies including the S.R. Guggenheim Foundation’s digital media company and Sports Museums of America, and also held a senior business development position at NBCi in San Francisco. He began his post-MBA career as a communications /media/technology strategy consultant with PwC’s Strategy& in New York.
As a media industry lawyer and executive, Greg headed business affairs for LA-based Quincy Jones Productions, served as VP of Partnerships for Discovery Communications, and has represented clients including Dr. Dre, Youssou N’Dour, and the Estate of Gil Scott-Heron. He has also served as an entertainment economics expert witness in major entertainment industry litigation, including on behalf of the City of Los Angeles in the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by heirs of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.
Greg’s ongoing private law practice work includes intellectual property and software licensing, venture financing, private placements, film financing transactions, media mergers and acquisitions, corporate sponsorships and endorsements, literary rights acquisitions, distribution agreements, and a wide variety of digital media, technology, and music, television and film industry transactions.
Greg received an MBA from Columbia Business School, a JD from Yale Law School, and a BA from Yale College.
Bennett Thomas is Co-Founder and General Parter of Triple Impact Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in startups creating products and services driving financial, environmental and social impact.
Previously, he served as a Senior Vice President of Finance & Sustainability with Hersha Hotels & Resorts, a publicly traded (NYSE: HT) investment firm with a portfolio of upscale, luxury and lifestyle hotels in urban U.S. markets. Prior to Hersha, Thomas served as Senior Manager in mergers & acquisitions with Medco, a Fortune 50 healthcare company, as a Senior Technology consultant with Ernest & Young, and as a Fund Manger with BR Ventures, Cornell’s student-run venture fund.
At Cornell, Bennett is a guest lecturer, a Board member for the Institute for Healthy Futures, and a member of the Sustainability Roundtable. Bennett received his B.S. in Civil-Environmental Engineering with honors from Virginia Tech and graduated as a Park Leadership Fellow from the Johnson MBA program at Cornell University.
Tony Frontera is a professor of entrepreneurship and marketing for the School of Management at Binghamton University and advisor for Binghamton Enactus, a student organization focused on entrepreneurial activities. Frontera served as an adjunct instructor and mentor for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program.
Mr. Frontera is an Entrepreneur in Residence for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, a member organization of business incubators, whose purpose is to provide support to entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses in the Southern Tier of NY. Tony mentors and coaches entrepreneurs and startups in the region and is frequently asked to speak about Branding and Positioning for different entrepreneurial organizations. Since 2016, Frontera serves as a mentor to finalist teams in NYSERDA’S 76W Clean Energy Competition.
Tony is a seasoned marketer and entrepreneur in the consumer electronics industry. He has over thirty years of marketing strategy, business strategy, business development and consumer communication experience at both his own retail business and mid-sized corporations. Frontera served in marketing management and business development capacities at McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., where he was responsible for branding, distribution strategy and customer communication in the luxury consumer electronics industry. Previous to this, Mr. Frontera held positions as; CEO, Manager of Business Development, Northeast Regional Training Manager, and Account Manager for companies in the Photographic and Printing industries.
Mr. Frontera volunteers his time for the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of Binghamton and currently serves as President of the board. He also serves on the Board of GHS Federal Credit Union. Frontera holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Binghamton University.
Alex Hagen, a serial entrepreneur, recently joined Rev: Ithaca Startup Works as an Entrepreneur in Residence. Previously the Director of the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator, Hagen is also currently CEO at ShrubBucket.com, an online order aggregation business that has the goal of disrupting the gardening industry. “The Zappos of Plants” is growing rapidly and will be expanding into several cities in 2020. Previously, he was the CFO at Renovus Solar during a time of rapid growth from 7 employees to over 60. Prior to Renovus, Hagen was the founding CEO of Weaver Wind Energy Inc. and raised over $1M in grants and angel capital. During his five years with the company, he managed the design, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing of the world’s most reliable small wind turbine, one of the first in the country to be awarded full certification by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Hagen has over fourteen years of operational, financial, and business strategy experience at both startups and large corporations. He served in engineering and project management capacities at Hutchinson Technologies (high-volume, high-precision hard drive component manufacturer) as well as product development and R&D at Merit Medical Systems (intravenous medical devices). Hagen holds a degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Black Oak Wind Farm and other community organizations. He lives in Ithaca, New York with his wife and four kids.
Stephen Sauer, Ph. D is a Senior lecturer of Management and Organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Sauer’s research and teaching activities focus on issues of leadership, team processes, and status and diversity in management. His work has been published in a number of academic journals and his research has been featured in a variety of mainstream media outlets.
Dr. Sauer graduated with a PhD in Management and Organizational Behavior from Cornell University, where he also earned an MBA and Master’s in Business and Policy Administration. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to embarking on his academic career, he worked as an organization change consultant and plant manager after serving seven years as an armored cavalry officer in the US Army.
Cook is a founding member of Klausner Cook, PLLC, a law firm that represents businesses and individuals in connection with a wide array of complex commercial business and real estate transactions. He has also lectures at the Johnson School and the College of Engineering at Cornell University where he teaches courses on entrepreneurship, early-stage finance and venture capital transactions, and commercialization. Nate also serves as a mentor for the 76West clean energy business competition and the Grow-NY food and agriculture competition. Throughout his career, he has represented a diverse group of clients including publicly-traded corporations, middle market companies, and emerging technology startups. He regularly counsels companies on corporate governance, fund raising, M&A transactions, and protection and licensing of intellectual property.
Steve Supron has more than 30 years of experience in the mechanical design, development, and global manufacturing of complex, electro-mechanical products. He has experience leading engineering teams and working with cross-functional teams including management, manufacturers, and customers. He maintains a deep knowledge of intellectual property and is named as inventor or co-inventor on 36 U.S. Patents. Most recently, Steve was the Manufacturing Lead for Maidbot.
Ernest Hackney is the Operations Coordinator at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works. He is responsible for the daily oversight of operations, facility and security at Rev as well as aiding in special events planning in conjunction with other Rev and CREA staff members.
Before moving to Ithaca, Ernest received his Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship at Alfred State College. This experience fostered his desire to get involved with the startup community. He graduated from Ithaca College with Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in finance.
As the Project Associate for Entrepreneurship Programs for Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, Hampton coordinates the complex matrix of CREA program activities through project management and systems integration efforts.
Hampton has 11 years of experience at Cornell and 8 years working for not-for-profit organizations focusing on youth and community development. She holds a B.S. in Academic Policy and Human Development and is working to complete a Master of Social Science degree from Syracuse University.
Outside of CREA, Hampton owns and teaches lessons at her private piano studio. She is an avid runner, volleyball player, and gardener with two amazing daughters.
Rena Scroggins is the Competition Manager for the 76West Clean Energy Competition. Rena is part of the Southern Tier Startup Alliance (STSA), a member organization of business incubators who provide support to people starting and growing companies in the region. STSA is operating the competition under contract with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Previous to this role, Rena was the owner and CEO of the Montrose Theatre, an independent movie and special events space, for eight years. She lives in Ithaca and enjoys the chaos of working out of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.
Max Henry is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) serving startup members of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and he is part of Cornell AgriTech’s Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture in Geneva, NY.
Henry is the founder and president of Humming Bird Leadership and serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence for NextCorps in Rochester, NY. His former experience includes serving as president and CEO of multiple companies including Topica (internet marketing), PrivateExpress (digital courier delivery company), Fabrik Communications (business messaging company, sold to Critical Path), and JSB Corporation (global software company, sold as SurfControl to Websense).
Previously, he served as vice president and general manager of Information Access Company (sold to Thomson), executive vice president and general manager of U.S. Telestar, and vice president and general manager of NeXT Computer (sold to Apple), where he was a direct report to Steve Jobs and was part of the executive policy team. Henry has served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards and is currently board chairman at InfoStreet, an Inc 500 SaaS company.
Henry holds an MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hobart College.
Dr. Fleming is an experienced executive, educator, speaker, angel investor, and mom. In the first twelve years of her career, Fleming advanced from an Analyst at Morgan Stanley to Partner at an $1.85 billion private equity fund. During this time, she was struck by the lack of women in leadership positions and decided to take action. She pursued a Ph.D. at Cornell in management, focusing on gender bias in the business world and how to reduce it. Today, she speaks across the U.S. on these issues.
Fleming has served on the board of directors of numerous publicly traded companies, private companies, and non-profits. She also served as a senior lecturer for both Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and Johnson Graduate School of Management, teaching entrepreneurship, finance, women in leadership and negotiations courses, as well as running several business competitions and Cornell’s university-wide minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Prior to joining the business world, Fleming obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. As a resident of Ithaca, NY, she is excited to draw on her deep knowledge of entrepreneurship, finance, leadership and culture to help more local startups build effective and inclusive organizations that will drive long-term growth and value creation for their founders, their investors and the community.
Leigh Martino is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Cornell’s Center of Regional Economic Advancement. She works with the marketing strategist to implement marketing and communications plans to promote CREA, its programs, and its various members.
Before joining Cornell University, Leigh spent two years working at Binghamton University as a communications assistant in the athletic department. Prior to her time at Binghamton, she served as the Public Information Coordinator at Windsor Central School District.
Leigh graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 with a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications. In addition to working at CREA, she is a part-time assistant coach for the Ithaca College track & field team.
Andrea Ippolito is the executive director of the Engineering Management Program at Cornell University. She is an instructor for eLab, Cornell’s student accelerator, Engineering’s Commercialization Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps.
She recently completed a role as the innovators network director at the Department of Veterans Affairs and she previously served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the VA Center for Innovation based out of the White House Office of Science Technology Policy and General Services Administration.
She previously was a Ph.D. student in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT, cofounder of Smart Scheduling, Innovation Specialist at the Brigham &Women’s Hospital Innovation Hub, and co-leader of MIT’s Hacking Medicine. She also served as a product innovation manager at Athena Health and completed her M.S. in engineering and management at MIT. Prior to MIT, Ippolito worked as a research scientist within the Corporate Technology Development group at Boston Scientific. She obtained both a B.S. in biological engineering in 2006 and Master of Engineering in biomedical engineering in 2007 from Cornell University.
Currently, Miller-Out serves as the managing partner at Chloe Capital, a seed stage venture capital investment fund focused on women-led technology companies. She’s also co-founder of PollQ, a chatbot polling tool for higher education, and a board member at Women 2.0, the leading media brand for women in tech.
In 2016, Elisa oversaw a successful acquisition deal with a division of Singlebrook, a custom software services firm that she co-founded and led as CEO for over 10 years. She is the company’s CFO as well as chair of the board. Singlebrook has Fortune 500, higher education, and nonprofit clients from around the world including: Cornell, Yale, Henry Schein, Hitachi, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and more.
Prior to starting Singlebrook, Elisa founded two other companies and worked in a variety of industries in New York City. She has also launched several networking groups and regularly serves as a mentor and judge for startup accelerators and competitions. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. Learn more at www.elisamillerout.com.
Brandon is a serial entrepreneur, most recently co-founder and CEO at Zibby. Zibby is a mission-driven finance company helping retailers sell life’s necessities to 100M nonprime consumers seamlessly through every channel, from online to in-store. Zibby customers that demonstrate creditworthy behaviors graduate to more attractive financing terms over time.
Brandon’s landed his first job with a top-10 asset management team at Smith Barney, but quickly transitioned from analyzing companies to building them. He co-founded and successfully exited companies in residential mortgage, multi-family real estate, and retail coffee, all in the Pacific Northwest.
Wright has co-founded business associations and served on mayoral advisory committees for economic development. He graduated from Whitman College with an undergraduate degree in Economics and received his MBA from Cornell University in 2012.
Shannon Sullivan is the Regional Director of the Upstate New York (UNY) I-Corps Node. She focuses on identifying and supporting innovative researchers who wish to explore the commercialization potential of technologies they’ve developed, and on growing the NSF I-Corps network in the Northeast through strong partnerships with universities, incubators and nonprofit venture development organizations.
Shannon has 10+ years of entrepreneurial experience and was a founding executive at Globaloria, an education technology start up that was sold to Carnegie Learning in 2017. Her career in digital media and technology spans 20 years and includes leadership roles at MTV and Knowledge Adventure.
She holds a BA in Public Relations from the University of Southern California and a MEd in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia.
Molly Israel is the Marketing Strategist at CREA. She plans and implements marketing communications plans to promote CREA, its programs, and its various members.
Prior to joining Cornell University, Molly worked at Ithaca College for seven years, most recently as the Executive Director of Marketing. Before joining the ranks within higher education, she got a taste for start-ups as the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for a fast-growing digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C.
Molly holds a degree in communications from Ithaca College and is constantly seeking better ways to balance mom-life with her two small children. She also serves on the board of the Learning Web, a local nonprofit supporting youth from various backgrounds.
Christy Johnson is the Events Coordinator for Cornell’s Center of Regional Economic Advancement. She is responsible for pulling off an ambitious calendar of entrepreneurship and economic development events for all CREA program areas, including the 76West Clean Energy Business Competition.
Christy is an experienced entrepreneur, having run a successful event design & management company in Southern California before recently moving to Ithaca.
Jeremiah Cotman’s desire for crafting perception through environment and experience has led him to support entrepreneurs who solve problems and improve the world around them. He works for an ideal future that will not be manifested in our lifetime.
He moved to Ithaca in 2014 from Columbus, Ohio where he received his degree in English Literature Analysis from the Ohio State University.
As Rev Coordinator, Jeremiah oversees operations for Rev Membership and the incubator space, itself. Jeremiah is also the Project Coordinator for eLab, a business accelerator for Cornell student start-ups.
Kristin Hopkins is the Events Manager for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA). She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of diverse entrepreneurship events at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and for NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy Competition. In addition to events management, Kristin leads sponsorship initiatives and attraction at Rev.
Kristin holds a B.S. in Consumer Science from the University of Alabama. Away from the office, she is an active board member with organizations that support the Lansing School District and enjoys exploring Ithaca’s natural beauty with her family.
Tom is the Executive Director of Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) and is a Visiting Lecturer at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. CREA’s programs include Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, and support of Cornell’s regional economic advancement efforts. Tom leads the Upstate NY I-Corps Node, and is the lead instructor for Cornell Engineering’s Commercialization Fellows program. He serves on the teaching team for eLab, Cornell’s student business accelerator, and teaches entrepreneurship and business strategy at Cornell.
He is an experienced entrepreneur having served as a startup founder and senior finance executive of high-growth companies. Previously, he was Director of Finance for the Triad Foundation, where his responsibilities included investing the Foundation’s $250m portfolio to top-quartile returns. His board affiliations include the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park and Tompkins County Area Development, and as board vice-chair of the Business Incubator Association of New York State. Tom co-chairs the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council’s Innovation Culture workgroup.
Tom has an AB and MBA from Cornell, where he was a recipient of the MBA program’s Albert J. Fried Fellowship for Leadership and Academic Excellence. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Xanthe Matychak is a designer and educator working at the intersection of design, sustainability, and technology. She is the Assistant Director of the Hardware Accelerator at Rev Ithaca where she helps hardware inventors turn their ideas into prototypes with viable business models. She is an inventor herself having worked with local companies to acquire funding for their work, including a phase one SBIR.
Xanthe has taught in the Communications and the MBA programs at Ithaca College, the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wells College, and the Innovation Center, Business School, and School of Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. At present she runs the Make Better Stuff Lab in Ithaca College’s Department of Environmental Studies.
Xanthe is a long time member of the maker movement and has shared her work at SxSW Interactive, World Makerfaire, The White House OSTP, MIT Fab Foundation, and the SABIC Innovation Program.
Liane is the Program Manager for CREA. She handles the Finances and is the Research Administrator for the Center. Liane has 15+ year of experience at Cornell in a number of financial and administrative roles, most recently as the Administrative Manager for the KAUST-CU Research Center.
She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC as well as her Bachelors in Government and Economics.
Outside of Cornell, she is the Chair for both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Veteran, NY.
Brad is a career entrepreneur with an emphasis on technology-driven companies. Brad was most recently the Founding CEO of Mezmeriz, a high-tech company making interactive projectors and reality capture cameras to embed into mobile phones. Mezmeriz is based on patented MEMS technology developed by company co-founder Shahyaan Desai at Cornell. Previously, he was the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Cornell University.
Brad was also the co-founder and CEO of SightSpeed, an innovative video and voice communications company. Together with co-founders Aron Rosenberg and Cornell Professor Toby Berger, Brad grew SightSpeed from a university research project into the world’s premier video calling software. SightSpeed was profitably acquired by Logitech for $30M.
Earlier in his career, Brad worked for eight years in the automotive industry in both the US and Spain at Bowles Fluidics and GKN Automotive. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State, and an MBA from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell.
Brad lives in Ithaca, New York. He is faculty at Johnson at Cornell, Cornell Engineering, and Ithaca College teaching practical entrepreneurship, empathetic leadership, and project management. With the loving support of his wife Kristin and sideways looks from his children, he competes in long-distance triathlons in the “Clydesdale” division, has done a few Ironman triathlons, and has finished a handful of marathons without walking.
Brian Bauer is the Program Director for clean energy programs with Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Brian runs 76West, NYSERDA’s clean energy business competition, and he is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, a member organization of incubators across the Southern Tier which is a collaboration between Cornell, Binghamton University, and Corning Enterprises.
Brian is a seasoned international energy industry executive with extensive experience in Oil, Natural Gas, Chemicals, and renewables in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Brian ran several international businesses during a 30-year career in the energy industry and has expertise in operations, strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions, major project management, corporate governance and organizational change.
Brian has a B.S. In Chemical Engineering from Cornell and an MBA in Operations and Finance from the University of Chicago. In addition to his entrepreneurial work, Brian lectures at Cornell and serves on the Board of the Paleontological Research Institute, which includes the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, both near Ithaca.
Adriana Condarco-Quesada is a Regional Economic Development Specialist at CREA. She guides and implements strategic economic development activities that strengthen and grow the entrepreneurship eco-system. She works closely with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) to support economic development projects that leverage research assets in the plant sciences, controlled environment agriculture, and food sciences.
Prior to joining Cornell University, Adriana worked in international development coordinating strategy development, international donor projects and providing research support to a variety of organizations including the United Nations Indonesia and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.
Adriana completed a dual Master’s program in Public Administration and International Relations at Syracuse University and received her B.A. from the University of Richmond.
Caitlin Schickel is a Regional Economic Development Specialist for Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Responsible for collecting data on start-up activity in the Southern Tier and coordinating Cornell’s response to START-UP NY, Caitlin also helps out at REV when she can.
Caitlin, an Ithaca native, left to study urban development at Bryn Mawr College, but found herself back home after four years in Philadelphia. While new to the world of start-ups, she is excited to be a part of one of the organizations working to help revitalize Upstate New York.
Ken Rother is the Director of Rev as well as its Hardware Entrepreneurship program. He is the Managing Director of Cornell’s eLab student accelerator program, teaches entrepreneurship at the Johnson School, instructs and coaches in several technology commercialization programs including NSF I-Corps, and is a Venture Partner at Cayuga Venture Fund.
Ken has held multiple senior business and technical positions for organizations such as Discovery Communications, Reuters, Matrox, and the Toronto Stock Exchange. He has direct startup experience having co-founded a software business in Toronto and joining an early stage online media business in New York, both of these startups concluded with successful exits.
Most recently Ken was the Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Discovery.