Session 2 Panelist Bios
Angel Investing: Heaven or Hell?
Scott Belsky '02, CEO, Behance
Belsky has committed his professional life to helping organize creative individuals, teams, and networks. He is the CEO of Behance, a company that develops products and services for the creative industries, including the largest online platform for creative professionals. He is also the author of the national bestselling book Making Ideas Happen. Belsky is an investor and/or advisor in early stage companies including Pinterest, Quarterly, Brewster, and Betable. He attended Cornell undergrad and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Skip Besthoff MBA '99, General Partner, Castile Ventures
Skip Besthoff focuses on investments in digital media, Internet and software-related businesses. He draws upon close to 20 years of experience in technology-related industries as a developer, strategist and investor to identify next generation companies poised to take advantage of emerging market trends. He currently serves on the boards of ByAllAccounts, Eightfold Logic and Health Guru Media.
Prior to Castile, Besthoff was a principal at Rho Ventures where he invested in and participated on the boards of market-transforming companies including Everdream (acquired by Dell) and IntraLinks (NYSE: IL). Earlier in his career, Besthoff held multiple roles in strategy and technology consulting firms serving clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Notably, he spent five years as a consultant and manager at Accenture where he led large-scale systems development projects for leading multi-national corporations.
Besthoff is active in the venture community serving as a speaker, advisor and mentor to a number of industry associations and universities. He holds a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA with honors from Cornell University, where he was awarded the distinguished Alfred Fried Fellowship. He also serves on the board of KIPP Academy Lynn, a charter school in Lynn, MA.
Micah Rosenbloom '98, Founder/Partner, Founder Collective
Rosenbloom is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three distinct technology companies. He is currently CEO of Novophage - a BU/MIT spin-out funded by Flybridge, Chevron, Founder Collective and Boston University. Previously, Rosenbloom co-founded Brontes Technologies in 2003 and served as general manager of the business until 2010 after its acquisition by 3M Corp in 2006. Brontes, a spin-out of MIT and Harvard, built the world's first hand-held digital 3D scanner for the dental industry that replaced the traditional dental impression. Previously, Rosenbloom co-founded SimplyDone Business Solutions/Handshake.com, a price quoting and online scheduling software technology focused on medium and large service businesses. He raised over $20,000,000 in financing from venture and strategic investors, including SBC Communications, and acquired a complementary software firm. Rosenbloom received his B.S. degree from Cornell's ILR School and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He is also on the Board of Advisors for Entrepreneurship@Cornell, the Cornell eLab, and is a founder/partner with the Founder Collective, a Boston/NYC based seed stage venture fund. He also actively advises a number of startups in Boston and NYC.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Collaboration for New Biomedical Products
Moderator: Sean Nicholson, Professor, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University
Sean Nicholson is a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) at Cornell University and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is currently conducting research in four areas: the value of new medical technology; the extent and benefits of physician specialization; measuring the financial benefit to an employer of investing in the health of its workers; and the causes of autism. Prior to joining the PAM Department in 2004, Nicholson was a faculty member in the Health Care Systems Department at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Nicholson worked for four years as a management consultant with APM and taught high school for two years before enrolling in graduate school. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1986 and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997.
Moderator: Will White, Director, Sloan Program in Health Administration
William D. White is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University and Director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration. The Sloan Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) program seeks to train future leaders of healthcare organizations, including hospitals and healthcare systems, health insurance plans and a wide range of other health related organizations. White’s primary areas of interest are health economics and health services research. His research focuses on how competition is working in healthcare markets, managed care and health reform. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a B.A. from Haverford College. Prior to coming to Cornell, he taught at the University of Illinois and at Yale University.
C.C. Chu, Rebecca Q. Morgan Professor, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University
Website(s): http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm?netid=cc62; http://www.chu.human.cornell.edu
Dr. Chu, the first recipient of the endowed Rebecca Q. Morgan ’60 chaired professor, joined the Cornell faculty in 1978 after completing postdoctoral research on biomaterials for maxillofacial prostheses
at the Medical Center of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Chu is a founding member of CU Biomedical Engineering Program, and graduate field members of Biomedical Engineering and Textiles. Chu is also the first recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in May, 2009.
As a biomaterial scientist, Chu embraces humanity by pursuing R/D of new and novel biodegradable biomaterials for saving human lives or improving the quality of living. His research includes the design and synthesis and engineering of novel biodegradable polymers, hydrogels, fibers and fabrics for tissue regeneration and repair including vascular grafts, heart valves, artificial skins, bone regeneration, wound healing and infection control, wound closure, drug control/release, DNA carriers for gene therapy, identification and forensic purposes. Some examples include the synthesis of new biodegradable polymers for reducing restenosis of vascular stents, drug-eluting fibrous membranes for treating burn victims, blood vessel and heart valve engineering, electrified sutures for wound infection control, biodegradable vascular grafts, and novel non-viral gene transfection agents.
Chu has had many collaborative research projects with Weill Cornell Medical College, the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering, the College of Agriculture and Life Science and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He has published more than 173 referred research papers, a recipient of 68 US and international patents with 34 pending.
Frank Douglas '73, MD '77, President and CEO, Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
An award-winning industry veteran with nearly three decades of experience in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and entrepreneurship, Frank L. Douglas serves as chief strategist for the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, a biomaterials institute built on a unique collaboration of five medical and educational institutions. The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron is focused on delivering value added patient-centered innovation and commercialization. Douglas is a member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Board of Trustees, senior partner emeritus of PureTech Ventures, professor at The University of Akron and Northeast Ohio Medical University, and the national chairman of the Value-driven Engineering initiative. Douglas was formerly executive vice president, chief scientific officer, and a member of the board of management of Aventis, heading drug innovation and approval, with responsibilities for research, development, and regulatory and marketing support. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Douglas founded and served as first executive director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation. A recipient of numerous awards, Douglas recently was honored as a Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® and GQ Magazine 2010 Rock Star of Science™.
Douglas holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and a M.D. from Cornell University.
Cynthia Leifer '00, Assistant Profesoor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University
When confronted with a microbial invasion, our immune system must act quickly, and accurately. However, many tissues have critical functions for life, such as air exchange in the lung, and are highly susceptible to damage induced by uncontrolled immune responses. Failures in regulation of immune responses also lead to autoimmune disease. The Leifer lab has uncovered unique regulatory mechanisms for critical components of the immune response that may be defective in autoimmune patients. By defining regulatory pathways, we hope to identify potential targets to more precisely reduce damage caused by uncontrolled immune responses in autoimmunity. Leifer received her PhD from Weill Graduate School and performed post-doctoral research at the National Institutes of Health before joining the faculty at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.
Larry Stern '79, Founding CEO and Chairman, Talecris Biotherapeutics
As the former Chairman and CEO of Talecris Biotherapeutics, Lawrence (Larry) Stern, led the evaluation and plan that resulted in the formation of Talecris in 2005 with financial support from two private equity
groups to acquire the Bayer Biologics plasma business. Stern guided the company’s transformation into an independent, industry leading global provider of plasma-derived protein therapies culminating in the company’s 2009 IPO and listing on NASDAQ. In 2010, Stern was recognized as the national winner of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year® in the Health Sciences category for his vision and leadership in acquiring, transforming and then developing a global leader in plasma therapeutics.
Stern is now focused on giving back to the community and charitable organizations. He is currently serving on two healthcare boards, The Jewish Healthcare Foundation and The COPD Foundation. He received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University (1979) and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1981).
Digital Enterprise: Tapping Technology to Gain the Competitive Advantage, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Faculty of Computing and Information Science
Moderator: Deborah Streeter, B.F. Failing, Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
Website(s): http://deborahstreeter.com, http://eclips.cornell.edu
Deborah Streeter, Ph.D. is the Bruce F. Failing, Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell. Entrepreneurship and small business management are the focus of Streeter’s teaching, research, and outreach activities. Her research interests include: the use of digital media in teaching, educational models for teaching entrepreneurship, commercialization and technology transfer and gender issues in business and entrepreneurship. Streeter is a member of Entrepreneurship@Cornell, a university-wide program.
Streeter founded eClips, the world’s largest curated collection of digital video and audio clips focused on entrepreneurship, leadership and business, which received the 2010 Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) Business Classic Award. The database is now available worldwide through the spinoff Prendismo (http://prendismo.com), co-founded by Streeter in 2008. She continues creating new materials for the eClips database writing and publishing multi-media cases. Streeter has received acclaim as an educator, based on her promotion of experiential learning, active learning and innovative uses of technology inside and outside the classroom. In 2007, Streeter was given the Olympus Innovator Award by the Olympus Corporation. She received the Constance E. and Alice H Cook Award in 2004, Professor of Merit Award in 2002, was named influential to a Merril Scholar in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Streeter was awarded the 2001 CALS National Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in College and University Teaching, and was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow in 2000 (Cornell’s most prestigious teaching award). She also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000 and the Innovative Teaching Award in 1996.
Bill Pence '89, EVP and CTO, WebMD Health Corporation
William Pence, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of WebMD. He joined the company in November 2007, managing WebMD's technology organization, including the engineering, operations and corporate information technology groups, and providing strategic guidance for the business as part of the executive management team. Prior to joining WebMD, Pence played a pioneering
role in the development of the online music market, as Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Napster from 2003 to 2007, and as the Chief Technology Officer for Universal Music Group's and Sony's joint ventures from 2000 to 2003. During this time, Pence brought to market the world's first online music subscription service, and was instrumental in the development of the business models and infrastructure necessary to create licensed, legitimate online media services.
Pence also held various technology management positions at IBM, including roles in the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center as well as in the software division, where he focused on guiding research and
development and commercializing technology for IBM product divisions. In 2006, he was named one of Computerworld's "Premier 100 IT Executives". Pence received his B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Virginia and earned a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.
H. Alex Ruiz '90, SVP, Client Services, Tenthwave
Alex Ruiz ’90 has been working in digital marketing for 15 years – ever since the concept of using the Internet to connect with customers was first developed. Ruiz began his career in account management at K2 Design, one of the first boutique digital agencies. Since then, he’s worked building digital and social marketing campaigns for brands like Jim Beam, Birds Eye, adidas, American Express and the Wall Street Journal. Ruiz has worked at a host of digital marketing agencies including 360i, Digitas, i33 communications, K2 Design and Dennis Interactive. He currently holds the position of Senior Vice President of Client Services at Tenthwave Digital LLC, a nationwide firm specializing in social marketing, digital strategy and website design and development.
Ruiz serves on the Advisory Council of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell. He was also NYC Regional Alumni Director for the Cornell University Council and a founding board member of the Cornell-Alumni Student Mentoring Program. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.
Jennifer Vargas '09, Founder, Accompl.sh
Jenn Vargas is Founder of Accompl.sh, a social application for achieving your goals. Vargas has been designing and developing websites since she was 14 years old and has worked as a Product Manager at Yahoo, Flickr, and Etsy since graduating from Cornell University with a B.A. in Information Science in 2009.
Can Renewable Energy get any Love? Regulatory and Market Challenges Facing Energy Startups
Moderator: Seth Helfgott '05, Associate, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Seth Helfgott is an associate in the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he primarily focuses on corporate and securities law, including venture capital transactions, mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance matters. Helfgott is a member of the firm's energy and clean technology practice, representing clean energy companies in their advancement of innovative environmental technologies.
Kenneth Davies '02, MEng '04, Director of Technology Ventures, Constellation Energy
Kenneth Davies is Director of Technology Ventures at Constellation Energy, where he is responsible for the company’s strategic venture capital investments. Prior to joining Constellation Energy, Davies worked for Google where he helped lead the company’s cleantech investments, first with Google.org and later Google Ventures. While at Google, Davies was also responsible for developing the global energy procurement strategy for Google's data centers, including the subsequent creation and management of Google Energy LLC.
Prior to Google, Davies worked in energy strategy consulting for Charles River Associates in Houston. His previous energy experience includes employment at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Davies earned his BS, summa cum laude, in Mechanical Engineering and MEng in Operations Research from Cornell University. He also holds a MS in Environmental Studies, with a focus on energy economics, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
David Hurwitt, Chief Commercial Officer, Optiwind Corp.
Hurwitt joined Optiwind, a startup in the distributed wind business, immediately following their first round of venture financing in 2008. He serves as chief commercial officer and is responsible for all domestic and international sales, marketing, customer service and government relations for the company’s line of mid-sized wind turbines. From 2003-2008 Hurwitt was marketing director for the electrical distribution business at GE Energy, successfully launching multiple large scale new products. Prior to this, he was Olympic target market director for GE’s Industrial division, developing global projects with the Beijing and Torino Olympic sites. From 2000-2003, Hurwitt worked at Whirlpool where he ran the $1 billion washer/dryer business, developing and launching the first of the new style of large format, front loading washers for the US market, then serving as director of global brand strategy and advertising for the company. Prior to this, he held marketing and P&L leadership roles with several consumer products companies, including Pillsbury and Converse. He holds a BA in Government from Principia College and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Robert Petrina '00, MBA '08, Managing Director, Yingli Green Energy Americas, Inc.
Robert Petrina is the Managing Director for Yingli Green Energy Americas, Yingli's wholly owned subsidiary. Petrina has more than 10 years of experience in international business development and entered the solar sector in 1998 when he spent time with Atersa (currently Elecnor, S.A.) in Madrid and Valencia, Spain. From 2000 to 2002, Petrina worked at Chori America, Inc. where he was responsible for Mitsubishi's product sales in Latin and South America. Petrina has focused on the solar sector exclusively since 2002 when he worked at AstroPower, Inc. for two years, where he was responsible for the company's silicon sourcing in Asia, Europe and North America. Prior to joining Yingli in 2007, Petrina was responsible for global silicon procurement during his time at General Electric's Solar Technologies business unit. Petrina has served on the board of Solar Energy Industry Association since 2008 and has been on the executive committee since 2012. He received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Economics and Management and his master's degree in Business Administration from Cornell University where he was a Park Fellow.
Corporate Entrepreneurship: It's Not Just About Starting a New Venture
Neil Tarallo, Senior Lecturer and Academic Director, Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
Neil Tarallo is the director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship and a senior lecturer at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. In addition he is the executive director of the Empowerment through Entrepreneurship program (E2), which provides students with an opportunity to experience entrepreneurship around the world.
Before coming to Cornell, Tarallo was a clinical assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, where he taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He also served as the director of the 14th-ranked (Bloomberg Business Week national ranking) Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program since the program’s inception in 2008. Recognized for outstanding teaching, he was named Whitman's Professor of the Year in 2008, Outstanding Entrepreneurship Faculty Member in 2009, and was twice nominated for the Meredith Teaching Award for Syracuse University (2009 and 2010). His business plan teams are consistently top finishers in competitions, and his team won first place at the 2008 international business plan competition held at the University of Nebraska.
Tarallo’s fields of expertise are new venture creation, the transfer of technology from academic to competitive business environments, real estate as an entrepreneurial venture, business plans, and business school competitions. Recent research interests include entrepreneurship in Africa as well as examining public policy as a catalyst for entrepreneurial activity in developing countries. He is currently working with the U.S. Military, developing and delivering entrepreneurship content as part of the Military’s Civil Affairs effort to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in Djibouti Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world. Tarallo played a key role in the academic development of the Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises program at Syracuse University, serving as the primary researcher and developer of the new program. As an entrepreneur, he owned and operated three companies in the fields of photographic retail and quick printing. In addition he also purchased, rehabilitated, and sold numerous businesses. He currently owns two companies that focus on commercial real estate development and management. In addition, he is a partner in the Cayuga Venture Fund II LLP, and has held offices as treasurer and managing partner of Cayuga Venture Fund I LLP.