Our Advisory Board
Vice President, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Karen Bhatia is Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, leading Creative and Applied Tech strategies and initiatives to promote economic development and entrepreneurship throughout the city. Karen is also an attorney, entrepreneur and startup advisor. She was the principal of her own law firm advising tech startups on corporate issues, financing and overall business strategy. As an entrepreneur, Karen founded ActionCam, an educational platform explaining public policy issues and providing resources for people to take action. Karen also founded and is President of Stanford Startups NY, a business network of over 650 Stanford entrepreneurs and investors in the area. She is also on the Board of Trustees of Mott Hall, a middle school in the Bronx. Karen has a B.A. from Stanford University, a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
Co-founder // CEO, Hell's Creative
Max Bidna is the Co-Founder of Hell's Creative, the ground-breaking digital advertising agency that beat IBM Watson at Creative Optimization and has averaged a 4X Return On Ad Spend across 120 clients to date. He has played a direct role in the growth of more than 200 companies and continues doing so daily through his agency, angel investing, and advisor work.
CEO & Founder, VentureOut
Driven by a passion for technology and startups, Brian planted his flag in NY’s tech community when he joined Gotham Ventures in 2009. Brian began charting his own path after launching VentureOut in 2012, which is now ranked as one of the top 10 most active accelerators in the world. He has been named one of NYC tech's 35 people to watch in 2016 by Built In NYC. Brian is also an advisor to fitness AI platform Actively and a founding member of the Innovation Council for FWD.us, a Silicon Valley nonprofit focused on immigration reform. Prior to VentureOut, Brian’s career spanned venture capital, startup consulting, and finance having worked at Gotham Ventures, OTR Global, and Standard & Poor's. Brian received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Richmond.
Director of Runway and Spinouts, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech
Fernando Gómez-Baquero holds a Ph.D. in Nanoscale Science and Engineering from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany SUNY. His research has focused on advanced nanomaterials for energy storage applications, on the economic impact of pervasive nanotechnologies, and on tech entrepreneurship. Dr. Gómez-Baquero has more than 15 years of experience in the nanotechnology industry, starting with production and characterization of carbon nanotubes and developing of polymer/nanotube composite materials. Dr. Gómez-Baquero is recognized as a leader in the fabrication of nanoengineered electrodes for lithium-ion batteries using semiconductor processes and using nanotechnology to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. Dr. Gómez-Baquero has several publications in nanomaterials research and on the economic impact of nanotechnologies and number of patent applications in diverse applications of nanomaterials. Dr. Gómez-Baquero is also the Director of Runway and Spinoffs at the Jacobs Technion – Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, where he is helping postdoctoral entrepreneurs build companies out of digital technologies in diverse fields such as digital health, telecommunications, education, cybersecurity, and IoT.
Head of Experience, NJ Tech Council
Jasmine Hoffman is the Head of Experience at the NJ Tech Council, which represents over 500,000 innovators and some of the largest tech companies in the country. She primarily focuses on how to connect the innovation and business community in meaningful and high-value ways as well as improving the council’s membership value and relationship with the community it serves. Previously, Jasmine was the Senior Director of Events at TechDay, a series of trade shows for the tech and startup community in New York City, Los Angeles, and London. She oversaw sales, marketing, & operations and grew the event into a global brand bringing together thousands of innovators across the globe representing over 70 countries each year. Jasmine is a NJ native with a B.S. from Montclair State University, where she held leadership roles in their Honors Program, Student Government, and LGBTQ Center.
Professor of Digital Marketing , Columbia Business School
Jeremy Kagan is a Professor of Digital Marketing at Columbia Business School and the author of "Digital Marketing: Strategy & Tactics" the leading textbook on the subject. He's also the former head of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, and an active mentor and corporate trainer. Kagan founded several startups, most recently Pricing Engine, a marketing technology company that was part of the Entrepreneur's Roundtable Accelerator.
John is a globally recognized expert in startup accelerators via his work at Cela, where he and his colleagues build accelerator programs with universities, corporates, governments, and other large organizations. He is also a community leader in the NYC tech ecosystem, and has been featured in the media on Forbes, at the Nasdaq, and a range of other channels. John has also spoken on innovation and acceleration across the United States, China, Japan, and other world stages. His work at cela includes working with Cornell University to produce a comprehensive accelerator study, as well as the cela Summit, which has been recognized by Techstars and the Global Accelerator Network as the first and only industry-level gathering for accelerators. TechDay has partnered with John to build a great content program and to host TechDayTalks and Founder Summit in NYC.
Executive Director , NY Tech Alliance
Andy Saldaña is the Executive Director of NY Tech Alliance, a non-profit organization that runs the largest Meetup group in the world, the NY Tech Meetup (NYTM). With over 61,000 members and a mission to build a more sustainable and diverse technology industry for all New Yorkers, the organization sits at the center of the NY Tech ecosystem. He is also a co-founder of QueerTech, a non-profit based in Montreal focused on empowering, connecting, and increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and technologists. Andy is a strong advocate for increased diversity, access, and all-around inclusion in tech, but above all, he enjoys cultivating connections and the conversation that evolve.
Founder & CEO, BeautifyEarth
Paul is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years’ experience in product design, development and marketing. He is currently founder and CEO of Karen.care, a SaaS platform that helps families care for their aging parents. He also co-founded GroupDragon, the first mobile platform for accountability groups, and KOR Water, a fast-growing consumer products brand. Previously, Paul held senior product and marketing roles at Adobe, Sony and Microsoft. He holds a BA from Purchase College, an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, and a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction from New York University.
CEO & Managing Director, NUMA New York
Frances is an international launch expert in the New York City startup scene. She has helped establish and grow operations in multiple cities, including Boston, Chicago, DC, and New York, for startups like Sittercity, Startup Institute, and now NUMA New York. She has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs across the globe and has established one of the largest entrepreneurial communities in New York City. Her key strengths are in operations, business development, community building, negotiations, and many levels of sales from small tickets to enterprise.
, Cushman & Wakefield / PrimeTime VC / Leaders Live
Charlie Stephens is the host and creator of the PrimeTime VC YouTube series & the Leaders Live show, Linkedin’s first live business series. The weekly broadcasts feature venture capital partners & fast growing business founders. Charlie has interviewed over 200+ CEO’s, founders and venture capital partners which include Bessemer VP, ffVC, Heart Ventures, ENIAC Ventures, Plexo Capital, Canaan Partners & Lerer Hippeau. He is an advisor to Entre, a network group of entrepreneurs that works in partnership with Microsoft in hosting weekly leadership panels & events. Charlie works as a Commercial Real Estate Advisor for Cushman & Wakefield in Midtown Manhattan. He has negotiated multimillion-dollar contracts in over one million square feet of leasing transactions in the Tri-State area while representing both major landlords and corporate tenants. Notable clients he has worked with include Unilever, Ernst & Young, Raymond James Financial, Winton Capital, Sycamore Partners (Talbots), New York Life, Empire State Realty Trust, PJ Mechanical, Conde Nast, Penn Mutual, ING Financial and LukOil. Charlie lives in Long Island New York with his wife and 3 sons.
Co-Founder and COO, ExtraVallis
Andrea White-Kjoss is a serial entrepreneur with experience in corporate finance and operations and investment finance. She has expertise in startups, business scaling, turnarounds, change management, and succession planning and execution. Andrea is passionate about creating successful companies and making existing ones better. The companies she has led have generated double and triple-digit revenue growth, every year, for the last 15 years of her career.