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Great #Startup Mentors Confirmed for the New York Founder Institute

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-03-15

The Founder Institute's four-month curriculum covers everything you would expect from an early-stage startup program, including topics like "Startup Legal and IP” towards the beginning, to “Fundraising” near the end. What makes the curriculum special is the Mentors that teach it, whose passion, feedback and support helps our companies avoid rookie mistakes and set the foundation for a meaningful and enduring company. 

The Founder Institute carefully recruits approximately 25 Mentors per Semester, who are normally the CEO or founder of a successful startup. Rather than specialists or consultants, we prefer Founders and CEOs to give our companies "the entrepreneur's perspective." The mentors share their experiences, best practices, and mistakes, while also providing specific guidance and feedback on the Founder companies. 

In addition, the Founder Institute's unique Graduate Liquidity Pool allows our mentors to share in the equity of companies formed in each program - and, their share is based solely on the anonymous ratings they receive from the Founders both during, and after the program. In this way, the Founder Institute incentivizes mentors to take a special interest in our startups, and provide as much assistance as possible after the program. 

We have a great lineup of Mentors confirmed for the Spring 2013 New York Founder Institute, including many from out of town. See the full list below.

Adeo Ressi


Adeo Ressi is Founding Member of, an online community of 17,000 CEOs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide. Adeo also runs the Founder Institute, a mentoring program that helps entrepreneurs launch hundreds of world-class companies each year. The Institute is the eighth start-up that Adeo has founded or built, four of which were acquired and three of which are still operating.


Alexandra Wilson

Founder and Chief Merchandising Officer, Gilt Groupe

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is Founder and Chief Merchandising Officer of Gilt Groupe. Prior to co-founding Gilt Groupe, Alexandra managed retail operations at Bulgari, and before that she managed Leather Goods Sales Planning for Louis Vuitton North America. Alexandra began her career working for 3 years in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, spending her time between New York, London and Latin America. Alexandra holds a B.A. from Harvard College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Alexandra speaks five languages. Awards she has received include: Member of the Vogue 100; Ranked #4 of the 2009 Silicon Alley 100; Huffington Post- Named a Huffington Post Style Game Changer Dec 2009; NY Daily News “Fashion’s 50 Most Fashionable" Feb 2010; Ernst and Young Metro New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award for eCommerce (2010); Crain's The Next Generation: Emerging Leaders Under 40; Endeavor Entrepreneur of the Year 2010; and Voted in top 10 Most Powerful Moms: Entrepreneurs by Working Mother.


Andrew Lee

Senior Advisor, U.S. Small Business Administration

Andrew Lee is currently a Senior Adviser with the U.S. Small Business Administration where he focuses on high-growth startups. Before his advising role, he co-founded JamLegend, the online equivalent of Guitar Hero, which reached more than 2M users and was later acquired by Zynga, where he worked on flagship game FarmVille. While in college, Andrew created Fantasy Congress, an online political fantasy game that garnered recognition from the NY Times, BBC, NPR, and Time Magazine, amongst others. Before startups, Andrew worked in politics for then U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the Environmental Protection Agency. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College where he was a Truman Scholar, Udall Scholar, Rhodes Scholar Finalist, and named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Check out his TedX talk - tiger mothers, startups, and games, oh my!


Andrew Beinbrink

CEO, SportsForce

Andrew Beinbrink is the CEO and Founder of SportsForce (, a web-based Software/Coach as service for aspiring student-athlete to maximize their recruiting and scholarships opportunities. SportsForce is Andrew's 3rd start-up with sports software companies Trajan Sports and IDV-GMOD. With 10+ years as an Internet entrepreneur, Andrew has a deep passion for helping people reach their goals. He believes business is the ultimate sport and entrepreneurs are the ultimate athletes. His current mission at SportsForce is to "Empower the Next-Generation of Student-Athletes, Parents and Coaches.


Catherine Kaputa

Brand Strategist, Speaker and Author,

Catherine Kaputa is a brand strategist, speaker, author and founder of SelfBrand, a New York City-based branding company - From Madison Avenue to Wall Street to the halls of academe, Catherine Kaputa perfected her ability to market products, places, and companies. She first learned brand strategy from Al Ries and Jack Trout, and then led the award-winning “I Love NY” campaign at Wells, Rich, Greene. For over ten years she was SVP, Director of Advertising and Community Affairs at Citi Smith Barney, and she developed and taught a branding course at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Catherine is the author of three books: the award-winning You Are a BRAND! How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success now out in an expanded 2nd edition (2012), The Female Brand, Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business (2009). Her new book on branding, innovation and entrepreneurship is Breakthrough Branding: How Smart Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs Transform Small Ideas Into Big Brands.


Charlie Kim

Founder & CEO, Next Jump

Charlie founded Next Jump in 1994 in his college dorm room while going through school on financial aid. Next Jump grew through the first dot-com bubble to 150 employees, and survived the dot-com bust atering shrinking down to 4 employees in January 2002. The company became profitable that same year, continued investing aggressively. As Next Jump grew over the years, Charlie began to realize the importance of developing his WHY and how it ties into Next Jump’s story. Charlie’s main source of inspiration is from his Dad, who is one of the most famous corn scientists in the world, determined to end world hunger. Next Jump is focused on doing many little things that allow others to do the great things they are meant to do. Next Jump is a living example of using the power of business to dramatically impact the world in a positive way. HOW they do it is through cultural investments in Better Me + Better You = Better Us. Programs to continuously develop NxJumpers and programs to help others.


Cindy Gallop

Founder, IfWeRanTheWorld

Cindy Gallop took a risk when she entered advertising, and hasn't stopped taking them since. She began her early career in the UK as a theater publicist, until an audience member declared that she could "sell ice to an Eskimo," and advised her to make the jump to advertising. Four years later, she joined one of the fastest growing agencies in Europe, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. In 1998, she moved to New York, alone, and began building their US branch. Four years after that move, BBH US was named Adweek’s Eastern Agency of the Year. After all her success in the agency world, Gallop resigned as chairman of BBH in 2005 to do something different. Today, she continues to work in branding and advertising as a consultant, but is also tending some fascinating projects of her own. She launched MakeLoveNotPorn at TED2009, in an attempt to squash the myths of hardcore pornography and to begin a dialog around how real people have sex. In January 2010, Gallop will officially launch IfWeRanTheWorld, a simple, web platform designed to bring together human good intentions and corporate good intentions, and turn them into collective action.


David Teten

Partner, ff Venture Capital

David Teten is a Partner with ff Venture Capital, Founder and Chairman of Harvard Business School Angels New York, and co-founder and Chairman of Navon Partners, a data mining and research analytics company focused on analyzing private company data. David was previously CEO of Vertical Key (SaaS startup); Founder and CEO of Circle of Experts, an investment research firm acquired by Evalueserve; Founder and CEO of GoldNames, an investment bank focusing on the internet domain name asset class; Founder and CEO of Teten Recruiting, sold to Accolo; and a Bear Stearns technology investment banker. David holds a Harvard MBA and a Yale BA, both with honors. David has received the highest ratings of any speaker at three different conferences, and frequently keynotes at technology and finance conferences.


David Beatty

Managing Director, Golden Seeds

David Beatty is an entrepreneur and Angel investor, currently serving as Managing Director of Golden Seeds- one of the largest angel investor groups in the country. Born in Ireland, David started his career in 1985 as a headhunter in London and was transferred to the USA in 1990. In 1999, David cofounded Gorann, Inc, to invest in and work with early stage company’s. Gorann has co-founded a number of companies, including; Healthology, LLC, a health media company sold to iVillage/NBC, Acronym Media, (a leading search engine marketing firm), the Velot Group, a medical outsourcing firm specializing in Radiology business management, and Delta DEPolymerization, Ltd, a company that DePolymerizes scrap tyres into usable material. David is also Chairman of Empire Messaging, Inc., a company he started in 1993 and ran until 2004, which provides enterprise messaging solutions in the USA. David is an active angel investor having invested personally in over 20 early stage companies and is a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an angel investor group in New York.


David Rose

CEO, Gust

David is the founder and CEO of Gust, which operates the standard collaboration platform for over 40,000 early-stage investors. David is Managing Principal of Rose Tech Ventures, Chairman of Egret Capital Partners, and Track Chair for Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economics at Singularity University. He has been dubbed "The Pitch Coach" by BusinessWeek for his work with early stage entrepreneurs, a "top dog in tech"; by Crains New York Business, and "patriarch of Silicon Alley" by Red Herring magazine.


Divya Gugnani

CEO, Send the Trend/Behind the Burner

Food and fashion are my two passions and I am the founder/CEO of both Behind the Burner (tips, tricks and techniques for food, wine, mixology & nutrition) and Send the Trend (personalized fashion accessory etailer). I am a former venture capitalist (Principal at FirstMark Capital- $2 billion under management) turned entrepreneur. I'm a regular contributor to MSNBC; Your Business, NBC Nonstop network in 3 cities (20M+ TV households), The Huffington Post and The Nest. I am also the author of Sexy Women Eat published by HarperCollins. I am on the board of New York Entrepreneurship Week and was recently honored as 50 outstanding Asian Americans in business. As a serial entrepreneur with a strong background in finance (Goldman Sachs Investment Banking and venture capital at FirstMark Captial) I bring a unique perspective to startups bridging both operational skills and investment prowess. I love to teach and mentor entrepreneurs particular fellow female entrepreneurs!


Eric Kuhn

Founder & CEO, FoundersCard

Eric Kuhn founded FoundersCard in 2009, a first of its kind members-only community for leading entrepreneurs and innovators. Prior to FoundersCard, Eric co-founded Varsity Group Inc., an Internet solution provider to education institutions, in 1997 and has served as its Chairman of the Board since its inception. He also served as its Chief Executive Officer and President from June 1999 until February 2006. Under Eric’s leadership, Varsity grew to serve over 700 educational institutions nationwide as the official online, on-campus and in-store provider of books and uniforms and become the first e-commerce company to regain National Market listing on the NASDAQ. Eric had been profiled in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Prior to Varsity Group, Eric practiced law at Greenberg Traurig Hoffman Lippoff Rosen and Quentel P.A and at Kaye Scholer LLP in New York, New York. He received a B.A. with honors from Haverford College in 1993 and a J.D. with honors from The George Washington University Law School in 1996. Eric lives in Manhattan and grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


Gabe Zichermann

Author, Speaker, Advisor, Gamification Co

GABE ZICHERMANN is an author, highly rated public speaker and entrepreneur. He is the chair of the Gamification Summit and editor of the industry’s leading publication, The Gamification Blog. His most recent book, “Game-Based Marketing” (Wiley, 2010) has achieved critical and industry acclaim for its detailed look at innovators who blend the power of games with brand strategy. His next book, “Gamification by Design” (O’Reilly, 2011) looks at the technical and architectural considerations for designers in this burgeoning field. A resident of NYC, Gabe is a board member of, advisor to a number of startups and Facilitator for the Founder Institute in Manhattan. For more information about Gabe and Gamification, visit http://Gamification.Co


Gary Whitehill

Founder, Numerous

Versatile and proven leader with expertise in strategy, planning, implementation, sales and marketing across verticals with national recognition in small to upper mid-market segments who focuses on opportunities in start-up or turn-around business with special emphasis on complex competitive or customer attainment/retention issues.



Janet Brown

CEO, Cinetic Rights Management/ FilmBuff

Janet is a founding member and CEO of Cinetic Rights Management/ FilmBuff. As one of the largest and most successful suppliers of digital entertainment content, CRM delivers to all of the leading platforms across North America and Europe through its partnerships with cable, satellite and telco companies, game consoles, online retailers, wireless platforms and hardware manufacturers. Janet came to CRM with ten years of experience working the media and entertainment industry in Asia, Europe and North America, and started her career as part of Accenture's strategy consulting practice in London. Janet received her B.A. Joint Honours in Economics and Political Science from McGill University, and her M.B.A. from Columbia University.


Jeff Stewart

Founder & CEO, Lenddo

Jeff Stewart is the Founder of Lenddo, the world’s first online community that empowers the emerging middle class to use their online social connections to build their creditworthiness and access local financial services. Jeff is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, having founded over a half dozen companies in his career, which combined to employ over 900 people. Jeff also founded Urgent Group, a company focused on the creation of innovative companies. Jeff is Founder and Chairman of, the largest service to print, bind and deliver documents directly from your computer.


Jim Spare

CEO, Canesta (acq: MSFT)

Jim Spare has spent his career growing disruptive technology-related businesses through scale and exit, most recently as CEO of Canesta (sold to Microsoft in 2010). Jim has managed complexity from concept stage to $250M in revenue and is agile across technologies with experience in a wide variety of industries including Internet services, software, broadband telecommunications, and semiconductors. Earlier in his career, he honed his skills in business development and product management roles in large companies such as Microsoft and General Instrument/Motorola. The journey at Canesta highlights his key strengths: translating vision into business strategy, building and leading exceptional teams, closing large complex commercial deals, raising capital, and negotiating sale. Jim has an MBA from The Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth and a BS in Electrical Engineering from NC State.


Jim Sherman

Founder, Chairman & CEO, ShermansTravel Media, LLC

Jim Sherman is founder and Chairman of ShermansTravel Media, LLC, an online travel publishing firm that helps travelers to find the best travel deals and provides money saving destination advice by its experts. Mr. Sherman, in 1998, previously founded WestEnd New Media, a leading internet strategy consultancy with a focus on helping publishing and media companies craft and launch new media businesses. He also worked previously as VP/GM of Online at Martha Stewart Living, Director of Corporate Development with Pearson Plc, Corporate Finance Manager at Time Inc, and Consultant, Bain & Company. He received his B.A. (economics) and M.A. (international affairs) from Stanford University, phi beta kappa, and he earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a FLAS Fellow. Personal interests include the theater, piano, and, of course, travel.


Joseph Jaffe

Founder & CEO, Evol8tion, LLC

One of the most sought-after consultants, speakers and thought leaders on innovation, marketing, new media and social media, Joseph Jaffe is Founder & Partner of Evol8tion, LLC (, an innovation agency that matches early stage startups with established brands to partner via mentoring, pilot programs, investment and/or acquisition. Evol8tion launched in January 2012 with Anheuser-Busch InBev and Kraft Foods as founding clients. In 2006, Joseph founded and ran strategic consultancy, crayon, until it was acquired by Powered in January of 2010 and again by Dachis Group in December of 2010. crayon's clients included The Coca-Cola Company, Panasonic, Kraft Foods and H&R Block. Powered, a social media agency, included Target, Verisign, Anheuser-Busch InBev, General Motors/Onstar in its client roster. Before that, Joseph was Director of Interactive Media at TBWA/Chiat/Day and OMD USA, where he worked on Kmart, ABSOLUT Vodka, Embassy Suites and Samsonite. Joseph had written 3 best selling books including "Life after the 30-second spot", "Join the Conversation" and "Flip the Funnel" Joseph is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School, as well as the Society for New Communications Research. He also has lectured at NYU's Stern School, Cornell's Johnson School of Business and Syracuse University.


Lorenzo Thione

Co-Founder, Artify It, StartOut

Lorenzo Thione is the cofounder, President & Chariman of Artify It, – a new SF-based consumer internet startup in the art market, whose subscription model allows affordable, unlimited access to a catalog of original, curated contemporary art that each subscriber can check out, keep at their home/business for an unlimited amount of time, swap out, and/or exhibit for sale. Previously, Lorenzo was the cofounder and Product Architect of Powerset Inc., a semantic search company acquired in 2008 by Microsoft to complement and innovate its search engine offering, which was then relaunched as Bing in 2009. After the acquisition, Lorenzo continued at Bing as Principal Program Manager until October 2010. Lorenzo is also a Tony-nominated Broadway producer currently producing a new Broadway-bound original musical, Allegiance, starring George Takei and Lea Salonga, which premiered to audience and critical acclaim in San Diego, at the Old Globe Theater in 2012. He holds a Master in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and is a named inventor on over 30 pending and issued patents, in the US and worldwide.


Matt Mandell


Matt is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of several companies, and currently operates a consulting firm specializing in revenue optimization for mid market B2B and B2C companies. He currently owns, and service companies in the Washington DC area. Matt has directed strategy of a $2.5B strategic procurement company and consults to government and private companies. Matt recently sold, a food delivery company. He has operated companies in the food, logistics, technology, entertainment and consulting space. Matt's companies have been widely covered in national and local news outlets. He serves as a board member for non profit and for profit companies and holds an degree in Psychology as well as an MBA from George Washington University.


Patricia Ju

CEO/CTO, Hackerbilt, Inc.

Patricia Ju is CEO/CTO of Hackerbilt , Inc. (creator of the Scrumball project management device), the Associate Director of New Media Technology at Consumer Reports, and Advisor to multiple tech startups in NYC. Formerly, she was CTO of the Belgrave Trust and Founder of MassMind Co. developer of wearable computing solutions. She has over 16 years of experience architecting and developing high-transaction, multimillion dollar Internet applications (Consumer Reports, Nike, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art). PJ is a published author on software architecture and strategic technology management. She's also a composer and singer/songwriter trained at the Juilliard School.


Pavel Asanov

Founder - CEO,

Pavel Asanov Serial entrepreneur, engineer, founder - CEO the online fitness portal with live workouts in the comfort of your home. Before graduating with a degree in electronic engineering, he launched his first company – a computer integration and distribution business that focused on microprocessor technology and became Intel corp. distribution partner. After moving from Uzbekistan to the U.S in 2000 because of political instability, he established his new security business in US. The business flourished in a highly competitive environment and grew to thousands of customers including well known brands. Pairing his expertise in technology with his passion for fitness, Pavel launched his most recent business- PlayFitness, which is a unique service that provides tailored workout sessions hosted by skilled trainers.


Rob Principe

Founder & CEO, Scratch Music Group, Inc.

Rob Principe is the founder and CEO of Scratch Music Group, Inc., a venture-backed, high growth music and technology company. Since its founding in 2002, Scratch has built the first and largest national network of heavily screened marquee DJs (900+ members), which it utilizes for thousands of corporate events, tours, weddings, and music festivals each year. Scratch works closely with leading brands including MTV, Saks, Vans, Bloomingdales, ESPN, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ann Taylor, Pepsi, Sandals Resorts, W Hotels and many more. The company also runs the Scratch DJ Academy, the world’s first and leading DJ and music production learning center co-developed with Jam Master Jay of Run DMC, with locations in NYC, Miami, and LA. Scratch Music Group has booked DJs for over 25,000 events, entertained over six million guests, and has been featured in press outlets including CNN, MTV, ABC, FOX, The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Rob is also the co-author of On the Record: The Scratch DJ Academy Guide (published by St. Martins Press in 2009), which is widely considered the definitive guide to DJing and DJ culture.Principe holds a B.A. from Duke University where he attended on a tennis scholarship and graduated cum laude.


Sean Flaherty

EVP Strategy, ITX Corporation

Sean Flaherty has founded and grown several profitable companies in many different industries. His most recent accomplishments include the pioneering and thought leadership of key technologies as the EVP of Strategy for ITX Corporation. Sean is an insatiable technophile that helps his clients move, touch and inspire the world with their technology.


Shahab Kaviani

Co-Founder, Chief Entrepreneurs Office, CoFoundersLab

Shahab Kaviani is Co-Founder and CEO of CoFoundersLab, where he pursuits his passion to accelerate business formation by building strong founding teams using an online co-founder matching service. Shahab caught the bug for startups while at the pre-IPO team at Saba Software in CA, later co-founding HyperOffice, a cloud collaboration software business where he led product marketing, and built a high performing sales and maketing organization. Shahab studied Economics at the University of Maryland. Shahab and his family still call the DC Metro area home. Shahab is dedicated to the study and practice of building high performing teams.


Terry Young

Founder and CEO, Sparks & Honey

Terry launched his first digital start up in 1995 at IPG and built it to a top 50 digital agency at the age of 27. He then joined McKinsey & Co. in Greater China to work with the Fortune 500 C-suite and incubate new start ups and internet companies in Asia. In his next move, he took his strategy and digital experience to the top CRM and digital firms at Omnicom (Targetbase and RAPP) and ultimately Epsilon. His deep understanding of digital and CRM experiences, technology platforms and consumer behavior allowed him to architect sparks & honey and a next generation marketing approach called Wave Branding. Terry also spent 27-months volunteering in Uralsk, Kazakhstan supporting micro credit financing initiatives, incubating new businesses and launching programs for the local orphanage.


Vince Scafaria

CEO, DotAlign

Vince Scafaria is founder and CEO of DotAlign, a collaborative relationship management app for professionals looking to get the most value from their social graph. Vince was founder and CEO of DealMaven, a provider of investment banking software that was sold to FactSet (NYSE: FDS), served as Director of Operations for the Investment Banking vertical of FactSet after the acquisition, and was previously a private equity investor with DLJ Merchant Banking. Vince earned a BS Summa Cum Laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Vince has taught financial modeling and valuation to thousands of financiers via online and classroom-based courses, though he has grown to love coding far more than number crunching.



Great #Startup Mentors Confirmed for the New York Founder Institute

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