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Great #Startup Mentors Confirmed for the Silicon Valley 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 Silicon Valley 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.


Alejandro Rivas Micoud

CEO, Userlytics Corporation

Alejandro Rivas-Micoud, CEO and Founder of Userlytics Corporation. Previously founded, ran and sold Clearwire Spain, a national wireless (4G) operator in Spain, to Clearwire Corporation; also founded, managed and sold Alo Comunicaciones, a fixed line telecommunications operator to Euphony Plc. Have written, directed and produced 4 short films, have published one novel, have written 2 feature length screenplays, am a member of YPO (Young President's Association) and have an MBA from INSEAD.


Alexander Garcia Tobar

Principal, AGT Group, Inc

Alexander is a global entrepreneur/exec who's experienced 3 IPOs & 1 Exit, speaks 6 languages, and has led early and mid-stage startups ranging from $0-$100M+ in revenue. His main areas of focus have been Security, Video, and Mobile. Alexander currently is a mentor at the Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (CET).


Avery Lyford

Managing Director, Propell Solutions

Avery focuses on driving growth for companies at all stages. The Propell Solutions team has interviewed and analyzed the 440 companies that grew to $1B in revenue after IPOing in the last 30 years - published as “Blueprint to a Billion” and “Mastering The 7 Essentials of High Growth Businesses”. Avery has served as CRO of LEAP Commerce (Social/Mobile Commerce), Chairman Cometera (Web software deployment) ,VP of Business Development for Makara (cloud computing - sold Red Hat), Chairman Angstro (social networking - sold Google), advisor to Nor1 (Hospitality upsell), advisor to Hara (Energy & Environment management), and as consultant on Cisco’s cloud computing strategy.


Bob Rosin

Head of Business Development, Skype, Inc.

Bob is VP & GM of business development for the Skype division of Microsoft. Bob's role encompasses consumer, enterprise, service provider and other partnerships across mobile, desktop, and embedded devices. Previously, Bob was head of business development for Skype, which was acquired by Microsoft for $8.5B in October 2011. Previously, Bob worked at Sony Corp. in Tokyo and Silicon Valley, where he incubated Navio Inc. (NASDAQ: LBRT) and led Sony's involvement with WebTV Networks, Inc. (acquired by Microsoft). Bob received his MBA from Harvard Business School where he won the Dubilier Prize for Entrepreneurship, and received his BA from Cornell University Magna Cum Laude with three majors. Bob received Red Herring Top 100 for two companies, is first author on 9 granted US patents related to Internet technologies, has a Black Belt in Aikido, is fluent in Japanese, and is an avid underwater photographer.


Chris Hogg

Founder & CEO, 100Plus

Chris is the Founder of 100Plus, a consumer health startups that leverages large health datasets to build models of a user's future health. The company has raised money from Founders Fund, Greylock, and Felicis Ventures. Prior to 100Plus, Chris was the Director of Commercial Strategy at Gilead Sciences, where he was responsible for understanding the evolving therapeutic landscape for cardiovascular diseases. Chris holds a Degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brown University and an MBA from The University of Chicago.


Dan Arkind

Founder & CEO, JobScore

Dan is the co-founder and CEO of JobScore, a freemium online hiring solution used by 600+ employers. Dan is a 15+ year veteran of the tech startup talent wars and has filled every role from hire 0 to150 at technology startups - including connecting co-founders. Dan spent the first part of his career recruiting for the firm that built and spun off and co-founded an entrepreneur networking group called STIRR. He hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil and when he's not starting stuff, he enjoys designing & building wood furniture


David Weekly


David has been programming since he was five and has coded for MIT, Harvard, Stanford,, atWeb, and Legato. David wrote the first layman's description of MP3 in early 1997 and graduated in 2000 with a BS in Computer Science from Stanford, where he was a President Scholar and a finalist in the ACM International Programming Competition. David started PBwiki (now PBworks) in 2003 and is now working on a family sharing startup called (Hawai'ian for "family"). He likes to throw hacker parties (he co-founded SuperHappyDevHouse in 2005 and Hacker Dojo in 2009), connect people, fly helicopters, and build useful things. David won Best Mentor in the SF Summer 2010 Session and Most Supportive Mentor across the whole global FI program in 2011. I SUPPORT YOU! :)


Holly Liu

CoFounder, Kabam

Holly Liu is the CoFounder of Kabam, an interactive entertainment company that develops massively multiplayer social games (MMSGs), including the popular and critically praised title Kingdoms of Camelot, voted IGN Reader’s Choice Best Facebook Game of 2010. Before expanding into gaming, Kabam established itself as a leading social applications developer with entertainment and sports communities totaling more than 60 million users. Holly is a user interface and experience designer, and holds degrees from UCLA and UC Berkeley.


Jeff Bonforte

CEO, Xobni

Jeff is the CEO of Xobni, a company focused on helping you manage and use your relationships, with a focus on mobile. Prior to Xobni, he was VP of realtime communications and social search at Yahoo! and has founded multiple startups such as Gizmo5 (acquired by Google) and Jeff graduated from UCLA with a BA in Classical Civilizations. Is a happy father, dog owner, traveler and occasional extreme athlete (400+ skydives).


Jill Stelfox

VP & GM, Location Solutions, Zebra Technologies

Jill has founded and run several companies, including founding two venture capital backed technology companies. She is a successful serial entrepreneur, having bought & sold dozens of companies, raised over fifty million in venture capital & returned over 1000X to investors. Jill has been the CFO and EVP of Corporate Development at Binary, the CEO, Co-Founder and Chairman of Defywire, a wireless technology company, providing real-time safety solutions to public and private schools. Before launching Defywire, Jill was an owner, CFO and Director of Mobile & Wireless at Noblestar Systems, a professional services firm. Jill spearheaded Noblestar’s substantial growth including an expanded international presence both organically and through several acquisitions, including raising VC money and launching Riverbed Technologies. Jill also served as the Chief Financial Officer for Netafim Irrigation of North America, where she developed and implemented the company's strategic plan, along with business re-engineering initiatives.


Jim Kaskade

CEO & Serial Entrepreneur, PARC, Xerox Company

Jim Kaskade has 10+ years as a CEO/senior executive building high-tech products, teams, and businesses in the areas of cloud computing software, Software as a Service (SaaS), online and mobile digital media, online and mobile advertising, and semiconductors. He has an additional 10+ years in leadership roles developing data warehousing, Big Data, data mining, and business intelligence solutions. Jim has also founded four start-ups, and brings more than twenty-five years of experience building enterprise-class applications for Fortune 1000 companies. He is most recently incubating a new startup at PARC, a Xerox company, as an EIR.


Jose De Dios

CEO, Aplaz

Jose De Dios is a Silicon Valley veteran with extensive experience in Business Negotiations, Executive Training, New Client Acquisition, and Sales Training. He was the Founder of The Outsource Group, a regional Human Resources Outsourcing company that became "the fastest growing privately held company in the US" according to Inc 500. Jose is an influential networker in the Valley, leading large Meetup groups including Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs.


Justin Wilcox

CTO, Nimbus Health

Justin Wilcox started his first company at the age of 10, and hasn’t been able to stop. Graduating from Cal Poly’s Computer Science program, Justin worked at Microsoft for five years before leaving to start Nimbus Health – an electronic medical record company. In addition to running Nimbus, he’s launched a couple mobile apps in his spare time, including a top seller in the Travel Category and Bounce on Android. When Justin’s not entrepreneuring, he’s blogging at about entrepreneuring or maybe doin’ a little dancing.


Madeline Duva

Advisor, Eye-Fi

Madeline Duva is president of 3rd Eye Consulting and sits on the advisory boards of a number of companies, including Eye-Fi (, Parrot (, Phone Halo (, and Splashtop ( After several years at Fidelity Investments, she moved to Silicon Valley where she has held executive managerial posts at Communication Intelligence Corp, PenOp, Dejima, and Revere Data. Before starting her own consulting firm advising start-ups, Ms. Duva was CEO of China MobileSoft which developed a complete Linux platform for mobile phones. In 2005, CMS was successfully acquired by PalmSource, where she held the position of VP Silicon and ODM partners. PalmSource was then acquired by ACCESS. Ms. Duva received her BA and MA with honors in LAS/Economics from Vanderbilt University.


Rajesh Setty

Entrepreneur, Author & Speaker,

Rajesh Setty is a serial entrepreneur and a business alchemist based in Silicon Valley. Raj is the president of Foresight Plus, a consulting firm that brings new ideas to life and/or new life to current ideas. He is currently involved in multiple technology and publishing startups in US and India. Rajesh is an author with eleven published books to his credit and maintains a blog with more than 1800 articles. You can read more about his work at and about his life at


Sam Chaudhary

Co-founder & CEO, ClassDojo

Sam studied quantitative economics at Cambridge University, and went on to work as a teacher for several years following. Sam subsequently worked in the Education arm of the consultancy firm McKinsey & Co in London, and then left to start ClassDojo with his co-founder Liam Don. Class Dojo raised seed capital from the Palo Alto-based education technology incubator ImagineK12.


Seth Sternberg

co-founder & ceo, Meebo

Seth is a cofounder of Meebo. Previously he worked at IBM in the M&A group. Seth majored in Political Science at Yale before he went to Stanford's Business School. Seth flies airplanes (less than he'd like to, but it's expensive!), rides motorcycles, and rollerblades.



Tim Hyer

Founder & CEO, Getable

Tim is the Founder & CEO of Getable, which connects people with their favorite products on-demand from trusted rental establishments. He is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Founder Institute in 2009, and earned a BA in Visual Arts from Duke University. Tim is interested in how the intersection of business and design can lead to innovation and meaningful experiences for the consumer.


Wayne Willis

Managing Partner, Nodal Partners

Wayne is Managing Partner of Nodal Partners, a network of investors, senior advisors and executives who collaborate with early stage companies. Wayne was co-founder of Hyatt Legal Services, and Chairman or CEO of several other companies, as well as serving on various Boards. He has invested in scores of companies, advised scores of others, served on 26 boards and coached several CEOs. Wayne is a graduate of Yale Law School, the Yale Graduate School (Management) and Yale College.


Will Bunker

Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of One-and-Only (became

Will Bunker is the co-founder of the online dating service that became, the world’s largest personals site. In 1996 Will and a partner raised $90,000 from angel investors to start online personals pioneer In late 1999 they sold Dallas-based One-and-Only for $45 million to Ticketmaster Online/City Search, where it was rebranded Following his exit, Will acquired Click Patrol, a service that managed key word advertising for Overture and others, which he sold to a competitor in 2002. He then moved back to his native Arkansas and acquired an industrial catfish farming operation, which he expanded into a more efficient and profitable business. In 2004 he and Dan Owen formed White Space Ventures. In 2007 he relocated to Portola Valley, CA so he could utilize the infrastructure and talent pool in the Bay Area to develop a new student-centric online learning community,


Xavier Damman

Co-Founder & CEO, Storify

Xavier is the cofounder & CEO of Storify. He moved from Belgium in the summer of 2009 with the vision that there are voices on social media that deserve to be published on main stream media. Xavier earned a master’s degree with distinction in computer science from Belgium’s Leuven University.


Ziv Gillat

Co-Founder & VP of Business Development, Eye-Fi

Ziv Gillat is Cofounder of Eye-Fi. Previously, Ziv worked at Silverback Systems, iReady, Zaffire, Photo Access, and Apple. Ziv is a professional photographer with a passion for helping consumers backup and share their photos and videos. He received his B.S. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.



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