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Founder Institute New York
The Founder Institute's New York City Accelerator program helps early stage entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring startup companies across a wide range of technologies.

McCarter and English
McCarter & English, LLP is a firm of approximately 400 lawyers with offices in Boston, Hartford, Stamford, New York, Newark, East Brunswick, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Washington, DC. In continuous business for more than 170 years, we are among the oldest and largest law firms in America.

Visual Craft
Visual Craft specializes in web development, mobile development and SEO. We provide expertise on every step of product creation: writing project specification, architecture planning, product development, deployment and promotion. Our agile approach is ideal for quick product launch and evaluation. Our experts will help you evaluate your ideas and come up with technology that is as innovative as your product is.

WeWork Labs
WeWork Labs helps promising early-stage startups and provides them with the tools, community, connections and workspace they need to grow a functional business. As an incubator program inside WeWork, the Labs program guides entrepreneurs through the early stages of growing a company in order to proactively help facilitate growth.

Ambition Today
Ambition Today is a show about entrepreneurs, creators, investors, and builders who ambitiously changed the world. Each episode explores the hardships and heroism of everyday life to reveal the key moments which leave behind a lasting legacy. Creating value in the world is hard, but you are not alone. No matter where you are in the world Ambition Today, hosted by Kevin Siskar, is here to keep you company you as you create your own incredible story.

.CO is the web address where the world’s innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and brands come together to build and grow their ideas and organizations online.

Vet-Tech is America's Veteran-led Startup Accelerator headquartered in Silicon Valley. With over 100 military veteran startups in our community, Vet-Tech's top 20 portfolio companies have raised over $10 Million in funding and have been accepted into world class programs like Tech Stars and Founder Institute.

Great #Startup Mentors Confirmed for the New York Founder Institute

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-12-19

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 Winter 2013 New York Founder Institute, including many from out of town. See the full list below.

Adeo Ressi

Founder/CEO, Founder Institute

Adeo Ressi is the founder and CEO of the Founder Institute, the worlds largest startup-technology company accelerator. The Institute is the eighth startup that Mr. Ressi has founded or built, four of which were acquired and three of which are still operating. Mr. Ressi was also a Founding Member of, an online community of 17,000 CEOs to research, rate, and review funding sources worldwide.


Albert Balcells

SVP Software Engineering, Next Jump

Currently the SVP Software Engineering at Next Jump, Albert has over 15 years of Internet technologies, IT, CRM, and interactive marketing experience.



Andrew Lee

Entrepreneur-in-Residence / Senior Advisor, U.S. Small Business Administration

Andrew Lee is currently a Entrepreneur-in-Residence/ 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 Andrews 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."


Brian Elliot

Founder, Friendfactor

Brian is both the founder of Friendfactor, a gay rights organization for straight supporters, and also a Principal of the newly formed Elliot Strategy Partners. He led Friendfactor to create a groundbreaking online advocacy tool, which was featured on the front page of the New York Times, and which Chelsea Clinton launched in the landmark 2011 New York marriage equality campaign. Previously, Brian helped entrepreneurs scale up their businesses while he was Director of Entrepreneur Services at Endeavor Global--an international development venture philanthropy firm. He has experience across multiple sectors, having worked at Bain & Company, The Bridgespan Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and he holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in Public Policy from Stanford University. Brian is a winner of the SXSW 2012 Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, the 2010 Harvard Business School Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and Splashlife’s 30 Under 30: Civic Leaders Award, and his work to start Friendfactor was named one of Yahoo!’s Top 10 Inspiring Acts of 2010.


Bryan Janeczko

Founder, Wicked Start

Bryan is a Founder Institute Director of the New York Chapter and is committed to helping startups get going. He has founded multiple ventures, including his latest, Wicked Start, an e-learning platform that we private label to institutions and universities teaching entrepreneurship. Bryan sold his previous venture, NuKItchen- an online diet delivery service- to Nutrisystem, and developed a proprietary front end online order management system that allowed us to customize diet programs for users. Prior to that he worked in finance at J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley in New York. Bryan hold a B.S. from Marquette and an MBA from NYUs Stern School of Business.


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.


Dan Seidman

Founder / CEO

My name is Daniel Seidman and I am a Partner/Founder of Promotional Communications LLC. My previous company was DigiX BVBA which I founded in 2008 and sold to Promotional Communications in 2008. Other creations of mine are GrapeX, the worlds first online wine futures exchange, Mobiguide, the worlds first mobile phone based tour guide in 2006, Nanogames, South Africas only video game development studio, amongst others. I have been a lecturer to the MBA class of GIBBS university, JHB, was a derivatives trader for Morgan Stanley in a previous life, so have all the FSB, finance qualifications, am a graduate from the Leader Academy, and love wine and diving on top of my techno geek habits. My competitive advantage has always been to adapt, develop, deploy, and stay ahead of the curve.


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. David is currently Co-foudner of ProSeeder technologies, an online equity fundraising platform. As well as being an active angel, in the last 20 years he has co-founded 6 companies, three of which has sold, two still run today and one he doesnt like to talk about.


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


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.


Jennie Baird

CEO and Co-Founder

Jennie Baird is the co-founder and CEO of and, sites that reach approximately 1 million visitors each month and that have been recognized on numerous "Best of the Web" lists, including TIMEs 50 Best Websites. Jennie is an experienced digital media innovator, executive and consultant who has worked at the forefront of "new" media for 20 years, leading teams large and small to create, collaborate, innovate, adjust and prosper in the face of an ever-shifting media, technology and business landscape. Jennie was previously Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at NBC Universals iVillage. Prior to that, Jennie held executive positions at AOL and was on the founding team at


Jessica Miller Merrell

Founder, Workology

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, speaker, human resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience and is the author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business. Jessica is a professional blogger and has managed Blogging4Jobs since 2007. Recently, Blogging4Jobs was named a top career site for job seekers by Forbes Magazine for two years in a row. HR Examiner Jessica as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and Huffington Post in addition to Blogging4Jobs. Jessica has interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, CBS, Entrepreneur Magazine, and SHRM’s HR Magazine. Jessica is an entertaining and informative presenter on both human resource issues and workplace social media topics. Jessica’s speaking engagements include Working Women’s Magazine, SHRM’s Annual Conference and the National Association of Convenience Stores. Jessica was named the 2nd most influential recruiter on the Internet and the 7th most powerful woman on Twitter.


Jill Stelfox

VP & GM, Location Solutions

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.


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. The business reaches over 3 million travelers each month, and has received over $25M in series A and B funding. 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. crayons 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 4 best selling books including "Life after the 30-second spot", "Join the Conversation", "Flip the Funnel" and most recently, Z.E.R.O. 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 NYUs Stern School, Cornells Johnson School of Business and Syracuse University. He blogs and podcasts at Jaffe Juice ( and is @jaffejuice on Twitter


Matt Mandell

Digital Engagement Strategy, Mandell Enterprises

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 storage 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 late night food delivery company with over 50 employees delivering over 250,000 orders. He has operated companies in the food, logistics, technology, entertainment and consulting space. Matts 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 The George Washington University.


Meghan Messenger

Co-Founder, Next Jump

Meghan Messenger serves as Co-Founder & Chief of Staff at Next Jump, Inc. (NxJ). Meghan started as a local sales intern for Next Jump in 1998 and helped grow the business though the first dot-com bubble to over 150 employees. A few years later, Next Jump survived the dot-com bust however shrunk down to just 4 employees in January of 2002. Meghan was part of the 4-person surviving team, becoming one of the founders of the restructured Next Jump. She then helped drive the majority of Next Jump’s revenue growth managing the merchant services division building over 30,000 merchant partnerships. She also helped build Next Jump’s senior management team, as well as recruit and train some of the best engineers in the country, building the Company back up to 200 employees. Experts have called Next Jump the Demonstration Project, proving the combination of caring for your employees and helping them grow as human beings is possible while making money and helping the world become a better place. Next Jump believes this is a pre-requisite in today’s human capital economy and calls it Better Me + Better You = Better Us. Meghan graduated from Fairfield University in 1999, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Marketing. She resides in New York City with her husband Mark and her two sons Matthew and Brendan.


Paul Grossinger

Member, New York Angels

Paul Grossinger is a New York City mobile technology entrepreneur and angel investor. He is the co-founder of Pervasive Group Inc. and a member of New York Angels, Jumpstart New Jersey, and Delaware Crossing. Paul mentors for Founder Institute and the Techlaunch accelerator and holds an M.S. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.


Pavel Asanov

Founder - CEO, PlayFitness

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.


Robert Clauser

COO, Unigo

Robert Clauser is an experienced Operating, Strategy, Financial, Marketing, eCommerce, and Planning Executive in the New York City area. He is currently the COO at Unigo, where he leads an exciting and impactful organization that improves the educational decisions and experiences of college bound students and their families through peer-to-peer and -to-expert information sharing and conversations. He has also worked at WNET, Media & Entertainment Holdings, Accenture, and Braxton Associates.


Sandeep Bhanote

Co-Founder, Global Bay Mobile

Sandeep Bhanote was the co-founder and CEO of Global Bay Mobile (VeriFone acquired the business on 11/1/2011). He is now the Vice President and General Manager for VeriFone GlobalBay and brings over 13 years of enterprise and mobile software experience. Throughout his career he has served many key roles including sales, marketing, product management and executive leadership positions. In addition to being a frequent speaker and content contributor to the media, he is the author of Global Bays patent.


Saul Orbach

Managing Director, The Beachhead Group

Saul Orbach is a seasoned management professional with over 25 years of executive leadership experience in ‘turning vision into reality’ and managing companies and business projects. He is accomplished in launching and building startups, building emerging growth companies, turning around distressed companies, and experienced at every aspect of the venture capital equation. Saul brings a track record of multiple company exits and bringing difficult situations to successful closure. He is highly skilled at creating and implementing strategic plans, managing P&Ls, building and growing strategic alliances, marketing, public relations and public speaking, and adept at raising capital.


Sean Flaherty

EVP Strategy, ITX Corporation

Sean Flaherty has founded and grown several profitable companies in many different industries including retail and technology. His most recent accomplishments include the pioneering and thought leadership of key technologies as one of the partners of ITX Corporation. Heading up the strategy practice for ITX for the past 10 years, he has consulted with hundreds of companies from startups to fortune 100 firms in every industry on their digital web and mobile strategies. At the end of the day, Sean is an insatiable technophile that helps the companies he works with 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.


Taavi Lindmaa

Serial Entrepreneur

Taavi Lindmaa is entrepreneur, interaction designer, gamification and startup enthusiast working in Dopamine - creative agency focused on fun, innovative, gamified campaigns for employees and consumers. Taavi has co-founded startup JomyBooks - community of kids ebooks content creators. JomyBooks was finalist in Estonian Youth Entrepreneur competitions "Brainhunt" in 2012 and won special prize "Most creative idea". Taavi presented Estonian delegation in MIT Global Startup Workshop 2012 in Istanbul. Before that he founded international fashion accessories wholesaler Sterlux and non-profit for supporting youth sailing in Estonia. Taavi holds BSc in Business Information Technology and MSc in Interactive Media and Knowledge Environments.


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.


Veronica Guzman

Founder | Innovation Catalyst, WAM Ventures LLC

Veronica Guzman is an innovation catalyst that targets & partners with promising companies & leaders seeking to move their businesses up-market & reach higher levels of excellence. She helps you, "color outside the lines". Via her consulting firm, WAM Ventures, Veronica welcomes high impact leaders & next-generation entrepreneurs! Ms. Guzman co-founded & funded a New York City based B2B new media (FinTech) & events company that publishes real-time market intelligence. Core readers include C-level executives, leaders & influencers in financial services firms; clients comprise the Fortune 500, S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 & Global Fortune 100 financial firms that manage financial assets totaling over $19 trillion in the U.S. and over $30 trillion globally.




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