Our mentor community includes over 100 individuals from a wide range of professional roles and backgrounds (e.g., experienced entrepreneurs, industry executives, scientists and investors).
As a result of this range, we are able to make connections that can provide guidance on an equally diverse range of challenges faced by new entrepreneurs, such as product/market fit, customer development, technology and product development, customer acquisition and lead generation, fundraising, overall strategy, marketing and branding, and even work/life balance.
The contributions made by i.Lab mentors tend to fall within three general categories: entrepreneur-in-residence, venture coach, and expert advisor. The time commitment across these roles varies from weekly meetings with ventures in our 10-week summer program to the occasional question or request for insight.
Entrepreneurs-In-Residence spend significant amounts of time at the i.Lab and contribute to the community by sharing their experience with and supporting the efforts of the i.Lab team, our venture coaches and our entrepreneurs.
Venture Coaches make a commitment to work one-on-one with a specific venture team (or, sometimes, multiple teams) in one of our programs, meeting at least weekly with these entrepreneurs throughout the length of that program. For example, coaches for the Incubator program commit to meet weekly with teams throughout the 10-week term. Many of our coaches continue that commitment beyond the 10 weeks.
Expert Advisors generously share their subject matter knowledge with entrepreneurs by answering the occasional request for guidance and deeper insights.
Continue scrolling to meet our mentors! If you are interested in helping out as a mentor through one of the roles mentioned above, click here for more information.
Our mentors include...
inspired strategies, inc., ceo and chief inspiration office
Neeraj Bhagat is CEO of Inspired Strategies, Inc. (ISI), a firm which assists federal government agencies in optimizing the operations of their federal programs. Neeraj is an expert management consultant and executive coach. With a background in both the analytical domain (BSEE, MBA, PMP) and in human potential (ACC/Coaching, Leadership, Training), Neeraj brings a uniquely balanced perspective, a broad skill set, and an intense compassion to driving transformational and sustainable change in organizations, individuals, and relationships that permeate every aspect of business, community, and life.
Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce
Jeff Boichuk's research interests include the areas of business-to-business marketing, marketing analytics, and sales force effectiveness. Published in Journal of Marketing and Journal of Retailing, his current research portfolio addresses such questions as “Why do salespeople use hard sell tactics?” and “What factors cause salespeople to misread customers’ interest levels?” After graduating from the University of Houston doctoral program, Jeff received the inaugural American Marketing Association Emerging Scholar Award. He was also named the 2015 AMA Sales SIG Dissertation Award winner and an ISBM Business Marketing Doctoral Fellow for his dissertation work.
bluestone analytics, founder
After spending thirteen years as an intelligence officer with U.S. Army Special Operations, Liam and his wife moved to Charlottesville in 2013 where he worked at the National Ground Intelligence Center. In 2014, Liam founded Bluestone Analytics, a veteran-owned small business. Bluestone Analytics brings the best information and cyber security practices to the private sector. The company focuses primarily on helping small and medium sized businesses protect their intellectual property from competitors and insider threats.
President & Executive Director, In Memory Of
Chris Citron is co-founder of In Memory Of, a non-profit created to help family and friends commemorate their loved ones through memorial donations. Chris has over 15 years experience in clinical diagnostics, management consulting, strategy research and health IT. Chris received an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and has extensive scientific, diagnostics, and international management experience.
Ernst & Young, Management Consultant
John Cunningham is a management consultant at Ernst & Young (EY), serving in its strategic growth markets & transaction advisory services groups. Prior to joining EY, John successfully built and led several entrepreneurial ventures including BragStats, Best of Our Town, USA, and Velocity Sports Performance. John has also led entrepreneurship initiatives at the World Economic Forum and worked in the venture capital industry at Landmark Communications. John received an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business and a BS from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce.
Damon founded Affinity Management in 1997. Affinity is a leading adviser and manager of specialty hospitality organizations and clubs. He is a leading expert on membership dynamics. He joined Foodio's Board in Q1 2015 and helped the start-up double grow tenfold through Q1 2016 and introduced Foodio to its investor in a $585k Seed Round. Damon is energized about helping committed, coachable start-up founders especially in the areas of growth, strategy and funding. He received an MBA from the UVA Darden School of Business and holds dual degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School.
american cancer society cancer action network, director of government relationS
Brian Donohue is a senior executive working at the intersection of business and government regulation. He has worked across multiple industries for Fortune 100, middle market, start-up companies and non-profit organizations. Brian is currently Director Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the public policy advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society. Brian has held senior government relations positions at Intuit, H&R Block, Bank of America, and MBNA. Prior to his government relations work Brian was Vice President Homeland Security for TransCore and has held business development, product management and sales positions with WhereNet (start-up), Amtech and AT&T Microelectronics. He holds an MBA (Operations Management and Marketing) from Columbia Business School and has an undergraduate degree from Boston College.
bryan m. eagle III
cargile group, managing director
Miriamis a high energy, seasoned fintech business development and marketing strategist with a passion for building companies and incubating new fintech businesses by bringing innovation to market. Her specialties include establishing strategic roadmaps for growth via innovation, creating channel partnerships, acquiring key customers, launching new products and opening new markets. Miriam built two VC funded companies from launch to successful exit (IPO and acquisition). Miriam is a serial entrepreneur and founding member of the management teams of Private Satellite Network, Wit Capital, Consumer Financial Network, CFRA, and New Kapitall Holdings/Sparado.
contraline, co-founder and ceo
Kevin is the co-founder and CEO of a biotech/medical device company Contraline, which is developing a new male contraceptive that is long-lasting, non-hormonal, and reversible. Kevin co-founded Contraline in March of 2015 as a UVA student majoring in Nanomedicine Engineering. Under his leadership, Contraline has performed extensive product development and initiated pre-clinical trials, filed three patents, assembled an interdisciplinary team, and raised a total of $800,000 in capital. Contraline is also in the Y Combinator Fellowship program. In June, Kevin was awarded the 2016 CBIC Student Entrepreneur of the Year award.
cit gap funds, investment director
Alex Euler serves as investment director for the CIT GAP Fund, consistently ranked among the nation's most active seed investing funds (15th – 2013, 35th – 2014, 36th – 2015, according to CB Insights). As investment director, Alex is responsible for the entire investment process, ranging from deal sourcing, screening, due diligence, deal structuring and closing. He also serves as CIT’s post-investment lead and/or board representative. Prior to his involvement with the GAP Fund, he directed a university-affiliated business incubator focused on emerging bioscience and IT companies. In addition, he was responsible for leading a corporate accelerator initiative called the Cync Program for Northrop Grumman, focused on cybersecurity.
Vindicia, solutions architect for customer success
Jim Felderman has worked in IT as a software developer, manager, and architect for almost two decades. He has extensive experience with e-commerce, subscription billing, content management, and highly available public facing web sites in the financial industry where he worked at The Motley Fool. Prior to The Motley Fool, he work at a handful of startups in the Washington, DC area as well as at larger companies including Kodak, AOL, and American Management Systems. Currently he is solutions architect at Vindicia, where he focuses on e-commerce, subscription billing, and software as a service cloud applications. Jim has a BS in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business.
Dana is a 13-year veteran of the Internet software industry with a focus on the e-commerce space. Eleven of those years spent in Silicon Valley companies and two in Seattle with Amazon Extensive operational experiences inside multi-billion dollar companies as well as start-ups. Experience ranges from raising $1million in angel funding for a start-up founded by Dr. B J Fogg, Stanford professor and founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, to joining a start-up inside Amazon responsible for forming e-commerce platform and distribution partnerships with major online retailers. Additionally, Dana has been deeply involved in a variety of start-up companies helping build out sales, marketing, and business development strategy, processes, and organizations. Areas of expertise include enterprise-level sales and sales management, partnership management and development,contract negotiation, and overall corporate strategy. Prior to joining the Internet software industry, she spent 9 years running the Chicago and Los Angeles sales offices for a $2 Billion commercial printing company. Each of those offices accounted for well over $100 million in annual sales revenue. Education: University of Minnesota, B.A., Journalism/Advertising
dilworth paxson, partner
Elizabeth is a commercial attorney whose practice focuses on business law, including entity selection and formation, licensing agreements, contract law, business sales and purchases, and tax matters. She also advises business clients on executive and director compensation matters such as deferred compensation and restricted stock plans. Liz has worked with start-ups in the areas of commercial contracts, employment contracts, corporate governance, and entity selection and formation. Liz received an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a Doctor of Law from Northeastern University School of Law.
StoreYourBoard (Spire LLC) - Founder and President
Josh Gordon is a Charlottesville-based entrepreneur and founder and president of StoreYourBoard.com, an eCommerce company focused on racks, bags, and accessories for board sports and adventure sports. Josh has grown StoreYourBoard from an idea, working nights and weekends, to a successful business with 6 employees and millions in annual revenue. Josh earned a BS from Lafayette College in mechanical engineering. He worked for Air Products and Chemicals in a technical engineering role and a technical sales role before starting his own company.
managing director, mithril
Colin Greenspon is a senior member of the investment team at Mithril, a SF-based investment fund co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. Mithril is a global investment firm that provides capital to leading growth companies. We partner with teams who use technology to build valuable and lasting businesses, often in industries long overdue for change. Each of these businesses is unique, but all face common challenges to unlocking long-term growth. We help navigate these critical inflection points, and we invest in size and with conviction.
Co-founder, President & CEO, Global Cell Solutions
Uday Gupta co-founded and lead several startups in both biotechnology and food & beverage industries. Uday has extensive management consulting experience with an emphasis on business and technology strategy, financial analysis, and operational and quality management. He has advised and consulted Fortune 500 companies in many different industries including healthcare, manufacturing and telecom. He earned an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business, and he holds a BS in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2012 he was named among MD+DI Medtech “Innovators Under 40" and the Center for Innovative Technology's "GAP 50 Awards.
Founder and Director, Whitewater Research
Robert Guterma has started four companies on three continents. He is currently based in Charlottesville and working on two projects: one a fashion company called Raynie Phelps that aims to design, produce, and sell reincarnations of vintage-inspired clothing, and the other a financial services business Trusted Estate Settlement that aims to help people settle the estates of loved ones who have recently passed away. Prior to this, he was co-founder of Whitewater Research, a software startup that develops productivity tools for financial services clients -- he is still on the board of this company. He also co-founded and led the operations of Capvision International, a research platform based in Berlin, Germany, which was invested in and acquired by his former employer, Capvision China, which itself is one of the largest independent providers of research and information services in the Asia Pacific region. He also spent five years working for Control Risks -- a London-based, specialist risk consultancy, during which time he helped Fortune 500 companies and global private equity and hedge funds conduct deep-dive due diligence on investment targets and prospective partners. His first attempt out of college was The Foreign Hand, an investment company that sought to bring Western dining and hotel concepts to the then-nascent and underdeveloped hospitality market in China.
T. R. Harrington
Founder, CEO Darwin Marketing (acquired by iProspect/Dentsu Aegis)
T.R. Harrington’s US-based entrepreneurial experience began in 1995 in San Francisco where he provided digital strategy, execution and optimization services to companies ranging from Fortune 500s to well-funded dot.com start-up clients. Since 2004, T.R. has been primarily based in mainland China, where he founded a full service digital internet start-up, successfully raised multiple rounds of financing, and led a group of young local professionals to become one of China's leading digital marketing agencies in paid search, SEO, social media and e-commerce. More recently, he started applying his nearly 20 years of start-up entrepreneurial experience to teaching (as a visiting MBA Professor at CEIBS) and mentoring (via ChinaAccelerator and the i.Lab at UVA).
James Gregory Herrington
Dorsata – Vice President, Product
Greg Herrington is a serial entrepreneur, software enthusiast and full-stack web engineer. He received his MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business in 2012 and received his BA in Economics from UVA in 2001. Greg is currently vice president of product development for Dorsata. Dorsata powers the process of creating, reviewing and disseminating best practice clinical workflows throughout a health system via web, mobile and electronic health records.
Managing Partner, Metro Tribal
Craig Honick is managing partner of Metro Tribal, a customer insight, segmentation, and story development agency which uses proprietary ethnographic techniques to discover and validate the narrative customers use to make decisions. His is also a former assistant professor of business (California State University) and a start-up veteran (including co-founder of Firstuse.com, a venture-backed technology company focused on creating a public registry for computer-based files). Craig lives in Charlottesville and purports to be a man of 1000 voices.
Whitney Johnson was recognized as one of the world's fifty most influential management thinkers in 2015, and was a finalist for the Top Thinkers on Talent at the biennial Thinkers50 ceremony in London. She is best known for her work on driving corporate innovation through personal disruption. She is formerly an institutional investor-ranked analyst for eight consecutive years, including at Merrill Lynch, and she is the former president and co-founder of a boutique investment firm with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Johnson is the author of the critically-acclaimed Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work. She is co-founder of Forty Women over 40 to Watch and was named one of Fortune's 55 Women to Follow on Twitter in 2014.
darden school foundation, senior director of marketing for executive education
Deb is a highly experienced marketing executive who has worked at a broad range of companies, spanning start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations. She has spent the majority of her career in the financial services and healthcare industries. Previous roles have included: vice president, digital marketing at Ledbury; senior strategic marketing manager at Capital One; and director, data warehousing and business intelligence at Anthem. Deb has deep experience maximizing profitability with compelling direct-response and branding campaigns. She received an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business and a BS from Virginia Commonweath University, School of Business.
Senior Director, Walmart eCommerce
Arnon (Arnie) Katz is senior director of Walmart eCommerce. He is dedicated to data-driven decision making and development of capable teams and has deep experience in e-commerce and consumer-focused environments. Previously he was co-founder of Relay Foods, an online grocery story which enables customers to shop healthy, responsibly-sourced groceries online which are then delivered. Arnie helped raise $28M for the company and help build Relay Foods into a regional online grocery powerhouse. Arnie received an MBA for UVA’s Darden School of Business and a computer science undergraduate degree from the Technion in Israel.
David B. Kelso
former chair, aetna life insurance
David Kelso is a senior advisor for Kelso Advisory Services, a company he started in 2003 following two years with Aetna, Inc. in Hartford, CT where he served as executive vice president, strategy and finance. From 1996 to 2001, David was executive vice president, chief financial officer and managing director of Chubb Corporation in Warren, NJ. Prior to joining Chubb, he served as executive vice president, chief financial officer and personal segment leader for retail and small business banking for First Commerce Corporation in New Orleans. David holds a BA from Princeton University and a MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business.
Michael Packard is the chairman of the board of directors of High Performance Optics, an innovative company which provides technology to help prevent blindness through macular degeneration. In 1999, Mr. Packard founded TransCat Consulting, helping organizations “make change that matters.” In addition to his consulting roles, Mr. Packard has filled the interim CEO or general manager roles of several of his clients. From 1989-1999, Mr. Packard’s role as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at LensCrafters was key to LensCrafters becoming one of the U.S.’ most successful retailers. Michael earned a BS in chemical engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business.
Louis Pavia, Jr.
CareCompanion Founder, Retired
Louis Pavia has four decades of experience advising senior management and boards in healthcare delivery and finance on identifying and capitalizing on strategic opportunities and mitigating threats. Louis also started his own business, CareCompanion, in 2000. CareCompanion is an international research and management consulting organization. Their strategy is to work closely with the leadership of healthcare organizations to develop innovative approaches to capitalize on opportunities, solve problems and be a catalyst to accelerate success. He hold a BS in Commerce from the Mcintire School at UVA and an MBA from Southern Illinois University.
Senior Human Resources Business Partner, The World Bank
Dirk Petersen drives organizational performance by developing and implementing effective human resource strategies. Dirk is passionate about HR, because it is a sustainable differentiator of high performing organizations. Working at the World Bank he has implemented complex organizational change programs and systems renewal. Dirk has broad business expertise in both the private and public sector andhas advised executives of Fortune 500 companies in the US, Europe, and Africa, while working at the Corporate Executive Board. Earlier in his career Dirk founded a start-up company, Skillvest, an Amazon-like market-place for training & development, in Germany.
CAV Angels - Executive Administrator; Ivy Technical Partners - Managing Partner
David Sade is an entrepreneur with experience in the finance and IT sectors. After working as a portfolio manager for an investments firm with $750M under management, he transitioned into technology as an IT consultant at Freddie Mac and SNL Financial. Currently, David is the Executive Administrator for CAV Angels, an angel investment network bringing UVA related startups to a network of UVA alumni for startup funding. He is also Managing Partner at Ivy Technical Partners where he consults for small businesses on their financial and IT reporting needs. David is a CFA-charter holder.
Founder and Executive Director, Wildrock
Carolyn Schuyler is a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. She is also the founder andexecutive director of Wildrock, a developing nature playground located in rural Crozet. Carolyn is an EMDR consultant and a faculty member of the Parnell Institute, and co-coordinator of the Central Virginia Regional EMDR Group. She was the first program director of The Women's Initiative (which she helped launch) and currently serves as Vice Chair of the board. She has spoken to local, statewide and international conferences on the topic of stress management. She is enrolled in the CNE Board Academy and the Master Naturalist program.
Greg Swanberg is currently chief executive officer of BioStorage, a premier, global provider of comprehensive sample lifecycle management solutions for the bioscience industry. Greg has over three decades of experience providing direct oversight of the technical delivery of global offsite and onsite services for critical functions in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, public and private research centers, hospitals & clinics, and data centers. He has provided management and consulting support, both domestically and globally, within several of the world’s top five biopharmaceutical and financial services companies including Pfizer, Merck, Genentech, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, AT&T, Whirlpool and Lexmark.
A graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia, John is Managing Director of a technology, healthcare and education consulting practice in Silicon Valley, CMO for Partners-Health and a founder of Parrot Learning in China.
As General Manager of IBM’s Consumer Software Group, he guided World Book to the #1 position over Microsoft Encarta. John wasVP of Marketing and Sales for The Learning Company during its rise from #3 to #1 in the educational software category, CMO for eHealth during the transition from start-up to leading online health insurance service and VP of Marketing for Conner Peripherals during its growth from $250 million to $1.3 billion in 2 years. He began his career with Procter & Gamble in brand management. John’s marketing, sales, product and business development skills have helped consumer, technology, health-care and education companies build their brands, profitably accelerate revenues and achieve the leading market position.
Start-ups in addition to eHealth (IPO 2006) include Metaphor Computer Systems (acquired by IBM), Destination Rx, RentOneOnline (acquired by AIG), Groxis and Global English (acquired by Pearson).
partner, Cross culture ventures
Trevor Thomas is a Partner at Cross Culture Ventures. Before this he was Vice President at Gastronome Ventures. Earlier, he was a member of the investing team at Roll Global, a $3.2 billion diversified holding company and Family Office in Los Angeles. Before venture investing, Trevor was the Founder and CEO of The Third Space, an airport lounge startup that sought to reinvigorate the airport travel experience through art, entertainment, and local food options. Trevor began his career
in management consulting at Accenture where he worked on supply chain strategy projects for clients such as Microsoft, Best Buy, Syngenta, and Centerbridge Partners. Trevor has an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, a MEng in logistics from MIT, and a BS in industrial engineering from
Morgan State University. He is also a Kauffman Fellow (Class 17).
Assistant Director, Career Education & Advising, UVA Darden School of Business
Reid Thompson started his career in Mexico as a general manager in a textile factory. From there he earned an MBA from UVA’s Darden Schoool of Business. After Darden, he joined BB&T in their Leadership Development Program, working on BB&T’s multicultural initiative and managing a branch. From there he went to Latinum Newtork, a consulting firm focused on the US Hispanic market before joining YB MoneySpot. He also worked nights and weekends on Hatch'd, an online startup. Reid is currently a staff member at Darden, working with students interested in entrepreneurship, venture capital, private equity, investment management and general management.
Chief Executive Officer, AlpineMetrics
Erik Udstuen is seasoned entrepreneur and executive leader and has founded multiple companies centered around the theme of advanced analytics software. He is currently CEO and founder of Alpine Metrics, a SaaS company that optimizes sales and marketing for large enterprises by accurately predicting sales outcomes using machine learning technologies with readily available data. Erik founded his first company at age 24 in the field of industrial automation and ultimately sold it to General Electric in 2003, where he spent several years in senior level management.