2013 Startup Central Advisory Board & Pitch Coaches
Special thanks to the Startup Central Advisory Board and Showcase Pitch Coaches. In addition to providing recommendations and feedback on startup-related programming, the Board evaluates applications and helps the SXSW Eco team determine the Finalists that will present at the conference. The Pitch Coaches generously offer their time to mentor the selected companies and help them prepare for their presentations.
Attend SXSW Eco to meet these top investors.
Northeast Regional Director
Alexandra (Ali) is a skilled project manager, organizer and connector with a comprehensive understanding of the clean technology sector. Her enthusiasm for addressing the world’s energy and environmental led her to the Cleantech Open. In past roles she has overseen a wide range of projects including international trade missions, industry research and reports, new media communications and campaign organizing. Alexandra graduated with a degree in Sociology and Certificate in Environmental Policy from Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
CleanTECH San Diego
As Vice President of CleanTECH San Diego, Jason leads the Biofuels Initiative, advocacy efforts and economic development programs. Previously, he was Vice President of Business Development for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and worked in Austin, Texas as the Legislative Director for Texas State Senator Frank Madla. He graduated from UT Austin and is a 2008 graduate of LEAD San Diego. He volunteers his time with the Ocean Discovery Institute and is a supporter of the Trevor Project.
Director, Energy Technologies
Siemens Technology to Business Center
Farshid Arman is a renewable energy leader at Siemens’ Technology to Business (TTB) in Berkeley, California. In this capacity, he is responsible for external innovation for Siemens’ renewables and smart grid divisions. Farshid is building and expanding Siemens’ offerings, investments and relationships with startup companies in the space. He has rich experience in renewable energy (Solar, Wind, Smart Grid, Grid Storage) for nearly 10 years. Farshid has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
As Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UT Austin, Jim identifies and evaluates technologies suitable for new venture formation. Brown brings a successful track record in private equity, venture capital, and as CEO in private companies; several include General Partner/Polaris Venture Partners, Virtus Capital Partners, J.P. Morgan & Co., to name a few. Brown holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, JD from New York University, and BS from West Point.
Chief Operating Officer
Scott is COO at Imagine H2O, a nonprofit organization that inspires and empowers people to turn water challenges into opportunities. Since 2009, over 300 water startups have entered the competition and IH2O has provided over $1M in value to companies participating in its Accelerator program. Scott joined IH2O from Royal Bank of Canada where he specialized in sustainable investment strategies for institutional and private clients. He began his career at Piper Jaffray.
Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures
Daniel Carter is a seasoned investor in the energy sector, having financed companies in the energy technology field since the 1990's with a proven track record of exits and IPOs. Daniel is currently Investment Director of Aramco Energy Ventures, serving Saudi Aramco’s corporate venturing activities. He has a dual MBA from Columbia Business School and London Business School and sits on the Board of the London Business School Energy Club.
Mike has been with Battery since 2008, and as a Vice President in the firm’s Menlo Park office he’s focused on entrepreneurs, ideas and companies building disruptive technology for the enterprise. A hardware engineer at Velio Communications early in his career, Mike went on to hold Sales, Business Development and Marketing roles at Altera and Xilinx prior to joining Battery. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Black Coral Capital
Based in Boston, Rob has been a cleantech private equity investor since 2004, and acts or has served as a Director, Observer and Advisory Board member to multiple companies in energy tech, including Digital Lumens, Next Step Living and Powerit Solutions. He serves as the Chairman of the Cleantech Open – Northeast Region, and was previously a co-founder of the Renewable Energy Business Network. He has also authored the website Cleantech Investing, which appears on GreentechMedia.com.
Emerald Technology Ventures
Emerald Technology Ventures is a globally recognized investor in the areas of energy, water and materials, having invested in 50 companies to date. Based in their Zurich office, Gina Domanig is the Managing Partner of Emerald Technology Ventures. In 2000 she founded Emerald as the first independent cleantech venture capital fund in Europe. Gina currently serves on the boards of Pelamis, SDC Materials, Synapsense and TaKaDu. Gina holds MBA degrees from Thunderbird in Arizona and ESADE in Barcelona.
Thibaud is Founding Partner at BridgeGrowth, a service company focused on International Growth, and committed to accelerating partnerships, improving governance and providing specialized management tools to US and European Clean and High Tech Champions, Corporates and Institutions. During his 20 years in the industry and Private Equity, Thibaud has experienced more than 30 management and corporate governance positions. He holds a B.A. in European Management from ICADE E4 and an International MBA from IE Business School.
Senior Vice President + Deal Team Leader
Silicon Valley Bank
Blake is a Senior Vice President and Deal Team Leader at Silicon Valley Bank and brings with him over 12 years of banking experience. He assisted with establishing SVB’s national Accelerator practice, which is SVB’s Early Stage financial services platform for Technology, Life Science and Clean Tech companies, and he currently oversees the management of SVB's Central Texas and Gulf Coast technology focused Commercial Banking practice. He received a BA in Political Science and an MA in Applied Economics from SUNY at Buffalo.
Senior Vice President
Kurt has spent the last 15 years focused on the cleantech sector. He currently manages a platform of global cleantech private equity and venture capital funds at Macquarie. Previously, Kurt was Assistant Director at the ATI Clean Energy Incubator, focused on launching and growing clean tech companies. In addition, he has had numerous consulting engagements with cleantech start-ups and DOE Labs, as well as operational experience in the energy efficiency sector.
Professor Bruce W. Ferguson
Center for Innovation Systems and Entrepreneurship / Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi / UAE
Professor Ferguson’s research and teaching interests include entrepreneurship, technology management and the “innovation ecosystem” at Masdar Institute, an MIT-sponsored graduate research university developing new renewable energy sources and other sustainable technologies. He is a co-founder of Orbital Sciences Corporation, a space technology company listed on the NYSE; a co-founder of Edenspace Systems Corporation; and has been an angel investor in 12 technology companies. He is Vice Chairman of the Carnegie Institution of Science, and received his JD, MBA, Master of Education and BA from Harvard University.
Access Venture Partners
David Gold serves as lead Partner for Clean Technology investments at Access Venture Partners. He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering with Special Honors from the University of Colorado and was a National Science Foundation Fellow while earning Masters Degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Technology Policy from M.I.T. After working as an engineer with NASA, David served in the Executive Office of the President where he was responsible for budget and policy oversight of the U.S. Land Remote Sensing and Weather Satellite programs and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. www.greengoldblog.com
Chief Technology Officer
Pecan Street Inc.
Bert is the CTO of Pecan Street, headquartered at UT Austin, which operates the Pike Powers Laboratory and Center for Commercialization and the Pecan Street Research Institute. Previously he was the Vice President of Portable Electronics Product Research at MCC, and then was Director of Product Development for Heliovolt. He has held product development, product marketing and advisory rolls at a number of startups including Stellar Display Corporation, Wireless Age, Motion Computing and Portelligent. Bert holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester.
Innovation Program Manager
Kim is Innovation Program Manager at the NECEC Institute where she develops and runs programs to support emerging cleantech companies throughout New England. She brings experience as a business owner and policy analyst and many years of expertise in the clean energy industry. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy from the Gaylord Nelson School for Environmental Studies, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from St. John’s College.
Director of Technology
Neil Hughes is an Electrical Engineer with 20 years of energy industry experience leading National Grid’s Technology Strategy within the Group Strategy function. He evaluates business opportunities and challenges offered by emerging transformational technologies; developing strategies, plans and partnerships for implementation. Previously, he has held senior technology and business development positions with GEC Marconi, UK Ministry of Defence, Manweb (UK Electric Distribution company), British Nuclear Fuels and Silica Networks in South America.
Clark Jernigan, Venture Partner, joined Austin Ventures in 2001 and focuses on hardware, clean tech and technology services investing. Previously, he spent four years with Cirrus Logic, and12 years in product development engineering at AMD. Clark holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Rice and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M. He serves on the board of the Busby Foundation and is an advisory board member of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.
John serves as Executive Director of the CleanTX Foundation, a non-profit focusing on promoting the growth of Central Texas' advanced energy economy through educational and networking opportunities. A native Austinite, John serves as Vice Chair on the Board of the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce (AYC) and is a member of the Greater Austin Chamber's Clean Energy Council. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Energy and Earth Resources at UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences.
Klein Energy, LLC
Becky is Principal of Klein Energy, an energy consulting company based in Austin. Her clients include international and domestic companies focused on penetrating or expanding in the North American power sector whose needs concern regulatory, commercial, legal or government affairs expertise. Over the last 20 years she has worked in Washington, D.C. and in Texas in the energy, telecommunications and national security arenas.
RockPort Capital Partners
Kevin Kopczynski is a Principal at RockPort Capital Partners. Prior to RockPort, he held a variety of operating and senior technical positions in medical device companies, and worked for Lazard in mergers and acquisitions. Kevin began his career with Arthur D. Little, where he assisted clients on product development initiatives across a variety of sectors. He serves on the board or as a board observer to Enki Technology, Northern Power, Solar Univers, Streetline Networks, NewLeaf Symbiotics and GlassPoint Solar.
Paul is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley where he helps lead the firm’s Clean Energy investment banking and environmental policy efforts. He is a member of Morgan Stanley’s Environmental Committee and serves as an observer to the board of directors for NGEN, a clean technology and materials science venture capital firm. Paul is a founding member of USPREF as well as a current Term Member and former Corporate Leader Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Braemar Energy Ventures
Robert is an associate at Braemar Energy Ventures, an energy technology focused fund, where he is also a board observer for UtiliData, Viridity Energy, Grid Net and ChargePoint. Previously, Robert was a consultant with McKinsey & Co., where he worked with clients in the automotive, industrial, agricultural and consumer products sectors. Robert graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Electrical Engineering.
Jordi Lopez Luanes
Based in San Francisco, Jordi has been developing Solvay corporate venturing activities in the United States since June 2012. Solvay, an international chemical group, develops sustainable products and solutions for consumer goods, construction, automotive, electronics, energy, environment and water. Leveraging Solvay’s fund investment in Aster Capital, Jordi serves as a reference in deals related to materials and chemicals. An investment professional since 2010, Jordi is also a chemical engineer and MBA with 7 years of international experience in process and development engineering at Saint-Gobain and Solvay.
David has a background as an entrepreneur, a lead investor in emerging alternative investment funds, a venture capitalist and a venture philanthropist. As an entrepreneur, he launched several successful startups including Intelecon and Green Mountain Dallas. As a lead investor, he brought the initial capital together to back Red River Ventures, Elm Creek Partners, Trailblazer Capital and VentureSpur. As a venture capitalist, he invested in a number of ventures including PeopleAnswers, Green Mountain Energy, K12, Zaadz and EnTouch Controls. David earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Audio Engineering from Ohio State University in 1986.
Silicon Valley Bank
Jonathan has been working with technology companies and entrepreneurs since joining Silicon Valley Bank ("SVB") in Austin in 2006. For the past three years, he has represented SVB’s Accelerator platform, providing banking and financing services to early stage technology and innovation companies. Previously, Jonathan lived in New York City and gained experience in residential real estate and consumer products. He holds a BS in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University.
Mark is a Technology Lawyer with over 35 years of experience, including over 30 years at IBM specializing in technology and product development, manufacturing and licensing, then over 5 years at Thompson & Knight, L.L.P. working closely with early stage tech, clean energy and life sciences companies in Austin. He is an Entrepreneur In Residence at the UT- Austin Cockrell School of Engineering and a member of the Gulf Coast RCIC in connection with the Texas Emerging Growth Fund. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas Tech University and a Law Degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Founder / CEO
Green Business BASE CAMP
Carrie is founder and CEO of Green Business BASE CAMP, a global entrepreneurial education company serving early stage green business and cleantech entrepreneurs and corporate intrapreneurs. Carrie’s strategic career choices have offered perspectives in sustainable business and entrepreneurship, including roles at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Garage Technology Ventures and Idealab. Most recently, Carrie spent 8 years as an executive in the commercial solar power industry, where she served early-adopting clients including Google, Sony, and British Telecom among others.
Rodrigo J. Prudencio
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Hara Software, Inc.
Rodrigo joined Hara as CEO and Director in November 2012. Previously he was a partner at Nth Power. Earlier in his career, he worked at Utility.com, worked for the Department of State focusing on global environmental negotiations and was a Director of the international trade program at the National Wildlife Federation. He received a BA in International Relations from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley where he served as the President of his class.
Shell International Exploration & Production
Willem is part of the Shell GameChanger team, a group that identifies and incubates revolutionary ideas to proof of concept. GameChanger provides a flexible partnership role as well as funding both for entrepreneurs or university researchers to mature an early stage radical idea to redefine the future of energy. Before joining the GameChanger team, Willem was part of the Shell Biofuels R&D group. He joined Shell from the Cargill Biotechnology Development Center where he was involved in biocatalyst development.
Steve has been an angel investor for 14 years. He serves on Austin’s Electric Utility Commission and the Clean Energy Incubator’s Executive Committee.From 1989-1997 he was founder and CEO of Haystack Labs, which was acquired in 1998 by McAfee. Previous gigs include Tracor, Schlumberger and Syntrex (his first IPO, in 1981). In the early 1970's he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Africa. He has two U.S. patents and many published papers in the security area.
Director Business Development
Andrew is the Director Business Development at deeptech incubator, ATP Innovations, co-founder of Ignition Labs, Australia’s first cleantech accelerator and co-founder of Sydney Angels. He has served on a number of startup, investor and not-for-profit boards and is a regular conference presenter, competition judge and program mentor. Earlier in his career he sold a search technology to Google, held senior roles at UXC, Telstra and started out as an officer in the British Army.
Distributed Energy Services Group
At Austin Energy, Kurt works within the Emerging Technologies and Electric Vehicles Group, with a focus on emerging distributed energy technologies. His objectives include beta-testing and developing a business case for emerging technologies within the electric utility industry. He is also the DOE-funded Principal Investigator for the Central Texas Fuel Independence Project and Texas River Cities Electric Vehicle Initiative. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master of Science in Science and Technology Commercialization, both from UT Austin.
Retired Venture Capitalist
Jerry retired as a General Partner at Adams Capital Management in Austin. Previously, he spent 20+ years in executive level positions in the information technology, semiconductor and consumer electronic industries both internationally and in the US. He received his BS in Engineering, M.S. in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Colorado and AMP (Advanced Management Program) from Harvard Business School.
CEO, Hub of Human Innovation / Director, UT El Paso Clean Energy Incubator
Cathy has broad experience through many capital market cycles, with her career achievements including extensive senior executive experience spanning from startups and operational “Main Street” rural community development to a major university endowment and a Wall Street investment bank. She has coached numerous companies and non-profits regarding strategic and operational financial management and fiduciary practices. Cathy earned her BA in economics and MS in finance from the University of Illinois, and completed studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She holds CFA and AIFA® professional designations.
Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering
Elizabeth is currently Program Manager for the Frugal Innovation Lab (FIL) at Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering. She works in multiple capacities, all aimed at successfully achieving the lab’s mission of developing accessible, affordable, adaptable and appropriate technologies, products and solutions for emerging market consumers. Prior to FIL, Elizabeth worked with several Silicon Valley environmental non-profits, a green technology mechanical engineering start-up firm and a pediatric hospital.
Licensing and Commercialization Manager,
Gas Technology Institute
Alex leverages his commercialization and VC experiences to accelerate technology driven opportunities. At GTI, he works with senior executives to identify technologies to commercialize. Previously, he co-founded Invention Bridge where it managed a DOE EERE EIR2 Grant at Argonne National Laboratory as well as co-launched the Clean Energy Trust. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as well as a MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Director - Cleantech Sector Lead
Silicon Valley Bank Analytics
Rob Tompkins, director and the cleantech Sector Lead with SVB Analytics, analyzes venture investment and financial data, and oversees valuation analyses for venture-backed companies and VC firms. Previously, Tompkins worked in a variety of roles supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including venture capital, consulting and sales/marketing for a startup based in Santiago, Chile.
San Antonio Clean Energy Incubator
Andrew is the Executive Director of UTSA’s San Antonio Clean Energy Incubator. He co-founded a software company that raised $250,000 of angel investment and sold three years later for $20 million. He was a partner in one of the world’s largest consulting firms. His other experience includes business development at Trilogy Software, venture capital and investment banking. He holds an MBA from Wharton and a BBA from UT Austin.
Dai joined Austin Ventures (“AV”) as an Associate in the Venture Capital practice. He relocated to Austin from the Palo Alto area, where he worked as a Senior Analyst on the Technology Investment Banking team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch advising on mergers, acquisitions, financings and other strategic advisory assignments across sectors, including cleantech. Dai graduated from UCLA, where he received his BA in Economics and Southeast Asian Studies.
Dan Watkins, PhD
Dan Watkins is the co-founder and Managing Director of the Mercury Fund, a seed and early stage venture capital fund. His focus is in commercializing physical sciences and life sciences technologies from universities and regional incubators. Dan received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Rice University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Rick joined NEA, a leading global venture capital firm, in 2007 and is focused on clean tech and consumer tech investments. Prior to NEA, Rick was a technology banker at Credit Suisse, executing strategic financing initiatives for tech companies. Rick earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Co-Founder and CEO
For over 20 years, Lina has been engaged in innovation in the public, private, and NGO sectors as an entrepreneur, strategist, sustainability consultant and educator, creating conditions conducive to life, while creating economic value. Lina is the co-founder and CEO of StartupNectar, the biomimicry incubator. StartupNectar enables early-stage, biomimicry-based ventures to access resources and gain traction in the marketplace. The incubation model is informed by nature’s strategies, enabling each startup to build the DNA of the organization in a way that is aligned with all life on earth.
Susan Dix Lyons
Founder and CEO
Susan is founder and CEO of Clinica Verde, a global prototype of a sustainably built health clinic for women and children living in poverty in Nicaragua. She is working with the Center for Health Design on an Evidence Based Design project studying the effects of environment on health outcomes. Previously, Susan was a journalist in the alternative news industry. She has a BA from American University and a MA. from University of California, Davis.
Saïd Business School Seed Fund
Mark is cofounder of the Saïd Business School Seed Fund, a student-run venture fund at the University of Oxford. Previously, Mark worked as an Investment Associate at First Light Ventures, a startup investment fund within Gray Ghost Ventures in Atlanta and Mumbai. In 2007 Mark founded and led the expansion into Ecuador of Manna Project International, a volunteer-driven, community development nonprofit. He is currently researching startups serving the US Hispanic market.
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