About the Entrepreneurial Institute
The Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab is a 6,800 sq-ft space where entrepreneurs from across NYU can connect, collaborate, and explore how to turn ideas and inventions into startups. The Leslie eLab offers vast array of resources available to the NYU community.
Alison HofferDevelopment & Alumni Relations
Alison currently serves as development officer at NYU, raising support for the University’s Provostial Initiatives, including the Entrepreneurial Institute. She received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University, majoring in Human Development. Alison went on to receive a Masters degree in nonprofit management from the Milano Graduate School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School.
Andy is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Entrepreneurial Institute, and Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at NYU. He founded Lean Launch Ventures, a tech accelerator, invested, advised and trained other entrepreneurs, has founded and sold a technology startup, and is a member of the New York CTO club. Previously, he spent 17 years at Microsoft where he launched/managed several businesses.
Carol OurivioCommunications Coordinator
Carol provides graphic design and marketing creatives support for the Institute team. She graduated from NYU Steinhardt, with a major in Media, Culture, and Communication and a minor in Web Development and Applications. She is a graphic and UI/UX designer, and a vintage camera enthusiast.
Dee DaoVenture Associate
Dee is a Venture Associate for the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, focusing on investment opportunities in life science and healthcare. Prior to joining the Fund, Dee did product development and intellectual property strategy in therapeutics and diagnostics for Ludwig Cancer Research. Dee holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics /Developmental Biology from Columbia University.
Desiree FriesonProgram Manager
Desiree Frieson is the Program Manager for Blackstone LaunchPad at NYU, focusing on matching startup coaches with NYU entrepreneurs. She is the lead organizer with 3 Day Startup, a nonprofit organization teaching entrepreneurial skills to university students. Desiree worked with NeighborWorks America prior to joining the Entrepreneurial Institute.
Fiona TengMarketing & Communications Manager
As the Marketing and Communications Manager, Fiona leverages her 10+ years of marketing, communications, and editorial experience to support the Institute's programs. She has worked in the tech startup, transportation, education, and sustainability sectors, including with companies like Zipcar and Scholastic. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and Management and in her free time, Fiona tells stories through her writing.
Frank RimalovskiExecutive Director
Frank heads the Entrepreneurial Institute and is the Managing Director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund which invests in early stage NYU startups. He is a member of the national teaching team for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program and an Adjunct Faculty at the NYU School of Engineering. He has been a venture capitalist for over 15 years.
Jen CurtisOperations Manager
Jen is the Operations Manager at the Entrepreneurial Institute, where she oversees the Leslie eLab operations and provides administrative support for the Institute's senior leadership. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and recently worked at the UN World Food Programme. Jen holds an M.A. in International Relations from St. John’s University.
Kunal MehtaVenture Associate
Kunal is a Venture Associate with the NYU Innovation Fund. Prior to joining the fund, Kunal was the founder of Unfold Mobile Labs and worked at the non-profit charity: water. Kunal began his career on Wall Street at J.P. Morgan as a Smart Start Scholar and graduated from the NYU Stern School of Business in 2011. He is the author of Disruptors and Finding Genius.
Rebecca SilverAssistant Director
Rebecca serves as the Assistant Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, where she leads operations and major programs, and supports entrepreneurs focused on socio-environmental challenges. Rebecca is also adjunct faculty at both the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School for Design, teaching entrepreneurship, design and sustainability.
Sarah MaibachProgram Manager
Sarah is the Program Manager for the Entrepreneurial Institute where she builds technical programming and grows external partnerships. Prior to joining the Institute, Sarah worked at General Assembly and Stanford University. Sarah holds an M.A. in Comparative International Education from Columbia University.
Our Guardians & Interns
Addie PanSPS '19
Addie is pursuing a M.S. in Integrated Marketing with a concentration in Marketing Analytics. Prior to studying at NYU, Addie travelled to 14 countries and worked for Airbnb, concentrating on developing the first host database in China. Previously, she was an investment associate at her university’s venture fund. Gaining business insights through the due diligence process, interacting with entrepreneurs worldwide, and watching their company grow all motivated Addie to continuously dedicate her efforts to entrepreneurship.
Amar SeoparsonTandon '17
Amar is an Innovation Venture Fund Fellow and founder of Levitas, a startup that creates patient monitoring systems for hospitals and nursing homes. He is an electrical engineering and computer engineering student at Tandon graduating this Fall. When he's not at the Leslie eLab, he can be found on a rooftop in Brooklyn.
Ayelet AbitbulCAS '18
Aya is a rising senior, studying Journalism and Anthropology. Despite her untraditionally business course of study, she has a penchant for startups and all things entrepreneurial. She loves reporting on the ways young ventures have solved some of the world's biggest problems, and investigating the crevices where future entrepreneurial opportunity lies.
Felipe ValenciaStern '18
Felipe is a citizen of the world. From Colombia and lived in China, France, Canada, and the USA has sparked his passion in cultures and languages. This has led him to learn Spanish, English, French, and Mandarin, but most importantly, it has allowed him to break down cultural and social barriers and make friends around the world. Felipe loves learning, being inquisitive, and being challenged.
Kate ChichikashviliCAS '18
Kate is a CAS student majoring in Economics and minoring in Computer Science and Math. She is excited by the entrepreneurial world and she completed the Summer Launchpad program this summer to try and startup her own venture. Kate loves to travel and everything to do with discovering new places. Her suitcase is always packed in case an adventure comes along.
Mithru Vigneshwara SwarnaITP-Tisch '18
Mithru is a graduate student at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. In the past, he has taught prototyping workshops, given talks and presented his work at conferences around the world. Prior to moving to New York, he developed hardware and software for marketing campaigns for world-renowned clients. Mithru is currently an active member of NYU's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Association's board (EIA) where he helps with partnerships.
Nikita ShenaiSPS and Stern '18
Nikita is a graduate student working towards her Marketing Analytics degree at NYU. Previously, she interned with Aramark, Ogilvy & Mather, and Prime Focus World. Her interest in social entrepreneurship emerged from her work in the nonprofit sector at AIESEC where she led a team of over 400 student volunteers from 66 countries. This Star Wars fanatic is a singer, athlete, and a big time foodie who can often be found listening to Pink Floyd or Eminem.
Ruby PittmanTandon '20
Ruby is an undergraduate in the Technology Management and Innovation department at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Her passions are in technology, research, the arts and in helping others thrive. She can be found helping Desiree Frieson with Blackstone Launchpad and Ignite tasks at the Leslie eLab, doing prospect donor research at The Joyce Theater, or studying for accounting at Tandon Makerspace. Through her own use of the Leslie eLab’s resources, she was inspired to start the company Pittmanagement LLC. The startup, soon to be an umbrella for The Pitt NYC, collaborates with artists on a case-by-case basis to help them become more self-sufficient and better prepared to overcome professional challenges.
Selam MogesCAS '20
Selam is an undergraduate Opportunity Programs scholar at NYU, studying computer science on the premedical track. She currently does research in the Physics department on building microswimmers. Outside of academics, Selam is a part of Phi Delta Epsilon, a pre-professional medical fraternity as well as Chair of Development for Kinetic Global. When she isn’t in class or working, she enjoys going to museums, roaming the city, and listening to The Weekend.
Temirlan NugmanovGallatin '19
Tim is a junior at Gallatin from Almaty, Kazakhstan. During his first year at NYU, he served as the class president and founded Fit AI, a sports tech startup developing a strength training optimization system for sports teams. Tim loves all things entrepreneurship and is also the president of InnoVention Society, a Tandon club that helps NYU engineers understand the path from idea to product to startup.
Wiggin and Dana is a full-service law firm with 150 lawyers that represents clients throughout the country and abroad from our offices in Connecticut, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Palm Beach.
VentureWell is a higher education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions.
Techstars is the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. With 13 programs worldwide, Techstars' mentorship-driven accelerators fund the best companies in the most entrepreneurial communities.
Stryker is one of the world's leading medical technology companies that offers a diverse array of innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine.
McCarter & English, LLP is a firm of over 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.
Flybridge Capital Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm with $560 million under management. Our goal is to find talented entrepreneurs and then partner with them to build exceptional and valuable companies.
For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders.
At Comcast Ventures, our goal is to turn startups into profitable businesses. We have deep resources, a passion for building businesses and a track record of spotting and scaling innovations since 1999.
Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally.
Our Advisory Board
Ash is the Founder and CEO of Actifio, a provider of storage software solutions. A serial entrepreneur and founder AppIQ and Serano Systems, Ash was previously a partner at Greylock Capital and served as VP and Chief Technologist at HP.
Carlos is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Celsius Capital, a TMT focused investment firm. Previously, he was cofounder and President of Vonage, and before that an investment banker at Credit Suisse.
David (Law ’06) is the Managing Partner of BoxGroup, a New York City-based early-stage investment fund. He is also the co-founder and Chairman of Spring, director of the Startup Studio at CornellTech and co-founder of TechStars NYC.
Dong Hyun (“Dean”) Park
Dean (Stern ’80) is the Founder of Dong-A PharmTech Co. Ltd. and serves as its President and Chief Executive Officer. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and served as CEO and/or president of a string of successful international companies.
Dr. Nedal Shami
Dr. Nedal Shami (CAS '00) is a Co-Founder and the Chief Strategy Officer of CityMD Urgent Care. He has served in several academic and administrative roles, with appointments at both Saint Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and The Valley Hospital. He continues to serve as an associate professor at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Paul M. Horn
Paul (Chairman) is the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, Tandon School of Engineering, responsible for providing University-wide leadership in advancing research at NYU. He was named NYU Distinguished Scientist in Residence in 2007.
Fred (Trustee) is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. He has been a venture capitalist since 1987, and previously cofounded Flatiron Partners. Wilson publishes a blog called AVC: musings of a VC in NYC, on topics often related to venture capital entrepreneurship.
Harry (Stern ’74 & ’78) is the CEO of Technology Solutions Partners, a global technology advisory firm.
Jeffrey is the Chairman and CEO of Liquidity Works, a venture capital and strategic advisory firm. He is a serial entrepreneur having founded Whitemarsh Industries and Turbochef Technologies. He is a founder of the World Championship of Ping Pong and several other sports content ventures.
Ken is a Senior Advisor to Teneo Holdings, an advisory firm that works some of the world’s most respected companies, non-profits and governments. Previously he has served as Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and Credit Suisse First Boston.
William (Heights '58) serves as an Advisory Director at General Atlantic LLC, a leading global private equity firm. Previously, he was a Managing Director at the firm, and before that was a VP and corporate officer at IBM.