Entrepreneurial Institute

New Team Members & Updates at The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute

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With the start of the 2020 academic year and our programs in full swing, we are excited to announce a few new members who have joined the Entrepreneurial Institute and the NYU Innovation Venture Fund teams.

In addition to the core Institute team, each year we bring on additional talent from the NYU community, including students and alumni who have recently completed our programs, to help in our work supporting entrepreneurship across the university. This includes a team of:

  • Founders in Residence, recent alumni entrepreneurs who help our early stage teams,
  • Entrepreneurs in Residence*, seasoned entrepreneurs and investors who support our later stage teams,
  • Interns, who support the Entrepreneurial Institute staff in communications and community building, and
  • Venture Fellows, who are current students and entrepreneurship advocates on campus who help us manage the work we do investing in founders through the Innovation Venture Fund.

If you’re a current or aspiring entrepreneur and you want help on your venture, sign up for coaching with a member of team here today!

*If you’d like to work with an Entrepreneur in Residence, please say so during your next 1:1 coaching session with an Institute staff member. 


Venture Fellows

Christian (Chris) McKenzie (Stern MBA '21) is a Venture Fellow at the NYU Innovation Venture Fund and is completing her MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business. She started her career as a buyer for Macy's, Inc. After years of selecting the companies to be stocked in stores, she wanted to work more closely with the entrepreneurs behind the labels. During her time at Stern, she's been an MBA Associate for a consumer fund, The Ember Company, and an MBA Fellow at Cleo Capital. She's a Chapter Co-Lead for the SoGal Foundation, an Advisor to Caribbeans in Tech and Entrepreneurship and a Committee Member at BLCK VC.

Daniel Abbassian (Stern MBA '21) is joining us for a second year as a Venture Fellow. He is a Venture GM at Create, a venture studio based in New York City and invests in software at Harlem Capital, a diversity-focused fund. He is an InSITE fellow and a deal lead at New York Angels. He is completing his MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business. Previously, he worked with Draft Ventures, an early investor in Notion, Dfinity, Thrive Market, and many other companies, and at Antler and Alpaca VC. He also co-founded Upkey, an EdTech company.


Entrepreneurs in Residence

These entrepreneurs and investors have founded, sold, or IPO’d successful ventures in deep tech, consumer products, beauty, healthcare, and more. EIRs provide 1:1 mentorship to NYU startups. Note: to meet with one of our EIRs or FIRs, you must be referred by one of the coaches at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Team.

Dana Mauriello, MightyDana is currently the COO of Mighty, an early stage start-up that helps young entrepreneurs build real businesses and manage real money. She has spent the majority of her career building businesses that support small business owners and entrepreneurs, including as co-founder of a fintech company, executive at Etsy, and consultant at Google's Sidewalk Labs. Dana has mentored teams at NYU as an EIR and NYU Summer Launchpad mentor.

Ketan Patel, Chimney Ridge, LLC. Ketan is an Entrepreneur in Residence with a focus on Deep Tech. Ketan is an accomplished Investment Catalyst and early-growth Venture Capital Investor with twelve years of global experience investing-in and commercializing foundational innovations across Technology Media Telecoms (TMT) value-chain. Productively invested $100M of cumulative capital in fifteen early-growth venture capital deals resulting in one IPO and an additional eight acquisitions by industry leading technology companies. Achievements stem from an innate passion for the business of technology, systematic, analytical investment approach, unrelenting drive for results, and hands-on empathetic mentoring/coaching/advising of individual investments to transform technologies into successful investments and engineers into entrepreneurs. 


Founders in Residence

Founders in Residence provide coaching to NYU students and faculty through 1:1 coaching and through the NYU Startup Bootcamps. If you're interested in meeting with a Founder in Residence for venture coaching, please sign up via this link.

photo of christopher mitchell

Dr. Christopher Mitchell (Courant Ph.D. '15), Co-Founder and CEO of Geopipe. Christopher co-founded Geopipe, a deep tech startup building the authoritative whole-Earth digital twin. Geopipe leverages a cutting-edge AI pipeline to turn the real world into rich digital environments for gaming, simulation, architecture, and beyond. Geopipe has been awarded over $2M in grants, including from the National Science Foundation (SBIR Phases I and II) and recently took home the $1M GENIUS NY Grand Prize. Christopher earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from NYU Courant, and is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Courant. Christopher participated in NYU Summer Launchpad and NYU Ignite Fellowship (Beta) and won the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge in the Tech Venture Track. Meet with Christopher to discuss anything related to finding and hiring technical co-founders and technical talent, pursuing SBIR and non-dilutive funding, and building a deep tech startup.

Photo of Kyleigh Russ

Kyleigh Russ (Wagner '20), Co-Founder and COO of Govern for AmericaKyleigh co-founded Govern for America (GFA), a non-profit which imagines a world where or most dynamic young leaders see government as an avenue for meaningful change, and our government reflects the values and diversity of our nation. Prior to founding GFA, Kyleigh taught at a charter school in Boston where she saw firsthand how policy decisions and government programs can negatively impact underrepresented communities without a voice at the table. Kyleigh recived a Masters of Public Administration at NYU Wagner and was named a 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30: Law and Policy entrepreneur. Kyleigh is a program alumni of the NYU Startup Bootcamp, NYU Startup Sprint, NYU Ignite Fellowship (Alpha & Beta), and NYU Summer Launchpad. Sign up with Kyleigh to discuss anything about measuring social impact, nonprofit management, lean business practices, talent recruitment and management, and operations.

Photo of Laura Rocha

Laura Rocha (Wagner '20), Co-Founder and CEO of Dathic. Laura co-founded Dathic, an artificial intelligence startup building a market location and recommendation software for CPGs that understands US hispanic consumers and recommends the best location to deliver products that communities love. She is also a lawyer and Masters of Public Administration graduate at NYU Wagner. She works on innovation using data analysis and artificial intelligence models to empower communities and companies in the US and Latin America. Laura participated in the NYU Startup Bootcamp, NYU Startup Sprint, NYU Ignite Fellowship (Alpha & Beta), and NYU Summer Launchpad. Meet with Laura to discuss anything related to building a tech startup as a non-technical founder, B2B business, social innovation and digital marketing.

Photo of Mir Hwang

Mir Hwang (CAS '19), Co-Founder and CEO of GigFinesseMir co-founded GigFinesse, an online music booking platform that reinvents the way artists and venues connect. Prior to founding GigFinesse, Mir was a touring session drummer studying Chemistry at NYU College of Arts and Science. He was always around fellow artists who were constantly searching for a more efficient way to book shows and venues looking for ways to streamline their booking procedure. After having felt the pain from both sides, Mir decided to put his medical school aspirations aside and start GigFinesse. Laura participated in the NYU Startup Bootcamp, NYU Startup Sprint, NYU Ignite Fellowship (Alpha & Beta), and NYU Summer Launchpad, and won the 2018-2020 NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge in the New Venture Track. Meet with Mir to discuss ventures in music, arts, media, fashion and other sectors.

Photo of RIley Jones of Bloc

Riley Jones (Law '20), Co-Founder and CEO of BlocRiley co-founded Bloc, a company using software to help upskilling organizations digitize their services, centralize their data collection, and monetize their programming. He's also a J.D. graduate from NYU Law, and was named a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. Riley is a program alumni from NYU Summer Launchpad, NYU Ignite Fellowship (Beta), and won the 2019-2020 NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge in the Social Venture Track. Meet with Riley to discuss anything related to: social enterprise, business development, grant funding or education.


Undergraduate Interns

Aliyah Brooks (Stern '21) is studying marketing and entrepreneurship. She is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship, travel, and fashion and is interested in creating social enterprises in order to create large social good in the world. A two time recipient of the NYU Stern Social Impact Stipend, Aliyah is interested in meshing social justice and entrepreneurship together in order to uplift and empower low income communities within New York City.

Ellie Gershenwald (Steinhardt '22) is studying Media, Culture, and Communication with a minor in Web Programming. She was excited to be part of the marketing team creating last year’s NYU Entrepreneurs Festival. Ellie is a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She has a passion for food, travel, design, and community service. Combining several of her interests, Ellie spent several summers as a social media and marketing intern for a mid-century modern furniture boutique.

Graham Harris (Courant '22) is studying Math with minors in Computer Science and Italian. He's a second year intern working on community programs and engagement. He's been involved with the start-up community at NYU since freshman year and is looking to start his own... as soon as he gets an idea. Graham spends his free time with an NYU club called Bite Club, a food publication that runs events for the NYU community. He's a hobby botanist and ice cream enthusiast!

Major Carr (Steinhardt '21) is a senior studying Media, Culture, and Communication with minors in Computer Science and Web Programming. He has been a member of the NYU Entrepreneurs Festival for two years. Major is excited to help introduce the festival and its mission to those who are curious about entrepreneurship at NYU. He is passionate about human-centered design, media studies, disability studies, and how entrepreneurship takes place in these areas of interest. Major has experience working with both smaller tech startups such as LeanDNA and working at large corporations such as NBCUniversal.