Venture Café Foundation

Venture Café Foundation

The Venture Café Foundation connects innovators to make things happen. We believe that anyone with idea should feel empowered to become a successful entrepreneur. We believe in strengthening and expanding the innovation community through direct relationships and deep networks. Our Office Hours program allows individuals in the early stages of their startup or business idea to connect with experts in fields across all industries to receive individualized advice. We offer Office Hours at all three of our locations in Boston: District Hall, The Roxbury Innovation Center, and Venture Café Thursdays. The Venture Café Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit foundation, part of a global network of Cafés that intend to connect entrepreneurs to resources across the world. Our mission is to accelerate innovation through our spaces, programs, and conversations -- fostering collaboration, igniting creativity, catalyzing action, and yielding solutions to the problems facing humanity today, locally, and globally.

Kenneth Bolick

Kenneth Bolick Results oriented, business technology professional focused on developing collaborative team environments to deliver organizational successes beyond expectations.

Rob Kornblum

Rob Kornblum Former venture-backed executive and VC, now coaching founders for dynamic growth

Ethan Wade

Ethan Wade Ethan Anthony helps entrepreneurs reach their goals by providing mentorship: moving from ideation to execution, MVP validation, establishing product/market fit, developing a data strategy, and startup funding preparation. Aside from being a published author (3x), Ethan Anthony is also the Founder of CrankChart (

Maura Moran

Maura Moran Maura Moran is a partner at Cambridge Technology Law, advises on Intellectual Property, technology transfer, licensing, and strategic alliances. She conducts patent prosecution for tech ranging from software and robotics to sporting goods. Maura holds a B.S. (Math) from the U of Dayton and a J.D. from Boston U School of Law, completed graduate coursework in Electrical Engineering at Northeastern U, and is registered to practice law in MA and at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Umar Arshad

Umar Arshad Umar is an experienced technologist with over 15 years bringing cutting-edge software products to market. Umar is currently VP of Growth at Vuforia, where he is focused on delivering and showcasing the value of AR to PTC’s customers. Prior to his current role, Umar was VP of Advanced Products at PTC, where he led a team of AR pioneers to develop next-gen AR technologies as part of PTC’s prestigious Office of the CTO. Before PTC Umar was CEO and co-founder of Waypoint Labs.

Ted Werth

Ted Werth I am a serial entrepreneur and accomplished business leader who, as Founder and CEO, successfully created and grew an innovative national technology/services data platform from $0 to $50M. I have mentored dozens of start-up businesses through my affiliation at MIT VMS and BU and am currently teaching entreprenaurship at Boston University. My passion is in deploying combination technology/data solutions which redefine how markets and industries operate.

Rebecca Menapace

Rebecca Menapace Rebecca advises startups in topics relating to technology commercialization, intellectual property, and strategic planning. Rebecca is a registered Patent Agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is a named inventor on two U.S. patents. She is responsible for advancing the university’s academic mission of research excellence by pursuing strategic industry partnerships in a highly competitive business and academic environment.

Grace Zimmerman

Grace Zimmerman Grace Zimmerman is an entrepreneur, and an innovative marketing and sales expert, with a track record of launching new companies and products in nascent, undeveloped markets. Additionally, she has consulted with entrepreneurs, small business owners and managers of intrapreneurial ventures of major organizations in a wide variety of industries.

Debarshi Nandy

Debarshi Nandy As a mentor and advisor to startups in the area, the general area of his expertise are in predictive analytics. He advises startups with a particular focus towards applications in Fintech, as well as analytically focused startups in Cleantech, Edtech, Social Impact and Insuretech areas. He has received multiple research grants, both from the National Science Foundation in the U.S. and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Andreas Randow

Andreas Randow You built something? It solves a problem. Great. You think you understand your market. Do you? Let's figure out together where you're at and what needs to be done to turn your product into a functioning company. Andreas has expertise in SaaS, Software & Data Architecture, Mobile Applications, Startups, Big Data / Deep Learning / AI, Data Acquisition & Imaging, and Turnkey Business Development. Andreas works with East Horizon Investments.

David Boundy

David Boundy David Boundy is one of the world's leading 300 Intellectual Property strategists. David was invited by the nation's primary patent court to conduct a teaching seminar for the judges. David helps companies protect their intellectual assets, and realize value from them.

Thomas McGauley

Thomas McGauley Tom is a Director in the Accounting Advisory Practice at CBIZ & MHM. He has more than 20 years of experience working with life science and technology companies, including more than 10 years as the CFO or senior financial executive of both publicly-traded and early-stage privately-held companies. Tom has helped companies from start-up through IPOs, up-listing to the Nasdaq, and numerous fundraisings and convertible debt offerings.

Chuck Goldstone

Chuck Goldstone Startups often falter, not because their technologies aren't good, but because the stories they tell about them aren't. It's about content and intent: Finding your Core Story...the right message that says who you are. Making it clear/ engaging. Finding and articulating a compelling story. Creating strategies for any audience. Movings investors and markets to action. You'll chat with Chuck Goldstone, who for more than two decades has helped organizations find their voice.

David Hartzband

David Hartzband David has spent 25+ years designing, developing & deploying large-scale software systems into large & small organizations. He has been one of the chief software architects for (at the time) the 2nd largest computer company in the world & has also done 3 startups, each of which was VC funded &/or purchased as an exit. Recently, research at MIT is focused on the relationship of technology & organizations. Since leaving EMC as a VP, he has been working in healthcare information systems.

Elliott Laffer

Elliott Laffer A proven problem solver with a history of getting people and organizations, both professional and volunteer, to operate at a higher level of accomplishment. As a regional sales manager, I built up my regions to become the top performers at both firms for which I had that role. On the volunteer side, I had a leadership role in three successful public review processes that were key to the success of three of the largest private developments in Boston history.

Ed Friedman

Ed Friedman Investors Collaborative (iC) provides venture capital to select early stage companies in a wide range of industry sectors including software, IT, biotechnology, clean technology, healthcare, energy, communications, hardware, and professional services. They seek to help individuals developing innovative technologies build world class companies.

Eric Ashman

Eric Ashman Prior to founding Bothered Mind Media, Eric was the President of Group Nine Media and the CFO of the Huffington Post. Eric has led multiple fund raise processes of various levels of complexity, bought and sold companies through a wide variety of M&A transactions, and has built highly scalable operations teams from the ground up. Eric regularly advises founders on their business plan, fundraising strategy, and the development of KPI’s to reach important milestones.

George Mabry

George Mabry George is an active consultant, mentor and angel investor in the Harvard, MIT, and Boston entrepreneurial communities. With degrees in computer science and business, George co-founded a biotech market research company, acquired by a global bio-pharmaceutical service provider in 2008. If you are seeking feedback on your business concept, come prepared with high-level materials to explain your idea, including information on the market, team, and how you are addressing the problem/opportunity.

Bill Larrenaga

Bill Larrenaga Bill is a Director with The CFO Center, the largest international provider of CFO resources, services, and solutions to the small and medium sized enterprise sector. Bill was previously a Partner of KPMG LLP, one of the Big Four CPA Firms. He has experience in high tech, manufacturing and retail and distribution industries. Be sure to bring your business plan including your high level pitch document, the problems you are addressing, the size of market, your team, the product offering, etc.

Jacquie Kay

Jacquie Kay As an entrepreneur and educator, Jacquie works globally and locally, advising businesses, leaders, and organizations in planning and managing innovation, ventures, start-ups and projects. She founded two for-profit companies, WPI, Inc. and The Sun Walking Group, and, was founder of the Asian Community Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation. WPI, Inc., for 35 years, under Jacquie’s guidance, was a successful international development firm.

Jessica Manganello

Jessica Manganello New Leaf Legal, focuses on creatively developing Corporate, Entertainment, and IP infrastructures for their start-up clients as well as helping established companies embark on new and entrepreneurial paths. Stop by the Cafe to talk shop with Jess and Shannon!

Joe Caruso

Joe Caruso Please use to book in Kendall. For the last 20 years Joe Caruso has served has been an “Advocate for entrepreneurs” as a mentor, coach, and personal advisor to CEO’s and entrepreneurs. In recent years, he has served an investor, advisor and active director with dozens of companies, public and private. He also maintains an active consulting practice dealing with structuring and negotiation of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and financings, and dispute resolution.

Johanna Dwyer

Johanna  Dwyer Johanna Dwyer is CEO and founder of QipWorks, LLC, a full-service Intellectual Property (IP) business based in Cambridge, MA. Ms. Dwyer has 25 years’ experience developing processes for identifying, evaluating, managing, and monetizing investments in IP, and has built successful programs to progress licensing and commercialization opportunities. Ms. Dwyer has an MBA from MIT, holds degrees in mathematics and engineering, is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is inventor on over 85 patent families.

John Bailey

John Bailey For more than 20 years, John Bailey has worked in accounting and finance roles from startups to Fortune 500 clients. John has advised numerous startups and is also a mentor at MassChallenge and Cornell University. Gain insight on basic Finance needs, complex financial modeling, strategy, financial planning, cash flow management, and everything in between. Just bring yourself and be ready to discuss your pain points and company direction.

Kerry Bowie

Kerry Bowie Prior to cofounding Msaada Partners, Kerry acquired extensive experience as an environmental engineer and manager with Texas Instruments in Dallas and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Kerry holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering from MIT and the University of Michigan, respectively, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Kerry is able to assist entrepreneurs with Business Fundamentals, Financial Management/Reporting, and Strategic Planning.

Kevin Wiant

Kevin Wiant Kevin is Executive Director of Venture Café Boston, a nonprofit Foundation that connects the innovation community by managing spaces, programs and conversations. Previously, Kevin has been on the management teams of several early stage companies in the mobile, telecommunications, web and software industries. His executive roles have been in business development, sales, marketing, product management and corporate development.

Kevin Winter

Kevin Winter A Ceramic Engineer with over 40 years of Manufacturing & Sales experience with large (e.g. GE, UTC, Teco-Westinghouse) and smaller companies.

Kristin Polito

Kristin Polito Senior Associate Director, Working Professionals MBA Programs, Babson College Provided senior leadership for Babson’s Blended Learning and Evening MBA Programs, and directed the recruitment and admissions efforts for these programs Additional expertise in financial services strategic planning, mutual fund supermarkets, competitive analysis, defined benefit plans, and venture capital portfolio management Also serves as university adjunct professor of management and entrepreneurship.

Le Zhang

Le Zhang Le is the founder and CEO of Squadle, an IoT platform company that helps automate multi-unit restaurant operations for the likes of Sonic Drive-In and Chick-fil-A. Squadle is backed by 500 Startups, Bolt VC, Accomplice, Walnut Ventures, and more. He is named in several patents in the IoT field. Le has experience building technology companies from scratch, building scalable software technology platforms, fundraising, and in enterprise sales.

Marcus Yee

Marcus Yee Marcus recently left IBM after more than 20 years of services to join force with an IBM Watson business partner and a predictive software startup. He sees the future as one of predictive. Any startups or enterprises that process the predictive capabilities will have the competitive edge. He specializes in strategic and sales process consulting to shorten sales cycles to customers. In 2015, he was on a team that works with startups, entrepreneurs, enterprises, developers, incubators, and VCs.

Marta Wolska-Brys

Marta Wolska-Brys 15+ years of experience as Packaging Developer and New Product Launches Enabler at #1 in beauty industry-L'Oreal France & USA. Core expertise: Open Innovation, Packaging Development, Supplier Partnerships, New Product Launches, Continuous Quality Improvement. Recently founded Packaging&Beyond, LLC consulting firm with an objective to help startup brands in packaging development and new product launches-project management. Industry focus: consumer packaged goods

Marty Sack

SCORE Mentor
Marty Sack Marty Sack has mentored more than 200 start-ups over the last two years and is a regular business mentor at the Venture Cafe. As a Certified SCORE Mentor he brings with him the resources of more than forty additional successful executives, Venture Capitalists, Marketing and Digital Marketing experts, small business owners, and other Professionals from diverse areas of business and non-profits–all volunteers offering free business advice and mentoring services.

Melissa Withers

Melissa Withers Melissa Withers is a fund manager & business builder who has overseen investments in 120+ companies. She is currently managing director of RevUp Capital. She was previously Managing Director of Betaspring, a nationally-ranked startup accelerator. Her career began at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, where she worked at the intersection of basic research, public policy & communications. Special expertise in non-equity funding and building for scale.

Melissa Yee

Melissa Yee Are you new to the Greater Boston startup scene or would you like some personal guidance on navigating the community? Meet wiith Melissa Yee, Editor of -- a comprehensive, centralized online platform designed to connect, support, & grow Greater Boston’s world-class tech and early-stage community. Her insight and knowledge of the ecosystem will help give you the confidence to move forward, build connections, & make things happen!

Micah Drayton

Micah Drayton Micah Drayton is an experienced patent and trademark attorney. Micah prosecutes patent applications in fields including software and computer engineering, electronics, and mechanical engineering. His practice emphasis is tailoring intellectual property strategy to the business needs and philosophies of clients, from early-stage startups looking to avoid pitfalls to established businesses.

Mike Burtov

Mike Burtov Michael Burtov is the founder and CEO of GeoOrbital. He is able to help with gauging product-market-fit, go-to-market strategy, as well as team-building and fundraising. Mike has been the founder and CEO of 4 companies (2 failed, 2 thrived) and has over 15 years' experience in starting-up and seeing companies through their lifecycle. For his companies, he has raised funds in every possible way including angel investors, angel groups, Incubators, VC, customers, Crowdfunding.

Mitch Tyson

Mitch Tyson Mitch is a former CEO and is currently helping to build the cleantech ecosystem. He coaches entrepreneurs and serves on corporate, non-profit, and governmental boards. He is Chair of the New England Clean Energy Council, a partner in Clean Energy Venture Group, and serves on the boards of both Venture Café Foundation and Greentown Labs. If you want to talk to someone about the challenges you're facing as an entrepreneur he'd be glad to chat.

Robert Donahoe

Robert Donahoe Talk strategy with a fellow innovator and founder who maintains an active IP Legal practice. Bob Donahoe focuses on “getting to yes” – assisting founding teams achieve their business goals with a strategic and efficient approach. He currently represents startups and global companies in technologies such as medical device, wearables and software. Bob recently led the development and business team that created a top-ranked (and patented) mobile sports app.

Sara Dutta

Sara Dutta I am a Life Sciences Business Consultant at Dassault Systèmes. Previously, I worked at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on developing computational techniques to assess cardiac safety and efficacy. Prior to that, I completed my PhD in computational modeling of the heart, at the University of Oxford (UK). I am passionate about the strength of software and computational modelling to transform and enhance the life sciences industry, and eventually improve the patient’s life and experience

Sarah Boisvert

Sarah  Boisvert Sarah Boisvert is a high tech entrepreneur who has created businesses that range from building the laser for LASIK eye surgery to operating a 3D Printing contract service bureau. Her book, The New Collar Workforce, is based on research with 200 U.S. manufacturers on the skills needed in the Digital Factory.

Stephanie Lustgarten

Stephanie Lustgarten If you have a Life Science clinical question, bring it to Stephanie Lustgarten. She has nearly 15 years of experience in clinical development in the life sciences/biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry with a focus in oncology. Additionally, she has experience in phase I through phase III clinical trials and has lead global regulatory submissions from a clinical data sciences perspective, including New Drug Applications (NDA) and Marketing Authorization Application (MAA).

Steve Davis

Steve Davis Join Steve to discuss operational, marketing, sales and funding strategies that you and your company may be facing. Steve Davis is a business growth and sales channel expert. Steve works with businesses, entrepreneurs and service providers who want to accelerate revenue growth to the next level and seize the most attractive growth opportunities. He is an active advisor, mentor and coach in the New England, MIT, MassChallenge, Seedcamp and Swissnex startup communities.

Sissi Liu

Sissi Liu Sissi Liu a cleantech startup mentor with experience in venture investing and entrepreneurship. She’s invested in and served on boards of cleantech companies as well as mentored budding entrepreneurs. Most recently, Sissi headed up business development for the North American region at Joule, a pioneer in converting waste CO2 into valuable fuels and chemicals. Join her to chat about your business challenges and generate ideas for solutions to overcome them.

Vinit Nijhawan

Vinit Nijhawan Vinit is an entrepreneur, investor and academic: - Led Boston University Office of Technology Development, launched 8 VC backed spinoffs - Teach entrepreneurship and technology development to graduate students: MBA, ENG, LAW, MED - Co-founder of LearnLaunch EdTech Accelerator - CEO and/or Founder of 5 startups - Past Partner at Key Ventures and Board of MassVentures

Tim Bye

Tim Bye Senior Operations and Supply Chain Executive with experience in medical device, contract manufacturing and computer industries. Worked with innovation teams on new product introductions from prototype to steady state manufacturing. Developed and implemented supply chain strategies which include sourcing, assembly, testing and distribution of equipment and disposable products. Focused on establishing metrics to ensure achievement of product goals in terms of quality, reliability and cost.

Will Brierly

Will Brierly Will is a widely recognized and followed expert in digital marketing, gaming, public relations, and crowdfunding. For the past 17 years, Will Brierly has run Snowrunner Productions. He has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists, Emmy Award-winning TV shows, NY Times best selling authors, international government agencies, video games and more.


District Hall

75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA


10:00am - 6:00pm

Venture Café Kendall

One Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142

3:00pm - 8:00pm

Roxbury Innovation Center

2300 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA

(617) 858-6462

4:00pm - 9:00pm

District Hall

75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA


Venture Café Kendall

One Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142

Roxbury Innovation Center

2300 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA

(617) 858-6462

Follow us on Twitter @VentureCafe