Our Mentors

About Our Mentors

Ada Chirapaisarnkul
Managing Director, TaejaiDotcom
Ada is Managing Director of TaejaiDotcom, the largest crowd-giving platform in Thailand, and concurrently serves as ChangeVentures Head of Social Impact Advisory. Prior, she was a University Lecturer and a co-founding executive director of G-Lab (Social Innovation Lab) at Thammasat University. Previously, she was a project manager at the Prime Minister’s Office, leading a multi-sectoral team to develop the first National Master Plan for Social Enterprise Development in Thailand, and later served as Deputy Secretariat of the Sub-Committee on Social Finance. In her free time, she runs Thai Young Philanthropist Network (TYPN), a community of purpose-driven professionals, whose initiatives pioneered the social investment and skill-based volunteering movements in Thailand over the past decade. Ada holds MA in International Affairs from Columbia University, MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London, and BA in Development Economics from Thammasat University. She is a Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellow on Social Innovation, Asia 21 Young Leader, One Young World Ambassador and Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum.
John Chisholm
CEO, John Chisholm Ventures
John Chisholm is CEO of John Chisholm Ventures, a San Francisco-based entrepreneurship advisory and angel investment firm. He has three decades of experience as entrepreneur, CEO, and investor. A pioneer in online marketing research, in 1992 he founded and served as CEO/Chairman of Decisive Technology (now part of Google), publisher of the first desktop and client-server software for online surveys. In 1997 he founded and served as CEO/Chairman of CustomerSat (now part of Confirmit), a leading provider of enterprise feedback management systems. He is a trustee of MIT, past president and chair of the worldwide MIT Alumni Association, and a trustee of the Santa Fe Institute. He serves on the visiting committee of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and previously served on the Market Research Council of the Association for Interactive Media. He is author or co-author of two US patents, and of the Amazon best seller, Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion and Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business (Greenleaf, 2015). He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School. An avid mountain climber, he has summited Mounts Rainier, Shasta, Whitney, St. Helens and a live volcano in Chile.
Kit Hickey
Entrepreneur in Residence, MIT Martin Trust Center and Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management
Kit Hickey is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. Kit is co-founder of Ministry of Supply, which is a pioneer in fashion’s performance-professional category. The company uses technology and advanced manufacturing to reinvent what people wear to work. Ministry of Supply has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal and on the TODAY Show. While at the company, Kit led and build out numerous high performing teams, including Customer, Revenue, E-Commerce and Retail. As Chief Retail Officer, Kit spearheaded the company’s expansion into retail, opened 10 stores, managed a team of 50 and conceptualized and developed the company’s revolutionary 3-D print-knit experience. In this innovative store experience, customers could design and create blazers on demand, which are then 3D printed in the retail store, changing the conversation on traditional retail supply chain, manufacturing, sustainability and customer experience. Prior to Ministry of Supply, Kit started a nonprofit which helped entrepreneurs in emerging markets gain access to financing. The nonprofit merged with BiD Network, a Netherlands-based company with a similar mission. Before that, she worked in investment banking, where she advised early-stage companies raise Series A and Series B funding. Kit teaches two to three entrepreneurship classes per year at MIT. She is the lead instructor for the Building an Entrepreneurial Venture: Advanced Tools and Techniques, one of the most advanced classes offered for entrepreneurial teams. She also teaches Dilemmas in Founding New Ventures, which she designed to teach students who will start or join startups about the people issues and organizational challenges that innovative entrepreneurial ventures face.
Chris Howard
CEO, Libboo.com
Chris is a prolific builder and founder of projects and businesses that aim to push boundaries in both entrepreneurship and the creative industries. Having tried and failed at half a dozen 'traditional' careers - including being a professional chef, a music producer, a 'professional cyclist' and even a spy - Chris first embraced true entrepreneurship at MIT by creating the world's first crowd-sourced science novel with the goal of encouraging more young people into STEM and founding the celebrated venture-backed company, Libboo.com. Several high-profile start-ups later and a short tenure as the Head Teaching Fellow of Harvard University, Chris now resides in London as the Founder of We Are Optimists - the UK's leading 'Entrepreneurs for Hire' network, and the Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars and University College London, supporting high-impact Scale-Up CEOs achieve their goals in a demanding and competitive world.
Travis Hunter
Program Manager, MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program
Travis joined MIT in 2016 to support the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP). MIT REAP works with up to 8 regions annually on strategies to support innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). Travis was previously the Director of the Quincy Center for Innovation (QCI), where he expanded the program to support over 50 startups spanning 16 industries. During this time at the QCI, Travis oversaw partnerships with private and public organizations, expanded programming, and brought together funding opportunities for incubated startup companies. Travis also has a strong personal interest in real estate development and sustainability.
Sarah Jane Maxted
Executive Director, MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program
Sarah Jane Maxted accelerates innovation ecosystems whether it is within an institution or in the community, a broader region, or globally. This is clearly highlighted by her current position leading the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) where she fosters innovation and entrepreneurial (I&E) growth strategies for regions globally. Her responsibilities at MIT also include being a Director in the MIT Office of International Programs as well as mentoring and evaluating start-ups, and serving on several I&E boards across the institute. Of note, she launched the inaugural MIT Innovation Ecosystem Symposium. Originally from Colorado, she went to Duke University where she double majored in Policy and Cultural Anthropology; Minor in Dance. She has also spent significant time in Washington, D.C. working for President Obama’s Administration.
Nick Meyer
Entrepreneur in Residence, MIT Martin Trust Center
Nick Meyer is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship where he mentors students. Nick has spent his career founding startups and been product or engineering lead for software companies in industries as diverse as social, video, travel, music, and gaming. While still in high school, Nick co-founded the MMOG (multi-player massive online game) Kings of Chaos, which saw hundreds of thousands of players daily. During his one year at MIT, Nick founded Reble.FM, a peer-to-peer streaming music service that was partially funded through Y Combinator and was acquired by Playlist.com three years later. He then co-founded MileWise in 2009, a travel metasearch engine, where his roles included UI design, PR and marketing, and fundraising, until the company was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013. His most recent company was Sup, a mobile video app that was funded by Khosla Ventures. Nick is an IASI certified ski instructor and coach and a PADI certified scuba instructor.
Megan Mitchell
Fellowship and Student Programs Manager, MIT Legatum Center
Megan Mitchell is the Fellowship and Student Programs Manager for the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining MIT in January of 2017, Megan managed UBS Americas’ Elevating Entrepreneurs initiative, a portfolio of philanthropic partnerships and programs focused on driving toward a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape. This included Project Entrepreneur, a collaboration with Rent the Runway Foundation to increase the pipeline of women building economically impactful companies. Prior to UBS, Megan oversaw co-curricular and experiential learning activities for Wharton Entrepreneurship, including the annual business plan competition and global internship program. She also served as a member of the Venture Initiation Program management team, and led development of the department’s venture development programs at the school’s San Francisco campus. Megan holds a BA in Economics and Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a MSEd from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
Reinaldo Normand
Entrepreneur in Residence, MIT Legatum Center
Reinaldo Normand is an Entrepeneur in Residence at the Martin Trust Center and the Legatum Center at the MIT. Reinaldo has extensive experience in founding and running bootstrapped and venture-backed gaming and consumer internet startups in the United States, China and Brazil, and has raised over $60 million in venture capital. Reinaldo has created the world’s first wireless game console, Zeebo, and has been featured in media outlets such as NBC, Business Week, Reuters and others. He has 2 exits and a lot of scars under his belt. Reinaldo has invested and advised 30+ tech startups around the world and has written 3 books about disruptive technologies (www.innovation2.co) and entrepreneurship (siliconvalleybook.com). Reinaldo holds a BSc in Computer Information Systems, a MBA and speaks four languages.
Dipul Patel
Entrepreneur in Residence, MIT Martin Trust Center
Dip is an an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Prior to MIT, Dip co-founded and sold Ecovent, the only intelligent home zoning system that delivers complete room-by-room climate control through easy-to-install, self-configuring sensors and vents. Dip devised the idea of Ecovent and launched the company in 2013, while earning his MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management. Over the course of 5 years Ecovent went from idea to suscessful product launch! Prior to that Dip spent eight years at Lockheed Martin working in engineering, program management, and sales for its radar, electronic warfare, submarine and ballistic missile defense programs. In addition to his MBA, he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and his Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Dip lives near the water with his awesome wife Sandy and dog Pi, you can find his place by following the scent of delicious barbeque.