Faculty & Staff

Yael V. Hochberg, Ph.D.

Head of Rice Entrepreneurship Initiatives (Liu Idea Lab, MBA Entrepreneurship Initiative) Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship Professor of Finance

McNair Hall 331 713-348-3596 yaelpublic@rice.edu

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Professor Hochberg’s research and teaching interests are focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the financing of entrepreneurial activity. Her research focuses on the venture capital industry, accelerators, networks and corporate governance and compensation policies. In addition to her doctorate in finance from Stanford, she holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and an A.M. in Economics from Stanford University. Her research has been published in top tier journals, including Science Magazine, the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Accounting Research, and the Journal of Financial Economics, and has been presented at numerous universities and governmental bodies around the world. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Banking and Finance and the Journal of Empirical Finance, and previously served as an Associate Editor at the Review of Finance.

Prof. Hochberg serves as the Head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Rice University and as Academic Director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

She holds a Research Affiliate position with MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prof. Hochberg is also Managing Director of the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, which publishes the annual ranking of accelerator programs in the U.S.

Prior to her appointment at Rice, Prof. Hochberg was previously on the (tenure track) faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and was a visiting faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is currently a visiting faculty member at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Previously, she was employed in the technology industry in both larger and startup companies. She serves on the advisory board and board of directors for a number of early stage startups. In 2015, she was named one of the world’s 40 under 40 best business school professors by Poets and Quants. In 2016, she was awarded the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship.

For more information on the Rice University Entrepreneurship Initiative, visit entreprenuership.rice.edu.

Teaching Interests: 

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Financing of entrepreneurial activity

Research Interests: 

  • Venture Capital
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Organizational Networks
  • Ecosystems

Kyle Judah

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

kj25@rice.edu

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Kyle Judah is the Executive Director at Lilie, where he also teaches Financing the Startup Venture, Founders’ Dilemmas and E-Lab New Enterprises courses. Kyle works on building on new programming outside the classroom, with a focus on research commercialization and experiential opportunities for all students in the Fall, Spring and Summer

Kyle has experience as a serial founder, non-profit creator, turn around operator, and investor. After his founding experience, Kyle helped run MIT’s Center for Entrepreneurship, scaling the Delta-V summer accelerator before leading work at the MIT Innovation Initiative supporting research commercialization and new venture capital models. He then continued these efforts after being hired as the first Executive Director of Entrepreneurship at CU Boulder’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, running the Catalyze CU accelerator and launching the Entrepreneurship Minor for the College. Kyle currently sits on the Innovation Advisory Board for Honda’s global Research Institutes.

With his vast background in a variety of innovation, leadership, and higher-education roles, Kyle is dedicated to creating systems and processes to help develop new ideas, programs and technologies, and translate them into real world impact – helping students launch startups in and out of the classroom.

Kyle earned his BA in Sports Marketing from University of Massachusetts, and holds and MBA from the Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

Director of Strategic Initiatives and Programs, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

hpanahi@rice.edu

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Hesam Panahi is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and human-centered design. He is also the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Programs at the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie).

Prior to Rice, Panahi was a clinical assistant professor at University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, where he taught courses in management information systems, computer science, industrial design, and entrepreneurship. While at the University of Houston, Hesam also founded RED Labs, the University of Houston’s startup accelerator and technology entrepreneurship program. He holds a Ph.D. and Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston.

Teaching Interests: 

– Entrepreneurship
– Human-centered design

Sophie Randolph

Clinical Faculty & Summer Program Manager

sfr2@rice.edu

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Sophie Randolph is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. She serves as Summer Program Manager and is a Residential Associate at Baker. But this isn’t Sophie’s first Rice rodeo! Sophie first joined the Rice community in the full-time MBA class of 2022.

In her student era at Rice, Sophie founded her own startup, Green Room, participated in Techstars, and raised a pre-seed round for the business. Sophie ran Green Room for three years before making the hard decision to wind things down. Before business school, Sophie spent 4 years working at an early stage startup and grew from her role as Executive Assistant to Director of Customer Success.

Sophie brings together the best of experience gained flying by the seat of her pants in the fast-paced startup world, and the knowledge she gained in the classroom. She leverages these skills and her boundless enthusiasm to build systems and experiences that empower students to explore what innovation and entrepreneurship means in their lives.

Sophie holds a B.A. in African American Studies from Harvard University and an MBA from Rice University

Patrick Ray

Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Pbr2@rice.edu

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Patrick graduated in 2012 from the University of Texas Permian Basin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and spent the next six years of his career working exclusively for small businesses and startups in both West Texas and San Francisco Bay Area, California. At Pinnacle Engines, a green-tech hardware startup, he became the go-to guy when it came to high-risk, high-reward missions to Southeast Asia to demonstrate products in both customers’ and government laboratories to prove their industry-leading capabilities. He entered Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business in 2018 at the urging of the leadership of Pinnacle, and graduated in 2020 with his Master of Business Administration degree, concentrating in Entrepreneurship and Real Estate. Patrick founded a remote-first consulting firm in the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, along with his partner Sophie, and has helped clients in the Construction Planning, Brewing, B2B SaaS, International Trade, Organic Food Production, Fashion, and Fire Protection industries. He has built financial models, pitch decks, market studies, and marketing materials for startups and small businesses, helping them organize information and analysis into manageable packages for presentation both to investors and internally to C-level executives.

Taylor Anne Adams

Venture Acceleration Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

Taylor.Anne.Adams@rice.edu

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Taylor Anne Adams is Co-Founder and Chief of Staff at the Collectiv, a community-powered VC fund investing in sportstech startups, professional teams, and leagues. Taylor Anne’s background as a growth-oriented marketer with deep expertise in culture, entertainment, and business development helps her work with teams across Lilie’s venture acceleration programs hit escape velocity. She has a MBA from Rice University and a BA from Wake Forest University.



Maddie Thorud

Program Coordinator, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

mt156@rice.edu

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Maddie is Lilie’s Program Coordinator, helping to support the Liu Idea Lab’s co-curricular programs and events throughout the academic year. Maddie also helps oversee Lilie’s space in the Cambridge Office Building, working with student clubs, programs and other campus organizers to help them feel welcome in using Lilie as a host for meetings and events. Maddie is an alum of the University of Colorado Boulder, with experience at their Sleep Study Lab before helping run large scale events.

Al Danto

Senior Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall 360 aldanto@rice.edu

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Al Danto is the managing partner of the Danto Burks Group which advises the owners of privately held companies in developing and completing exit strategies, valuations and due diligence representation. He is also a partner in Danto Langerud investments which makes investments and actively manages businesses in a variety of industries. Al has over 25 years’ experience with startup and entrepreneurial companies as well as expertise in the acquisition and divestiture of business interests. He started Structured Graphics at the age of 24 and grew the company through a series of acquisitions into one of the southwest’s largest printing and document management businesses. The company was acquired in 2000 by a Private Equity Group. After exiting the company he went on to fund and launch several enterprises, including Universal Worker, an international health care recruitment firm and Arcemus which was sold to publicly traded Iron Mountain. Al has served as lead representative on a wide range of business acquisitions and has proven experience working with lenders, private equity groups and individual purchasers. He has served on a variety of boards, including the alumni board of the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and the Entrepreneurs Organization. Al is an Accredited Valuation Analyst received his undergraduate degree in business administration and mathematics from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Rice University.

Teaching Interests: 

-Enterprise acquisition
-New enterprise
-Entrepreneurship

Adrienne Garland

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

adrienne.garland@rice.edu

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Adrienne Garland, the CEO of She Leads Media, has established a global platform and community for women leaders and entrepreneurs, fostering genuine connections and collaboration both in-person and online. Recognized as a champion for women worldwide, she emphasizes the importance of empowering women to utilize powerful language in media interactions for enhanced visibility. With over 20 years of corporate career experience and an MBA from New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, Adrienne brings deep expertise in Marketing, Public Relations, and Business Development across startups and Fortune 1000 brands in the Media, Entertainment, and Technology industries.

Aziz Gilani

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

gilani@rice.edu

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Aziz Gilani is a Managing Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, Cloud and data science startups. Aziz currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Datical, GameSalad, Graylog, Koupon Media (observer), Label Insight (observer), ShareThis (observer) and Trendkite (observer). Aziz’s previous investments at Mercury have included BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Modest (acq. by PayPal), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).

Prior to joining Mercury, Aziz was a Senior Engagement Leader with Infosys Consulting, an early executive at ABB Performance Services, a Senior Consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and an Analyst at Lotus Development Corp. Aziz received his BBA from the University of Texas where he was a TILF Scholar, and his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he was an FC Austin Scholar.

In addition, Aziz is a graduate of the Kauffman Fellows Program through the Center for Venture Education, where he completed industry-defining field work on Seed Accelerators.  Aziz is a recognized expert in Seed Accelerators, and has been quoted in several national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, ReadWriteWeb, TechCocktail, and The Business Journals.

Outside of Mercury, Aziz serves in advisory roles for The Black Founders Matter Fund and SXSW Interactive. He is also a Lecturer at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurial finance.Aziz received the 2021 National Venture Capital Association Service Award for his work with public policy makers. In 2022 Aziz was appointed to the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Teaching Interests:

  • Financing start-up ventures
  • Foundations of entrepreneurship: strategy & funding

Blair Garrou

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

blair.garrou@rice.edu

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Blair Garrou is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS and cloud computing startups. Blair currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Apto, Koupon Media, Label Insight, LISNR, ShareThis, TrackX, and Trendkite. Blair’s previous investments at Mercury have included Alert Logic (acq. by Welsh Carson), BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Dònde (acq. by Mobify), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Patient I/O (acq. by athenahealth), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).

Prior to co-founding Mercury, Blair was the CEO of Intermat, a leader in product information management software (acq. by IHS). Prior to Intermat, Blair was a Principal of Genesis Park, a Houston-based venture capital and private equity firm, where he focused on the firm’s software investments, including Intermat, FuelQuest (acq. by Saracen Energy), and SAT Corporation (acq. by Invensys). Prior to Genesis Park, Blair helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC), the largest technology incubator in the state of Texas, and he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, one of the largest and most active angel investment organizations in the U.S. Previously, Blair was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. He received a B.S. in Management with special attainments in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.

Blair is also a co-founder of Station Houston, the largest coworking accelerator in Houston, and SURGE Accelerator, a mentor-driven seed accelerator focused on entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s energy problems using software. Outside of Mercury, Blair serves in board and/or advisory roles for the Post Oak School, Rice Alliance, Texas Venture Capital Association, UTHealth, and YPO – Gulf States Chapter. Blair is an Adjunct Professor at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he teaches a course on venture capital.  Blair also was named to the Houston Business Journal’s inaugural “40 under 40.”

Teaching Interests:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Foundations of entrepreneurship: strategy & funding

Remington Tonar

Adjunct Professor

remington@cart.com

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Remington Tonar is Chief Operating Officer and Employee #1 at Cart.com. Prior to launching Cart.com, he served as Managing Director of Houston’s largest startup incubator and coworking space, and spent several years in the corporate innovation consulting space in New York City. He also previously managed a seed stage venture fund and covered infrastructure innovation and smart cities for Forbes.com.

Carolyn Zhoujing Bao

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

carolyn.bao@rice.edu

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Carolyn Bao is a faculty member of Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business for the MBA@Rice program.

In addition to teaching at Rice, Carolyn works as a the Vice President of Marketing at Moomoo Inc. Prior to that, Carolyn worked as a Product Marketing Consultant for Intuit. She has experience leading global product marketing for advertising measurement products at Facebook and held product marketing leadership roles at global leading companies, such as BrightEdge Technologies, Inc. and Visa.

Carolyn is passionate about developing others through teaching with real-world examples. Since 2013, she has been invited as guest lecturer at a few leading universities, such as University of Connecticut’s MBA program and Tsinghua University. She also published a self-paced online product marketing course in 2019 on the MartTechApe platform.

A firm believer in entrepreneurship, Carolyn frequently advises startups and has personally invested into startups such as Volta Charging and Lime.

Carolyn holds an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Rassul Zarinfar

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

rassuldavid@gmail.com

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Rassul Zarinfar has been working on/in Startups & Small Businesses for 25 years. Rassul founded Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company (Buffbrew) in 2011. A bootstrapped rocket ship, Buffbrew caught fire early, doubling & tripling revenues despite shoestring liquidity, feeding exponential growth with increasingly complex capital raises. Over 10 years of continuous growth, Buffbrew is the second-largest independent craft brewery in Houston and has ranked in the Texas Top Ten by volume for several years.

Rassul serves on the Board of Directors for Fresh Arts, an incredible Houston non-profit that empowers local artists & creatives to build sustainable careers and succeed in the Business of Art. He also serves as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for Arts District Houston. Rassul received a BA in English from Rice University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Professor of Business and Public Policy

McNair Hall 348 713-348-5472 schuler@rice.edu

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Professor Schuler’s research and teaching interests focus on public policy, business-government relations, social responsibility, non-profits, and social entrepreneurship. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Organization from the University of Minnesota. He has published research articles in top tier journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and Business & Society.  Dr. Schuler is an Associate Editor at Business & Society and serves on the editorial board of Business Ethics Quarterly. He is also the outgoing chair of the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management.

Dr. Schuler teaches the Social Entrepreneurship course for undergraduates. It is a project-based approach to understand the context of social innovations. Specifically, the projects focus on food insecurity innovations and interventions in the greater Houston area. Students analyze such interventions and make recommendations for improvements necessary to achieve greater social impact. This course received the Rice University award for Best Inquiry-Based Learning in 2018.  Dr. Schuler teaches a related MBA course on Social Enterprise that has more of a corporate social responsibility focus.

In parallel, Dr. Schuler conducts research on these interventions and has published a report, Challenges of Social Sector Systemic Collaborations: What’s Cookin’ in Houston’s Food Insecurity Space?, published in March 2019 on Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s website: https://kinder.rice.edu/research/challenges-social-sector-systemic-collaborations-whats-cookin-houstons-food-insecurity. This report is one of the centerpieces of the new Greater Houston Coalition on Social Determinants of Health, of which he is a member, that sets out to tackle food insecurity and related issues in the community.

Omar Abou-Sayed

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

oas@post.harvard.edu

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Omar Abou-Sayed’s experience spans across the energy, chemicals, renewables, waste management, and water treatment industries. He has worked in a variety of engineering, business, and leadership roles within Super Major oil companies, blue chip management consulting and private equity firms, and venture-backed startups. Omar is the founder and former CEO of Advantek Waste Management Services LLC and the Executive Chairman of Vaulted Deep.

Jim Cohen

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

Jim.Cohen@rice.edu

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Jim is a General Partner at Fitz Gate Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Jim is also a Lecturer at Princeton University’s Graduate School where he teaches a seminar series on venture capital and an Adjunct Professor at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business where he teaches a class on venture capital investing. Jim is also a member of the Princeton University Dean for Research’s Advisory Council, Princeton University’s Keller Center eLab Advisory Committee and a mentor to the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council. Jim was awarded the 2022 Clio Award from the Princeton University Graduate School in recognition of his seminar series on venture capital for graduate students.

Prior to co-founding Fitz Gate, Jim was the Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for an NYSE listed company which he grew through acquisition until its sale to another publicly traded company; a founding partner and member of the investment committee of private equity firm Main Street Capital (NYSE: MAIN); a private equity and M&A lawyer (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in NYC and London; Baker Botts in Houston) and an investment banker (Morgan Stanley in NYC). Jim is an honors graduate of Princeton University and received his law degree from New York University School of Law.

Joanna Nathan

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

jnathan@rice.edu

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Joanna Nathan is the Manager of New Ventures at the Johnson & Johnson Center for Device Innovation at Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC). In this role, Joanna is responsible for sourcing and supporting external opportunities to accelerate breakthrough technologies at CDI. Prior to this role, Joanna was a Venture Fellow at Mercury Fund, a $300M venture capital fund focused on early-stage enterprise software. In this role, Joanna sourced investment opportunities in next-gen enterprise software, cloud biology, and intelligent manufacturing, and represented the fund on a working board for the City of Houston to grow the local innovation ecosystem. Previously, Joanna was Director of Product Development at Saranas, a cardiology medical device startup spun out of Texas Heart Institute.

Outside of CDI, Joanna is passionate about building Houston’s innovation ecosystem, leveraging her experiences to educate and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. In 2012, Joanna founded Enventure, a non-profit organization that provides education and experiential learning opportunities to over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs across Texas, where she currently serves on the board. Additionally, Joanna currently supports the National Institute of Health’s RADx initiative to speed innovation in COVID-19 testing

Joanna received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Bioengineering and MBA at Rice University, where she served as the Jones School of Business Student Association President. She is an active alumna, serving as President-Elect of the board of the Rice Engineering Alumni Association.

Mark Poag

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

mark.poag@rice.edu

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Mark is a General Partner at Fitz Gate Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm whose returns are top quartile among all VC funds according to industry benchmarks. Mark also teaches venture capital investing at Princeton University’s Graduate School and at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Mark is a member Princeton University’s Keller Center eLab Advisory Committee, a mentor to the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, an Advisor to the Rice University Venture Capital Investment Competition, and a Mentor to the NSF I-Corps Hub Northeast Region. Mark was awarded the 2022 Clio Award from the Princeton University Graduate School in recognition of his seminar series on venture capital. Mark brings to Fitz Gate Ventures 20+ years of experience as a successful software entrepreneur, helping lead a company from start-up, through rapid growth, market dominance and ultimate strategic sale. Prior to Fitz Gate Mark was the head of Product, Marketing, Legal and Alliances and Board Secretary at Datacert, Inc., an enterprise software company (sold 2014) and Founder and CEO of Digicontract, Inc., a SaaS company (sold 2001). Mark received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1993 and a JD and MBA with honors from Tulane University in 1997.

Mark received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1993 and a JD and MBA with honors from Tulane University in 1997. Mark is an Adjunct Professor at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he teaches a course on venture capital, and he also leads a seminar series on venture capital at Princeton University’s Graduate School. Mark previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council of Princeton University.

Nique Fajors

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

nf21@rice.edu

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Nique Fajors’ summation of experience includes launching 85 retail and e-commerce products and services generating $2.1 billion over the last 15 years. He is a business thought leader who has been quoted in New York Times, Financial Times, and Business Week. His last start-up One Spear Entertainment launched the first mobile game titles for Shaquille O’Neal, Jet Li, and Muhammad Ali. He sold that company in 2017. Presently, he co-leads the US retail operations for Chromebook. Since stepping into the role Chromebook market share has increased nearly 3x. He holds a B.S.B.A. with honors from the Suffolk University Frank Sawyer School of Management and a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

His academic pursuits include writing Cultural and Economic Revitalization – A Five Step Reference For Overcoming Black Failure in 1996. Creating and executive producing The Invisible Men, an educational video in 1993. In 2006 he co-authored a chapter for a graduate study text titled, Cross-Cultural Psychotherapy. He is the co-host of The Invisible Men podcast produced by AEI. Presently, he is an Adjunct Lecturer at Rice Business School and the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Andrew Nicholson

Adjunct Professor

andrew.j.nicholson@rice.edu

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Andrew Nicholson is managing director at Goose Capital, a Houston-based angel group, where he leads a team actively investing in seed, series A, and late-stage pro-rata deals. His areas of expertise include deal sourcing, screening, negotiations, due diligence, financial modeling, and risk analysis. In addition to his role at Goose Capital, Andrew is a co-founder of True Animal Vet, a new model of veterinary hospital.

Andrew holds an MBA from Rice Business, as well as a master’s in geological sciences and a bachelor’s in geological sciences from The University of Texas at Austin.

Before transitioning into venture capital and entrepreneurship, Andrew spent a decade at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation as an exploration geologist, working on exploration projects and portfolios across the U.S. onshore, U.S. offshore, and international locations.

With his unique background bridging the worlds of geology, venture capital and entrepreneurship, Andrew remains driven by curiosity, a commitment to professional growth, and the pursuit of exciting investment opportunities. He resides in the north side of Houston with his wife and their two boys.

Shruthi S. Sriram

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

shruthi.sriram@rice.edu

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Shruthi Sriram is an executive as part of Accenture’s Public Service Strategy and Consulting business. She works with government, nonprofit, and higher education clients to co-create solutions that drive business and operational success, enhance program operations and governance, and improve customer and citizen experiences. Highlights include serving in a Chief of Staff capacity to help drive the regional industry business and strengthen the community; developing high-touch innovation sessions with C-Suite and senior leaders to ideate on their most pressing strategic and operational challenges through design thinking; and leading a roundtable series with K-12 urban school districts across the country on back-to-school COVID reopening strategies.

She’s passionate about driving social impact – be it in entrepreneurship or across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors – through a focus on people and community, strong systems, and strategy and innovation. Prior to Accenture, Shruthi worked at the Arnold Foundation focused on education strategy and policy and grew a social enterprise based at the Harvard Kennedy School that leverages behavioral science research to improve student outcomes and opportunities. She began her career in education and nonprofits at Match Education and the Achievement Network.

Shruthi has coached teams as part of innovation competitions for seed funding and served as a judge for the Rice Business Plan Competition Qualifiers, hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship. Shruthi received her MPP/MBA from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Booth School of Business and her BA from Emory University.

Teaching and professional interests:
– Design thinking
– Strategy and innovation
– Leadership and management

D.C. Toedt

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

dc.toedt@rice.edu

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Dell C. “D.C.” Toedt III (the last name is pronounced “Tate”) is a practicing attorney, a member of the Texas and California bars, and a professor of practice at the University of Houston Law Center.

Toedt was formerly a partner and an elected member of the management committee at Arnold, White & Durkee, one of the nation’s largest intellectual-property litigation boutique law firms, with 150 lawyers in six offices. During the dot-com boom he went in-house as vice president and general counsel of BindView Corporation, a publicly-traded software company based in Houston — as outside counsel, he had helped the founders to start the company — serving there until the company’s exit when it was acquired by Symantec Corporation.

In between college at UT Austin (math and physics, graduating with high honors) and law school (also UT; law review), Toedt served his ROTC scholarship payback time as a U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer, including three years of sea duty in the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

Michael Sklar

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

msklar@rice.edu

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Michael is a tech entrepreneur and startup investor. He currently helps startups and creators with their product and go-to-market strategy. He led efforts to recruit Mass Challenge and Greentown Labs to Houston. Before this, he was the managing director at Station Houston, the leading digital B2B hub in Houston. Prior to Station, he was recruited by MercuryFund to become the CEO of Graylog, a German-based software company, and relocated them to Houston for market and capital access. Michael’s large company experience came after selling his company to VMware where he held leadership roles in sales strategy and alliances as the company grew from $400 million to $2B. He started his career as a mobile network infrastructure salesperson in Asia.

Michael has an MBA in entrepreneurship from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and an English degree from Haverford College.

Yael V. Hochberg, Ph.D.

Head of Rice Entrepreneurship Initiatives (Liu Idea Lab, MBA Entrepreneurship Initiative) Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship Professor of Finance

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Kyle Judah

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

Director of Strategic Initiatives and Programs, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

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Sophie Randolph

Clinical Faculty & Summer Program Manager

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Patrick Ray

Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Taylor Anne Adams

Venture Acceleration Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

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Maddie Thorud

Program Coordinator, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Al Danto

Senior Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

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Adrienne Garland

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Aziz Gilani

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Blair Garrou

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Remington Tonar

Adjunct Professor

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Carolyn Zhoujing Bao

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Rassul Zarinfar

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Professor of Business and Public Policy

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Omar Abou-Sayed

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Jim Cohen

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Joanna Nathan

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

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Mark Poag

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Nique Fajors

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Andrew Nicholson

Adjunct Professor

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Shruthi S. Sriram

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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D.C. Toedt

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Michael Sklar

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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