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 two time 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.

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, and Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall hpanahi@rice.edu

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Hesam Panahi is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and design thinking. He is also a faculty member at Rice University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and 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
– Design Thinking

Micaela McGlone

Senior Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

micaela.mcglone@rice.edu

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Micaela McGlone is the new Senior Associate Director at Lilie. Prior to joining Lilie in summer 2021, she spent seven years at OpenStax, the non-profit publisher of open educational resources (OER), also based at Rice. Micaela helps teams set vision and work together to meet ambitious goals, facilitating shared mindset and removing blockers along the way.

Yelena Ioffe

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

yelena.ioffe@rice.edu

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Yelena is an Entrepreneur in Residence and Program Director at the Rice University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie). She is an early stage VC investor, start-up mentor and an entrepreneur at heart. With over 10+ years of experience in the investments industry, she has been featured as one of the Top Women Investing in Latin American Tech by LAVCA.

Prior to joining Lilie, Yelena was a partner at Cantera Capital and a fund manager at Soldiers Field Angels (SFA), where she led seed and follow-on investments in early stage startups across Latin America. She started her career in venture capital after co-founding Zapatito Blanco, a marketplace for children’s products in Mexico. Her work experience also includes Laudex in Mexico City, J.P. Morgan & Chase in New York and Morningstar Inc. in Chicago.

Yelena holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management and a BA degree in economics from Northwestern University. Originally from Kazakhstan, Yelena has lived in the United States, France, Brazil, and Mexico and is fluent in multiple languages.

Priscilla M. Hernandez

Entrepreneurship Marketing Specialist , Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

priscilla.hernandez@rice.edu

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Priscilla M. Hernandez is the new Entrepreneur Marketing Specialist at Lilie. Prior to joining, Priscilla spent a few years as freelance marketing consultant in Troy, NY and then as an associate at a digital marketing agency in Portland, ME. They eventually went on to co-own a marketing agency with their partner, with a focus on small businesses and nonprofits.

They graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Cognitive Science & Psychology and a M.S. in Marketing for New Product Development.

With their experience, Priscilla is determined to develop Lilie’s communications and brand strategy and support students, faculty, and alumni in their entrepreneurial endeavors!

Al Danto

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

Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Associate 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.

Farzad Soleimani, M.D.

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

farzadsoleimani@gmail.com

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As the Associate Director of the TMC Biodesign Innovation Fellowship and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Farzad Soleimani, M.D., applies his extensive experience and leadership in health care entrepreneurship to ushering in the next generation of innovative startups.

He has served as the founding CEO of telemedicine company eTherapi, strategist and business developer for Hansen Medical (HNSN), co-founder of IGAN Biosciences and founder and CEO of product review platform Review2Buy, and was as an early-stage financial supporter at Mohr Davidow Ventures and XSeed Capital Management. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, he has also published a wide array of articles on health care innovation and currently holds numerous medical technology patents.

Soleimani completed his residency training and served as chief resident at Baylor College of Medicine. He earned his M.B.A., M.D., M.S., and B.S. from Stanford University, where he was also a member of the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Program, as well as the co-founder and executive editor of the Stanford Scientific Review (SSR).

Teaching Interests:
-Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Abby Larson, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

abbylarson@rice.edu

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Dr. Larson is a researcher and lecturer at Rice Business where she teaches classes in the MBA program and helps to lead entrepreneurship programming for Rice MBA Students.  She received her B.A. with honors and her M.A. from Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University. She has been honored with special grants and fellowships, including appointments at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California, Berkeley.  She has also been a visiting scholar at the Freie University in Berlin, Goethe University in Frankfurt, and an Affiliate at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. In conjunction with her scholarship, which has been funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Dr. Larson has worked with diverse partners to establish new research labs and centers at NYU, Stanford, and Rice.

Angela Schmeidel Randall

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Angela Schmeidel Randall is a Lecturer in Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where she teaches the undergraduate course in design thinking. Schmeidel Randall is also an adjunct professor at Kent State University’s Master of User Experience Design program, where she teaches courses in research, design, and leadership.

Schmeidel Randall has over two decades of experience tackling tough challenges with human-centered design. She is the founding principal at Normal Modes & UX.training, where she and her team provide research, coaching, and training to organizations that want to improve experiences with their products and services. She specializes in complex, data-driven, mission critical experiences with clients including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and venture-backed startups in a variety of industries.

Schmeidel Randall is a graduate of University of St. Thomas (BA – International Studies) and Rice University (MLS). She is also a graduate of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders.

Her mission is to change the world, one experience at a time.

Teaching Interests: 

– Experience Research & Design
– Design Thinking
– Entrepreneurship
– Leadership

Carol Tyger

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

caroltyger@gmail.com

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Carol is a product leader and agile coach who has held management roles at a wide range of organizations, from seed-stage to mature startups to publicly traded companies. Currently, she consults for various startups focusing on everything from product metrics to value-based pricing to leading an agile transformation. Previously, she was Head of Product at Spruce, a managed marketplace for multifamily apartment residents to book services such as chores, housekeeping, or pet care. As an executive team member at Spruce, Carol oversaw the product, roadmap, and backlog. She also led the remote development team through the transition to agile and the rebrand that prepped Spruce for national rollout and Series A funding.

Carol previously worked as a Product Manager in Interconnected Retail at The Home Depot, Chief of Staff to the CMO at blinds.com and as an Email Marketing Manager at Zocdoc. She has used these experiences to lead lunch and learns, mentor entrepreneurs, and moderate panels within the Houston startup community. She has also supported founders looking to manage their teams with scrum through workshops and agile coaching.

Before working in tech, Carol was a middle school math teacher with Teach for America. She is passionate about making agile accessible throughout organizations and industries, ruthless prioritization, design thinking, collaborative meetings, diversity in tech, mentorship, and travel.

She holds a Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Teaching Interests

-Technology Product Management
-Agile Software Development
-Design Thinking

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, and Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Micaela McGlone

Senior Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Yelena Ioffe

Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Priscilla M. Hernandez

Entrepreneurship Marketing Specialist , Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Al Danto

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

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Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy

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Farzad Soleimani, M.D.

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Abby Larson, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

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Angela Schmeidel Randall

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Carol Tyger

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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