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Team

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 yvh1@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

 

Jamie Jones, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall jamie.n.jones@rice.edu

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Dr. Jones serves as the Executive Director of the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Lilie) at Rice University where she focuses on developing curricular and co-curricular programs for students across the university. Dr. Jones is a connector who is constantly searching for opportunities to build partnerships that enrich the educational experience for the students, support the mission of Rice University, and create impact in Houston.

Dr. Jones co-founded Impact Engine, an investment firm with a mission to bring more capital to a market where financial returns are linked to positive social and environmental impacts. Impact Engine supported three cohorts of early-stage companies through its accelerator program, has completed investment of a $10M Fund I placing capital into seed and series A venture investments, and is currently raising venture Fund II.

Prior to joining Rice, Dr. Jones was an Innovation Advisor at RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute based in North Carolina, where she supported companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations in their quest to introduce technology-driven new products into emerging markets. Sitting at the nexus of technology, customers, and markets, Dr. Jones has deep expertise connecting user-insights to technology commercialization pathways and business model development.  Dr. Jones served as the Market Intelligence and User Centered Design Lead for the Sanitation Technology Platform (STeP), a multi-year Gates Foundation program implemented by RTI International. She also developed the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office program for the USAID Science Technology, Research for International Development (STRIDE) program in the Philippines, which helped academic institutions systemically develop stronger ties to industry partners.

Dr. Jones maintains an affiliation with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where she serves as the faculty lead for the Emerging Markets and Social Impact cohort of the Zell Fellows Program. Previously, Dr. Jones was the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kellogg, where she worked with startups, nonprofits and companies to build and finance ventures that create both financial and social returns.

Dr. Jones has experience combining design thinking and Lean Startup practices to optimize business models.  She has worked in India, East and West Africa and Latin America on agriculture, education, health, and water-focused ventures. She was recently named Triangle Business Journal 40 Under 40.

Caitlin Bolanos

Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall 360 224-436-2600 caitlin.a.bolanos@rice.edu

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Caitlin Bolanos is the Associate Director for the Entrepreneurship Initiative and Lilie.  Caitlin joined the team from UK Department of Trade & Industry, the economic development arm of the British Foreign Commonwealth Office. In her previous role, she supported US companies on their launch into European markets and British companies establish a presence in the US. She focused her efforts supporting companies in the hardware, software, and creative media space in both Texas and Northern California, thus working with both large corporations as well as early stage ventures. Caitlin earned a B.A. from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and her Masters of International Affairs from Texas A&M University.

Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

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

Kris Cuellar

Business Programs Manger, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

kristan.cuellar@rice.edu

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Emily Messenger

Program Manager, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

emily.m.messenger@rice.edu

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Emily Messenger is the program manager for the Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie).  Emily has extensive background in higher education, non-profits, real estate and event planning.  While her husband was in the Army, she ran her own consulting business. Emily graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a dual degree in Middle Eastern Studies and History.

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.

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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Jamie Jones, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Caitlin Bolanos

Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

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Kris Cuellar

Business Programs Manger, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Emily Messenger

Program Manager, 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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