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The culminating event of the Southern Tier’s first Hardware Accelerator is Demo Day – a chance for the community to come together and see what the project teams have been working on the last 12 weeks.
Save the date and sign up here!
NextCorps Manufacturing Accelerator is a year-long program that helps clean energy entrepreneurs scale their prototype into a product that’s easy to manufacture and mass produce in New York state.
To be eligible for this program, you must be a clean energy hardware residing in New York state, or willing to relocate to New York state, and have a prototype that is based on customer discovery. The company needs to have financial resources sufficient to sustain your startup and begin the process for manufacturing readiness.
The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (MAST) is a pro-active leader, committed to enhancing the economic strength of the region, by acting as a primary resource for information and assistance to promote manufacturing excellence. MAST is committed to assuring the best possible business environment for manufacturing to prosper.
The Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator is led by Rev: Ithaca Startup Works in partnership with Cornell Engineering and funded by the Economic Development Administration. The year-long cohort-based program supports hardware startups ready to bring their prototypes into production.
Rev: Ithaca Startups Works offers a deep dive into prototyping through its summer-long Prototyping Hardware Accelerator that leads product teams through a process for determining if their ideas are commercially desirable, technologically viable, and economically feasible. Upon completion of our program, participants are positioned to recruit team members, bring on partners, initiate work with contract manufacturers, and pitch to investors.
Administered by NextCorps and SecondMuse and supported by NYSERDA, Scale for ClimateTech provides immersive training on manufacturing and business planning, along with a team dedicated to making manufacturing easier. Companies are coached by their peers, a community of technical experts, customized accountability teams, and a network of partners.
Led by Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and supported by NYSERDA, the ClimateTech Prototyping Hardware Accelerator supports climate technology startups in a like-minded cohort where they are matched with clean energy and clean tech mentors and learn from industry experts.
Amy Cheney is a go-to-market sales and business development executive with 20 years of experience launching new technology solutions across industries. As SVP of Strategic Accounts at Dataminr, Amy is part of the leadership team that is accelerating growth at one of the leading companies in A.I. and Machine Learning Technology. Amy was previously the Global Head of Sales and Business Development for Bloomberg Vault, a SaaS compliance data solution that she co-launched and grew to a profitable business. She was also part of the start-up team at Bloomberg Law, which is used in 99% of the AmLaw 100.
As a certified executive coach, Amy enjoys working with entrepreneurs on sales. She is a guest speaker at Cornell Tech where she teaches a class on sales for new venture business. Amy has an M.B.A. from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and a B.A. from Bucknell University where she double majored in Economics and English, and minored in Dance. She holds a professional coaching certification from IPEC.
Justin Smithline is a technology entrepreneur who has spent more than 15 years growing successful enterprise technology companies, with a professional focus on sales, product development, and marketing. Although primarily an operator, Justin is also an active investor who has backed startups with a combined enterprise exit value exceeding $1.2 billion. He is currently a Partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a seed VC fund and accelerator based in NYC.
Prior to his current role, Justin was CEO and co-founder of FunnelFire, a company focused on leveraging data to help salespeople and account managers improve the way they help their customers. Before FunnelFire, Justin co-founded Instinctiv, a mobile media company acquired by SoundCloud. He also co-founded Linguaflex, a medical device for the treatment of sleep apnea currently in late stage clinical trials. Justin also helped lead the successful private equity backed carve out and turnaround of Backstage, a leading B2B media portal for the performing arts community, where he led all sales, product development, and technology.
Justin holds an MBA from Cornell University.
Alex Hagen, a serial entrepreneur, joined STSA as an Entrepreneur in Residence. Previously the Director of the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator, Hagen is also currently CEO at ShrubBucket.com, an online order aggregation business that has the goal of disrupting the gardening industry. “The Zappos of Plants” is growing rapidly and will be expanding into several cities in 2020. Previously, he was the CFO at Renovus Solar during a time of rapid growth from 7 employees to over 60. Prior to Renovus, Hagen was the founding CEO of Weaver Wind Energy Inc. and raised over $1M in grants and angel capital. During his five years with the company, he managed the design, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing of the world’s most reliable small wind turbine, one of the first in the country to be awarded full certification by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Hagen has over fourteen years of operational, financial, and business strategy experience at both startups and large corporations. He served in engineering and project management capacities at Hutchinson Technologies (high-volume, high-precision hard drive component manufacturer) as well as product development and R&D at Merit Medical Systems (intravenous medical devices). Hagen holds a degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Black Oak Wind Farm and other community organizations. He lives in Ithaca, New York with his wife and four kids.
Greg is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Center for Regional Economic Advancement and an Instructor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Previously, Greg served in a number of roles for Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a program for early-stage technology-based companies. During his time at CDL, Greg worked on expansion, pedagogy, operations, recruiting, and partnerships while based out of Toronto, New York, and Atlanta. CDL’s cumulative Equity value created increased by more than $6B CAD during Greg’s tenure. Before CDL, Greg served as project manager for the launch of a private hospital in Kuwait and worked on strategy for a Dubai-based agriculture start-up. Greg holds a BA (Biochemistry) from Hamilton College, an MBA (Strategy) from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. (Molecular Biology) from Cornell University.
Stephen Sauer, Ph. D is a Senior lecturer of Management and Organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Sauer’s research and teaching activities focus on issues of leadership, team processes, and status and diversity in management. His work has been published in a number of academic journals and his research has been featured in a variety of mainstream media outlets.
Dr. Sauer graduated with a PhD in Management and Organizational Behavior from Cornell University, where he also earned an MBA and Master’s in Business and Policy Administration. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to embarking on his academic career, he worked as an organization change consultant and plant manager after serving seven years as an armored cavalry officer in the US Army.
Bennett Thomas is Co-Founder and General Parter of Triple Impact Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in startups creating products and services driving financial, environmental and social impact.
Previously, he served as a Senior Vice President of Finance & Sustainability with Hersha Hotels & Resorts, a publicly traded (NYSE: HT) investment firm with a portfolio of upscale, luxury and lifestyle hotels in urban U.S. markets. Prior to Hersha, Thomas served as Senior Manager in mergers & acquisitions with Medco, a Fortune 50 healthcare company, as a Senior Technology consultant with Ernest & Young, and as a Fund Manger with BR Ventures, Cornell’s student-run venture fund.
At Cornell, Bennett is a guest lecturer, a Board member for the Institute for Healthy Futures, and a member of the Sustainability Roundtable. Bennett received his B.S. in Civil-Environmental Engineering with honors from Virginia Tech and graduated as a Park Leadership Fellow from the Johnson MBA program at Cornell University.
Molly Israel is the Marketing Strategist at CREA. She plans and implements marketing communications plans to promote CREA, its programs, and its various members.
Prior to joining Cornell University, Molly worked at Ithaca College for seven years, most recently as the Executive Director of Marketing. Before joining the ranks within higher education, she got a taste for start-ups as the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for a fast-growing digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C.
Molly holds a degree in communications from Ithaca College and is constantly seeking better ways to balance mom-life with her two small children. She also serves on the board of the Learning Web, a local nonprofit supporting youth from various backgrounds.
Jackie Meshako is a Program Assistant for Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. In her work with the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, she works closely with the Entrepreneurs in Residence to help provide mentorship, startup resources, and a connection to capital for budding entrepreneurs. Jackie recently graduated with a Business Management degree from Ithaca College, where she focused in Entrepreneurship and Event Coordination
The Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech pulls together multiple partners to catalyze business development in the agriculture and food industries. The Center for Excellence serves as a hub connecting New York businesses and entrepreneurs with services they need to grow.
Greg Thomson is an attorney and strategic advisor based in Ithaca and New York City, with over 20 years of experience in digital media, entertainment and technology. He also serves as Strategic Advisor to Cornell’s Center for Technology Licensing.
Greg has headed business development for venture-financed startup companies including the S.R. Guggenheim Foundation’s digital media company and Sports Museums of America, and also held a senior business development position at NBCi in San Francisco. He began his post-MBA career as a communications /media/technology strategy consultant with PwC’s Strategy& in New York.
As a media industry lawyer and executive, Greg headed business affairs for LA-based Quincy Jones Productions, served as VP of Partnerships for Discovery Communications, and has represented clients including Dr. Dre, Youssou N’Dour, and the Estate of Gil Scott-Heron. He has also served as an entertainment economics expert witness in major entertainment industry litigation, including on behalf of the City of Los Angeles in the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by heirs of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.
Greg’s ongoing private law practice work includes intellectual property and software licensing, venture financing, private placements, film financing transactions, media mergers and acquisitions, corporate sponsorships and endorsements, literary rights acquisitions, distribution agreements, and a wide variety of digital media, technology, and music, television and film industry transactions.
Cook is an active attorney in the greater Ithaca community, and he represents businesses and individuals in connection with a wide array of complex commercial business and real estate transactions. Cook has also served as a visiting lecturer at the Johnson School at Cornell University where he taught a course focused on entrepreneurship and early-stage finance and venture capital transactions. In addition to practicing law and teaching, Cook serves as mentor for the 76West Clean Energy Competition and a judge for Cornell Law School’s Transactional Lawyering Competition.
Cook started his law practice at Ballard Spahr, LLP, a national law firm with more than 650 attorneys in 15 offices accross the country. He’s also been a member of Fox Rothschild, LLP and served as the president of First Excelsior Group from 2012-2016. Prior to joining Rev, Cook was a member of a local law firm in Ithaca. Throughout his career, Cook has represented a diverse group of clients including publicly-traded corporations, middle market companies, and emerging technology startups. Cook regularly counsels companies on corporate governance, fund raising, M&A transactions, and protection of intellectual property.
Cook has served on the board of directors of several private companies and non-profits. He is currently a trustee of the Paleontological Research Institution, which operates the Museum of the Earth, the Cayuga Nature Center, and Smith Woods, and a member of the board of directors of Upstate Capital, a trade association for venture capitalists and other capital providers across upstate New York.
Brandon is a serial entrepreneur, most recently co-founder and CEO at Zibby. Zibby is a mission-driven finance company helping retailers sell life’s necessities to 100M nonprime consumers seamlessly through every channel, from online to in-store. Zibby customers that demonstrate creditworthy behaviors graduate to more attractive financing terms over time.
Brandon’s landed his first job with a top-10 asset management team at Smith Barney, but quickly transitioned from analyzing companies to building them. He co-founded and successfully exited companies in residential mortgage, multi-family real estate, and retail coffee, all in the Pacific Northwest.
Wright has co-founded business associations and served on mayoral advisory committees for economic development. He graduated from Whitman College with an undergraduate degree in Economics and received his MBA from Cornell University in 2012.
Dr. Fleming is an experienced executive, educator, speaker, angel investor, and mom. In the first twelve years of her career, Fleming advanced from an Analyst at Morgan Stanley to Partner at an $1.85 billion private equity fund. During this time, she was struck by the lack of women in leadership positions and decided to take action. She pursued a Ph.D. at Cornell in management, focusing on gender bias in the business world and how to reduce it. Today, she speaks across the U.S. on these issues.
Fleming has served on the board of directors of numerous publicly traded companies, private companies, and non-profits. She also served as a senior lecturer for both Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and Johnson Graduate School of Management, teaching entrepreneurship, finance, women in leadership and negotiations courses, as well as running several business competitions and Cornell’s university-wide minor in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Prior to joining the business world, Fleming obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. As a resident of Ithaca, NY, she is excited to draw on her deep knowledge of entrepreneurship, finance, leadership and culture to help more local startups build effective and inclusive organizations that will drive long-term growth and value creation for their founders, their investors and the community.
Currently, Miller-Out serves as the managing partner at Chloe Capital, a seed stage venture capital investment fund focused on women-led technology companies. She’s also co-founder of PollQ, a chatbot polling tool for higher education, and a board member at Women 2.0, the leading media brand for women in tech.
In 2016, Elisa oversaw a successful acquisition deal with a division of Singlebrook, a custom software services firm that she co-founded and led as CEO for over 10 years. She is the company’s CFO as well as chair of the board. Singlebrook has Fortune 500, higher education, and nonprofit clients from around the world including: Cornell, Yale, Henry Schein, Hitachi, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and more.
Prior to starting Singlebrook, Elisa founded two other companies and worked in a variety of industries in New York City. She has also launched several networking groups and regularly serves as a mentor and judge for startup accelerators and competitions. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. Learn more at www.elisamillerout.com.
Max Henry is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) serving startup members of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and he is part of Cornell AgriTech’s Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture in Geneva, NY.
Henry is the founder and president of Humming Bird Leadership and serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence for NextCorps in Rochester, NY. His former experience includes serving as president and CEO of multiple companies including Topica (internet marketing), PrivateExpress (digital courier delivery company), Fabrik Communications (business messaging company, sold to Critical Path), and JSB Corporation (global software company, sold as SurfControl to Websense).
Previously, he served as vice president and general manager of Information Access Company (sold to Thomson), executive vice president and general manager of U.S. Telestar, and vice president and general manager of NeXT Computer (sold to Apple), where he was a direct report to Steve Jobs and was part of the executive policy team. Henry has served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards and is currently board chairman at InfoStreet, an Inc 500 SaaS company.
Henry holds an MBA degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Hobart College.
From lab to market, ZYMtronix turned university cutting-edge university research into a startup focused on enzyme immobilization and biocatalysis. Their “green chemistry” processes enable stable, affordable manufacturing of molecules for food scientists and other industries.
From basement to big-time, Emmy’s is an example of scalable food entrepreneurship in our region. This cookie company started in a basement – and their gluten-free, organic treats can now be found at Whole Foods and Starbucks around the nation.
Taitem Engineering applies technology thoughtfully for the benefit of the earth and for the living beings that depend on it. Their team specializes in mechanical, electrical and structural design for green buildings, commissioning, LEED consulting, energy studies, solar pv design and installation, and more. Taitem is just one of the regional partners helping to grow the Southern Tier’s clean energy ecosystem.
This business plan competition, created by NYSERDA, is designed to build clean energy businesses and jobs in the Southern Tier region. The competition offers $20 million in prize money and support services, including a $1 million top prize. Now beginning the third year, 76West aims to attract and grow at least 24 clean energy startups and connect them to partners, investors, and customers in the region.
Kristin Hopkins is the Events Manager for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA). She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of diverse entrepreneurship events at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and for NYSERDA’s 76West Clean Energy Competition. In addition to events management, Kristin leads sponsorship initiatives and attraction at Rev.
Kristin holds a B.S. in Consumer Science from the University of Alabama. Away from the office, she is an active board member with organizations that support the Lansing School District and enjoys exploring Ithaca’s natural beauty with her family.
Liane is the Program Manager for CREA. She handles the Finances and is the Research Administrator for the Center. Liane has 15+ year of experience at Cornell in a number of financial and administrative roles, most recently as the Administrative Manager for the KAUST-CU Research Center.
She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC as well as her Bachelors in Government and Economics.
Outside of Cornell, she is the Chair for both the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Veteran, NY.
Rena Scroggins is the Competition Manager for the 76West Clean Energy Competition. Rena is part of the Southern Tier Startup Alliance (STSA), a member organization of business incubators who provide support to people starting and growing companies in the region. STSA is operating the competition under contract with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Previous to this role, Rena was the owner and CEO of the Montrose Theatre, an independent movie and special events space, for eight years. She lives in Ithaca and enjoys the chaos of working out of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.
Bonnie Sanborn is an interdisciplinary researcher and communications professional. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.Sc. in Environmental Psychology, with a focus on material culture, organizational behavior, and the built environment. At CREA, she manages all digital and print communications, creating content for CREA’s various social media channels and websites.
Bonnie also collaborates on the development of stories about CREA program success stories. As a researcher, Bonnie focuses on ways in which design can influence social interactions; she has helped to design Makerspaces and collaborative workspaces, educational spaces, and public spaces. Bonnie facilitates workshops on design thinking, space planning, and relationship-building on social media; she also serves on the space planning and social media sub-committees for the Environmental Design Research Association.
Adriana Condarco-Quesada is a Regional Economic Development Specialist at CREA. She guides and implements strategic economic development activities that strengthen and grow the entrepreneurship eco-system. She works closely with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) to support economic development projects that leverage research assets in the plant sciences, controlled environment agriculture, and food sciences.
Prior to joining Cornell University, Adriana worked in international development coordinating strategy development, international donor projects and providing research support to a variety of organizations including the United Nations Indonesia and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.
Adriana completed a dual Master’s program in Public Administration and International Relations at Syracuse University and received her B.A. from the University of Richmond.
Caitlin Schickel is a Regional Economic Development Specialist for Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Responsible for collecting data on start-up activity in the Southern Tier and coordinating Cornell’s response to START-UP NY, Caitlin also helps out at REV when she can.
Caitlin, an Ithaca native, left to study urban development at Bryn Mawr College, but found herself back home after four years in Philadelphia. While new to the world of start-ups, she is excited to be a part of one of the organizations working to help revitalize Upstate New York.
Tom is the Executive Director of Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) and is a Visiting Lecturer at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. CREA’s programs include Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, and support of Cornell’s regional economic advancement efforts. Tom leads the Upstate NY I-Corps Node, and is the lead instructor for Cornell Engineering’s Commercialization Fellows program. He serves on the teaching team for eLab, Cornell’s student business accelerator, and teaches entrepreneurship and business strategy at Cornell.
He is an experienced entrepreneur having served as a startup founder and senior finance executive of high-growth companies. Previously, he was Director of Finance for the Triad Foundation, where his responsibilities included investing the Foundation’s $250m portfolio to top-quartile returns. His board affiliations include the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park and Tompkins County Area Development, and as board vice-chair of the Business Incubator Association of New York State. Tom co-chairs the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council’s Innovation Culture workgroup.
Tom has an AB and MBA from Cornell, where he was a recipient of the MBA program’s Albert J. Fried Fellowship for Leadership and Academic Excellence. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Brian Bauer is the Program Director for clean energy programs with Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Brian runs 76West, NYSERDA’s clean energy business competition, and he is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, a member organization of incubators across the Southern Tier which is a collaboration between Cornell, Binghamton University, and Corning Enterprises.
Brian is a seasoned international energy industry executive with extensive experience in Oil, Natural Gas, Chemicals, and renewables in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Brian ran several international businesses during a 30-year career in the energy industry and has expertise in operations, strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions, major project management, corporate governance and organizational change.
Brian has a B.S. In Chemical Engineering from Cornell and an MBA in Operations and Finance from the University of Chicago. In addition to his entrepreneurial work, Brian lectures at Cornell and serves on the Board of the Paleontological Research Institute, which includes the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, both near Ithaca.
Ken Rother is the Director of Rev as well as its Hardware Entrepreneurship program. He is the Managing Director of Cornell’s eLab student accelerator program, teaches entrepreneurship at the Johnson School, instructs and coaches in several technology commercialization programs including NSF I-Corps, and is a Venture Partner at Cayuga Venture Fund.
Ken has held multiple senior business and technical positions for organizations such as Discovery Communications, Reuters, Matrox, and the Toronto Stock Exchange. He has direct startup experience having co-founded a software business in Toronto and joining an early stage online media business in New York, both of these startups concluded with successful exits.
Most recently Ken was the Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Discovery.
Tony Frontera is a professor of entrepreneurship and marketing for the School of Management at Binghamton University and advisor for Binghamton Enactus, a student organization focused on entrepreneurial activities. Frontera served as an adjunct instructor and mentor for the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program.
Mr. Frontera is an Entrepreneur in Residence for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, a member organization of business incubators, whose purpose is to provide support to entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses in the Southern Tier of NY. Tony mentors and coaches entrepreneurs and startups in the region and is frequently asked to speak about Branding and Positioning for different entrepreneurial organizations. Since 2016, Frontera serves as a mentor to finalist teams in NYSERDA’S 76W Clean Energy Competition.
Tony is a seasoned marketer and entrepreneur in the consumer electronics industry. He has over thirty years of marketing strategy, business strategy, business development and consumer communication experience at both his own retail business and mid-sized corporations. Frontera served in marketing management and business development capacities at McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., where he was responsible for branding, distribution strategy and customer communication in the luxury consumer electronics industry. Previous to this, Mr. Frontera held positions as; CEO, Manager of Business Development, Northeast Regional Training Manager, and Account Manager for companies in the Photographic and Printing industries.
Mr. Frontera volunteers his time for the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of Binghamton and currently serves as President of the board. He also serves on the Board of GHS Federal Credit Union. Frontera holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Binghamton University.
Brad is a career entrepreneur with an emphasis on technology-driven companies. Brad was most recently the Founding CEO of Mezmeriz, a high-tech company making interactive projectors and reality capture cameras to embed into mobile phones. Mezmeriz is based on patented MEMS technology developed by company co-founder Shahyaan Desai at Cornell. Previously, he was the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Cornell University.
Brad was also the co-founder and CEO of SightSpeed, an innovative video and voice communications company. Together with co-founders Aron Rosenberg and Cornell Professor Toby Berger, Brad grew SightSpeed from a university research project into the world’s premier video calling software. SightSpeed was profitably acquired by Logitech for $30M.
Earlier in his career, Brad worked for eight years in the automotive industry in both the US and Spain at Bowles Fluidics and GKN Automotive. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State, and an MBA from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell.
Brad lives in Ithaca, New York. He is faculty at Johnson at Cornell, Cornell Engineering, and Ithaca College teaching practical entrepreneurship, empathetic leadership, and project management. With the loving support of his wife Kristin and sideways looks from his children, he competes in long-distance triathlons in the “Clydesdale” division, has done a few Ironman triathlons, and has finished a handful of marathons without walking.