Six accomplished entrepreneurs who have launched dozens of startups between them will be working with Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship this spring, mentoring students and helping them develop their ideas into successful companies.
The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program will provide training and assistance through interactive workshops on a variety of topics as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Accelerator program, including preparing a pitch and building a business without outside capital. The entrepreneurs also will keep regular office hours at the center’s IdeaHUb (Room 246 Axinn Library).
The entrepreneurs will assist student teams participating in the Hofstra-CPXi Venture Challenge, and work with students in the Frank G. Zarb School of Business who are creating simulated startup companies as part of their capstone course. The Hofstra-CPXi Venture Challenge this semester consists of an undergraduate competition with a total of $30,000 in prize money, a graduate competition with a total of $12,000 in prize money, and several Hofstra-CPXi Lion’s Den pitch competitions, each with $1,000 in total prizes.
“The Center for Entrepreneurship is lucky to have assembled a world-class team of serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and investors who have tremendous experience to share with the community at Hofstra University,” said Center Executive Director Mark Lesko. “Tapping into their experience and knowledge is an extraordinary opportunity for our students.”
The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are:
Aaron Foss is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with 5 companies under his belt. In 2011, he was a part of Techstars (NYC) with SideTour, a marketplace for unique experiences, which was acquired by Groupon in 2013. His current startup, Nomorobo, has stopped over 68 million unwanted and illegal robocalls from reaching consumers since launching in 2013. Nomorobo was chosen as the winner of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Robocall Challenge and named “Best New Product” by CableLabs. Aaron has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.
Kevin Hesselbirg is an experienced CEO in financial technology and angel investor. He was the CEO of Primatics Financial, which addresses a financial institution’s most complex finance and risk challenges. Prior to joining Primatics, Hesselbirg spent 14 years at OpenLink Financial, where he served as CFO, COO, and CEO, growing the company from less than $20 million in revenues and 100 professionals to more than $325 million in revenues, a global team of 1,250 professionals and 500 global customers. Hesselbirg began his career at Ernst & Young LLP, where he ascended to the position of Audit Manager in the specialized privately owned and emerging business group, providing both audit and business advice to high growth businesses primarily in the medical technology industry. He has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Accelerate Long Island and is an angel investor in technology-based companies. He holds a BS from Fordham University, where he graduated valedictorian of the class of 1987.
Since exiting the workforce in 2006, Peter has worked with dozens of startups in the New York area, held similar Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions or adjunct roles at several universities including Montclair, Rutgers, and NJIT. He is Managing Partner of 1099Partners, a firm that consists of ex-senior executives that service the emerging market space. He currently advises, coaches or is an investor in eight local firms. Kestenbaum was an early employee (1983-1998) of Sun Microsystems and over 15 years held a variety of positions culminating as Field Marketing Director for North America. His Silicon Valley pedigree includes working directly for or with people such as Eric Schmidt (currently Chairman at Google) and Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems. During the “.COM” era he served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Agency.COM in New York as it transitioned from a startup and early silicon alley pioneer through its IPO. He also has held an advisor role to senior staff at IBM.
Jeff Leventhal is an experienced entrepreneur and CEO with a track record of building market-moving companies. He has consistently led technology companies from idea through exit, driving the vision, product, team development, financing, acquisitions and exit strategies. His primary areas of focus include SaaS technology in the IT services, staffing and human capital spaces. Most recently, Jeff was the Founder and CEO of Work Market, a SaaS enterprise platform providing an end to end solution for managing independent workers and freelancers. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of OnForce (sold to Adecco), Lansafe Network Services, Remote Lojix (sold to AvTel Communications) and Spinback (sold to Buddy Media/Salesforce.com). He has personally invested in over 20 companies in which he has taken board and advisory roles, and is an active LP in several VC firms. He has several issued patents and has consulted with Fortune 1000 businesses advising on divestitures, strategy and business planning.
Michael Quilty is a Managing Director at Saltaire Capital Partners, a company that invests in and acquires early stage healthcare services organizations. He was the founder and CEO of Matrix Medical Network, a healthcare company that was recognized in the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies rankings in both 2009 and 2010. Quilty grew the business to over $100 million in annual revenues and over 500 employees before selling the business to the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe in 2012. Matrix was subsequently acquired by Providence Services Corporation (Nasdaq: PRSC) in September of 2014. Prior to founding Matrix, Mike served as an executive at several startup, consulting, and pharmaceutical firms. Before entering civilian life, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant on the USS GATO (SSN 615), a nuclear powered fast attack submarine. During his tour on the GATO he was twice awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. Quilty graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering. He earned a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Care Continuum Alliance, a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting population health management. He also serves on the board of Kettlebell Kitchen (Brooklyn, NY), PWN Health (New York, NY) and Integra Health Services (Owens Mill, MD). Quilty is a member of the Advisor Operations Council of Triple Tree, a Minneapolis-based healthcare advisory and banking firm. He is also a Limited Partner at Ballast Point Ventures, a Tampa, Florida-based venture capital firm affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services.
Previously a Wall Street executive and then serial entrepreneur, Barbara Roberts is now an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Columbia Business School and Group Chair at Tiger 21, the peer learning group for very high net worth people and entrepreneurs who have sold businesses for $10 million or more. She is also a member of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. She is a well-known speaker and writer on all stages of entrepreneurship, and the economic and leadership progress of women. Roberts develops and leads programs and workshops for entrepreneurs at all stages for institutions and government agencies, including Columbia Business School and University, the Women’s Presidents Organization, WBENC, the New York City Economic Development Corp., Brookhaven Labs, Suffolk County, NY and the New York Science, Industry and Business Library. She is a member of New York Angels and serves on the boards of a number of privately held companies. She is certified as a master coach by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and trained in facilitation and mediation. Ms. Roberts has an Economics and Philosophy degree from Goucher College.