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Mentors

Every semester, we introduce a new cohort of startup mentors from the UT and Austin community to support our students on their entrepreneurial journey. Learn more about our mentors and schedule meetings with them through their bios.

Alex Shahrestani
Company/Title: Principal, Shahrestani Law
Specialties: law, intellectual property

LinkedIn | Alex Shahrestani is a small business, technology, and entertainment attorney and founder of Lawtomation, a tech startup that brings legal work into the 21st century and lowers the high cost of legal services. Prior to opening his own practice, Alex founded the Journal for Law and Technology at Texas and served as president of a local 501©3.

Company/Title: The LaunchPad Marketing Manager
Specialties: Content Marketing, Brand Strategy, Career Development, Strengths and Weakness Management, Entrepreneurial Project Management

LinkedIn | Barrett is an entrepreneurial-minded marketer who in addition to serving as The LaunchPad Marketing Manager, owns Trajectory, a leadership + career development firm for young professionals. Barrett has built brands from the ground up for several startups. She has six years of experience in content creation, art direction, and project management, as well as ten years of experience in leadership development within higher education.

Rush Bartlett
Company/Title: Vice President of Innovation, Lansinoh Laboratories
Specialties: Healthcare, biodesign, intellectual property, venture and angel investing, corporate structures and stock, healthcare and retail sales, biomedical engineering and materials

LinkedIn | Rush is a serial entrepreneur who has previously started multiple healthcare technology companies, two have been acquired, one failed, and one is growing with 20 plus employees. He is currently vice president of innovation at Lansinoh Laboratories, a women’s health company, and also serves as the associate director for corporate education at Stanford’s Byers Center for Biodesign. He was a recipient of the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award in 2019 and Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 under 40 in 2017.

Nina Ho
Company/Title: Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Austin
Specialties: General, branding, marketing, design, customer discovery, event production

LinkedIn | In addition to being the director of the LaunchPad, Nina Ho is also an entrepreneur, creative director, and educator. She is the founder of collective blue—a lifestyle brand that celebrates diverse creators through digital storytelling and event production as well as missfits fest—an annual festival and event series for self-identifying Asian American women in entrepreneurship and the arts.

Verena Kalhoff headshot
Company/Title: Manager, WorkSpaces @ Health CoLab at Dell Medical School
Specialties: Healthcare, STEM

LinkedIn | Verena Kallhoff, PhD, MBA, leads Workspaces @Texas Health Colab, a coworking space for value-focused health innovation startups at Dell Medical School. She guides and advises numerous health care startups on their journey to commercialization. She facilitates the interaction, communication, and partnerships between entrepreneurs, clinicians, researchers, students, and other stakeholders supporting innovation to reinvent the approach to health and healthcare in the US.

Mitch Jacobson LaunchPad mentor
Company/Title: Executive Director, Blackstone LaunchPad, Austin Technology Incubator & SW I-Corps Node at UT
Specialties: general, fundraising, clean tech, sustainability, sales, networking

LinkedIn | Mitch is the executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as the director of the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI)—the university’s business and technology incubator and the ED of the SW I-Corps Node at UT. As the past director of the Clean Energy Incubator at ATI, Mitch helped build the $2.5B cleantech ecosystem in Central Texas over the past eoight years.

Jonathan Alba
Company/Title: Researcher at IC2 Institute
Specialties: Pitching, marketing, virtual teams, leadership, team dynamics

LinkedIn | Jonathan has 10 years of experience helping people from all walks of life communicate effectively, build dynamic teams, and develop their visions. He blends the disciplines of communication, entrepreneurship, and cognitive psychology to help entrepreneurs craft pitches, develop value propositions, create persuasive marketing strategies, and build cohesive teams. He currently is a researcher at the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

Richard Amato
Company/Title: Director, Strategic & Global Initiatives, Austin Technology Incubator
Specialties: General, energy, mobility, clean tech, sustainability, developing markets

LinkedIn | Richard is the director of strategic & global initiatives at the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI). In addition, he serves as faculty in the McCombs School of Business for Global Connections classes focused on entrepreneurship and sustainability. The class connects students with entrepreneurs at Climate Innovation Centers (CICs) in Africa and around the world, building off his prior work with the World Bank Climate Technology Program.

Calvin Mays
Company/Title: Principal, Qubicle Design
Specialties: Human-centered design, design strategy, marketing, entertainment

LinkedIn | Calvin is a design strategist by profession and has held several executive positions with global corporations in entertainment, marketing, and technology. His latest ventures have involved investors, foreign dignitaries, and entrepreneurs from Los Angeles, the UK, Israel, Africa, and Switzerland, where he consulted on digital product design, user insights, and innovation strategy.

Madison Gove
Company/Title: Program Manager, Social Innovation Initiative at McCombs
Specialties: Marketing, social entrepreneurship, public affairs, education

LinkedIn | Madison received a bachelor of business administration degree from the Business Honors and marketing programs at the McCombs School of Business in 2017. She also earned a master of public affairs degree from the LBJ School in 2019. Her primary interest is in using entrepreneurship to foster sustainable social change, especially in education.

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