It's not just about having access to world class mentors. It's about the quality of the time you get to spend with them. Chairlift conversations or hikes forge strong relationships far beyond business. No other accelerator can give you that!
Having over 100 mentors for some programs can feel like good marketing. The reality is that mentor commitments can vary, so every year we work with each mentor to sign up for one of three different commitment levels. The most committed "Lead Mentors" will basically feel like part of the cohort, "Mentors" commit to working regularly with at least one team throughout the program, and the least committed "Members" sign up to take virtual meetings, answer emails, make introductions and attend at least one of our big events. Out of the 100, TVA has about 10% Lead Mentors, 50% Mentors and 40% Members. If a specific mentor is really important to a startup, we do our best to ensure that they commit to at least the "Mentor" level.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor check out our Mentor Policy here, and reach out to us afterwards.
Co-Founder, Proximity Space
Marketing and Business Consultant with an emphasis on social and viral mediums. Experience in development of digital assets and taking these mediums to the next level of distribution; particularly online video, live broadcast, and web publishing. Currently working with new and existing startups to form identity creation. I implement programs for marketing, online ad purchasing, sales and distribution, and video production specifically for web consumption. I live the Abrams slogan "Ideas not Ads". These "ideas" help me put new businesses in touch with their clients. I am an action consultant, I use digital actions to create in-person experiences.
Founder , Telluride Venture Accelerator
Jesse is the CEO and co-founder of the Telluride Venture Accelerator. He co-founded and was CEO of Q Collection, a leading sustainable design company (now a part of Rose Tarlow). He has been involved as a mentor and investor in many startup businesses and served on the board of two companies sold to a Fortune 50 company.He serves on the board of 1% For The Planet, Yale s Center for Business and the Environment, Harvard s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Telluride Foundation and several others. He is a general partner of the Telluride Venture Fund. Jesse has an MBA and MES (Environmental Science) from Yale and a BA from Princeton. He lives in Telluride full time with his wife and two young boys.
Founder and President, Cantor Funds LLC
Joel Cantor attended the Wharton School of Business obtaining his MBA in International Finance as well as Mandarin Chinese. He was the youngest in his class of 1,200 students at Wharton and graduated in the top 5%. Joel worked on Wall Street for five years, first with JP Morgan Chase and then in the real estate finance investment banking group at Salomon Brothers under the tutelage of Lewis Ranieri. Joel put together the financing package to build the $100MM Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida, developed business parks for Trammel Crow and then set out on his own and purchased dozens of apartment, office, medical, and retail projects that came on the market by the Resolution Trust Corporation in 1990. Mr. Cantor has constructed and renovated dozens of projects valued at nearly a billion dollars. After making his projects into a tremendous success from creative and detailed value-added management he went on to develop some of the finest projects in the Southeastern United States including the tallest mixed-use building ever constructed on the west of coast of Florida - the 40 story Signature Place Tower on St. Petersburg's waterfront for a cost of $200MM. Signature Place was voted the project of the year by by the American Institute of Architects. Joel expanded his offerings to include a thriving advisory practice helping banks and owners develop turnaround restructuring plans. Cantor now focuses primarily on expanding its line of private equity funds purchasing and managing portfolios of income generating commercial properties throughout the U.S. Joel is a fanatical athlete and competed in the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii in October 2015. He has competed in open water ocean races in Sweden and elsewhere. He is an avid cyclist and budding painter. He splits his time between the HQ office in Tampa Bay and Telluride, Colorado. Joel is a life long entrepreneur and avid idea man, marketer, and also has a keen eye for detail and passion for execution.
In 1998, Len founded and served as CEO of ApplyYourself, Inc., a SaaS platform for college and university enrollment management. Len raised venture capital and successfully grew ApplyYourself to be the premier management software used by more than 300 universities and the 400 member colleges of The Common Application. In 2006, ApplyYourself was named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Growth Companies. Len received the Lifetime Visionary Award from a leading admissions association for his contributions and advancements in the college admissions field. ApplyYourself was sold to the UK-based Daily Mail in 2007. Len is nowworking on launching a new tech venture called Vidergize and lives in Telluride full-time with his wife and two children.
Jacks experience is in sales, financial and general management. Initially with Monarch Systems (major account sales), Bank of America (domestic and international corporate lending), the MW Kellogg Company (Asst. Treasurer), Results Consulting Group (Managing Director), SVP First Interstate System, Inc., EVP & COO First Interstate Bancard Company. Co-Founder and CEO of Integratec Corporation, a credit card back-office service company that raised $32M from private equity and venture funds. Chairman and CEO of CBR Information Group, a provider of credit information services to government and corporate clients. When CBR was sold, he started angel investing in the Silicon Valley area. He is a partner in Tuputele Ventures and is a limited partner in several venture funds based in the Silicon Valley and China. Current direct angel investments include: WhiteHat Security, SwitchFly, AGIS, SouthBay Resources Canada and AppMed. Jack is a graduate of CCNY and has an MBA from the Marshall School of the University of Southern California and is a full-time Telluride resident.
Chief Operating Officer, Twin Buttes of Durango
Bob is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Twin Buttes of Durango, a large land development initiative in that southwestern Colorado community. He is also on the Board of Managers, of Travel Recon, a startup focused on providing better security information to travelers. Bob spent 25 years (1979-2004) with Accenture, where he became a Global Managing Partner in the Utilities Practice, specializing in software development, deployment and outsourced operations. He left Accenture in 2004, and then served as Mayor of Mountain Village, Colorado from 2005 - 2013. In 2014 Bob launched Mountain Town Solutions, a small consultancy providing a wide variety of advisory and project management services to mountain resort communities. Bob is Chaiman of the Telluride Tourism Board and Treasurer of the Colorado Flight Alliance Board. Bob continues to be a mentor in the Telluride Venture Accelerator and is an active early-stage investor.
Founder, Berkshire Partners
Carl founded Berkshire Partners and currently serves as an Advisory Director. He is Chair of High Meadows Foundation; Chairman of the Board, Environmental Defense Fund and serves on the Board of Princeton University.
Dan is a highly experienced executive in the instructional resources and assessment industry. As the previous president of McGraw-Hill, Dan has a diverse, mature understanding of markets, finance, senior executive recruitment, employee and leadership motivation, organizational communication, mergers and acquisitions. Dan is closely involved with educational policy issues and their effect on product development and marketing, especially in areas of K-12 literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and intervention. He is highly experienced at organizational advocacy at all levels of educational agencies, from local to national, and legislative advocacy as diverse as the White House, the United States House and Senate, and Texas and California state houses. Dan is well known as a leader in the field in the areas of innovation, collaboration, organizational efficiency, growth, and high-quality results, as evidenced by numerous awards, including the 2013 AAP Hall of Fame award, which recognizes career accomplishment in education and the educational resources industry.
CEO, NextLaw Labs
Dan is an expert on social media and brand monetization in online communities. He founded Virtual Greats in 2008 (sold in 2013) as an opportunity for leading artists, brands and IP holders to monetize in the expanding social media space through virtual item sales. Based in Los Angeles, Virtual Greats is the industry leader working with over 200 brands and 25 on-line communities with over 400 million global users; these include leading social networks, casual games and virtual worlds. Prior to founding Virtual Greats, Dan built and led the global Media Practice for the Boston Consulting Group. He created and grew relationships with many of the largest players in Entertainment, including most of the major studios and leading music labels. Dan holds a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from the Wharton School and lives in Telluride with his wife, three children and golden retriever. Dan is the current Mayor of the Mountain Village, Colorado
Co-Founder, Flynn & Steinberg
Elliots firm specialized in real estate, banking, venture capital and taxation. He acted as General Counsel and Corporate Vice-President of Itel Corporation, managing partner and General Counsel of GMG Securities (an asset management firm) and Vice-Chairman of European-American Securities, a private merchant Bank. Elliot served as a director of the Kimpton Hotel Group, the California Real Estate Investment Trust, and the Saul Zaentz Film Company. His civic activities include active duty in the United Stated Navy and the Chairmanship of the San Francisco Art Institute. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his JD from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
Emily Hickey is a veteran online growth expert, having spent most of her career in Head of Growth roles at venture-backed start-ups in New York City. Emily is the Founder and CEO of Chief Detective, a boutique Facebook and Instagram growth agency that helps some of the top retailers and start-ups in the world drastically overhaul their paid social scale and returns. She also is the Co-Founder of InstantAdCopy.com which provides on-demand social marketing services to SMBs. Previously, Emily was the COO of social commerce pioneer Lolly Wolly Doodle, where she built the ecommerce business from scratch and helped land the company on the cover of Inc. Magazine as the 'Startup That Conquered Facebook'; the CMO and Co-Founder of Hashable, where she drove the social networking app to over 1,000 sign-ups per day and achieved 'Best In Show' designation at SXSW in 2011; the COO of PhotoShelter which she helped grow into the market-leading professional photography website provider; and the VP of Product at HotJobs.com which she helped grow into a $100m annual business that IPO'd and exited to Yahoo! for $450m. Additionally, Emily mentors early-stage start-ups through Telluride Venture Accelerator, and for Techstars NYC before that. Emily is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and UNC-Chapel Hill, and after 20 years between NYC and the Bay Area, lives in the mountains of Colorado with her young family.
Co-Founder, Cloud Elements
Gary focuses on early stage sales & marketing in fast growth SaaS business-to-business companies. He is the co-founder of Cloud Elements, a Denver based, venture funded, API integration platform. Previously he was the VP of Sales at SteamStep (acquired by BMC Software in 2011). He was the co-founder of VoIPReview.com, the world s largest site for VoIP reviews (acquired in 2008). He is the past Director of Founders Institute (and a mentor) and the founder of 1 million cups in Denver. He co-founded DV8 Sportswear (an active wear line) and was a competitive freestyle skier, USSA coach and judge. Gary, who considers himself a wannabe extreme skier today, lives with his family in Denver, CO.
An outdoor industry leader for the last 15 years, Gordon is committed to building companies and brands that practice a triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) approach to business. Since growing Horny Toad, an outdoor lifestyle brand, from a basement in Telluride, he has co-founded two social ventures (Planet Access and Search for Adventure) serving adults with disabilities. Gordon also launched Lizard Lounge, a sustainable entertainment and arts gathering center in the Pearl District of Portland. More recently, he and the Horny Toad team purchased the Nau sustainable clothing brand. For the last 10 years he has been a Director on the Board of the Outdoor Industry Association, the last 2 years as an Executive Committee member. Gordon earned an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton School of Business. In between family and work he enjoys just about anything the outdoors has to offer especially if it is in the ocean or near their family cabin in June Lake in the eastern Sierras.
Partner, San Juan Wealth Services, LLC
Trained as a speech-language pathologist at Baylor University, Heather started her business career as an entrepreneur who developed her own line of speech software. Her products gained her the designation of Official Language Learning Software Provider of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. She later merged her products into Creative Education Institute and became the VP of Sales. She most recently has been involved in the area of Tele-therapy and serves as an adviser to the sales staff at Presence Learning. Her combination of business, linguistics, public speaking and sales experience affords growing businesses a unique resource to assist in the dissemination of their message to both prospective clients and investors thus allowing them to reach their highest potential.
Founder and CEO, LoveTheWild
Jacqueline Claudia is a lifelong fish nerd who thought she was going to be a marine biologist when she grew up. Instead, after graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Darden School of the University of Virginia, she spent 15 years working in corporate strategy and innovation with companies like Disney, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, Coca‐Cola, James Hardie, L’Oreal, FedEx, and the United Nations before finding her way back to the fish. She fell in love with the potential for sustainable aquaculture while working on Velella Project, which won Time Magazine’s Best Invention of the Year in 2012. She founded LoveTheWild in 2014 to de-demonize great farmed fish, make it easier for people to cook great fish at home, and is passionately building a company that has a real shot at saving the world. Intrafish 40 under 40. Board of Directors for the National Fisheries Institute. Guest lecturer at MIT, Wharton, Darden, and CU. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and four children.
Past CEO, Leapfrog Enterprises & Orbitz
Jeff has served as the CEO of many successful companies including Wize Commerce Inc, Nextag, Leapfrog Enterprises Inc., Orbitz, and SwissAir. Prior to these roles, Jeff was a Vice President at American Airlines (which included a role as President of the Global Distribution System of Sabre Inc.). He has held board positions on a number of companies as well, including LeapFrog Enterprises, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Friendster.com, Northwest Airlines and Orbitz. Jeff holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of CA, Davis; an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and an MS from MIT.
Head, Global Business Development, eBay
High growth oriented executive with over 20 years of experience at both early stage and Fortune 500 firms launching profitable new businesses, driving strategy & revenue growth, managing P/L and hiring top talent. Expertise includes leadership development, product strategy, business development, sales, deal structuring and closing high impact strategic partnerships; investments & acquisitions, identifying audience acquisition and engagement strategies, building innovative products, devising new business models, leading global strategy & planning efforts and hiring top talent. Industry Knowledge: Entertainment & Media, Sports, Video, News, Technology, Financial Services, Advertising Ecosystem, Mobile, Search, e-Commerce, Local, Software, Hardware, Social Media, Platform API Business Strategy, Internet of Things (IoT), Executive Coaching Goals: Continue to advance entertainment & media, commerce, social media and technology in our daily lives; lead change and transformation; inspire entrepreneurial ventures.
Founder & Growth Strategist, LaunchHawk
Jim is a startup growth strategist and technology coach. Over the years Jim has assisted hundreds of organizations with getting, keeping and growing customers. Now his focus is on helping startups. With experience in developing growth strategies, agile marketing, lean canvas, growth hacking, digital marketing and CRM technology, Jim and his team at LaunchHawk Marketing offer a comprehensive range of services designed specifically to help startups successfully scale their businesses. As an active member of the Telluride community, Jim currently serves on the Board of KOTO-fm and has also served on the Board of the Telluride Jazz Festival. Jim also volunteers his time generously to many other local non-profits, is a founding member of the Telluride Entrepreneurs Meet-up (Startup Community Development), a mentor with TellurideNEXT Pre-Accelerator and is "DJ Jimmy Jazz" on KOTO-fm Community Radio.
Finance Officer, Synergis
Jon is a finance specialist and currently splits his time as the finance officer for Synergis, LLC, a real estate and manufacturing holding company based in McAllen, Texas and as a ski patroller/forecaster for the Telluride Ski Patrol, and Snow Safety and Avalanche Forecasting. For nine years, he worked for Goldman Sachs in Equity Research covering financials, and specializing in brokers and asset managers. Jon also provided corporate finance consulting for a California-based application development firm. He earned a BA from Columbia College, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Jon lives in Telluride.
Current and recent affiliations include: Director and Vice Chair of Root Capital (Cambridge, MA), a nonprofit social investment fund that supports sustainable enterprises in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America Director, Women for Women International (Washington, DC); Board President, Georgetown Day School (Washington, DC); President, Telluride Academy (Telluride, CO); Advisor and investor, Loomio (Wellington, NZ). Katherine is also President of the Ebb Point Foundation (NY,NY), a private foundation she founded with her husband in 2000. Ebb Point supports global human rights, especially civil and economic rights, and social enterprise. Recently, Katherine established a new initiative, Ebb Point Ventures, which invests in for-profit and non-profit social ventures.
Katherine spent the bulk of her professional work in the technology sector. She is the former President of Brand Management and Senior Vice President of America Online. She began her technology career with AOL in the late 1980s, and ultimately oversaw the development and design of online content, including news and information, entertainment services, community, education, and transactional products. In 2003, Katherine transitioned from corporate to non-profit work.
Katherine and her husband, Gene Weil, have two daughters and reside in New York City and Telluride, CO.
Strategy Consultant, Executive Coach
Kelly is a private management consultant and executive coach who works with corporate, nonprofit, and government leaders on the development and execution of new business ventures. Current and past clients include the NFL, Madison Square Garden, PBS, XM Radio, The World Bank, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to founding Touchpoint Strategy she managed a $250 million brand portfolio at General Mills, wrote business plans for social venture startups, and served as an advisor to Fortune 500 companies on international transaction pricing as a Manager at PricewaterhouseCooopers. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. When not on location with a client, or exploring new countries, Kelly lives in Washington, DC.
Founder, The KJF Group
Kurt is the founder of KJF Group, a consulting company that helps organizations listen to the opinions of their customers and take action to continually improve business outcomes. Passionate about improving customer experiences, Kurt has a 20-year background in customer feedback management, training and development, and sales management. As a former Vice President of Sales at leading market research, learning, and communications companies, Kurt feels fortunate to have gained combined experience at all stages of the customer life cycle. Working with clients ranging from new startups to established Fortune 500 companies, Kurt believes that the customer experience dictates the ultimate success of any business.
In various marketing leadership roles, Maile has increased consumer demand for a variety of iconic brands from $6m to $16b in revenue in the outdoor, retail, footwear and beverage industries including Nike, Timberland, Black Diamond Equipment, Eastern Mountain Sports, IZZE Sparkling Juice (Pepsi), ZICO Coconut Water (Coke), and Coors Beer. She is currently Director of Marketing and Brand Management for Hannaford Supermarkets, a $5.6b business and the most profitable banner in the Ahold-Delhaize portfolio, the world-leading Netherlands-based food retailer.
Maile sits on the Boards for Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Chimani in Portland, Maine and the Historic Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and is an Advisor for Telluride-based TVA startup Western Rise. She advises startups in the areas of brand strategy, brand identity, consumer research, go-to-market strategy, digital marketing and ecommerce. Maile thrives on creating brand experiences that change people’s lives, is an active outdoorist, and member of the Summit Community based in Powder Mountain, Utah. She loves visiting Telluride to nourish her mind, body and soul.
VP, Advanced Platforms Engineering
Moiz Kohari currently serves as the Vice President of Advance Platforms Engineering for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). Moizs team is responsible for the low-latency architecture for the exchange platform (leveraged in London, Milan, Oslo and elsewhere), as well as the post-trade components for clearing and settlement purposes. Prior to joining LSEG, he served as the Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering for Novell, Inc. (NASD: NOVL), responsible for the Cloud Computing and Real-Time Computing initiatives. Moiz was also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Critical Linux Inc., a company that was a pioneer in introducing enterprise computing capabilities into the Linux operating system. He received his BS in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology and lives full-time in Telluride.
Founder, Staniford Tomita LLP
Paul Tomita's practice includes: patent preparation and prosecution, infringement and invalidity analysis including the preparation of formal opinions, trademarks, copyrights and intellectual property litigation. Paul has extensive experience in a wide range of technologies including: electrical, mechanical, medical and optical devices, semiconductor fabrication, networks and green energy systems. Paul started his career as a patent attorney for Nikon Research Corporation of America. His clients include: 3D Systems, Affirm, Appcelerator, Assymetrica, EMC, Glow, QVC, Resilient etworks and numerous startup companies. Paul provides intellectual property legal services to various entrepreneurial organizations. He is an advisor, lecturer, mentor and applicant evaluator for: the University of San Francisco School of Law Entrepreneurial Ventures Legal Services Project, the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and Bad Ass Advisor. Mr. Tomita has also written IP articles for Edison Nation Medical. Paul has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University in San Luis Obispo and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is also a 2015 graduate of the Goldman Sachs Babson 10KSB program with a certificate in Entrepreneurship. Prior to attending law school, Paul worked as a design engineer in the consumer electronics and the semiconductor fabrication industries.
Retired Partner, Accenture
Richard managed Accenture's Payments Practice, helping clients build and expand their card, electronic, Internet and mobile payments businesses globally. He currently serves as Managing Partner of Elevation Ventures, LLC, a real estate and investment company based in Telluride. He also serves as Board President for the Ah Haa School for the Arts and Treasurer for the Telluride Tourism Board. He and his wife live full-time in Telluride.
Co-Founder & President, Mountain Khakis, LLC
Ross has been an entrepreneur through his career, starting, leading and selling businesses since 1996 in technology, finance and apparel. He earned a B.S. in Economics from Davidson College and a Masters degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. His passions include soccer, food, art and the outdoors. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife JoeAnne and is the proud father of a son and daughter.
Prior Co-Owner & Director, Switched on Media
Scot has successfully co-founded and sold 2 businesses, the most notable Switched on Media, a leading digital performance-marketing agency, with offices in Australia, UK and Europe. Scot started his career at Procter & Gamble, back when making TV ads, for fast moving consumer products, sold in supermarkets, was the in thing to do in Brand Management. After 5 years at P&G, Scot joined eBay as senior marketing manager when the idea of buying something on the Internet from a stranger, was a new idea. Scot left eBay to drive a bus in Japan (why not?), later living and working as a kitesurfing instructor in Maui...Feeling like he should do something again, he then returned to Australia to become Co-Founder and CEO of Switched on Media, which Scot accelerated into Australia s fastest growing digital performance agency over an 8 year period, selling a majority stake in 2011 to STW, Australias largest advertising agency group. Known as someone who delivers growth with speed, Scot is currently an informal mentor and adviser to several businesses, helping them to accelerate (in between the chaos of raising 3 children and mountain biking/skiing his ass off).