Team

Unprecedented access to company building experience 

Board

Our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and board are all respected and successful serial entrepreneurs who have founded and operated dozens of well-known technology and life science companies. They provide overall direction for the Venture Development Center, in addition to thoughtful and meaningful connections, mentoring and resources to the companies. 

Michael Gaiss

Founder, ThinkB1G

Michael Gaiss is the Founder at ThinkB1G which connects an elite group of startups and top universities with exciting career opportunities at these companies. Formerly with Highland Capital Partners, he spearheaded a number of key strategic market, portfolio, talent and entrepreneurial development initiatives at Highland. Michael was also responsible for the Highland Entrepreneur Center, a dedicated environment that has hosted 95 seed and early stage initiatives since 2001.

David Lucchino

CEO, Entrega Bio

David Lucchino co-founded and served as CEO of Semprus BioSciences until its acquisition by Teleflex in 2012 for $80M. Prior to co-founding Semprus, David was a senior executive at Polaris Venture Partners. He is a Trustee of Babson College and a board member of Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. David earned an M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow.

David McFarlane

President and COO, Litmus

David McFarlane has a history of successful IPOs, M&A exits and long term quarterly execution in the software industry. Most recently he was CEO & Co-Founder of Akiban Technologies. Before that, he was COO responsible for worldwide sales, marketing and services of Imlogic which was acquired by Symantec for $90MM. He was also President & COO of Xchange Inc., which IPO’d. He is an investor at CommonAngels, and the President and COO of Litmus.

Jim Counihan

General Partner, Prism VentureWorks

Jim Counihan is a General Partner at Prism VentureWorks. Jim joined Prism in 2000 and runs the firm’s software and services practice. Possessing a unique mix of legal, operational and technical knowledge, he is a director for White Sky, The Receivables Exchange, Mota & LifeCrowd,  and is a board observer at Connotate. He has a JD from Suffolk University Law School.

Entrepreneurs in Residence 

William Brah

Founder and Director, Venture Development Center

William raised $7.8 million to design, build and launch the Venture Development Center. He was also instrumental in pioneering the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. 

John Hamilton

Entrepreneur in Residence

John Hamilton is an accomplished executive with over 25+ years experience managing early stage startups to acquisitions and IPOs. John has vast sales and marketing expertise that has spanned several well known Boston based companies from Stratus Computer, EMC, FTP Software, Concord Communications, Phase Forward, XKoto, Softricity (sold to MSFT for $265M) and Viewfinity. His ability to scale companies has yielded significant returns for shareholders across the board.

Staff

Aijan Isakova

Program Manager

Aijan provides leadership and execution of marketing, client recruitment operations, relationship management, mentorship and community building initiatives. She designs, implements and tracks programs that facilitate the success of VDC startups, students and faculty interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Originally from Kyrgyzstan, Aijan graduated from Arnhem Business School, in the Netherlands, with a BS in International Business and Management Studies, and also holds an MBA, concentrating in Finance, Health Care Management and Information Systems from UMass Boston.

Susan Hanlon-Daudelin

Director of Industry Relations

Susan Hanlon Daudelin is the Director of Industry Relations. She advises University faculty and VDC resident business partners on business issues including commercial potential, intellectual property and early team formation. While at the VDC, Susan has invited in and successfully connected early stage and established companies to the UMass community resulting in joint grant applications, new college courses, SBIR funding and a growing, vibrant innovation community. Susan holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA from UMass Boston.

Serena Yan Wang

Budget and Operations Manager

As the newest addition to the team, Serena will be managing VDC finances and operations.  She comes from the International Admissions department of UMass Boston, where she was managing volumes of international student applications from some of UMass Boston's key international student partnerships with China, South Korea and Vietnam. Serena has her Bachelors degree in Finance and Economics and an MBA in Marketing.

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