Board of Directors

Paul has been advising entrepreneurs in developing and growing early stage businesses for decades.

Paul was the founding angel and CEO of Square Zero, a development stage company building a platform designed to achieve real-time data processing and analytic capabilities for today’s large-scale unstructured data challenges.

Prior to Square Zero, Paul was a founding principal with Metropolis Venture Partners in New York, a venture fund focused on investing between $1-$10 million per transaction in the telecommunications, networking, wireless and enterprise software markets. As part of his responsibilities, Paul was the founding Chief of Staff of Luxcore, an optical networking hardware firm and operated commodity metals trading software firm as CEO through multimillion-dollar involuntary bankruptcy and wind down. Paul spent over four years at Accenture, where he specialized in acquisition advisory, custom database design and development, and logistics strategy for companies like Oracle, Coach and Tosco/Circle K/76.

Paul received his MBA from Columbia Business School, where he concentrated on finance and entrepreneurship, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois where he was Chairman of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee and has studied at the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo.

For the past several years, Paul has taught the Idea to IPO at New York Academy of Sciences, guest lectures in the Data Science and Entrepreneurship course at Columbia University, is a member of the Internet Freedom Action Committee, and mentor to the White House, Department of Energy Business Plan Competition, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, NYC SeedStart, IBM SmartCamp and Start Up Box South Bronx.

Richard Nespola, Jr is the founding Managing Partner of Working Lab Capital (WLC), a multi-family private investment firm focused on direct investments in venture capital, private equity and real estate. Prior to forming WLC, Rich was a Director of Strategy/Channel Optimization/Global Sales/Product Development at Liquidity Services (LQDT) where he helped grow the company’s retail supply chain practice 4x+ into a $300M+ business unit. Prior to LQDT, Rich worked at Freddie Mac, where he was responsible for pricing and execution strategy, product development and mortgage insurer relations.

In addition to his work with InSITE, Mr. Nespola is also the Finance Chair/Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors of Earth Echo International, an environmental non-profit founded to preserve the legacy and mission of Jacques Cousteau. Rich is also a Trustee of the Nespola Family Foundation where he oversees grant allocations and foundation commitments to charitable organizations. Mr. Nespola is also a member of NextGen Venture Partners, a Washington, DC based angel investing organization

Rich graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Psychology in ’99 and received his MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business in ’08 with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and General Management. He was an InSITE Fellow from ’06-’08. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife and three children.

Karl is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in developing high growth businesses. As COO of Digital Ocean, Karl is responsible for driving the day-to-day business and people operations, and manages DigitalOcean’s international footprint—along with all procurement and global operations activities—as the company continues to build out its hardware and datacenter infrastructure internationally. Prior to DigitalOcean, he was the co-founder and senior partner of China Export Finance, Ltd, where he helped the business to grow from inception to more than $125M of annual revenue within four years. He received his MBA from Columbia Business School in New York and a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London.

Sanjay is a Manager of Product Partnerships at YouTube in Los Angeles, and works with YouTube Music, 360 Video & Virtual Reality, Spaces, and Startups. Sanjay was President of InSITE New York in 2014 while attending Columbia Business School. Prior to school, he spent three years working as the CEO’s right-hand at SONGS Music Publishing, a NYC-based independent publisher that represents songwriters like Diplo, Q-Tip, Morgan Kibby of M83, Conor Oberst, Ted Leo, and Dev. Before that, he spent two years at McKinsey & Company primarily serving hospitality and regional banking clients.

Sanjay received a BA/MA in Economics and BA in Mathematics from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Prior to completing an MBA at Columbia Business School, Brian worked for Akamai Technologies as a technology consultant to large online media and advertising clients. Before Akamai, Brian worked at Nielsen//NetRatings in the web analytics and ad effectiveness testing group. He began his career as a network engineer and web hosting administrator in Silicon Valley, and has engaged in consulting projects in Singapore, Tokyo, Vietnam and Prague. During school Brian has interned with Greycroft Partners. Brian holds a BA from Claremont McKenna College in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Alex is a Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. Formerly, he was an associate in technology, media and telecom investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Prior to business school, Alex helped start two successful technology companies before founding Boston Technical, a technology consulting practice, whose clients include Titleist Inc., Schering Plough Inc, and Novartis, Inc.

Alex holds a degree in Electrical and Computer engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received research scholarships from the Sloan Foundation and National Science Foundation for various Internet-related researches. In addition to guest lecturing on e-commerce at institutions such as the Wharton School of Business, he has developed a variety of technology curricula for organizations such as Kaplan Inc., has served as a professor in adjunct at Northeastern University, and recently co-authored a book for the publisher O’Reilly & Associates entitled “Programming ASP.NET Web Services”.

Abe Geiger is the Founder and CEO of Shake, a platform that allows users to create, sign, and send legally binding agreements from their smartphones. Prior to Shake, Abe held various roles at early-stage technology startups in both New York and the Bay Area including Director of Sales and Marketing at Affinity Circles, the first private label social network provider, VP of Marketing and Biz Dev at iSoccer, a youth sports development platform, and product, biz dev, and marketing consulting roles at, Palantir, CampusGroups, and HireLabs.

While in business school, Abe worked at both Canaan Partners and Greycroft sourcing and analyzing investment opportunities. During that time he co-founded the NYC Turing Fellows program to bring more engineering talent to NYC startups. He is also on the board of America Scores NY, a non-profit after school program for urban youth.

Abe received his BA in Political Science from Stanford, where he captained the Varsity soccer team for three years, and his MBA from Columbia where he was the President of InSITE.


Crystal Hutter is a Co-Founder and Advisor of Edmodo, an organization committed to ensuring that all learners reach their full potential. She joined Edmodo in 2010 as part of the founding team and was named CEO in March 2013. Prior to Edmodo, Crystal made global investments in microfinance, mobile banking, and education ventures for Omidyar Network. Previously, she worked as a senior engineer at Oracle Corporation where she provided technical consulting for Oracle’s North American government, education, and healthcare groups. Crystal has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Vinay is Vice President and Senior Counsel for Technology & IP at American Express Global Business Travel. He is also an Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Law where he teaches The Law of the Startup and is a guest lecturer at the Business Law Transactions Clinic. As Chief Legal Officer at Shake, Vinay was a founding team member of the legal technology startup acquired in April 2015 by LegalShield. Before that, Vinay was Director of Business Development & Legal Counsel at Flavorpill, where he supervised the creation, execution, and maintenance of strategic partnerships for a digital publisher with readership of 2 million.

Vinay was also a mergers and acquisitions attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP in Washington, D.C. He completed his J.D. in 2009 at NYU School of Law where he concentrated on corporate and transactional law. Before law school, Vinay spent three years as Communications Manager for the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC, where he led media campaigns promoting clean energy development. He maintains his strong interest in the cleantech sector through his involvement in InSITE, which he joined in the Fall of 2006.

Vinay holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Stanford and an M.Phil. in Political Thought & Intellectual History from Cambridge. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar.


Pete Karlen is CEO of Phylagen, and is an experienced early stage company builder focused on commercializing breakthrough biotech and cleantech platforms. He has experience in general management, business development, corporate development, R&D program management, strategy, and operations.From 2010 to 2016, Pete held a variety of leadership roles at TerraVia (NASDAQ: TVIA; formerly Solazyme), an industrial biotech company that manufactures designer oils, including Vice President of Strategy. Pete played an integral role in raising over $600M of investment capital, led the development and launch of a novel animal nutrition ingredient, and drove TerraVia’s re-positioning as a food and specialty ingredients company.

Earlier in his career, Pete was a Vice President at EarthWater Global (now Geovesi), a water exploration and development company; a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group; and the Director of Development at StreetSquash, a start up urban youth enrichment program, where he led a $10M Capital Campaign to build a youth center in Harlem.

Pete holds an AB in History from Harvard, where he was Captain of the squash team and an All-American, and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School. Pete serves on the Board of Directors of InSITE, a graduate student fellowship program fostering entrepreneurship.

Tom is an experienced technology and business manager with a broad base of engineering and financial experience, extensive background in written and visual communications and a deep understanding of mobile platforms, web services, usability / findability issues and software design. Tom is currently Senior Product Manager of user experience on the Android handheld platform at Google.

Tom previously managed operations and product strategy for IMDb Pro and IMDb Resume, Amazon’s paid subscription services for the entertainment industry and before that was the Manager of Box Office Mojo, the number one Internet source for theatrical release results and analysis, and a part of IMDb. Before this role, he was an associate at Lehman Brothers.

Prior to Columbia Business School, Tom co-founded Impromptu, a technical consulting firm, reported on technology news for Cnet, and was Director of Program Management at iKena, a Boston software start-up acquired by Net2Phone. He is a co-owner of AsiaFoods, an imported foods e-tailer. Tom holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Mike is General Partner at Naspers Ventures, where he identifies innovative companies in the U.S. that are positioned well for global expansion, and closes deals via investment or M&A. Prior to joining Naspers, Mike was a Partner of US Investment for Alibaba Group, and before that spent three years as a vice president with Battery Ventures, where he had worked on deals for such companies as HotelTonight, H. Bloom, SumAll and Viddy.

For two years before entering graduate school at Columbia Business School, where he was an InSITE Fellow, Mike was an executive with search engine optimization startup Conductor and, before that, was with the VC firm now known as FirstMark Capital.

Mike earned a BA from Georgetown, and MBA at Columbia Business School.

Kevin is one of the co-founders of InSITE, which was started while he attended NYU Law School.

Kevin is Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal for Devices and Hardware, and was the first attorney hired by Amazon’s Lab126. In his role, Kevin supported the initial product team and as the company has grown, he hired, developed and grew the legal team of attorneys and legal support professionals to support engineering and business team members in the US, Asia and Europe.

During this time Kevin also supported Amazon strategic acquisitions, patent acquisitions and patent licensing activities and other special projects including the development of Amazon Go.

Within Amazon, Kevin collaborates with subject matter and regional legal experts to provide holistic legal support, including employment, real estate, finance, tax and business operations support. He has supported products and services from initial concept reviews with the company CEO through end of life, including all design development, software licensing/open source, intellectual property analysis, telecommunications, compliance & regulatory, manufacture, distribution, reverse logistics, consumer product safety/reliability, customer support, dispute resolution, user privacy, app store development program, and other requirements for developing products and services and providing them to customers.

Kevin is also named as an inventor on 13 issued and multiple pending Amazon patents.

Before joining Amazon, Kevin was an attorney at Microsoft where supported the software development teams for Microsoft IPTV and Foundation Edition TV products. Responsible for establishing policies and agreements related to secure X.509 compliant public/private key system utilized to secure content for Microsoft IPTV OEM software. Supported custom semiconductor development, manufacture and purchase for Xbox360 and Zune.

Kevin began his legal career at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati where he advised clients on technology transactions and intellectual property issues related to a wide variety of business activities and relationships in diverse industries, including semiconductor, hardware and consumer electronics, software, web services/SAAS, storage, biotech, manufacturing, mobile payments, and other technology services.

Kevin has a BS in Electronics Engineering from Brigham Young University, and a JD from NYU Law.

Dan is the Vice President and General Manager of PayPal’s North American Online Small & Medium Business unit. Prior to joining PayPal, Dan was with McKinsey & Company in San Francisco, where he was a leader of the Digital Payments Practice. Before earning a JD/MBA program at NYU, Dan worked in strategy consulting at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy and enjoyed a brief stint as a musician/bartender. Dan holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.


Chip has been operating and investing in NYC companies since 1996 and has been a founder, operating executive or lead investor of several leading NYC companies including 24/7 Media, N2K, Massive Inc. and AppNexus. Prior to co-founding Tribeca Venture Partners, Chip was an active NYC VC at both Kodiak Venture Partners and DFJ Gotham. Chip serves on several Boards of Directors and manages investments including AppNexus, Live Gamer, Maxwell Health, LeadiD, BetterCloud, Backtrace I/O and Clypd. Chip’s previous investments include ideeli (acquired by Groupon); Ingenio (acquired by AT&T); Massive Inc. (acquired by Microsoft); Pantero (acquired by Progress Software) Q-Link Technologies (acquired by Adobe Systems); and TRA Global (acquired by Tivo). Chip was also a personal seed investor in FreeMarkets Inc., which made its IPO in December 1999 and peaked at $12B market cap.

Before moving to the Venture side, Chip was a founding employee at Interactive Imaginations where he started the Commonwealth Network (launched in Q1, 1996), one of the Internet’s first advertising networks, building it from a concept to top 10 media property. Interactive Imaginations eventually became 24/7 Media and went public in 1998. Chip also worked at N2k and was responsible for strategic distribution partnerships for the leading music e-tailer. Chip holds a B.A. from Cornell University, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

Based in New York, Robyn serves premier luxury, retail and consumer product clients, conducting C-suite searches and advising clients on their human capital strategy, including conducting leadership assessments and succession planning.

Prior to returning to Russell Reynolds Associates, Robyn was with another leading global search firm. There, Robyn specialized in serving premier consumer and retail clients, with a special emphasis on luxury fashion, prestige, and beauty clients, as well as action sports and lifestyle branded companies. With over a decade of experience in search and human capital strategy, Robyn also served as the Director of Executive Recruiting, Organizational Strategy and Leadership Development with Tishman Speyer, a leading Global Private Equity firm. In this role, she partnered with senior leadership on the recruitment and development of its executives in the US and Brazil, while also leading strategic human capital initiatives and overseeing the Global Leadership Development Program for the firm. Before that, Robyn spent over five years at Russell Reynolds Associates, where she specialized in recruiting senior executives for our consumer products and retail clients. Earlier in her career, Robyn worked for a New York based private equity firm, as well as spent time in Guadalajara, Mexico as a Sales Engineer and Product Manager in the technology manufacturing space.

Robyn sits on the board of InSITE, a New York City venture capital mentoring organization that works to accelerate technology start-ups through early-stage development, transitioning them from seed stage into venture-funded companies.

Robyn received her B.A. from Middlebury College, her M.B.A. in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and her M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.

As Senior Vice President of Analytics and Strategic Solutions at Vivaki, Shirley Xu-Weldon she has developed the agency’s programmatic practice into a group of marketers confident in working with, analyzing and implementing data-driven strategy. Her team is the one mining Big Data for insights and information to help optimize their campaigns for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. They’re creating new metrics and specific strategic solutions. She has instilled in her team a dedication for questioning the status quo, challenging them to dig in deep to discover root causes and determining if long-held assumptions are actually true.

A native of Queens, N.Y, with a bachelor’s degree in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business and an MBA from Columbia University, Shirley is an avid international traveler. She has snowboarded backcountry mountains all over the world, and has visited many of the known wonders of the world.


Young Alumni Board

Owen is a corporate associate in Orrick’s Silicon Valley office where he is a member of the Technology Companies group. Owen represents high growth technology companies and venture capital firms in many areas, including corporate and securities law, venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, and technology licensing.

During his time at NYU School of Law, Owen was a legal intern for and an InSITE Fellow where he worked on a broad range of legal matters affecting tech startups, including online terms of service and seed and early-stage financing. Prior to law school, he co-founded FindJoey, a software as a service and mobile advertising platform that offered bus tracking and management systems to operators and consumers.

Owen earned a BA in Economics at Tufts University and a JD at NYU Law.

Zak Schwarzman is a Partner at Metaprop Ventures where he invests in high growth seed-stage startups that are transforming the way we conceive of, construct, transact, manage utilize, and interact with real property. MetaProp is a global hub for real estate technology and is amongst the most active early stage real estate technology investors. MetaProp’s team and strategic seed stage funds have invested in 60+ technology companies across the full real estate value chain that have raised more than $2 billion and employ over 1,500 people globally.

Prior to joining Metaprop, Zak was a Principal at Gotham Ventures where he focused on education technology, financial technology, the API economy, and enterprise software. He is a Kauffman Fellowship Finalist and serves as a mentor at the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator and the EDGE Edtech Accelerator.

Zak received an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in Political Economy and Business from Tulane University. While at Columbia, Zak worked for several venture capital firms, including Gotham Ventures, Canaan Partners, AOL Ventures and Learn Capital, where he sourced and conducted diligence on a dozen early-stage venture investments. Zak also consulted to early-stage tech startups as an InSITE Fellow.

Prior to business school, Zak designed and raised over $30 million in funding for national economic development initiatives, piloted a Central and South American expat voter outreach initiative for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and founded an international development organization in Ecuador.

Lila works in Strategy & Operations, Global Clients and Agencies (GCAS) at Google. She is involved in growing video/Youtube, virtual and augmented reality, creative programmatic, branded content, video machine learning, data-driven creative and the future of storytelling for Google’s top global advertisers and agencies.

After Columbia Business School, Lila work a consultant in Private Equity and Strategy at Bain & Co where she advised clients on buyout deals (several completed, size $100M-$5B)  and worked on strategy projects with Fortune 500 clients in technology, financial services, retail, healthcare and insurance.

Lila is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in raising funds for media and artistic projects. Prior to her MBA, she founded an independent film and theatre production company in Barcelona for 4 years. She wrote and produced several films, documentaries and theatrical shows including a documentary feature film that was nominated to Best Catalan Film in 2007, a global campaign for Amnesty International featuring U2 and Peter Gabriel, and the first live-action 3D film in Spain of a circus show ‘Beds’. Some of her company’s clients included the Catalan National Public broadcasting network, Comunicalia, Amnesty International, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Catalan National Theatre, among others.

Lila holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University (First Class Degree) and a MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics. In her spare time, she collaborates with the Catalan Foundation for Children with Cancer and Amnesty International.