Amanda has been actively investing in early stage consumer companies for the last decade, drawing on her experience as an institutional investor and entrepreneur. Amanda is the Co-Founder and President of Videolicious, an enterprise mobile video creation platform partly owned by Amazon.com, and used by Fortune 500 companies with more than 4,000,000 users in over 100 countries. Prior to founding Videolicious, Amanda was a founding partner of Capitol Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) that completed a $265 million initial public offering in 2007 and closed a merger in 2009 that led to the formation of Two Harbors Investment Corp., a $3 billion NYSE listed REIT (TWO) and Silver Bay Realty Trust (SBY). Amanda previously worked as an investor at Merrill Lynch, Falconhead Capital, and Chilton Investments. Amanda serves on the Board of Directors of Juice Beauty and the Melanoma Research Alliance, and she is also a member of the Tech:NYC Leadership Council. Amanda is a Truman Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University with Honors in Economics, and received her MBA from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. She lives in New York City with her husband and four children.
Lisa has spent the last decade as an active angel investor focused on consumer businesses, often in the health, wellness and active lifestyle space with a particular interest in supporting women-led entrepreneurial ventures. Previously, Lisa co-founded VitalJuice.com, a daily email newsletter on healthy living tips and trends that was acquired by Tasting Table. She also helped build and launch Portero, an online luxury goods auction platform sold to Richemont. She has experience building businesses from the ground up with partners such as AOL, Amazon, Kleiner Perkins and The Pilot Group. Lisa started her career as a producer at CNN. She is a Board Member of The New York Public Library, KIPP New York, and The Mount Sinai Parenting Center. Lisa has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
CONNECTING: Office Hours with Christina Choi, Associate Director, Experience, and Kate Hilliard, Creative Director, Design for Siegel+Gale
HBS alums, sign up here to sit down with branding experts Christina Choi and Kate Hilliard.
Christina and Kate have spent the past several years bringing world class brands to life at Siegel+Gale—a top global brand experience and design consultancy.
Christina brings expertise in brand experience strategy, creative technology and compelling content. She pushes her clients to better connect with their customers by living their purpose in deed and creed—and has helped shape what that means for category leaders and innovators such as American Express, Birchbox, Blue Origin, CVS Health, MetLife, and PepsiCo. She champions brand-led, user-centered experiences and has previously mentored entrepreneurial teams at the Service Design Network and Design for America.
Kate is a talented storyteller who artfully combines insightful strategy with thoughtful design. She has worked with diverse and creatively challenging clients at Siegel+Gale, including Blue Apron, Target, Carter’s, American Express, Blue Origin, Sony, Wyndham Hotels and Shutterstock. She credits her successful ability to function in a variety of capacities over the course of her career—with clients from Kenneth Cole, The History Channel, AOL and P&G, to Pepsi, SoBe and Belvedere Vodka—to her ability to conceptualize, implement and manage multifaceted identities, and deliver high-quality creative solutions.
HBS alums, click here to register to have a one-on-one conversation with Greg Arrese.
Greg founded Ride Ventures in January 2016 and primarily invests in SaaS, fintech, consumer tech, marketplace, platform and blockchain companies.
Since 2008, Greg has been an active, early-stage tech investor and has invested in over 75 companies as an angel and a VC.
Prior to founding Ride, Greg spent 18+ years as an equity investor in the hedge fund industry. Greg co-founded Iron Horse Capital (2002-2008) and managed TMT and IPO investments at Scoggin Capital (2008-2015) and JL Advisors (1997-2002). Greg was also a tech M&A banker at Broadview Associates (1993-1995).
Greg graduated from Bucknell University (‘92) and Harvard Business School (‘97). Greg advises Chinarock (CRCM Ventures) and earned a CFA.
Greg is married, has three teenage daughters and lives in Chappaqua, NY.
HBS alums, sign up here for a one-on-one session with Nancy Hansell.
Nancy believes that great brands are often simple brands. Why is simplicity a powerful tool? It makes brands easier to understand, be inspired by, and interact with. As Strategy Director at Siegel+Gale, Nancy decodes organizations, translating their purpose into brands that foster engagement and commitment from employees and customers alike.
Nancy specializes in helping brands move from category X to Y, identifying the optimal portfolio strategy and leading brand-led innovation programs. During her time at Siegel+Gale and Landor, Nancy has shaped notable brands like CVS Health, CMT, GroundTruth, Wyndham Hotel Group, HP, Hudson News, Giant Foods, Dale Carnegie, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Verizon, Holiday Inn, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Bloomberg, Aetna, the Y and Comcast Xfinity. In addition to her corporate and for-profit clients, she has also led pro-bono brand positioning and design projects for Philips Education Partners, Music-Theatre Group and Guide Dog Foundation.
When she’s not working, you’ll find Nancy advising startups, skiing and trying to check every continent off her travel list. Nancy holds a BA in Marketing Communications and Creative Writing from Simmons College, and serves on the board of Music-Theatre Group. Nancy has been featured in Adweek and Mashable.
HBS alums, headed to ShopTalk in Las Vegas March 18-21, 2018?
Join us for the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship alumni reception on March 19th from 6pm to 8pm. Come meet and mingle with fellow alums attending the conference, at The Lobby Bar at Aria Resort and Casino, Las Vegas.
CONNECTING: Office Hours with Christina Choi, Associate Director, Experience, and Kate Hilliard, Creative Director, Design of Siegel+Gale
HBS alums, sign up here to sit down with Christina Choi and Kate Hilliard.
With expertise in creative technology and brand content, Christina helps her clients to better connect with their customers through the marriage of well-designed experiences and customer-centric communications.
As both strategist and practitioner, she’s led brand experience, content, and “Futures” projects—always focusing on audience needs and behaviors as the key to meaningful innovation and core to the creative process. She challenges brands to live their purpose in deed and creed, and has helped shape what that means for industry leaders such as American Express, Birchbox, Blue Origin, CVS Health, MetLife, and PepsiCo.
In her early days at Siegel+Gale, Christina worked with the firm’s founder, Alan Siegel, researching what it takes to make brand-defining customer experiences. From there, she taught transdisciplinary design with the Service Design Network and studied interactive media at NYU, where she built experimental applications for new communications technologies such as brain-computer interfaces, mixed reality, and wearables.
Christina holds a BA in Film from Columbia University, a BA in English from Barnard College, and an MA in Emerging Media from New York University. Though she’s been based in NY for the past 10 years, the Bay Area still beats in her heart and her headphones.
Kate joined the creative team at Siegel+Gale in New York in 2010, quickly establishing herself as a talented storyteller who artfully combines insightful strategy with thoughtful design.
Kate has worked with diverse and creatively challenging clients at Siegel+Gale, including Blue Apron, Target, Carter’s, American Express, Blue Origin, Sony, Wyndham Hotels and Shutterstock. She credits her successful ability to function in a variety of capacities over the course of her career—with clients from Kenneth Cole, The History Channel, AOL and P&G, to Pepsi, SoBe and Belvedere Vodka—to her ability to conceptualize, implement and manage multifaceted identities, and deliver high-quality creative solutions.
HBS alums, sign up here for a one-on-one session with Swarna Kakodkar.
Swarna is currently a Product Marketing Manager at Facebook. She works on launching and scaling ads and ad tech products and partnerships across monetization and measurement. She also helped launch Startup Garage, a new Facebook initiative to empower data driven startups with community, mentorship, and physical investments. Prior to Facebook, Swarna has helped launch and grow several startups, worked in venture capital, and worked at a tech startup incubator. Swarna has a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
HBS Alum Founders, sign up here for a one-on-one with Neeta Rastogi Singh
Neeta is currently the COO of Activant Capital, a growth equity firm focused on commerce infrastructure and enterprise IoT. Most recently she was the COO/CFO of Armarium Inc., a luxury fashion rental startup. Prior to that, Neeta ran the consulting arm of Dallimore & Co. focused on retail growth strategies. She started her career focused on finance with positions at Goldman, Sachs & Co., General Atlantic Partners and MSD Capital. Neeta received undergraduate degrees in Economics and Applied Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
HBS Alum Founders, click here to sign up for a one-on-one conversation with Kate Twist.
Kate Twist is the Chief Digital Officer of Xcel Brands, which owns and manages the Isaac Mizrahi, Halston, Judith Ripka, and C. Wonder trademarks. In her current position, she is building an integrated data science, trend analytics, and technology platform to support Xcel's fashion businesses across design, merchandising, marketing, and product development. Prior to becoming CDO, Kate led Marketing and PR for all brands as Xcel's Chief Marketing officer. She joined the Xcel executive team from the Estee Lauder Companies, LLC where she developed global marketing strategy for the Clinique brand. She has also held operating roles at the fashion brands Bill Blass, LLC and Marc Jacobs International. Kate began her career in investment banking and strategic advisory to top tier luxury branded products, retail, and licensing companies. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
HBS alums, sign up to sit down one-on-one with Marla Beck.
Marla Beck is the CEO and co-founder of Bluemercury Inc., an iconic high-growth luxury beauty retail chain founded in 1999, whose exponential growth is guided by her leadership and passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and consumer brands. Bluemercury is recognized for disrupting the beauty retailing industry with its creative approach to personalized beauty solutions. Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) saw the value of Bluemercury’s unique model and acquired the company in 2015. Ms. Beck is also a cosmetics brand developer, having co-founded M-61 Laboratories in 2008, makers of M-61 Skincare, a revolutionary natural cosmeceutical skincare brand and Lune+Aster Cosmetics, a vegan cosmetics brand created to empower busy women.
Ms. Beck is often invited to share her entrepreneurship, branding, and innovation expertise. Bluemercury’s pioneering retailing and human resource model has been the topic of numerous books, including Shopping: Why We Love it and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience and Be Happy at Work: 100 Women Who Love Their Jobs and Why. She has appeared as a guest on CNBC, CNN and Fox Business News and has been a guest speaker for WWD’s Beauty Innovation Forum, Harvard University’s Luxury Branding Speaker Series and Columbia University’s Lang Center for Entrepreneurship’s Distinguished Speaker Series. She is also the first woman to be recognized twice by Inc. Magazine with two cover stories focusing on her entrepreneurial achievements.
Prior to founding Bluemercury, she was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2014, Ms. Beck received an appointment by Harvard Business School as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and was named as one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. Ms. Beck was Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. She serves on the Advisory Board of Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Public Leadership Advisory Board at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation, the Board of Trustees at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. and is an independent director on the Board of Directors of The Children’s Place (NASDAQ:PLCE). She resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and three children.
Click here to come join us for the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship alumni reception on January 11th from 6PM to 8PM. Come meet and mingle with fellow alums attending the conference, at the Lobby Bar at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Please register by January 4th.
HBS alums, click here to register for a one-on-one session with Ellie Wheeler.
Ellie is a Partner at Greycroft Partners and is based in the firm’s New York office.
Prior to joining Greycroft, Ellie worked in a similar role evaluating investment opportunities at Lowercase Capital. Ellie also worked at Cisco in Corporate Development doing acquisitions, investments, and strategy within the unified communications, enterprise software, mobile, and video sectors. While at Cisco, she was involved in multiple acquisitions and investments, including PostPath, Jabber, Xobni, and Tandberg. She began her career in growth capital private equity at Summit Partners in Boston.
Ellie graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
HBS Alums, click here to register for a one-on-one session with Sarah E. Endline, a social entrepreneur and a self proclaimed ‘hippie capitalist.’
Sarah is currently the Founder and CEO of sweetriot in NYC, an activist candy company, which is creating a sweet movement to fix the world. sweetriot has started by sourcing cacao in Latin America, featuring artwork on packaging, and by only using all-natural, healthy ingredients.
sweetriot’s award-winning products are sold in 1,000’s of stores including Whole Foods and have been enjoyed at 30,000 feet on board Virgin America. Sarah’s entrepreneurial work has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Today Show, Forbes, and Fortune.
Before sweetriot, Sarah launched products, created brands, and shared her energy at places like Yahoo!, Microsoft, the World Bank, AIESEC, and The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Sarah is an active non profit board contributor to the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), the Billionaire Girl's Club (BGC) and AIESEC Life.
Sarah has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor with Distinction from The University of Michigan. She loves culture and has set foot in more than 70 countries.