The Team

Bhavik Joshi

Bhavik has more than a decade of experience with Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurial ventures. His professional career began at Tata Motors in Pune, India, where he led strategic collaborations with corporate partners including 3Com, IBM, and Intel in support of the launch of Tata Motors’ first car, the Indica. He moved to California to establish a beachhead for J&B Software, creating their fastest-growing region for their image-based payments processing. His entrepreneurial curiosity brought him to Tririga, where he delivered professional services to augment the growth of their SaaS product for corporate real estate portfolio management at customers like Chevron, The Gap, State Farm Insurance and more (they were subsequently acquired by IBM).

Bhavik exited to Better Place, founded by Shai Agassi, propelled by a vision to mass-market electric vehicles. After nearly a billion dollars of venture capital, Better Place ultimately failed, and Bhavik decided to find a new capital efficient model for evidence-based innovation and commercialization. That experience led him to co-architect the original framework for LaunchPad Central – envisioning a platform that would scale and operationalize the “lean startup” methods.

Bhavik holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley where he is now a Senior Fellow at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a sought-after speaker in the world of startups and innovation, with recent presentations at CleanTech Open, StartUp Phenomenon, and the Intel Global Challenge.

Bhavik's an avid mountain biker and as a recent dad is mastering the art of a quick diaper change.

Andrea Kates

For the past 20 years, Andrea has led large-scale initiatives designed to drive revenue growth for more than 200 companies. Her conviction that the enterprise needs fundamentally new innovation tools was inspired by her research with more than 25 organizations including GE ecomagination, General Motors/OnStar, EMC, Hyatt Hotels, P.F. Chang's, Johnson & Johnson, Zappos, and IndieGoGo which resulted in her bestselling book, Find Your Next.

Andrea is a globally-recognized speaker and strategist on bridging the gap between innovation and commercialization. She is on the faculty of the Business Institute in Aalborg, Denmark and was on the teaching team at Princeton University's eLAB Accelerator Program, where she guided multiple teams of entrepreneurs through the Lean Startup methods.

That first-hand experience in the crucible of the Lean LaunchPad led her to the insight that Steve Blank's methodology provided the missing link for Enterprise. She is now spearheading the LaunchPad for Enterprise initiative.

Most recently, Andrea was selected to be the key opinion leader for Cisco's Innovation Summit, Rueda de Innovación (Bogota), Insight One20 (Los Angeles), the Renaissance Executive Forum's 2014 Leadership Initiative, and Jones Lang LaSalle's global women's summit.

Robert Seymour

Robert is a hands-on technology leader with over 15 years experience in startups, internet services, and financial technology. Robert was previously VP Engineering at SoFi where he created the student loan systems and built a team that handled over $100 million in loans in the first year (with full SEC/FINRA compliance and security). He has delivered numerous new products and businesses in finance, communication, and enterprise SaaS including a $75 million spin-out of UBS (later acquired by Microsoft). Robert has also been lead technologist at Finaplex (acquired by ADP), Xpert Financial, and a founding partner at Gordian Labs.

Robert finds 4 grills and smokers to be entirely appropriate for a small San Francisco apartment.

Kevin Yien

Kevin brings a truly multi-displinary view to our team. His previous experiences span engineering at POWERleap to user experience at Indiegogo. He came to California with the sole purpose of making a dent in the universe to improve society via education, and his overflowing drive toward entrepreneurship and education help move this company forward.

Kevin can be found eating nut butters by the spoonful, and is the resident grill master for team barbeques.

Michael Shiplett

Michael is a software engineer who doesn't enjoy writing about himself. He does enjoy wrangling code, drinking acceptable espresso, and sailing. He has worked for a handful of companies over a 20-year career.

For some reason he is also known as "walrus".

David Goldstein

David Goldstein has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of business strategy and management. Most of his work history has been spent with entrepreneurial start-up companies, or companies in transition, resulting in a broad background in strategic planning and implementation.

As part of a small management team at Houston-based Petrolon, he helped implement the marketing program that transitioned the company from $9 million to $150 million in annual sales in just four years. He then assumed management of the company’s international operations, headquartered in Monaco.

As a consultant, David has guided strategic development and go-to-market strategies for companies in a variety of business segments for clients including General Motors/OnStar (strategic project focused on innovation and cross-industry collaboration in the area of digital health); Copano Energy (large leadership project and strategic process that led to a $500 million new technology line of business and eventually the acquisition of the company by Kinder Morgan); Futures Forum (multi-month initiative focused on the future of health care facilities in collaboration with Irvine Team, Ascension Health, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Catholic Charities West, Children's Medical Center, Christus Health); as well as strategic growth projects for the Houston Texans, Air Liquide, Cameron, Boston Market and Jones Lang LaSalle.

In his misspent youth, David appeared with his band on StarSearch, the original talent search tv show. He lost.

Nic Baughman

Nic is fresh out of college and has been bitten hard by the entrepreneur bug. His background encompasses business and scientific research in areas of Ecology, Molecular Biology, and Natural Products Drug Development. He was also fortunate enough to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University program.

He really enjoys learning from other entrepreneurs and how they utilize the canvas to create their own businesses. He really enjoys helping others and can not wait to learn more from the LPC team and community of users.

Marcus Ratzlaff

Marcus brings the high energy sales hustle to the LPC team. His past experiences include helping an early stage startup through the customer discovery and validation phase and later pivot into its most lucrative customer segment through data driven analysis and obsessive attention to user feedback. After a brief detour into the professional services world where he advised Bay Area based high growth technology companies and venture capital firms, he is back doing what he loves most- selling innovative technology products and services that deliver massive value to customers and make a real difference in the world.

Marcus is often mistaken for "that guy in the vampire movies."

Bill Merrill

Bill loves making and has been building solutions to new problems since 2000. Both as a member of multiple successful startup teams and as a consultant, Bill has defined needs and delivered solutions in live streaming video and video advertising, laboratory sciences, network security, data analytics, real estate, and personal photography.

In his free time if Bill isn’t riding his Long Haul Trucker he’s either on a mountain or writing software to build mountains.

Blake Ross

Blake is a QA professional with over a decade of experience at Fortune 500 companies and numerous startups. He has held QA positions at Apple, IBM, Verizon and Bank of America. To Blake, the subjective idea of software “quality” is inherent in the principles of a lean business model because the customer response is built-in early in the development cycle. QA’s job is to monitor and assure the dialog between customers and software development is clear and concise.

When not writing up feature requests or verifying quality enhancements, Blake likes to hike in Marin county, travel and keep up on Big History.

Product Manager

Responsible for developing and managing a product roadmap in a manner that supports consistent business growth for a high growth early stage startup.

Does this sound like you? Apply now and accelerate entrpreneurship with us.

Product Designer

As the Product Designer for LaunchPad Central you'll design and build our web interface, enabling thousands of entrepreneurs to accelerate learning and creating great companies. How would you make building great start-ups beautiful and simple?

Does this sound like you? Apply now and accelerate entrpreneurship with us.

UI/UX Developer

As a UI/UX Developer you will build out our user interface and help define a great design to make entrepreneurship and mentoring easy. You'll be a hands-on implementer, but there's plenty of opportunity to take ownership of defining design principles, pushing new front end technologies, and otherwise being a lead in determining where we're going.

Does this sound like you? Apply now and accelerate entrpreneurship with us.

Office Manager

Serving as the go-to person for all office needs and providing leverage to the management team with activities such as managing travel, expense reports, coordinating event logistics, scheduling, etc.

Does this sound like you? Apply now and accelerate entrpreneurship with us.

Board of Directors

Jim Hornthal

Jim has decades of experience growing, leading, advising, and investing in explosively successful startups. He has been instrumental in shaping the Lean LaunchPad curriculum, always on the hunt to improve entrepreneurship education. His love for the game keeps us level-headed and always moving forward.

Bhavik Joshi

Bhavik has more than a decade of experience with Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurial ventures. His professional career began at Tata Motors in Pune, India, where he led strategic collaborations with corporate partners including 3Com, IBM, and Intel in support of the launch of Tata Motors’ first car, the Indica. He moved to California to establish a beachhead for J&B Software, creating their fastest-growing region for their image-based payments processing. His entrepreneurial curiosity brought him to Tririga, where he delivered professional services to augment the growth of their SaaS product for corporate real estate portfolio management at customers like Chevron, The Gap, State Farm Insurance and more (they were subsequently acquired by IBM).

Bhavik exited to Better Place, founded by Shai Agassi, propelled by a vision to mass-market electric vehicles. After nearly a billion dollars of venture capital, Better Place ultimately failed, and Bhavik decided to find a new capital efficient model for evidence-based innovation and commercialization. That experience led him to co-architect the original framework for LaunchPad Central – envisioning a platform that would scale and operationalize the “lean startup” methods.

Bhavik holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley where he is now a Senior Fellow at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a sought-after speaker in the world of startups and innovation, with recent presentations at CleanTech Open, StartUp Phenomenon, and the Intel Global Challenge.

Bhavik's an avid mountain biker and as a recent dad is mastering the art of a quick diaper change.

Steve Blank

Steve is a serial entrepreneur and the architect of the Lean LaunchPad framework. He has authored two ground breaking entrepreneurship texts: The Startup Owner's Manual and The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Steve's experience and knowledge are truly irreplaceable components to our DNA, which drive us with steadfast clarity.

Tom Baruch

"I am incredibly excited for LaunchPad Central. There are two kinds of startups which can result in creative destruction: (1) changing the way we do things; or (2) changing the way we think about things. LaunchPad Central has them both."

Prior to becoming a founding member of Formation 8, Tom formed CMEA Capital in 1988 with New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Tom was responsible for managing a total of $1.2 billion of capital across seven funds from inception to July of 2010. While at CMEA, Tom also led investments including major IPO’s and significant liquidity events for Aclara Biosciences, Codexis, Inc., Entropic Communications, Flextronics, Inc., Intermolecular, Silicon Spice and Symyx Technologies. He is now Partner Emeritus of CMEA. Earlier in his career, Tom worked at Exxon Mobil for 12 years. When he left in 1982, he was serving as President of the Exxon Materials Division. Next, he founded Microwave Technology, Inc., a manufacturer and seller of gallium arsenide (GaAs) integrated circuits for defense applications. Baruch served as CEO for 6 years prior to founding CMEA Capital.

Currently, Tom serves as Chairman of the Board of Codexis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS) and Intermolecular, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMI). Tom also currently serves on the boards of CNano Technologies, Exela Pharm Sci, Foro Energy and Wildcat Discovery Technologies.

Tom is a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), where he advises the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House. Tom is a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Council of Competitiveness and a member of the Steering Committee of its ESIS (Energy, Security, Innovation and Sustainability) Initiative and the U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative. Tom is also a member of the “Brain Trust” of the ARPA-E program within the U.S. Department of Energy. Tom recently served as a member of the IPO Task Force advising the U.S. Department of the Treasury in connection with necessity of programs to stimulate startup activity in the U.S. Tom is also a member of the board of directors of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, a member of the Climate Recovery Cabinet of the Sierra Club, and a trustee of the “That Man May See” program within the University of California San Francisco. Tom is an advisor to Hasso Plattner Ventures, a leading German venture capital fund.

In addition, Tom is a Trustee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he was Co-Chairman of its recent $1.1 billion Capital Campaign. He and his wife, Johanna, are Founders of the Baruch Center for Solar Biochemical Energy Research at the School of Science of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Richard Baruch, M.D. Endowed Chair in metabolic pathways of the School of Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Tom holds an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Juris Doctor degree from Capital University. He is a member of the State Bar of Ohio and is a registered patent attorney.