Hopkins Founders Forum | Venture Capital: Secure Funding, Pursue a Career, or Build a Network

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Sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations Lifelong Learning; the Office of Student Ventures & the Office of Development & Alumni Relation Innovation Initiatives

Join us for a webinar panel and Q&A session co-moderated by student leaders Yazeed Al-Katteb & Leana Silverberg and Josh Ambrose, Director of Student Ventures. Come discover new tips, trends, and information from diverse field experts and investors. Guests include Margaret Roth, A&S '11 of Squadra Ventures, Lalita Hamilton, Esq., CBS '10 of Riptide Ventures, Rachel Parlier, A&S '13, Sean Cheng, PhD, WSE '06 of  Ascension Ventures and Aaron Shapiro, KSAS '20 of Stripes. Following the panel discussion, join the panelists in break-out rooms to network and connect. This event is open to students, alumni, and interested guests. 

Disclaimer: The perspectives and opinions expressed by the speaker(s) during this program are those of the speaker(s) and not, necessarily, those of Johns Hopkins University and the scheduling of any speaker at an alumni event or program does not constitute the University’s endorsement of the speaker’s perspectives and opinions.

ABOUT Josh Ambrose
Director of Student Ventures, FastForward U

Josh Ambrose is the Director of Student Ventures at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. Josh oversees all programs and initiatives at FastForward U and JHU’s student hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. With a diverse background in higher-education administration, he works with the team to accelerate ventures that create change and expand opportunity in Baltimore…and beyond! He likes talking with ventures at every level of starting up and will work diligently to help make the connections to ensure the next level of success.

ABOUT Yazeed Al-Katteb
JHU Graduate Student

Yazeed Al-Katteb is graduate student at Johns Hopkins pursuing a Masters of Science in Biotechnology. Yazeed has a passion for innovation in medical sciences, emerging technology, and venture capital. Yazeed Al-Katteb is currently a representative of HopStone Capital. Yazeed is available on LinkedIn to connect and network.

HopStone Capital is a student-led venture capital fund that invests in startups founded by Johns Hopkins affiliates. We offer non-dilutive grants to eligible startups to help them grow and scale while creating a vibrant community for entrepreneurs and investors to connect and collaborate. Our experienced leadership team and advisors have worked at top VC/PE firms, and we aim to educate our members and the Hopkins community about the VC industry. Visit us on https://hopstonecapital.com/ and follow us on LinkedIn to learn more about HopStone Capital and stay up to date on our investments at https://www.linkedin.com/company/hopstone-capital/.

ABOUT Leana Silverberg
JHU Graduate Student

Leana Silverberg is currently a strategic advisor at FFU Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures and an MPH/MBA candidate at Johns Hopkins University. She was the Chief Business Development Officer of Chromepay, and former Director of Global Newborn Solutions. Before completing her Biotechnology Master in 2019, Leana founded EMet Nanotech, a nanoimaging drug discovery tools company. She completed numerous accelerator programs including Google for Startups, MassChallenge, NSF-ICorps, and MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. During her career path, she consulted for over 60 startup teams, co-developed a new SARs-CoV-2 screening technique, worked on tech transfer for a Nobel Laureate, and created and implemented strategies for pharmaceutical companies. Leana is passionate about disease prevention and drug pricing to develop sustainable and impactful solutions through combining policy, innovation, and accessibility.

ABOUT Sean Cheng
Managing Director, Ascension Ventures

Sean Cheng, PhD, WSE ‘06 is interested in investing at the intersection of devices, life sciences, and software. He combines more than 15 years of strategic, technical, policy, and M&A experience to create value for companies, drawing from past roles at Philips, U.S. FDA CDRH, Boston Consulting Group, and operating at several health tech startups. Previously as a Partner at Philips Ventures, his investments covered interventional neurovascular and cardiology, patient monitoring, wearables, post-acute rehab, prenatal care, COPD, emergency care, imaging, digital pathology diagnostics, enterprise SaaS, and patient engagement.

Sean received a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on medical device design, specifically the study of fluid dynamics in blood flow and pulmonary drug delivery, and graduated from the Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program, where he now serves as an Advisory Board member. Beyond healthcare, Sean is passionate about supporting the development of education access for all.

ABOUT Lalita Hamilton
Venture Capital Fellow, Riptide Ventures

Lalita Hamilton, Esq., CBS 10 is an attorney with 20+ years of experience working in innovation, business, finance and policy. She has been responsible for issuing over 800 patents in medical devices, fintech, and emerging technologies. Lalita has also worked on complex legal intellectual property issues, as well as on domestic and international IP policy. She holds degrees in biology/chemistry, an MBA, and a Master’s in Finance. In her spare time, she enjoys good food, great conversation, and traveling (explored six continents).‍

ABOUT Margaret Roth Falzon
Chief Operation Officer, Squadra Ventures

Margaret Roth Falzon, KSAS ’11, SOE ‘12 spent six years building a customer-focused analytics startup and developing the process, tools, and culture needed to scale the business. She supports portfolio companies as they grow and scale while fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures. Reader of science-fiction, lover of puppies, consistent arguer that all you need to know about starting a company is contained in Cameron Crowe’s masterpiece Almost Famous.

ABOUT Rachel Parlier
Vice President, City Light Ventures

Rachel Parlier, KSAS ‘13 started her career studying Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins with plans to become a doctor, but her interest in human health, the mind, and the science of human behavior had started much earlier.  As a child she was constantly in the middle of some type of science project influenced by her mother’s background as a scientist and the picturesque landscape of Alaska that surrounded her childhood, it was a natural recipe for a fascination with understanding the world around her. A psychology class in high school unlocked the beginning of a new type of understanding.  Growing up she had seen firsthand the challenges of addiction coupled with deeply intertwined mental health issues in those around her.  Psychology and her later studies in neuroscience provided a framework for human behavior but also highlighted how much is still unknown in this space and how much potential there is for innovation to address areas that are core to our health and experience as people.

After spending some time in management consulting where she continued building an analytical and strategic skillset, Rachel made her way into the world of early-stage innovation.  First working with an early-stage aerospace company supporting fundraising and strategy, and then joining the team at Route 66 Ventures to get back to her roots and help them build out an early-stage investing strategy focused on transformational companies in healthcare.  During her time there she worked on investments in Joon Care, Cerebrae, Parsley Health, Flume, NourishedRx, Gilgamesh, River Health, and Mine’d.

Joining City Light has allowed Rachel to weave together the many different threads across sectors of deep personal importance paired with an opportunity to put her intellectual energy and professional experience behind entrepreneurs bringing outcome-changing solutions to consumers in a scalable, sustainable way.

ABOUT Aaron Shapiro
Analyst, Stripes

Aaron Shapiro, KSAS ‘20 is responsible for sourcing, executing, and supporting investments, with a focus on software. Prior to joining Stripes in 2022, Aaron co-founded and was the CEO of a sports-technology start-up, Graff Golf. The company is in pursuit of developing a smart golf ball & analytics platform. Before that, he worked as an investor at StepStone Group, investing both in funds and high-performing start-ups.

 Event Date
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Start Time: 5:30pm EST
End Time: 7:00pm EST

Virtual via Zoom

Zoom link provided upon registration
Baltimore, MD 21218

Office of Alumni Relations
Brian Davis
Associate Director of Lifelong Learning

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