The Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association (HBSAA) is an educational and networking forum for Harvard Alumni and other participants who are interested in researching and investing in early stage companies on an individual basis.
Harvard is the number one school attended by startups that raised $100 million or more, according to TechCrunch.
HBS is the number one business school for entrepreneurship with more than 1,300 entrepreneurs and nearly 1,200 companies that combined have raised in excess of $39 billion, according to Poets & Quants.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JASON E. KLEIN, MBA ’86
Jason E. Klein is an experienced media CEO and builder of digital and traditional businesses who has led two successful turnarounds. He is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC, an investment and advisory firm in media, marketing, commerce and information, with a focus on early stage ventures with leading-edge location technologies. Mr Klein is also Chairman, HBS Alumni Angels of Greater NY; and a member of New York Angels. Mr. Klein was previously CEO of Newspaper National Network LP, and CEO of Times Mirror Magazines/Time4 Media. Mr. Klein is one of “25 Angels Investors in NY You Need to Know,” according to Alley Watch.
JEAN KOVACS, MBA ’85
Jean Kovacs has over 25 years of experience directing technology companies and a track record of using her strategic business skills and background to deliver exceptional results with growing enterprises. Although focused on the investment side these days, Ms. Kovacs has spent most of her career in managing and growing businesses. Most recently, she was CEO and co-founder of Comergent Technologies, a fast-growing leader in e-business. Comergent became a world-class organization, committed to providing real-world business solutions to global enterprises. In late 2006, Comergent was purchased by Sterling Commerce (a division of AT&T).
SAMEERA BAZAZ, MBA ’99
Sameera Bazaz leads the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association’s Washington DC Chapter. She is currently Chief Operating Officer of the Hot Mommas Project, an award-winning women’s leadership venture that created and houses the world’s largest database of business case studies featuring women protagonists, role models and mentors. Sameera co-teaches Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at the George Washington University School of Business and is a judge for the School’s New Venture Competition. Earlier, Sameera was Vice President and Senior Consultant at Vision Forward LLC, an early entrant into the flex work and independent consulting model, where she led process and operations consulting. Prior to VisionForward Sameera was Senior Account Manager and Vertical Lead at FreeMarkets Inc (acquired by Ariba and then SAP), the first online business to business strategic sourcing auction tool. Sameera began her career in corporate taxation and litigation support at Price Waterhouse in Sydney, Australia. Sameera earned a B.Econ. (Economics and Accounting) and LLB (JD) from the University of Sydney and an MBA from Harvard.
TOM CERVANTEZ, JD/MBA ’92
Tom Cervantez is one of the Co-Founders of the HBS Alumni Angels Association together with Sean Jacobsohn MBA ’98, Maurice Gopikian MBA ’96 and Sajjad Masud MBA ’98. Tom is an active angel investor and also a Venture Partner at Accelerator Ventures, and sits on the Boards of Sleepquest and PillDrill. Tom brings a strong deal background to his investments and portfolio companies from the legal perspective, having practiced law as a venture capital lawyer in Silicon Valley since 1992, as well as being a founder of a corporate/venture law boutique, Business Counsel Law Group, LLP – in San Francisco. On the non-profit side, Tom sits on the boards of the HBS Latino Alumni Association and the HBS Alumni Angels Association.
DAVID CHEN, MBA ’96
David Chen is the managing director of the AngelVest Fund, focused on investing in early-stage companies, and allocates capital alongside members of AngelVest Group which has grown to be one of the largest branded angel groups in Eastern Asia comprised of mostly American expats based in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. David is an avid supporter of disruptive innovation and entrepreneurs who have great vision and high levels of consciousness for making large-scale positive social impact. His areas of investment focus in recent years include robotics, AI, blockchain, and other Internet businesses. He has developed a particular interest in the area of consciousness and how it relates to human development and entrepreneurship. David is a Board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels and the Founding Chairman of the China chapter – with the mission to provide an educational and networking forum for individuals interested in angel investing. Previously, he worked in a variety of corporate finance and product development roles at companies including Salomon Brothers, Advanced Micro Devices, and Honda Motor. David earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester and MBA from Harvard Business School.
ETIENNE DEFFARGES, MBA ’85
Etienne Deffarges is a co-founder and operating partner at Chicago Pacific Founders, a healthcare PE firm. He co-launched Accretive Health (now R1 RCM) in 2004, and tool the company public in New York in 2010, at a $1.2 billion enterprise valuation. Since then he has enjoyed numerous other exits as a founding board member and angel investor. He is the author of "Untangling the USA..." recently published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis. Prior, he was a global managing partner at Accenture and helped take the company public in 2001 on the NYSE at a $13 billion valuation. Before that, he was a senior partner and global practice leader with Booz Allen Hamilton.
IMRE ESZENYI, CFA OPM ’40
Imre is an investment banking trained entrepreneur and financier with experience in structuring and execution of capital markets, private equity investments and derivatives transactions globally. As the Managing Partner of Orchestra Capital LLP, Imre focuses on making investments in fast developing companies, funding growth strategies and acquisitions, while partnering with industry experts and management. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and is member of the CFA Institute.
MAURICE GOPIKIAN, MBA ’96
Maurice Gopikian is a Fundraiser and manages MG Ventures, his own M&A boutique. He has been influential in the entrepreneurial scene for 30 years as CEO/founder or co-founder of a dozen companies, angel investor and minority owner of a few other ones, and coach/mentor to many startups, accelerators and incubators. Formerly from an engineering background in Computer Science and Information Technology, he previously was manager for the TMT Strategy Consulting and M&A practice at Accenture, planned the IPO within Trader Media and worked in Venture Capital at Innovacom.
SIMON HARDY, PLDA ’13
Simon is an active angel investor across multiple sectors including healthcare and technology, and advises entrepreneurs with a specific focus on strategy, business development, board composition and governance. Simon has worked with HBS Alumni Angels since 2017, previously overseeing the portfolio performance and monitoring. In his role as Chair, he looks forward to working with both existing and future start-ups receiving investment from the HBS Alumni Angels UK as well as the wider angel and venture capital communities.
Simon is private equity portfolio specialist and operating partner at SVPGlobal (Strategic Value Partners), a global alternative investment firm focused on deep value opportunities with c.$10B under management. Simon is responsible for identifying and delivering value creation within portfolio companies.
Simon is an HBS Alumni and also holds a MSci (First Class Honours) in Physics from Imperial College London.
STEVE KIRSCHNER, MBA ’86
Steve Kirschner, CMO, is a marketing professional and veteran entrepreneur. He started his career on Madison Avenue in advertising and subsequently worked in virtually every aspect of the modern marketing mix, with a specialization in public relations. Steve co-founded MarketWare, a merchandising software developer that became market dominant and had a successful M&A that was entirely funded with angel capital – so he’s a big believer in angel funding for startups. Today Steve runs a consulting boutique called Package Perfect, Ltd. that helps companies improve their marketing and prepare for M&A with a goal of increasing exit valuations. Steve holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his family where he is authoring a book on a new theory of marketing communication, mentors entrepreneurs and plays guitar badly.
ALEXA MCCULLOCH, MBA '99
Alexa McCulloch co-chairs HBS Angels of Southern California. She has invested across 5 continents for Communications Venture Partners, Partners in Life Science, and Goldman Sachs. McCulloch began her career as a rocket scientist and was awarded the Jefferson Goblet Award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. An innovator in security and aerospace, she was CEO of NetCloak Inc., a B2B2C cybersecurity company; CEO of Grandeye Ltd., global manufacturer of 360° IoT security cameras sold to Creative Labs (SGX: C76); led team at Hughes that fully automated spacecraft testing (delivered 18 months ahead of schedule), created a software app that optimizes spacecraft power, and successfully launched satellite on repurposed Soviet ICBM from Russian Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. In healthcare, McCulloch was a Founding Partner at Circle Health (LON: CIRC), Europe's largest healthcare partnership; held public appointment as Independent Director of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust; and served as Non-Executive Director of Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She is a Techstars All-Star Mentor. McCulloch holds three engineering degrees from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard.
ALEX MEYER, MBA ’05
Alex Meyer is a partner at Origin Ventures focusing on Seed and Series A investments. Alex held management roles at SAP, Deloitte, and House of Blues. He is founder & chairman of HBS Alumni Angels Chicago and the Alumni Entrepreneurship Council of Chicago. He served on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s economic development delegations to London, Israel, Tokyo, Beijing, and Boston. He co-authored the HBS case: Rising from the Ashes - The Emergence of Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. He is founder of the National Organization for Business & Engineering, co-founder & vice chairman of Stage773 Theater, and was named one of Chicago's 40 Under 40.
DEAN NEESE, MBA ’98
Dean Neese brings 30 years of executive experience and management consulting delivering hypergrowth. He currently serves as CFO of Kinetica, a SaaS startup focused on accelerated high-performance data analytics. Dean also serves as a Managing Partner at TMD Ventures, which focuses on seed investments in disruptive tech companies. Previously, he held several c-suite roles, including Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at DocuSign, where he led the company's international growth strategy through several acquisitions and growth initiatives. Dean holds a BA in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Additional Officers/ex-Officio Board Members
PRASHANT DIXIT, PLDA '16
Prashant Dixit is a business driven technology professional with extensive experience in driving and delivering business initiatives by leveraging information technology. His career spans from working in startups to Fortune 500 companies, such as RewardsPlus, Accenture, AIG, GMAC and Lincoln Financial Group. Prashant's area of expertise is in driving digital strategy that defines how organizations uses people, processes, and technology to radically transform business performance. He holds a BS in engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and an MS in Technology Management from Columbia University, NY.