Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital

EVC Co-Chairs

EVC Co-Chairs have both general and specific responsibilities. General responsibilities include group programming, working with the Polsky Center, developing opportunities for students, and building relationships with alumni.

Alyssa Freedberg

Alyssa Freedberg
Background: Prior to Booth, I worked as the Senior Director of Performance Technologies for the Advisory Board Company, a best practice technology and consulting firm based in D.C. I spent five years working in health care business development and sales. With an extensive travel regimen, I met with hundreds of hospital executive teams to understand their strategic needs and recommend various solutions.
Ask me about: Transitioning into Venture Capital, Hyde Park Angels, Healthbox, significant others, Chicago restaurant recommendations
How I am involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: Concentration in Entrepreneurship, in-school internship with Hyde Park Angels, summer internship with Healthbox, TA for Professor Scott Meadow's Commercializing Innovation
Fun Fact: I have four other siblings, I was once in the circus, and I absolutely LOVE to cook and try new things – come over to my house for a dinner party!

Tom Hutchins

Tom Hutchins
Background: Prior to Booth I worked in private equity and investment banking, covering companies across the financial services industry in both roles. I received my undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Texas Christian University
Ask me about: Competing in the New Venture Challenge (NVC), Polsky's Entrepreneurial Internship Program (EIP), entrepreneurship classes and programming at Booth, how to get involved, and financial technology startups
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: Founded a startup while at Booth, concentration in entrepreneurship (classes: Entrepreneurial Discovery, Entrepreneurial Selling, NVC), participated in startup treks to Silicon Valley and Chicago, Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), member at the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), working with FinTex Chicago, and team advisor for a high school accelerator program
Fun Fact: I taught myself how to surf by going before work every morning, I love spicy food and making my own salsa, and I can solve a Rubik's Cube in minutes

Dane Guarino

Dane Guarino
Background: Worked in investment banking for four years prior to Booth, focusing on early-stage equity capital raises and M&A in the healthcare and technology spaces. 
Ask me about: Being married, participating in the New Venture Challenge, going through the Polsky Accelerator Program, healthcare technology entrepreneurship, founder dating, incubators/accelerators, recovering from investment banking and where to eat and how to be active in Chicago.
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: Founded a startup while at Booth (Markit Medical), led the startup trek to the Bay Area, active member of the Chicago Innovation Exchange, and partnering with MATTER on healthcare startup programming.
Fun Fact: Occasionally referred to as Camp Counselor Dane by friends, probably due to my preference to be outdoors as much as possible.

Arno Niazi

Arno Niazi
Background: I started a business prior to coming to Booth. I hold two bachelor degrees, in Marketing and Accounting, and a Masters degree in Marketing from Uppsala University in Sweden.
Ask me about: VC treks, VC/entrepreneurship classes and programming at Booth, technology startups, how to get in touch with VCs
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC:  Concentration in Entrepreneurship and VC classes, participated in and lead VC treks (Chicago, New York), helped with other VC programming events.
Fun Fact: I have OCD to optimize all daily chores to save time, to the extent that I lose a lot of time thinking about the optimization so it eventually backfires.

Santiago Lopez

Santiago Lopez
Background: Before Booth I worked in Venture Capital in Mexico, where I helped to co-found the first craft brewery in Puebla, in central Mexico. After that I launched a software startup and have been working on it ever since, now in the process of bringing the company into the US.
Ask me about: Entrepreneurship for international students, New Venture Challenge (NVC), underrated classes at Booth.
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: I co-founded two startups and helped founders launch another two. Within EVC I helped to organize the Detroit Trek and currently working on SeedCon.
Fun Fact: Passionate about beer and the alcohol industry, planning a Booz Trek soon! Also love the outdoors and fleeing from the city.

Rob Schoder

Rob Schoder
Background: Prior to Booth, I worked at Heidrick & Struggles (and before that, Spencer Stuart) where I was responsible for recruiting CEOs, CFOs and board directors for Fortune 1000 companies. I graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in History and no intention of doing anything history related with my career. Took me two tries to get into Booth and still feel like I put one over on the guys in admissions. How's that for planning? 
Ask me about: Chicago startup/VC landscape, networking your way to a role at a startup, the sharing economy, party hats and what not to do. 
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: Concentration in Entrepreneurship (highly recommend Entrepreneurial Discovery); interned over winter/spring with a tech startup called LearnCore helping the company build its partnership channel; working to start a company called earnist providing tax and financial guidance to 1099 contractors in the sharing economy; talking to people about entrepreneurship, broadly, and specifically in Chicago. Feel free to shoot me an email - I'd love to talk to you!
Fun fact: Like most Chicagoans, I thought I was going to be the next Michael Jordan when I grew up. Unlike most Chicagoans, my mom broke the news to me that I didn't have the talent when I was in third grade. Immediately set my sights on Booth after that. Oh, what a dream its been! 

Kate O'Connor

Kate O'Connor
Background: Before Booth I was a management consultant for Ernst & Young in NYC.  I focused mostly on Healthcare clients.
Ask me about: Competing in the Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), skipping on-campus recruiting altogether, Polsky Center programming and Entrepreneurship classes
How I'm involved with entrepreneurship and/or VC: I co-founded a socially conscious retail start-up with a classmate who I met at Booth's 'First Day' weekend.  I participated in Polsky's Summer Accelerator program.
Fun Fact: I speak French and Italian and currently working on Spanish! (rounding out the romance languages)


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