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.

To reach out to individual co-chairs, click on one of the names below. For general queries, please email: boothevc@gmail.com

Jonathan Coffey

Jonathan Coffey
Background: I worked in Corporate Strategy at Nasdaq where I advised the executive team on M&A, new product development, and emerging technology strategy (e.g. blockchain, big data). Prior to that I worked in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. My undergrad degree is in Financing and Accounting from Georgetown University.
Summer Internship: Sterling Partners Education Opportunity Fund
Ask Me About: EVC event/programming ideas, financial technology, networking into venture capital and/or private equity, U.S. Equity market structure, investment banking war stories, Brooklyn, growing a beard in finance
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: I coordinate startup programming for EVC which includes Startup Week in October, the career treks, and other events. I currently serve on the Young Executive Advisory Board of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in SF. I interned with Second Century Ventures through the VC Lab. I’ve sat as an advisor to startups at StartupBootcamp’s FinTech FastTrack in Chicago and volunteered with Catapult to advise a team of high school students on their startup.
Fun Fact: I was featured on Poets & Quants #humblebrag. I grew my beard in 2012 and have been told I look like a “13 year-old British soccer hooligan” without it, so don’t expect me to shave it off anytime soon.

Ryan McDonnell

Ryan McDonnell
Background: After undergraduate at Northwestern, I joined Teach for America and taught High School Math at a public school in Colorado. I enjoyed my time in education and after TFA I worked for an education technology company called the MIND Research Institute. There I coached teachers across the US and spent time in our sales group focused on business development within the Midwest. After 5 years in education, I looked at Booth as an opportunity to broaden my experience and learn from great classmates and professors.
Summer Internship: Summer Associate at McKinsey & Company (yes, I’m the black sheep).
Ask me about: SeedCon, great entrepreneurship classes at Booth, traditional recruiting while staying involved with EVC, search funds
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: I am trying to take as many of the entrepreneurship-focused classes as I can and I’ve tried to get to know a lot of my classmates that are pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Additionally, I’m (partially) responsible for SeedCon but really I just let Lisa do all the talking. I interned with a Search Fund in Spring 2016 and I’m continually looking for opportunities to get to know the Chicago start-up / VC community.
Fun Fact: I had a pet squirrel named Joey in High School who looked oddly similar to Mr. Coffey.

Julia McInnis

Julia McInnis
Background: Before Booth I was a producer in NYC for the film directors D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Our documentary "Unlocking the Cage" made it into Sundance 2016 and will be on HBO this coming fall. I also started an international film festival and served as a grants officer for a film fiscal sponsor. My undergrad degree is in English Lit and International Studies from Trinity College. I'm also a co-chair of the Media, Entertainment and Sports Group, and an admissions interviewer for 2016-2017.
Summer Internship: Chicago Media Angels
Ask Me About: Content/job postings for the EVC newsletter, entrepreneurship, VC job hunting, the entertainment industry (goes without saying), my blog and other ventures, the best places to dance in Chicago, and the NY Rangers.
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: I assemble and publish the weekly EVC newsletter and support the other co-chairs in our event programming. With my current firm I participated in Booth's VC Lab, attended the NYC VC trek, and have taken a handful of entrepreneurship courses. I also TA Professor Meadow's Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity class. Recently I launched a lifestyle site with my sister, and I'm working on a new venture for the entertainment industry.
Fun Fact: I've seen the band the National perform 10+ times, which included a soundcheck that I slipped into and was removed from shortly after.

Scott Stern

Scott Stern
Background: I earned my undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. I was interested in VC and interned at an investment bank during my summer, but found the latter to not be a great fit. After graduating I joined a quantitative trading firm in Washington DC that focused on niche energy and electricity products. I specifically traded a future electricity hedge in the Midwest called an FTR, as well as designed and built many of the systems and data infrastructure that were the foundations of our quantitative approach. Still desiring to get into VC, I left the trading firm and joined a startup for a year prior while also applying to business schools. It was a great crash course in startup life, and I learned many important dos and don’ts over the 15 months. I also engaged in an angel investment (just had its Series A) and actively consult for a solar startup. I spent the Spring and Summer of my first year at Origin Ventures, an early stage venture fund that focuses on technology driven companies including e-commerce, digital media / ad technology, and SaaS. Post business school, my goal is to continue on with venture capital. I love learning about the latest and greatest companies and industries, and am driven by the idea of helping nascent ideas flourish into successful companies.
Summer Internship: Origin Ventures
Ask me about: Start-up Week, Big Data/Analytics, Food, Energy, Chicago Startup Scene
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: Concentration in Entrepreneurship, VC lab participant,  In-school internship with Origin Ventures, VCIC participant
Fun Fact: I rode horses (jumping) competitively for 14 years, and even competed internationally.

Lisa Travnik

Lisa Travnik
: I worked in marketing and public relations in New York before coming to Booth, first at big creative agencies and later at Ally Financial and Thomson Reuters. At Thomson Reuters I supported the execs of a newly acquired enterprise technology group, and built their first marketing communications practice. My team supported the growth of acquired platforms, managed strategic relationships with financial technology partners and led viability evaluations for new products and regions. In my “spare” time I do operational consulting for social enterprise startups focused on education and economic empowerment.
Summer Internship: Jump Capital, a growth-stage VC fund investing in B2B tech.
Ask Me About: Seedcon, fintech, connecting with VCs in Chicago and NYC, the “nontraditional” switch, machine learning, rose snow cones, adventure travel, direct-to-consumer brand addictions, surviving CI.
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: I’m on the hook for making sure Seedcon is awesome, along with my hero Ryan McDonnell. I was in the New Venture Challenge and VCIC last year, went on VC trek (worth it) and interned with Hyde Park Angels and Jump Capital while in school. I’m an advisor for a local lending startup, mentor in NYC and Chicago with StartupBootcamp and worked on my own biz idea in the Entrepreneurial Essentials incubator in the fall.
Fun Fact: I once danced in a revolving door with BD Wong.

Josh Weiss

Josh Weiss
Background: After graduating with a degree in finance from UVA, I began my career in high yield research at Lehman Brothers where I covered companies in the metals & mining and chemicals sectors. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I took the next logical step and founded an ecommerce company selling prom dresses and social occasion gowns which I sold to private investors in 2015. I also served as the Chief Strategy Officer at alight, an online retailer of plus size women's clothing previously backed by RRE Ventures. I did a Pre-MBA internship at Primary Venture Partners, an early stage VC fund in NYC before coming to Booth and interned at Lightbank, a Chicago based early stage VC fund during my first year.
Summer Internship: Red Oak Growth Partners
Ask Me About: VC treks, Pre-MBA internships, entrepreneurship, recruiting in NYC, ecommerce, search funds
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC: Concentration in Entrepreneurship, VC lab participant,  in-school internship with Lightbank, Pre-MBA internship with Primary Venture Partners, VCIC participant
Fun Fact: I'm a semi-professional daily fantasy sports player

Davis Yang

Davis Yang
Background: Before coming to Booth, I was a junior Managing Director of BVCF Management, the first life sciences and healthcare PE/VC firm in China, and I’ve continued part-time while in school.  In my five years at BVCF, I’ve sourced, led, negotiated, closed, and managed over $40 million in biopharma and medical device deals in the US and China, and helped raise $188 million in new funds from American and European pensions, foundations, and funds of funds for BVCF to manage.  Before that, I did strategic planning and predictive analytics for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NY.  I graduated at Yale with a degree in Theater Studies and went on to intern with a film and TV director and got involved in a British period movie filmed in Shanghai, in which I taught Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson to dance foxtrot.
Summer Internship: RiMO Therapeutics, Coordination Pharmaceuticals, cancer drug startups
Ask Me About: Private Equity and Venture Capital, especially in life sciences and healthcare, or in China; Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), biotech startups and trends, zig-zagged career path, ballroom dance, mixing cocktails, and Tom Ford suits
How I’m Involved in Entrepreneurship/VC:  As much of the awesome Booth entrepreneurship classes and the events through EVC, Polsky, CIE, 1871, and Matter as possible.  I'm also on the boards of an superbug antibiotics company, a Silicon Valley women’s sexual health company, and am also a board observer of a company developing a new oral testosterone medicine.
Fun Fact: In high school, there were these popular Tamagotchi pets, which were digital animals on a keychain that you “take care of” by occasionally feeding and petting.  In revolt against the cuteness of it all, I programmed a TI calculator game called Jobagatchi, in which you have an employee.  You can give him coffee, hit him, zap him with a cattle prod, and he lets fly an incredible melange of high profanities.


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