Innovation Fellow Cohorts

Spring '24
Cody Hall
Cody Hall

Cody's professional career started as a U.S. Marine in the Special Operations Reconnaissance teams where he established a strong drive for missions accomplished in the face of great odds. Cody has held various executive leadership roles, including CEO, COO, and Chief Compliance and Human Resources Officer. Cody has been a founder and early-stage employee for companies in sectors like technology, staffing, and healthcare. Now living in Mexico with his family, Cody has spent the last few years starting and managing an assortment of personal ventures ranging from agave farming, Children's Education Fund for underprivileged children, and a cafè franchise with his wife.

Fun Fact:

Cody's son's primary language is Spanish, although Cody himself is only partially bilingual in Spanish.

Todd Stein
Todd Stein

Todd is an experienced CEO of venture-backed early-stage software companies in the areas of computer vision, big data analytics, and SaaS marketing services. He has experience in both startup fundraising and corporate mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he brings large company and business strategy experience from his time at Hewlett-Packard and the Boston Consulting Group. He has an MBA from the Wharton School and an Engineering Degree in Operations Research (Applied Mathematics) from Princeton University.

Fun Fact:

Todd loves going to Argentina during the summer to enjoy empanadas and snow skiing.

Hari Mahesh
Hari Mahesh

Hari is an accomplished technology and business leader. As an entrepreneur, he brings a creative, strong technical, and business-driven mindset to each of his endeavors.  With expertise in product strategy and new business ventures, Hari is adept at identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities. His proficiency in emerging technologies such as AI, Cloud, Network Security, and Big Data enables him to navigate complex technological landscapes starting with large corporations like Cisco and Vudu, and then a series of startups in the entertainment, cybersecurity, and viticulture industries.

Fun Fact:

Hari is a filmmaker with three feature films under his belt, with his most recent film “What If” a psychological thriller available on Tubi, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms.

Meltem Ballan
Meltem Ballan

Meltem is an accomplished technology executive with a unique combination of analytical and leadership expertise developed over 20 years both in industry and academia. She co-founded a technology startup providing a big data analytics and machine learning platform. She has also managed large multinational and multidisciplinary projects in automotive, aviation, healthcare, agriculture, software, and marketing, as well as established labs, worked on academic projects, and authored over thirty publications on ML/AI implementation, analytics, and neuroscience.

Fun Fact:

Meltem’s favorite sport is running and she sometimes gets lost while doing so.

Mark Arquette
Mark Arquette

Mark is a technically astute business leader with a passion for problem-solving and a love for building innovative business solutions. Originally from Virginia, Mark was engaged in a music career that led him to explore parallels in the various programming languages. This path eventually brought him to Silicon Valley, where he worked for large corporations like AWS and numerous venture-backed startups. When not immersed in solution architecture, Mark is an avid student of music and composer, a golfer, and a sailor whose goal is to sail the islands of the Mediterranean.

Fun Fact:

Mark once played live at a performance with country legend Little Jimmy Dickens.

Jeremy Gocke
Jeremy Gocke

Jeremy has spent over 15 years building and launching world-class software products, spanning the entertainment, Proptech, FinTech, and future of workspaces. The ventures he has led or joined have collectively raised over $100M in growth capital, created hundreds of jobs, and received numerous awards and press accolades. He is passionate about startups and mentors aspiring entrepreneurs in his free time. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he graduated from West Point and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Gordon, GA, and Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Fun Fact:

A consummate seeker of efficiency, all four of Jeremy’s children were born in the first week of May.

FALL '23
Gina Elliott
Gina Elliott

Gina is a technology enthusiast with a career spanning small companies to Fortune 100 and a variety of roles in strategy, business development, marketing, partnerships, services, and operations. She has held executive roles in three technology startups, developing emerging technologies that solve complex problems of commercial building operations, energy management, and sustainability. Gina is driven by using technology as a medium to transform a business with new products and solutions that positively affect operations, customers, and revenue. Gina's achievements have been widely acknowledged, earning her prestigious industry awards three consecutive years for Person of the Year, Women of the Year, and Small Business Executive of the Year.

Fun Fact:

Gina is a founder of two non-profit companies as well as a founder of IngramElliot Publishing, an IPBA Benjamin Franklin and IPPY Awards winner.

Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp

Matt has over 20 years of experience in building businesses, brands, and teams in the life sciences industry. Matt began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in sales, and quickly transitioned into marketing and business development, serving in progressive leadership roles for global organizations including Abbvie, Takeda, Zimmer Biomet, and Allergan. Throughout his career, Matt has launched 20+ products, including innovative, first-in-class therapies in immunotherapy, regenerative medicine, and oncology. He is also a founder of two life sciences companies focused on restorative health and regenerative gene therapy. Following his graduation from Purdue University, Matt also served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Fun Fact:

Matt worked as a TV weatherman while on assignment for the UN Command in Korea. He now enjoys spending time at the beach, the pool, and at the ballpark with his wife and three children.

Mohit Gupta
Mohit Gupta

Mohit has a career that is a unique mix of building and managing large P&Ls, transforming businesses, venture building, advising, and investing. He has built two startup studios and several products spanning food, agriculture, HR, mobility, water, gig economy, and mobility spaces. He has IP commercialization expertise from Cargill and Xerox PARC, helping the latter get donated to SRI International. As a commodities trader and manufacturing operator, he has a deep understanding of global supply chains and financial arbitrages. He is passionate about sustainability, climate issues, and the low-income workforce. He is a life-long learner and wants to give back to the world. He has mentored over 50 startups and served on non-profit boards. Mohit is originally from New Delhi, India, where he went to school to study engineering and business (MBA).

Fun Fact:

Mohit was a professional cricket player and now enjoys time as a choreographer and an amateur mixologist.

Scott Nelson
Scott Nelson

Scott is an innovative leader and entrepreneur with extensive experience spearheading business efforts at some of the most creative and visionary consumer brands and emerging tech companies. After a decade in sneakers (Nike Inc./Converse, Adidas), Scott spent years in mobile tech including leading one of the world's largest mobile messaging apps, Rakuten Viber. Scott's focus then turned to the Food and AgTech space where he has held executive roles at Panera Bread and most recently, SAVRpak, a food waste conservation start-up backed by Mark Cuban and named a "World's Most Innovative Company" by Fast Company.  

Fun Fact:

Scott has three Emmy nominations, and is the Founder of hipdaddy.com, a popular lifestyle media outlet for Today's Modern Dad.

Tiambi Simms
Tiambi Simms

Tiambi is a multifaceted entrepreneur whose work spans three continents. Tiambi has a decade of experience in startups with building and managing teams, particularly in the agriculture sector with a gender lens focus (smallholder women farmers in Ghana/Kenya and market women in Nigeria). She specializes in design thinking and product development, which allows her to create, scale, and optimize products and services that are impactful. Tiambi excels in building and managing teams by providing vision, mentorship, and drive. Tiambi is looking forward to bringing a valuable product to the market while driving impact with DIAL Ventures.  

Fun Fact:

Tiambi is an avid traveler who has lived in four countries and speaks three languages, Spanish, Dutch, and her native tongue, English.

Spring '23
Ibrahim Pataudi
Ibrahim Pataudi

Ibrahim is a startup professional that has worked in early-stage companies in Silicon Valley across the advertising and digital identity/authentication spaces. Most recently, Ibrahim worked on an authentication solution that combined zero-knowledge cryptographic proofs with blockchain technology for the purposes of self-sovereign digital identity on the Internet. Ibrahim has built, led, and scaled product and sales teams as an executive and is now looking to found his own company. He is extremely excited about the DIAL Fellowship and hopes to launch a company in the space that drives global value. Ibrahim is originally from Pakistan (a country with 40% of its economy tied to agriculture), which is part of the reason he is striving to make an impact in the agri-food industry.

Fun Fact:

Ibrahim is an ex-professional polo (think horses not water) player and an avid outdoorsman: he likes to spend his free time hunting, spearfishing and spending time with his black lab, Sterling.

Jonas Cleveland
Jonas Cleveland

Jonas Cleveland is an entrepreneur focused on the areas of AI and robotics. His passion is in building a better world using technology! After completing his undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Jonas spun his first company out of graduate school at UPenn's Robotics Lab. COSY uses computer vision to power mobile robots in warehouses. Jonas scaled the company as CEO through several partnerships and Series A round with funding from Intel Capital, Great Point Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Fun Fact:

Jonas holds several US patents and has been recognized by some of the largest forums in his field – including MIT Technology Review’s 35 Under 35 Award and LinkedIn’s NextWave Award for rising entrepreneurs.

Kylee Shirey
Kylee Shirey

A corporate attorney by trade, and the founder of a strategic initiatives consultancy, Kylee has spent her career developing businesses, launching special projects, and helping business owners access and connect to the resources they need to succeed. Kylee has held executive roles in both the private and non-profit sectors, where she has provided strategic and tactical leadership in a variety of capacities ranging from a multi-million-dollar investment campaign at a regional economic development organization to the development of a new business division at the country’s largest independently owned insurance brokerage agency. During her time as a corporate attorney, she concentrated her practice in the areas of corporate and securities law, representing clients and companies of all sizes throughout Northeast Indiana.

Fun Fact:

Kylee is the founder of Lemonade Day Fort Wayne, an initiative that encourages youth entrepreneurship. She currently serves as the board chair for the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and serves on the board of the Fort Wayne Downtown Development Trust.

Krishna Manda
Krishna Manda

Krishna is a renowned entrepreneur who was nominated to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in 2021 for his work on helmet-mounted HUDs. He secured multi-million-dollar agreements to partner with automotive industry titans and integrate his technology into their products. He studied at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is excited about the fellowship and is looking forward to learning more about the market and its challenges. He intends to leverage his knowledge and experience to build a business that will propel the industry forward.

Fun Fact:

Krishna is an avid car enthusiast; Porsche recognized his passion and sent in a crew from all over Europe to make a Porsche Classic film as well as write an article about him and his car! The film: A New York state of mind, and the article: A New York road trip in a classic Porsche Boxster Spyder.

Stephen Price
Stephen Price

Stephen is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive who has built three companies to acquisition across retail, e-commerce, and automotive. He conceptualized and built one of the most prominent Hertz brands in the last 30 years, Hertz Dreamcars, helping to scale that across Europe through franchising. Stephen has held multiple C-suite roles with a strong focus on leadership and operational excellence. Stephen has mentored and advised hundreds of founders in the startup ecosystem based on years of building companies through the 0-1 stage, growth, and scaling phases. Stephen cemented his place in the world of Startups becoming the CEO of CoFoundersLab, a global founder platform, and accelerator, as well as an Innovation leadership role with Silicon Valley’s Founder Institute.

Fun Fact:

Stephen is from London but moved to Colorado to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible. He is fanatical about Tottenham Hotspur, his football (soccer) team.

Alan Kartchner
Alan Kartchner

Alan is an innovative agribusiness professional who conceptualized and managed the implementation of a beef supply chain traceability system utilizing blockchain technology designed to connect information and value. He has extensive experience in creating branded beef programs for domestic and international customers and was a senior member of the team that launched Missouri Prime Beef Packers in 2021. He holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, an MBA from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Arizona. As a Fellow, Alan looks forward to collaborating with other Fellows and industry leaders and in being a part of the bright future of agriculture and ag-tech.

Fun Fact:

Alan lived in Brazil for two years, speaks Portuguese, and has an interest in Brazilian agriculture. He enjoys spending time with his wife and five kids.

FALL '22
Amanda Laird
Amanda Laird

Amanda was awarded the Waste360 "40 Under 40 Award" (awards are presented by Waste360 to recognize and reward the rising stars and young professionals within the waste and recycling industry). She is a successful serial entrepreneur building companies in unexpected, large, total addressable markets. Most recently, she founded and scaled a commercial equipment startup that provided nationwide service to more than a dozen fortune 50 companies within the first two years. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural leadership and development. As a Fellow, she is excited to collaborate with industry partners and research leaders to identify critical challenges in the agri-food industry and discover potential solutions to address those challenges. Also, the opportunity to innovate at an accelerated rate through the venture studio model in one of the fastest growing technology segments.

Fun Fact:

Amanda enjoys listening to business podcasts, traveling to new places, and spending time with her husband and their three sons.

Charles Petrini-Poli
Charles Petrini-Poli

Charles conceptualized, bootstrapped, developed, and launched the first “rep-free” program in the U.S. to help hospitals remove sales bias from their clinical areas. He also achieved ranking as the top distributor for Biomet Spine in the world. He attended the University of Dubuque and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business. As a Fellow, he is excited about immersing himself in the DIAL Ventures program, learning through all of the varied experiences and travel opportunities.

Fun Fact:

Charles lived in Europe and speaks French.

Cilas Lee
Cilas Lee

Cilas helped his team at Blueridge Development Group hit top 1% in sales competing with all of North America. He also raised $100,000 in funding for a DOD project for Mosaic Labs. Cilas has a Bachelor of Science degree in management information systems from Colorado State University. As a Fellow, he looks forward to the opportunity for proving grounds and mentorship.

Fun Fact:

He enjoys musical arts from Broadway, a capella, and musicals.

Kerrigan Hodnett
Kerrigan Hodnett

Kerrigan led the Customer Service and Web/eCommerce divisions of a large company and generated $3 billion in revenue within 5 years. At PCH International, he led a product development organization in Shenzhen, China where he more than doubled their revenue and helped bridge the gap between the San Francisco and Shenzhen offices. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Storekeeper A School. He is excited about being a Fellow because of the opportunity to learn from industry experts and ultimately the possibility of having a positive impact in the agri-food sector.

Fun Fact:

Kerrigan’s daughter and son were born on the same day, two years and one hour apart. "I'd like to take credit for the planning, but it was pure luck."

Shashi Raghunandan
Shashi Raghunandan

Shashi launched the P2P interoperability network in Thailand enabling 100 million people to send money to each other. He also was featured in the New Economy Forum for his work in Inclusive ID that eventually scaled to three countries. Shashi has a degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and a degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. As a Fellow, he is excited about learning more about the industry, its unique challenges and using his experience to build a business to solve those challenges.

Fun Fact:

Shashi won a prize awarded by Plein Air Magazine for his watercolor titled “Shelter from the Storm.” It was awarded the best (watercolor) landscape among more than 800+ entries nationwide.

Spring '22
Shane Steinl
Shane Steinl

Steinl is an industrial engineering graduate from Purdue. He worked for Walmart’s automation engineering team as an intern, and in 2020, he founded the university’s first blockchain-focused student group, educating and connecting students to blockchain projects. He also led Purdue’s student consulting association, providing services to internal departments and external corporate clientele. He currently works as a Business Analyst at Kearny in Chicago.

Travis Douce
Travis Douce

Travis has an agricultural background and has helped companies of various sizes, in both leadership and individual roles, deliver complex software solutions. He received a master’s degree in sustainable resource management from the Technical University of Munich in Germany where he utilized geospatial modeling (GIS) to model and predict deforestation, soil loss, and disaster risk in Nicaragua. Travis is now the CTO for our first studio company, Croft Technologies.