OUR ADVISORS & MENTORS
Professor Steven Kaplan
Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.
He is the co-creator of the Kaplan-Schoar PME (Public Market Equivalent) private equity benchmarking approach. A Fortune Magazine article referred to him as "probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy.”
Kaplan teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate finance, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country.
Professor Kaplan co-founded the entrepreneurship program at Booth. With his students, he helped start Booth’s business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which has included over 800 companies that have raised almost $1 billion and created over $8 billion in value including GrubHub, Braintree/Venmo and Simple Mills.
Kaplan serves on the board of Morningstar and several fund and company advisory boards. He has been a member of the faculty since 1988.
He received his AB, summa cum laude, in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and earned a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University.
Lex is a Partner at One Way Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund backing exceptional immigrant founders. At One Way Ventures, Lex identifies investment opportunities, leads diligence, and works with entrepreneurs to help build large, enduring companies. His current portfolio includes companies such as Chipper Cash, Nuvocargo, and Billdr.
Himself an immigrant from China, Lex previously led the operations team at Vestwell, a venture-backed fintech startup. Prior to Vestwell, Lex earned his MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At Chicago Booth, he was an Associate at Moderne Ventures and took part in the New Venture Challenge startup accelerator program.
Lex started his career at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. Lex graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University where he earned his B.A. in Economics with Distinction. Lex has also passed all three levels of the CFA Program.
Professor Ira Weiss
Ira is a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he teaches entrepreneurship and tax strategy. He also received his MBA and Ph.D from Booth. Ira has been investing in private companies for 20+ years first through RK Ventures and more recently via Hyde Park Venture Partners. His investing interests center on technology-enabled consumer and business services, and he serves as either a director or observer on the boards of companies such as AuditSight, FourKites, and ShipBob.
Ray Sturm is a leading entrepreneur in financial technology, and is currently the CEO of AlphaFlow. Prior to launching AlphaFlow, he founded RealtyShares, one of the P2P industry’s top platforms for real estate investing. His early career in finance included investment banking at Bear Stearns, restructuring at Lazard Frères and private equity at CCMP Capital.
Ray has a BBA-Finance from the University of Notre Dame and a JD/MBA from the University of Chicago.
Professor Jason Heltzer
Jason joined Origin Ventures as a partner in 2014 and began his career in venture capital in 2001. Jason is currently a board member or observer for Tovala, Vivrelle, Prisidio, BlackCart, and Idelic. Previous investments include Tock (acquired by Squarespace), Cartavi (acquired by Docusign), Base CRM (acquired by Zendesk), Brightnest (acquired by Angie’s List), and Tradeking (acquired by Ally Bank).
Jackie is a partner with Chicago Ventures. Prior to joining Chicago Ventures, Jackie was a principal at Hyde Park Venture Partners, working with portfolio companies such as RoadSync, Podchaser, Fixer, FactoryFix, and PartySlate. Before that, she worked at Silver Spring Networks (now Itron), an IoT company for critical infrastructure, driving development and pilot projects for emerging smart city technology. She began her career as a consultant at Accenture in the Business & Technology practice, focused on ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and SaaS enablement projects.
She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Starting Block Madison and Chicago:Blend and a Venture Partner at Republic.
Jackie holds a B.S. with honors in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.