Enhancing Startup Ecosystem Performance

Data-driven insights provide local innovation policy leaders clarity, momentum, and a strategy to help them focus their actions
Startup Genome is the world-leading innovation ecosystem development organization, having worked with more than 160 economic and innovation ministries and public/private agencies in over 55 countries. We work to catalyze startup success and ecosystem growth and ensure that all cities and countries capture their fair share of the new economy. Our evidence-based ecosystem research, advisory, and scaleup programs are rooted in global experience with the world’s largest AI-curated startup dataset and proprietary instruments developed from over a decade of primary research.

Core Team

Our team brings together a combination of entrepreneurs, policy experts, data scientists, and community builders from all corners of the world.

JF Gauthier

Founder & CEO
Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Startup Genome, JF is the world’s leading voice in innovation ecosystem development, having advised more than 100 governments and agencies across 50 countries. He has founded five businesses and led others across two continents and three sectors (Tech, Life Sciences, and Cleantech), achieving two exits plus one growing at scaleup stage. 

He is also an active angel investor and previously worked in corporate innovation, advising IBM, Cisco, Agilent/HP, J&J, and Abbott for the firm of Kim Clark (former dean of Harvard Business School) alongside Clayton Christensen and other thought leaders. He holds a Harvard MBA.

Marc Penzel

Founder & President

Marc leads global growth and impact. He advises governments, scientific organizations, and venture-backed startups alike and is an appointed Expert in Entrepreneurship, IT and Future of Economic Progress by the World Economic Forum. 

Prior to founding Startup Genome, he co-led the startup ecosystem development unit at Silicon Valley-based Startup Compass (acquired by Sage). At PwC, KPMG, and Bayer Group’s internal management consultancy, Marc advised business executives across various sectors. He also founded a nonprofit organization to catalyze social innovation.

Stephan Kuester

Managing Partner

Stephan works with clients in government and private industry consortia all around the world, advising on the creation and the acceleration of tech and innovation clusters. Prior to his role at Startup Genome, Stephan headed up the International Consulting practice at U.K. ecosystem agency Tech Nation (fka Tech City UK) in London and served as Managing Director of digitalswitzerland.

Previous to his work in the digital ecosystems space, Stephan worked as an executive director for professional services firms Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. Stephan holds an MSc in Economics and studied at the University of Bonn, Germany and the London School of Economics (LSE).

Tricia Naik

Chief Operating Officer

Tricia runs operations and content at Startup Genome. Most recently she led communications and marketing at the BridgeCommunity corporate commercialization accelerator and helped Georgia State University expand their entrepreneurial efforts through opening an incubator and building a resource directory. 

Tricia previously served as the Director of Marketing at TechSquare Labs incubator and seed fund and kickstarted Hypepotamus as a publication — the largest tech blog in the Southeast U.S.

Mike Jackson

Chief Programs Officer

Mike leads on developing and delivering Startup Genome’s Hypergrowth Programs for cities and countries around the world using his experience as an exited entrepreneur himself, prolific angel investor, and advisor to governments and ecosystems.

Prior to this, Mike was Entrepreneur Success Director at U.K. Government funded Tech Nation, responsible for rolling out a U.K-wide network of scaling support programs for ambitious U.K. tech entrepreneurs through national growth stage and sector-specific programs including Upscale and Future Fifty, which forms the basis of the Hypergrowth programs.

Gary Oliver

Chief Commercialization Officer

Gary Oliver serves as Chief Commercialization Officer at Startup Genome Hypergrowth, helping to provide high-potential scaleups with the know-how and global network to rapidly become category leaders. Gary has over 30 years’ experience building early-stage, mid-size, and global technology companies. 

Prior to Startup Genome, Gary served as CEO of three Silicon Valley companies and executive chairman of two others. Gary led the IT Service Management business at Remedy with over 10,000 customer sites and a $1B exit, and was Senior Vice President at Visa, responsible for the company’s IT strategy and initiatives. Earlier in his career, Gary held sales, marketing, and executive roles at IBM including responsibility for IBM’s multi-billion dollar Data Management SW revenue. Gary is a graduate of UCLA and has served on multiple technology company and non-profit boards.

Hiro Nishiguchi

President, Startup Genome Japan

Hiro is a serial entrepreneur who has built and led several organizations. He held various leadership or executive positions at multiple organizations, including the World Bank Group, Mercer, and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ). He is currently the Managing Director of Global Entrepreneurship Network Japan and the President of Japan Bosai (Disaster Risk Reduction) Platform. 

He is a certified Innovation Management professional by the Swedish Research Institution, RISE. He graduated from Sophia University and Kellogg Management School at Northwestern University. He is a Professor at Sophia Future Design Planform at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Ravi Narayan

President, Startup Genome India

Ravi is a pioneer in the startup accelerator space and has helped build several startup ecosystems around the world. Since 2006, he has been helping startups in the Indian startup ecosystem through a fund called Mentor Partners. Ravi is a co-founder of Microsoft for Startups and established its presence in China, Israel, Europe, U.S., and India. As the CEO of T-Hub, he built the world’s largest innovation campus in Hyderabad. As the Chief Innovation Officer of Telangana state, he helped build a vibrant innovation ecosystem of social, rural, student, and women entrepreneurs in the state.

He is a seasoned business leader, mentor, investor, and serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience building high-performance teams that collaborate across various functions to execute for consistent results. He has taken several companies from startups through growth to exit, both in the U.S. and in India.

Dr. Christopher Haley

Head of Research

Chris is Head of Research at Startup Genome. He was formerly head of new technology and startup research at Nesta, the Innovation foundation, and, prior to that, worked for several years in university technology transfer and enterprise strategy. 

Chris has advisory roles with the U.K.’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship, the UK Intellectual Property Office and the ScaleUp Institute. He is a 'Startup Europe' Ambassador, a Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge, and a Senior Fellow at the Global Entrepreneurship Network. He also consults as a Senior Entrepreneurship Strategy Specialist at The World Bank. Chris previously helped run the Startup Europe Partnership, a pan-European program dedicated to promoting corporate-startup collaboration, and was part of the secretariat of the European Digital Forum dedicated to helping digital startups scale across Europe.

Adam Bregu

Head of Growth

Adam is focused on the growth and impact of Startup Genome’s acceleration and development globally. Previously, he worked in both the public and private sector across Australia and Europe, including Milan Government, European startup ecosystem projects, tech startups, as well as consulting. 

A strong education and research background from The University of Melbourne and Double Masters from Bocconi University lead to his passionate research on the analysis, mapping, and development of startup ecosystems.

Rahul Chatterjee

Director, Global Operations and Managing Director, Delhi

Rahul's primary focus is to ensure operational efficiency at Startup Genome, and he is also tasked with building and managing a knowledge hub in India. In a career spanning 18 years, Rahul has had varied experience spanning policy research, strategy consulting, business development, sales operations, and team building. 

His wealth of experience is drawn from companies ranging from the global Fortune 500 to national chambers of commerce to tech startups.

Pranav Arya

Sr. Director, Ecosystem Strategy

Pranav supports assessment and strategy formulation for ecosystems across the world. He works extensively with Startup Genome’s members and partners to drive the largest data collection project on startup ecosystems globally. Previously, Pranav was a Research Analyst at A.T. Kearney and supported the firm’s Private Equity and M&A practice. 

He has worked on projects spanning investment strategy development, due diligence, target screening, and synergy optimization.

Parshant Sharma

Director of Data Science

Parshant has been in data analysis for the past 10 years, six of which have been in Startup Genome’s Data Science team. He leads the team responsible for quantitative data infrastructure and analysis. This includes data on over three million companies, 280+ ecosystems, and survey data from more than 100,000 startup executives across the globe.

He brings a wealth of experience in working on GSER rankings and Ecosystem Assessments to the role. Prior to Startup Genome, Parshant had a Data Analytics role in a California-based SaaS company.

Sama Siddiqui

Director of Member Relations

Sama is the primary liaison between Startup Genome and its Members, and works closely with the implementation teams to ensure all deliverables are on track. She is the point person managing queries and connecting Members to one another to build a strong, integrated network of ecosystem developers. 

Previously, as part of the Startup Genome Research team, she provided research, analytical, and communication support across multiple projects including the production and launch of the annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report.

Liam Ward

Hypergrowth Programs Director

Liam is responsible for the building and delivery of Startup Genome's Hypergrowth Programs globally, which are currently live in Montreal, Canada, and Tokyo, Japan. Prior to Startup Genome, Liam was Head of Programmes at Tech Nation, responsible for the delivery of growth programs to 250 entrepreneurs from seed-Series B+, and leading Upscale, a program supporting Series A+ companies with their growth challenges. 

He also worked in Strategy and Operations for a FTSE 100 tech company and led programs for an innovation consultancy.

Forrest Wright

Research Assessment Lead

Prior to joining Startup Genome, Forrest worked as the Data Manager at the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), where he was responsible for data analysis, survey development, and content generation.

Forrest holds a MS degree in Information Science from Drexel University.

Ethan Webster

Manager, Ecosystem Research and Strategy

Ethan specializes in offering key insights and recommendations for governments and ecosystems globally. He closely engages with Startup Genome's clients to produce relevant and actionable policy roadmaps. 

Prior to joining Startup Genome, Ethan worked with the ESCP Business School studying startup ecosystem creation and success factors and holds an MA from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He has also worked with Scottish Parliament, U.S. Congress, and the Texas House of Representatives specializing in multilevel governance and international trade and finance.

Marina Krizman

Senior Business Development Specialist

Prior to joining Startup Genome, Marina was part of various marketing agencies and early-stage and scaling startups, helping win over and gain insights into customers.

Marina acquired and managed accounts for over 100 companies and co-founded a small video production company.

Franzis Walther

Manager, Operations & Communications

Franzis is in charge of events and public relations. She is a seasoned operations manager, bringing in over 10 years of experience in the media industry. 

Previously, she worked at the German Press Agency (dpa) and was involved in the production of several critically acclaimed movies, documentaries, and commercial campaigns. Franzis holds a degree in Communications from Berlin University of the Arts.

Anna Chadwell

Key Account Manager

Anna is a primary contact point for Startup Genome’s global membership in developing and creating maximum impact in their startup ecosystem. She oversees inquiries and cultivates connections, forging a robust, cohesive network of ecosystem developers.

In prior roles, Anna focused on business development, focused on building relationships with ecosystems and providing dedicated support to help them thrive.

Kelly Wolfgang

Content Manager

Kelly leads Startup Genome’s reports and content team, managing production of data-driven content on tech startup ecosystems. She has over ten years of experience in the publishing industry.

In prior roles, Kelly specialized in content creation and management across a variety of industries including a Fortune 50 telecommunications company and international medical journals. She holds degrees in English, Writing, and Publishing from Drexel University and a Master's degree in Organizational Psychology from Pennsylvania State University.

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Our data shows that collaboration is at the core of the fastest growing startup ecosystems. We work with organizations who understand that joining the global startup economy is key to driving innovation and spurring economic growth.