Enhancing Startup Ecosystem Performance

Data-driven insights provide local innovation policy leaders clarity, momentum, and a strategy to help them focus their actions

With more than 100 clients across six continents in 40+ countries to date, Startup Genome is the world-leading research and policy advisory organization for public and private agencies committed to accelerating the success of their startup ecosystem. Our mission and impact are rooted in more than a decade of independent research with data on 1.5 million companies over 250+ cities.

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. He is the world’s leading voice in innovation ecosystem development, having advised more than 100 governments and private-public partnerships across 35 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 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. Harvard MBA.

Marc Penzel

Founder & President

Marc is Founder and President, leading global growth and impact. Prior to founding Startup Genome, he co-led the startup ecosystem development unit at Silicon Valley-based Startup Compass. At PwC, KPMG, and Bayer Group’s internal management consultancy, Marc advised top executives across various sectors.

He also founded a nonprofit organization to catalyze social innovation and was appointed Expert in Entrepreneurship, IT and Future of Economic Progress by the World Economic Forum. In 2017, his work to develop startup ecosystems everywhere has led him to receive a U.S. Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability.

Stephan Kuester

Head of Ecosystem Strategy

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 UK 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 Whitlock

Chief Operations 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.

Adam Bregu

Director of Business Development & Partnerships

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.

Malavika Kumaran

Director of Research & Policy

Malavika leads the research team to help our global partners develop evidence-based innovation policies and catalyze their regional startup ecosystems.

Malavika has an Honours B.Sc in Economics from the University of Toronto, and has experience in analytics, product management, and data governance. Previously, she worked at MaRS Discovery District, North America's largest urban innovation hub, leading research in the areas of inclusive innovation and the future of work.


Rahul Chatterjee

Director of Operations

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

Senior Consultant

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.

Dr. Farshad Fahimi

Lead Data Scientist & Machine Learning Expert

Most recently Dr. Farshad Fahimi served as the Co-Founder and CTO of SOL RA, a data agency which partnered with Data Virtuality and served clients such as käuferportal. His degrees include Control and Systems, Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, with a BSc. from Iran University of Science and Technology and PhD. from Institute of Industrial Research.

During postgraduate studies, he published patents on energy, failure prediction and high performance computing, and served as principal investigator and technical lead on four innovation and research grants. Dr. Fahimi started his first venture and managed his fund in UK horse betting markets using principles of AI and High Frequency Trading.



Ethan Webster

Innovation Policy Specialist

Ethan specializes in offering key insights and recommendations for governments and ecosystems globally. He closely engages with our 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 a MA from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He has also worked with Scottish Parliament, US Congress and the Texas House of Representatives specializing in multilevel governance and international trade and finance.


Sama Siddiqui

Member Relationship Lead

Sama is the primary liaison between Startup Genome and the 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 Research team she provided research, analytical, and communication support across multiple projects including the production and launch of the annual Global Startup Ecosystem Reports.


Global Partners

Contact Us

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.