Enhancing Startup Success

Success should not depend on geography, gender, ethnicity, or social background. Let's spread the genome of thriving startup ecosystems. Everywhere.

In a technology-fueled global economy, our mission is to support forward-looking regions to catalyze their startup ecosystems. Our impact is rooted in over a decade of independent research with data on over a million companies across 150 cities. Working side-by-side with more than 300 partner organizations and global thought leaders, our frameworks have become instrumental in building foundations for startups to grow. Our efforts earned us the Research Champions award at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2019. Now, our focus is to help develop ecosystems through data-driven strategies.

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 JF has founded five businesses in two continents, with two successful exits, two ongoing, and one miserable failure, a source of much learning. He is also an active angel investor, founder of a coworking space, and an adviser to VCs on investment decisions.

He started in banking, and then moved to tech strategy and corporate innovation, advising IBM, Cisco, Agilent/HP, J&J, Abbott, and others, for the firm of Kim Clark, former Dean of Harvard Business School, alongside Clayton Christensen and other thought-leaders. JF has an MBA from Harvard.

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).

Arnobio Morelix

Chief Innovation Officer

Arnobio focuses on ecosystem assessment, especially within Deep Tech and Life Sciences IP production. Arnobio has worked for the Kauffman Foundation, where he created the Growth Entrepreneurship Index and the Main Street Entrepreneurship Index, hailed as the “bible of entrepreneurship trends” by The Huffington Post and used by senators, governors, city leaders, Fortune 500 companies, and the White House.

His work has been covered in The New York Times, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal. He also serves data science-focused appointments at Inc. Magazine and Stanford University.

Tricia Whitlock

Chief Operations Officer

Tricia runs Startup Genome’s Impact Insights program. Most recently she led communications at the BridgeCommunity corporate commercialization accelerator and helped Georgia State University expand their entrepreneurial efforts. 

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

Laís de Oliveira

Director of Community Development

Laís creates value through meaningful connections. She started Hacking Communities to decode thriving communities (book to be released in 2019). Prior to this, she was Director at Startup Grind for Africa and Asia Pacific, where she helped kickstart over 80 chapters in the region, while also helping develop startup programs for the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre. 

In 2016, she sold her first company (8Spaces) to FlySpaces, Southeast Asia's largest marketplace for commercial real estate.

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.

Patricia Russ

Business Development Manager

Patricia is focused on the growth and impact of Startup Genome’s acceleration and development globally. She is a fresh graduate from the University of Oxford, where she obtained an MBA degree. Previously, Patricia worked for the World Economic Forum and United Nations trade organization International Trade Centre, where she focused on “Tech for Impact”, managing large-scale innovative technology projects in partnership with governments, SMEs and startups in emerging economies.

Patricia is also a mentor of the Cherie Blair Foundation, she co-founded the Lake Geneva Chapter of Lean-In, won a Westerwelle Young Leaders Award and held scholarships of Oxford’s Jesus college and Naumann Foundation.

Adam Bregu

Business Development Manager

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.

Pranav Arya


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.

Global Partners

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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.