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 five continents in 38 countries to date, Startup Genome is the top research and policy advisory organization for governments 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 over a million companies across 150 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).

Arnobio Morelix

Chief Innovation Officer

Arnobio leads a global team researching and advising governments and private organizations in over 30 countries to help them boost their economies through entrepreneurship. Previously, he worked at 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.

Arnobio’s work has been featured widely in national and global media, including the New York Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. He is a frequent public speaker and has presented at South by Southwest, Facebook, the Federal Reserve Bank, and many others. Arnobio also serves data science-focused appointments at Inc. Magazine and Stanford University.

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.

Michal Rozynek

Director of Research

Curious, effective and well-rounded strategic advisor, and complex programme manager with 9 years of experience in strategy, growth and go-to-market gained by leading teams advising global financial services companies, mentoring startups and launching new products and ventures.

A researcher turned consultant and part-time investor - passionate about understanding and addressing the challenges and opportunities that technology-enabled innovation brings to society and businesses.

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.

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.

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


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.

Farshad Fahimi

Lead Data Scientist & Machine Learning Expert

Consulted and worked with several large companies in Germany and UK, publishing 3 patents and earning 1MM GBP in R&D grants. Experience in machine learning data infrastructure, data mining and business intelligence, with academic background and with pragmatic/business approach to problem solving. He is passionate about valuation, forecasting, and game theory.

Expertise in machine learning, data science, BI, DWH, Python, C++

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.