Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Trust Center will be closed until further notice. Please connect with our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence via our online Orbit platform.
Raising the Bar — Impacting Students
EIRs are highly experienced professionals who have worked in numerous startups and are looking to share that experience with MIT students. EIRs focus on educating, mentoring, and coaching aspiring entrepreneurs on the challenges surrounding startup life.
Elaine is an educator and a corporate entrepreneurship consultant. A native of Hong Kong, Elaine moved to the US to study engineering at MIT – eventually building a career as a technology entrepreneur. Her rich experience includes serving at the VP level of 6 companies, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote and SensAble Technologies. She has brought numerous high tech products to market and holds 22 patents.
Since early 2011, Elaine has been working with students as a Senior Lecturer and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. She teaches entrepreneurship and corporate entrepreneurship, coaches students on a one-on-one basis, and develops systems and processes to support and scale student entrepreneurial ventures. She built the Trust Center’s First Time Founder Knowledge Base from the ground up. She was instrumental in the development of Orbit, a one-stop-shop portal for MIT student entrepreneurs. She also serves on the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. In June 2016, Elaine received the Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring from MIT. In 2017, she was selected by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the Lemelson Foundation to serve as one of eight Invention Ambassadors for 2017-2018.
Elaine has leveraged her extensive experience in higher education, startup leadership, and high tech product development to build Conceptspring, a corporate entrepreneurship consulting business. Conceptspring helps leaders make their organization more entrepreneurial by providing innovation enablement consulting and entrepreneurial training services. Clients span diverse industries, including healthcare IT, industrial automation, robotics, consumer electronics, retail innovation, FinTech, government and more.
Elaine is a thought leader, author and keynote speaker who has been featured in Xconomy, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Forbes and Fortune. She is the author of the book, “Bringing a Hardware Product to Market: Navigating the Wild Ride from Concept to Mass Production”. She covers topics spanning corporate innovation and entrepreneurship, technology trends and more. Her recent speaking engagements include speaking about corporate entrepreneurship at an innovation symposium in Paris; discussing innovation at a conference on Public-Private Partnership hosted by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and delivering a keynote address for an International Tourism Innovation Conference in Portugal. She has extensive international experience, particularly in the Asia-Pacific area.
Elaine holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Trish Cotter is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MIT and Director of MIT delta v, the Institute’s educational accelerator program run out of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship where she mentors students through the accelerator process for their start-up ventures. In addition, she is a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management on topics related to entrepreneurship.
Prior to MIT, Trish was an executive at IBM after they acquired Netezza (a data analytics provider) in 2010 for $1.8B. She was the President Netezza LLC, SVP of Operations and a company officer at Netezza. Prior to Netezza, she was the VP of Manufacturing and a company officer at Visual Networks; a company she helped take public in 1998. Trish has a background in engineering, and has held various engineering and management positions at Honeywell, Computervision, Sun Microsystems and Stratus.
Trish has earned a BA in Business Administration from Boston College, an MBA from Northeastern University, an AMP from Harvard Business School, and a M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her doctorate in work-based learning at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, she thought it might be interesting for the next chapter of her life to merge two of my passions – education and entrepreneurship – which have come together nicely at MIT.
Kit Hickey is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Kit is co-founder of Ministry of Supply, which is a pioneer in fashion’s performance-professional category. The company uses technology and advanced manufacturing to reinvent what people wear to work. Ministry of Supply has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and on the TODAY Show. While at the company, Kit led and build out numerous high performing teams, including Customer, Revenue, E-Commerce, and Retail. As Chief Retail Officer, Kit spearheaded the company’s expansion into retail, opened 10 stores, managed a team of 50, and conceptualized and developed the company’s revolutionary 3-D print-knit experience. In this innovative store experience, customers could design and create blazers on demand, which are then 3-D printed in the retail store, changing the conversation on traditional retail supply chain, manufacturing, sustainability, and customer experience.
Prior to Ministry of Supply, Kit started a nonprofit which helped entrepreneurs in emerging markets gain access to financing. The nonprofit merged with BiD Network, a Netherlands-based company with a similar mission. Before that, she worked in investment banking, where she advised early-stage companies raising Series A and Series B funding.
Kit teaches two to three entrepreneurship classes per year at MIT. She is the lead instructor for “Building an Entrepreneurial Venture: Advanced Tools and Techniques,” one of the most advanced classes offered for entrepreneurial teams. She also teaches “Dilemmas in Founding New Ventures,” which she designed in order to teach students who will start or join startups about the people issues and organizational challenges that innovative entrepreneurial ventures face.
Kosta Ligris is an experienced entrepreneur, and the founder of the Ligris family of companies, a collection of professional services, real estate, consulting, and tech companies. Under his leadership, the Ligris companies have grown to become one of the largest residential conveyancing and transactional firms in Massachusetts. Along with its affiliated title agencies, ACES Title – the Ligris companies have overseen over $40 billion of real estate matters in the last decade, consistently placing them as the top agents for the country’s largest title insurance underwriters in New England.
Kosta is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New York and the United States Federal Court for the First District. He has been recognized as a real estate “Super Lawyer” for seven consecutive years (2012-2018). Kosta has represented and performed consulting services for some of the nation’s largest banks and real estate companies and has developed real estate in the Greater Boston markets for over a decade. Kosta develops systems, protocols and technology to create greater efficiency, security, compliance, and oversight in the real estate and title/settlement industry. He has served as strategic advisor to Compass and on the advisor board of Stewart Title. Kosta also advises & teaches for real estate companies in all verticals of real estate in innovation, strategy, technology, legal, compliance and other matters, including NRT New England and many others. He also mentors, advises, and invests in startups in fintech, “real-estate tech” or “Proptech”, and blockchain – disrupting the real estate and title insurance verticals. He has written about innovation in real estate for several national industry publications including the M Report in a feature entitle “The Scramble for Innovation.”
Kosta is the co-founder of Escrow Mint, a mobile platform to move real estate deposits onto a secure digital platform for real estate agents and brokerage companies. He is currently developing Stavvy – a digital real estate SaaS platform for closing and settlement of commercial and residential real estate credit products.
Kosta has been a mentor at MIT’s Leadership Center and has researched corporate engagement with MIT’s Innovation Initiative based in Kendall Square. He is passionate and has written about culture in the workplace and using tools to mitigate anxiety and stress for busy executives and professionals. When he is not practicing his amateur photography skills, he is an active philanthropist, serving various boards benefiting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, to name a couple.
Kosta holds a B.S. in Physiology and Chemistry from Boston University, a J.D. with honors from Suffolk University Law School (where he serves on the Dean’s Cabinet and the Alumni Board of Directors), and an M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Brint Markle is a part-time Entrepreneur in Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a Guest Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Brint is an experienced technology entrepreneur, founder, and executive with expertise spanning commercialization of B2C software platforms, B2B SaaS, digital ecosystems, and connected devices. Brint enjoys helping aspiring entrepreneurs across the MIT ecosystem and is intimately familiar with the challenges and pitfalls along the way.
As a technology entrepreneur, Brint founded two platform businesses in the outdoor industry, Mountain Hub, a crowdsourced information network for the outdoors, and Avatech, a pioneer in proactive avalanche safety. Under Brint’s leadership, Mountain Hub grew its digital audience to 100,000+ within 3 years, was ranked the #1 Outdoor Company to Work For in Utah by Outside Magazine in 2016, and was recognized as One of the Top 10 Apps in the Outdoors by Backpacker Magazine. Brint led Mountain Hub from inception through its acquisition by Mammut Sports Group AG in July 2018. Avatech’s proactive avalanche safety technology was twice awarded Top 100 Innovation of the Year by Popular Science and Gear of the Year by National Geographic Adventurer. Brint is also Co-Founder of the Drawdown Fund which invests growth equity in catalytic businesses that are transforming the food & agriculture, sustainable cities, and energy sectors while contributing to reverse global warming.
Early in his career, Brint led strategic planning at Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), an impact investment group that provides capital and business assistance for promising frontier market small-medium size enterprises. Before SEAF, Brint was a Senior Associate Consultant at Bain & Company where he worked in the US, Switzerland, Germany and Spain on general strategy and private equity projects spanning consumer products, technology, banking, telecom, and energy sectors.
Outside of work, Brint is an adventurer and lover of mountains and enjoys ski mountaineering, backpacking, & mountain biking. Brint earned his MBA from MIT Sloan where he focused on entrepreneurship and technological innovation as an Anderson Fellow and holds a BA in Public Policy & Economics from Duke University.
Dip Patel is CTO of Soluna, a company that aims to build computer centers powered by clean and renewable energy sources. Prior to this, Dip co-founded and sold Ecovent, the only intelligent home zoning system that delivers complete room-by-room climate control through easy-to-install, self-configuring sensors and vents. Dip devised the idea of Ecovent and launched the company in 2013, while earning his MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management. Over the course of 5 years Ecovent went from idea to successful product launch! Prior to that Dip spent eight years at Lockheed Martin working in engineering, program management, and sales for its radar, electronic warfare, submarine and ballistic missile defense programs. In addition to his MBA, he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and his Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Dip lives near the water with his awesome wife Sandy and dog Pi, you can find his place by following the scent of delicious barbecue.
Will is a scrappy and agile entrepreneur driven by the ability of technology-powered innovation to create impact at the scale of civilization. He has extensive experience founding, leading, and operating boot-strapped and venture-backed technology ventures. Will has deep domain knowledge in topics such as complex product development, team-building, deal structuring, financing, intellectual property strategy and portfolio management, licensing, government grants and contracts, joint development agreements, and contract negotiations.
In 2010, Will co-founded CoolChip Technologies, an MIT spinout commercializing proprietary electronics cooling technologies. As CEO, Will was responsible for overall operations across the U.S., China, Japan, and Taiwan, including supply chain management, business and corporate development, research & development, and strategic partnerships. CoolChip was a Techstars and Highway1 alum, and Massachusetts Clean Energy and Founders Fund portfolio company.
Prior to CoolChip, Will was a researcher and teaching instructor at MIT. While at MIT, Will co-founded Vecarius, Inc., a startup aiming to address energy efficiency in various commercial and military applications. He has also held positions at Telefonica and the CIA.
Will earned B.Sc., M.Eng., and Ph.D. degrees from MIT, and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Relativity6