Vision. Leadership. Collaboration. The Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program is a centerpiece of the Trust Center. Here, accomplished business leaders advise students on the challenges—and benefits—of startup life, stoking passions and propelling a culture of innovation. Each EIR brings a vast body of knowledge and singular work experiences to their role.

No matter which EIR they speak to, our students are guaranteed to receive something only the Trust Center can provide at MIT: personalized, professional advice focused solely on what is in the best interest of their venture in its current stage.

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Paul Cheek

Follow Paul on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and at his personal website.

Paul Cheek is a serial tech entrepreneur, software engineer, and the Hacker in Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

Paul is currently building Oceanworks, the global marketplace for recycled ocean plastic materials and products aimed at accelerating the market for recycled ocean plastic to clean-up the ocean. Prior, Paul co-founded Work Today, a venture-backed digital staffing and recruiting company. As CTO, he designed and built the company’s technology platform and grew the business from 0 to 50,000 workers. Previously, Paul co-founded Tab Technologies where he invented multi-user credit card payments and built the company’s software infrastructure to handle complex, real-time payment transaction routing and processing.

Paul has also built technologies for and consulted with LogMeIn, BlackRock, Prudential, Mazda, and more. Paul was a Kairos Society Fellow and a mentor for entrepreneurs in Startup Bootcamp and the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund.

Kit Hickey

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 TimesFast CompanyWall 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.

Jenny Larios Berlin

Jenny Larios Berlin is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Martin Trust and a Lecturer at MIT Sloan.

Jenny was the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer for Optimus Ride, an MIT spinout, whose mission was to deploy inside of geofenced communities safe, sustainable, and equitable autonomous mobility solutions through shared and electric vehicle fleets.

Before getting acquired by Magna, a global innovator in mobility technology, Optimus Ride deployed operations in California, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, Virginia, and New York, growing business operations to over 200 employees and fundraising over $75M in venture capital. It was featured in multiple news outlets, including the New York Times.

Jenny also partnered with others in the MIT community to co-found and advise limeSHIFT, another MIT spinout. limeSHIFT is a socially-driven creative agency, working at the intersection of business, community, and art. Taking a bootstrapped approach, it quickly realized revenue by partnering with organizations like Life is Good, Yale School of Management, and YouTube to implement socially engaged art.

Prior to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Jenny was entrenched in the car sharing technology industry, leading operations teams at Zipcar, Flexcar, and Hertz. At Zipcar, she scaled their university campus program and, as National Member Services Manager, was responsible for all service operations in all Zipcar cities worldwide.

She earned her bachelor’s at the University of Maryland, College Park, and two master’s – an MBA from MIT Sloan and a master’s in City Planning from the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.

Jenny has a background in public private partnerships and incorporating new business concepts or leading edge technologies to create businesses that improve everyday living. She is passionate about positively impacting the way people engage with themselves and the world around them, and is excited to bring these skills to the Trust Center.

Kosta Ligris

Follow Kosta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Kosta Ligris is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

He came to MIT as an experienced entrepreneur and was the founder of the Ligris family of companies, a collection of professional services, real estate, consulting, and tech companies. Along with its affiliated title agencies, ACES Title – the Ligris companies have overseen over $70 billion of real estate matters during his leadership.

Kosta is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New York, Washington D.C., and the United States Federal Court for the First District. He has been recognized as a real estate “Super Lawyer” for ten consecutive years (2012-2021). 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.

Kosta 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 entitled “The Scramble for Innovation” and is often quoted discussing “Responsible Innovation” – the responsibility to ensure that innovation in fintech doesn’t create new obstacles to credit and financial services to the underrepresented.

Kosta is now the co-founder of Stavvy a venture backed digital transaction platform providing lenders, their vendors and other organizations with eSign, remote notary and identity solutions to provide for safer, more transparent digital transactions.

Kosta has been a mentor at MIT’s Leadership Center & Sandbox Innovation Fund 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 as a University Trustee), and an M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Susan Neal

Susan Neal is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Trust Center.

She is an entrepreneur and senior executive with over 20 years of experience in eCommerce/digital, marketing, technology, and product development. In the role of CEO/co-founder, she led the launch, growth, and sale of ATACAMA, a revolutionary 3D microfluidics technology company with product applications in the apparel, healthcare, and CPG industries.

Prior to that, she held positions with increasing responsibility in two publicly-traded companies. As the EVP of Marketing, eCommerce, and Information Technology at Tailored Brands, a $2.5+ billion specialty retailer of men’s apparel (includes the Men’s Wearhouse, Jos A Banks, and Moores), Susan was responsible for strategy and the rapid revenue growth of its eCommerce operations and digital transformation. Before Tailored Brands, she was at Gymboree, a US-based children’s apparel manufacturer and retailer, where she held a variety of senior level positions overseeing eCommerce and Digital Marketing, International, and Business Development. Susan grew Gymboree’s eCommerce business from inception to $150 million in revenue.

An experienced leader, strategic thinker, and driver of digital growth and transformation, Susan holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.  She has served on multiple boards, including Shop.org, the online retailing division of the U.S. National Retail Federation. Susan loves time with her family, including discovering great restaurants, running, and hiking – summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2017!

Daniela Ruiz Massieu

Daniela Ruiz Massieu is a visiting scholar at the Martin Trust Center.

She is an Associate Professor at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), where she teaches Entrepreneurial Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Business Model Innovation. She conducts research and writes business cases on venture capital, entrepreneurship, and startup valuation in Latin America. Daniela also heads EPIC Lab, ITAM’s Center for Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, where she is responsible for designing strategic initiatives and educational programs that provide entrepreneurs with the skills to create and scale their business ideas. Daniela served as the Director of ITAM’s undergraduate Business Program and co-designed three Executive Programs: Angel Investment Program, New Venture Creation, and Social Entrepreneurship. Daniela actively serves as a speaker, mentor, and jury in different entrepreneurial initiatives.

Prior to ITAM, her professional experience includes working as a financial analyst at Banco Santander and Standard & Poor’s, and co-founding a furniture retail business in Mexico City where she was responsible for the financing and investment activities.

She currently serves in the Management Board of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and in the Board of Directors of Kimberly-Clark de Mexico (KCM), a publicly listed leading consumer product company.

Daniela earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from ITAM, an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), and a PhD in Business from Oklahoma State University (OSU).

Ben Soltoff

Ben Soltoff is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) and the Ecosystem-Builder in Residence at the Martin Trust Center.

He is a systems thinker who is passionate about exploring how new ideas, technologies, and business models can address the world’s most pressing problems, particularly climate change and other environmental challenges.

Ben wears many hats at the Trust Center. He’s the point person for all things climate tech; he manages a partnership between Boston and Texas to train entrepreneurs tackling the energy transition; he coordinates our relationship with the Queensland University of Technology in Australia; and he leads the delta v accelerator, the capstone entrepreneurial experience for students at MIT.

Prior to joining MIT, Ben was the Environmental Innovation Manager at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) and the Environmental Innovation Fellow at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY). In that dual role, he helped students to design, build, and launch environmental solutions.

He has been part of several environmentally relevant startups, ranging from a social enterprise in Mexico installing off-grid solar energy, to a hardware company in Silicon Valley building energy-efficient ovens that cook with light. He has also worked on international climate policy at World Resources Institute in Washington, DC, as well as at grassroots climate resilience initiatives in rural India.

Ben holds dual master’s degrees from the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of the Environment, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University.

In his spare time, he likes to make climate fiction, animal sculptures, and bad jokes.

George Whitfield

George is a serial entrepreneur with three degrees from MIT: BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and an MEng and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. As an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Trust Center, George is excited to help build future generations of entrepreneurs, drawing upon his experiences in innovation-driven entrepreneurship, engineering, and student life.

George’s interdisciplinary career spans computational aspects of e-commerce, FinTech, robotics, transportation, renewable energy, and nanotechnology. Today, George is the Co-Founder and CEO of FindOurView, which is extracting insights from consumer reviews and conversations to help companies do product research, using AI and machine learning. George envisions building on this work to drive mutual understanding across society.

Prior to FindOurView, George was Director of Simulation at Nucleus Scientific, where he joined as an early employee and helped grow the company by 10x in size over the course of seven years, working on electric vehicles. While in the PhD program at MIT, George co-founded and was CEO of SunPoint, a solar tracking company that won the MIT Making and Designing Materials Engineering Competition and the Renewables Track of the MIT Clean Energy Prize. George also co-founded Socially Conscious Software to build mobile apps in the early days of the iPhone app store.

George was a co-instructor at MEFTI, the MIT Entrepreneurship and FinTech Integrator held at the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node. He served as a co-instructor, advisor, and mentor at Station1 Socially Directed Science and Technology. George was also a guest lecturer in MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department on numerical simulation. George is a recipient of the John Wulff Award for Excellence in Education, and Community Service Award from the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering. George is also the author of four issued and three pending patents related to novel actuators and software control technologies. While a student, George served as President of the MIT Graduate Materials Council and a competitor on the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club.

Follow George on LinkedIn

Past EIRs

Carly Chase

VP, Career Business Franchise, US News & World Report
Director, MIT delta v & NYC Startup Studio
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan

Christina Chase

Co-founder & Managing Director, MIT Sports Lab
Lecturer, MIT EECSMechE
Co-founder & CEO, Firehoze

Elaine Chen

Director, Tufts Entrepreneurship Ctr.
Professor of the Practice, Tufts
Founder & Managing Director, ConceptSpring

Elliot Cohen

Co-founder & CTO, PillPack
Co-founder, Hacking Medicine at MIT
Co-founder, Corengi

Trish Cotter

President, Netezza Corp.
Software Executive, IBM
VP Manufacturing, Visual Networks
Board Member, YW Boston

Joshua Forman

Founder & Chief Product Officer, Confer Health
Co-founder & VP of Product, Inkling

Sorin Grama

Founder & CTO, Promethean Power Systems
Co-founder, Greentown Labs

Ben Israelite

Senior Manager, Business Development, Okta
Director of Business Development, Nutonian

R. Colin Kennedy

Product Manager, Sonos
Product Management, Western Digital
Lab Partner, Rebula MTB

Donna Levin

CEO, Blank School for Ent. Leadership, Babson
Executive Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, WPI
Co-founder, Care.com

Brint Markle

Co-founder & CEO, Avatech
Co-founder & CEO, Mountain Hub
Director of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Lucid

Nick Meyer

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Relativity6
Entrepreneur in Residence, The Rattle Collective

Dip Patel

CTO, Soluna
Co-founder, Ecovent

Will Sanchez

Tech Entrepreneur, Venture Partner, & Mentor
Co-founder & CEO, CoolChip Technologies