​​BK Bhate

Background

Building is my passion, I love to create things, and I thrive on helping others build innovative ventures. My life's ambition is to be able to build a better world through technology. I am currently the CEO of an IT software development company. I help clients stretch their imagination and build the impossible. My goal is to be able to take my company public, it's a long journey and hence I have joined Build @ Booth as a co-chair.

Ask Me About

Hiring and Scaling the company with the right culture, Immigration, Building a team in India/US, Outsourcing, Technology.

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC

Being an active entrepreneur allows me to tap into various facets of Entrepreneurship. I have applied to Y-combinator and went through the startup school so I understand a bit about VC, Accelerators and Angel investors. I have built various pitch decks, and have ample knowledge on being rejected.

Fun Fact

I have travelled from San Francisco to New York in a Tesla. I love driving, and enjoy working on cars.

Favorite recent books or podcast

Zero to One by Peter Thiel is my all-time favorite book about building ventures. and recently I have read Measure What Matters by John Doer. In fiction, I enjoyed the Crazy Rich Asian series. I like this American life podcast.

Batchimeg Ganbaatar

Background - I launched in Fall 2019 evening program with concentrations in Entrepreneurship, Finance, and International Business. I currently manage corporate sponsorships at The Boeing Company. Previously, I worked at Publicis Groupe agencies running marketing campaigns on behalf of Airbnb, Twitter, KraftHeinz, Allstate, and LIDL as well as helped win new clients including Visa and Red Bull.

“Ask me about” -  VCIC, PE/VC Lab, NVC, SNVC, and any other acronyms with VC in it

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - Booth has been a great sandbox for me to try all aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. I have supported few local funds including Lofty Ventures and Gen 1 Ventures. I have also been involved in a smart home, fintech, and social impact tech startups. I continue to be involved in the ecosystem through events and community engagement. I'm looking forward to TA-ing VC Lab course with Professor Heltzer this academic year.

Fun fact - I am a self-taught balloon animal artist

Favorite recent book or podcast - Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman

Connor Anderson

Background - I was born at a young age (ode to Professor Bunch), grew up in Northern IL and went to Illinois State for undergrad where I earned a Marketing degree with a specialization in Professional Sales. Spent ~4 years as a territory manager for a construction building supplies company before transitioning into the tech sales world. Started at Booth in the Fall of 2020 and currently enrolled in classes 7 & 8. In my free time, love staying active via Crossfit, golf, boating, and pretty much anything else outside!

“Ask me about” - SNVC (participated in my 2nd quarter at Booth).  Otherwise, selling! While there are certainly nuances to each, selling product, interviewing, recruiting employees, seeking funding, etc are all forms of sales in my opinion and is an area I love to share what knowledge & expertise I’ve amassed thus far in my career.

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - Started at Chicago-based tech startup Tock in early 2019 when the company was around 40 employees. Got an inside view of scaling a tech startup through multiple rounds of funding, 3xing size, & eventual $400M acquisition by Squarespace. Currently looking for roles within early-stage startups to leverage this experience related to sales, business development, & go-to-market strategy.

Fun fact - Knocked out a 50mi backpacking trip in Olympic National Park last year!

Favorite recent book or podcast - Fooled by Randomness by Nasim Taleb, Start With Why by Simon Sinek, and am a fan of the All-In Podcast as well as Booth’s own Matt Castellini’s podcast, Chicago Capital.

Megan Russell

Background - I was raised in the Western suburbs of Chicago and went to Vanderbilt University for undergrad. There I studied the intersections of medicine, population health and sociology as well as corporate strategy. I went on to work in hospital operations consulting for four years and was exposed to many of the inefficiencies of U.S. healthcare delivery. Wanting to work in a more innovative capacity, I joined a young consulting team at Strata Decision Technology and now work on developing and scaling healthcare finance services solutions. I launched at Booth in Summer 2020. In my free time I love to travel, walk along the lakefront with my puppy, and explore the Chicago restaurant scene.

“Ask me about” - Healthcare, creating an investment thesis, leveraging the Booth entrepreneurial network, planning a trip to Nashville, my puppy Charlie (or puppy training), wine, skiing

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - I am active in Booth, Polsky entrepreneurship and healthcare scenes. I love learning about innovation within healthcare and life sciences.

Fun fact - I've hiked rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon

Favorite recent book or podcast - I rarely miss an episode of The Daily, The Journal and 9-to-5

Javier Castañeda

Background - I grew up in Miami, son of two Cuban immigrants, with two older sisters. Wanting to experience some weather change and go to one of the better Engineering schools out there, I went to Purdue for my Undergrad in Civil Engineering. I initially had thought I wanted to be an engineer and design/build bridges, stadiums, trains, subways, and cities. After several internships and one year of work after undergrad I realized the day to day was not for me. I pivoted to sales in a Medical Device startup called NeurOptics where there were only about a dozen employees at the time. I was the Midwest Territory Sales Manager for about 6.5 years where I covered about 7 states. I recently transitioned to tech sales for a Startup in Chicago called NowPow. I have been living in Chicago the last 6 years.

“Ask me about” - Sales, getting rejected, what effective leadership and culture look like and feel like at StartUps, getting kicked out of hospitals, what Healthcare professionals truly want, my favorite places in the Midwest as a nonnative, and my thoughts on sports.

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - I was a member of an NVC team in 2020, worked for two different Startups and am looking to learn more about the business fundamentals. I am looking to get connected with both Entrepreneurs and investors to grow my network and learn from the best.

Fun fact - I have tried Stand Up comedy in high school and done a few open mic nights in Chicago.

Favorite recent book or podcast - “Never split the Difference” by Chris Voss and “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

Hyder Arain

Background - Hi I’m Hyder. I’m from the southwest suburbs of Chicago where I grew up. My undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I’ve worked in a few different engineering, product, and project management roles. I am now the manager of Global Business Intelligence at Progress Rail, a division of Caterpillar that manufactures locomotives and rail infrastructure. I launched here at Booth in Fall 2020.

Ask Me About - Industrial automation, data science/engineering, AI/ML, manufacturing, innovating at a big company, race cars, mountain biking

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - While in engineering school some friends and I founded a company called STEMfunder, a platform for empowering student STEM projects through crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. One of my co-founders was a Booth student and we participated in the Social New Venture Challenge in 2014. I contribute to the Next Gen Investors program at Gen1VC. I recently launched RS Project Lab (rsprojectlab.com), creating locally engineered and manufactured specialty automotive parts for enthusiasts. Currently looking for new projects to collaborate on.

Fun Fact - In my spare time I’m a high-performance driving instructor and enjoy teaching people how to drive fast.

Favorite recent books or podcast - AIQ by Nick Polson, Face Value by Alexander Todorov, Chicago Capital, The a16z podcast

Ashish Agarwal

Background - I grew up in New Delhi, India and came to the US to pursue a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since completing my PhD, I have worked in several R&D roles in Fortune 500 companies including Ecolab, Bosch and Syngenta. My passion is to apply innovative solutions to problem solving.

After 10 years in Chicago, I continue to discover various parts of the city. I enjoy touring with my wife and daughter and we end up sampling different cuisines from new and upcoming restaurants in the city.

"Ask Me About" - Failures in Entrepreneurship, Formula 1

Involvement in Entrepreneurship/VC - I have pursued various forms of Entrepreneurship since Grade 6 where me and my friends were caught selling handwritten newsletters. After that, in Undergrad, I tried emulating Michael Dell by assembling and selling PCs. In Grad school, there were many good ideas but were limited to Entrepreneurship competitions. In my professional career, I worked in a corporate intrapreneur environment, developing technical solutions on shoe-string budgets. I continue to tinker with ideas and concepts. At Chicago Booth, I am engaged with the community through Dashfire, Gen1VC and George Schultz Innovation Fund program.

Fun Fact - I have driven to the largest glacier accessible by car which involves driving over a single lane wooden bridge.

Favorite recent books or podcast - Nudge by Richard Thaler