Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program Launches to Mentor Students

Thanks to the Center for Entrepreneurship, a new network of experienced leaders is graciously providing their time to serve as mentors for Hofstra students interested in the practical side of entrepreneurship. Their brief bios are below.

Hofstra’s Karla Schuster sums up this new program:

“Six accomplished entrepreneurs who have launched dozens of startups among them will be working with Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship this spring, mentoring students and helping them develop their ideas into successful companies.”

“The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program will provide training and assistance through interactive workshops on a variety of topics as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Accelerator program, including preparing a pitch and building a business without outside capital. The entrepreneurs also will keep regular office hours at the center’s IdeaHUb (Room 246 Axinn Library).”

“’The Center for Entrepreneurship is lucky to have assembled a world-class team of serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and investors who have tremendous experience to share with the community at Hofstra University,’ said Center Executive Director Mark Lesko. ‘Tapping into their experience and knowledge is an extraordinary opportunity for our students.’”

The Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are:

Aaron Foss

He is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with 5 companies under his belt. In 2011, he was a part of Techstars (NYC) with SideTour, a marketplace for unique experiences, which was acquired by Groupon in 2013. His current startup, Nomorobo, has stopped over 68 million unwanted and illegal robocalls from reaching consumers since launching in 2013. Nomorobo was chosen as the winner of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Robocall Challenge and named “Best New Product” by CableLabs. Aaron has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.
Kevin Hesselbirg

He is an experienced CEO in financial technology and an angel investor. He was the CEO of Primatics Financial, which addresses a financial institution’s most complex finance and risk challenges. Prior to joining Primatics, Hesselbirg spent 14 years at OpenLink Financial, where he served as CFO, COO, and CEO, growing the company from less than $20 million in revenues and 100 professionals to more than $325 million in revenues, a global team of 1,250 and 500 customers. He began his career at Ernst & Young LLP, where he ascended to the position of Audit Manager, providing both audit and business advice to high growth businesses primarily in the medical technology industry.
Peter Kestenbaum

He has worked with dozens of startups in the New York area, held similar Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions or adjunct roles at several universities including Montclair, Rutgers, and NJIT. He is Managing Partner of 1099Partners, a firm with ex-senior executives that services the emerging market space. He currently advises, coaches, or is an investor in eight local firms. Kestenbaum was an early employee (1983-1998) of Sun Microsystems and held a variety of positions. Earlier, he worked directly for or with people such as Eric Schmidt (currently Chairman at Google) and Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems. He also has held an advisor role to senior staff at IBM.
Jeff Leventhal

He is an experienced entrepreneur and CEO who has built market-moving companies. He has led technology firms from idea to exit, driving the vision, product, team development, financing, acquisitions, and exit strategies. His primary focus includes SaaS technology in IT services, staffing, and human capital. Most recently, he was Founder and CEO of Work Market, a SaaS enterprise platform for managing independent workers and freelancers. Previously, he was founder and CEO of OnForce (sold to Adecco), Lansafe Network Services, Remote Lojix (sold to AvTel), and Spinback (sold to Buddy Media/Salesforce.com). He has invested in several companies in which he has taken board and advisory roles.
Mike Quilty

He is a Managing Director at Saltaire Capital Partners, which invests in and acquires early stage healthcare organizations. He was founder and CEO of Matrix Medical Network, a healthcare firm recognized in the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in both 2009 and 2010. He grew the business to over $100 million in revenues and 500 employees before selling the firm. Previously, he was as an executive at several startup, consulting, and pharmaceutical firms. Before entering civilian life, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Care Continuum Alliance, a not-for-profit organization. He also serves on the board of Kettlebell Kitchen (Brooklyn, NY), PWN Health (New York, NY), and Integra Health Services (Owens Mill, MD).

Barbara RobertsPreviously a Wall Street executive and then serial entrepreneur, she is now an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Columbia Business School and Group Chair at Tiger 21, the peer learning group for very high net worth people and entrepreneurs She is also a member of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. She is a well-known speaker and writer on all stages of entrepreneurship, and the economic and leadership progress of women. Roberts develops and leads programs and workshops for entrepreneurs at all stages for institutions and government agencies, including Columbia Business School and University, the Women’s Presidents Organization, WBENC, the New York City Economic Development Corp., Brookhaven Labs, and Suffolk County, NY.


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