These Mentors Will Be Imparting Wisdom at SXSW Startup Lunch

March 2, 2017

2:20 pm

The importance of mentorship is undeniable. While most entrepreneurs are forced to learn through failure, having a mentor allows you to bounce your ideas off of an experienced mind that has likely been through the mountain of successes and failures more than enough times for the both of you.

Having a mentor means you can talk through everything from raising capital and building company culture to cofounder disputes and gain insight to issues you never thought of before you were a founder. Plus, in a world that caters to a warm introduction to investors, having a mentor could provide the fast track to an advantageous entrepreneurial network.

SXSW Mentors Sessions

At SXSW, Tech.Co and Mobile Future will be partnering to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the mentors they need to succeed. The event, Startup Lunch: The Wireless Meetup, will feature food, drinks, and one-on-one mentor sessions that will help you connect with some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds.

The event takes place at 12pm on Saturday, March 11th at Maggie Mae’s. You can RSVP here, and sign up for a free mentor session with these amazing leaders who are volunteering their time.

Meet the Mentors

Meet six of our mentors who will be at Startup Lunch: The Wireless Meetup, below. More will be announced soon.

Brandon Andrews, Senior Consultant at Values Partnerships

Brandon Andrews is a senior consultant at Values Partnerships. He leads the company’s work on technology and entrepreneurship, including leading a nationwide casting tour focused on bringing more diverse ideas and voices to ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, and advising/supporting businesses. He is also a consulting producer on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome; a new seed-capital show on ABC.  

Kira Blackwell, Innovation Program Executive at NASA HQ

Ms. Blackwell is the Innovation Program Executive within NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, supporting the agency’s innovation strategy. Ms. Blackwell previously managed her own consulting business helping innovative start-ups succeed. She has served as the Executive Director of Operations at Chrysalis BioTherapeutics Inc. As Director of Strategic Relations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), she facilitated local and international partnerships to leverage JSC’s innovative technologies, capabilities, and expertise. Before joining HTC, Ms. Blackwell served as the Director of Strategic Relations for Jacobs, one of the largest contractors for NASA, out of NASA JSC.

Rohit Makharia, Investment Manager at GM Ventures

Rohit is a venture capital investor with General Motors (GM). He invests in early- and growth-stage startups that make moving people from A-to-B significantly more efficient and provides a dramatically better experience. He either invests in technologies that provides the company with unfair advantage and/or a business model that is fundamentally new because it is enabled by technologies that didn’t exist before; either way, he aspires to create meaningful relationships with startup’s CEO and founding team prior to and after an investment.

Anne Ahola Ward, CEO of CircleClick Media

Anne Ahola Ward is a Growth Scientist and the CEO of CircleClick Media, a leading digital agency and marketing lab in the Bay Area. As a Futurist through-and-through, Ward spent over 10 years mastering all things web development before transitioning into the nascent field of SEO. She quickly became an SEO trailblazer by applying her love of analytics to digital marketing. In 2015, Ward was invited to become an Influencer for the elite IBM Futurist program. She is a frequent conference speaker and has been recognized as a leading marketing expert by numerous publications. Her other interests include robotics and VR (Virtual Reality).

Sarah Moret, Investor at Crosscut Ventures

Sarah is an Associate at Crosscut Ventures. Her role includes evaluating investment opportunities, sourcing new deals, and helping existing portfolio companies on hiring, strategy, and operations. Prior to joining Crosscut, Sarah was at Formation8 Partners, a Venture Capital fund in San Francisco, where she focused on finance, operations, and due diligence for the fund’s hardware investments. Prior to that, Sarah worked in PwC’s Transaction Services Consulting Practice, advising clients on M&As, IPOs, and various other capital market transactions.

Andrew Fowlkes, President at Start Co

Andre K. Fowlkes is an innovation broker and civic entrepreneur. Serving as President of Start Co. he taps into his experience in financial services and economic and community development to grow and align resources for talent development and economic growth. With over a decade of portfolio management in capital markets, Andre previously served in roles at Fisher Investments in San Francisco and as a relationship manager through an agency of Guardian Life Insurance in New York City.

Christina Bechhold, Principal at Samsung Next Ventures

Christina Bechhold is a Principal at Samsung NEXT Ventures, based in New York, focused on early stage investments in software and services, particularly in mobility, IoT and fintech. She is the Cofounder of Empire Angels, a regular contributor for the Wall Street Journal on startups and small business, a columnist for, a mentor at The Brandery and Venture for America and a member of VFA’s Rise Committee focused on increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. She was also recognized by the New York Journal as a 2016 Woman of Influence.

Ruth Yomtoubian, Director at the AT&T Foundry

Ruth is a full spectrum strategist and cross-cultural guru based in San Francisco, with experience running programs at the cusp of large brands and start-ups. As a Director at the AT&T Foundry, she identifies business needs that can leverage innovation within the enterprise and evaluates startups in the tech ecosystem for strategic partnership with AT&T; positioning companies and developing their solution message. 

Andy Stoll, Senior Program Officer at The Kauffman Foundation

Andy Stoll is a serial entrepreneur. At the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, he’s responsible for the implementation and management of the Foundation’s innovation ecosystem development strategy. Stoll also cofounded Seed Here Studio, a social good company specializing in building ecosystems in unexpected places, in addition to six entrepreneur-focused companies, including a startup accelerator, coworking space and a series of ecosystem building organizations. He’s also done projects in collaboration with iconic entrepreneurs including Steve Case, Paul Allen, and Tony Hsieh, among others.

Felecia Hatcher, Cofounder of Code Fever

Globally sought-after speaker, media darling, and mother Felecia Hatcher is a White House award Winning entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Code Fever  and Author of the books “How to Start a Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget” “Focused”  PopPreneurs and “The C Student’s Guide to Scholarships-A Creative Guide to finding scholarships when your grades suck and your parents are broke.” She is also the rather awesome former Chief Popsicle at Feverish Pops, a gourmet popsicle boutique and manufacturing brand with a Fortune 500 client roster that would make your head spin that she ran for 7 years.

Mick Liubinkskas, Venture Portfolio Manager & Product Focus at muru-D

Mick Liubinskas is a high energy, technology entrepreneur, investor and industry leader. In the past 18 years he has co-founded 12 technology startup companies, including starting Pollenizer with Phil Morle.  His most successful companies are Wooboard which sold to Reffind, Oomph which is leading the world in iPad publishing and Spreets which sold to Spreets for ~$40m in 13 months. Mick has recently joined Telstra to help them launch muru-D technology accelerator. 

Interested in a session with one of these mentors? Make sure to RSVP for the event, and you’ll received an invitation to sign up for a session.

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at

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