Each semester we provide our Lab team experienced, successful, insightful and committed entrepreneurs from the Austin startup community. Each team must have one or more mentors from this roster; mentors and teams are matched by mutual interest early in the semester. These mentors provide ongoing practical advice and help connect teams to relevant networks of outside resources. Mentors are invited to all class sessions and generally meet weekly with their teams. They are an especially valuable asset of the Longhorn Startup program.

our mentorsmeet the talent

Damon Clinkscales

Damon Clinkscales is the founder of Kismet Ventures, a product development firm. He also founded and cultivated Austin on Rails (a technology user group established in 2005), Austin Open Coffee Club (entrepreneurs and investors chat over coffee), and Cafe Bedouins (a weekly hack night). He serves as a mentor to Techstars Austin and Longhorn Startup Lab, a program designed to encourage student entrepreneurship at the University of Texas. He helped launch FounderDating in Austin by serving as Managing Director for 2012-2014. Damon loves to help others along their path by sharing what he’s learned, making connections, and building community.


Kristen Carney

“My career has been a 10 year love affair with data.

I’ve had the pleasure of providing data & analyses to a wide range of customers — from researchers at MIT doing nationwide, spatial analyses to local mom & pop businesses who are looking for the best place to open a new location.

I spend most of my days working with the following data:
* Decennial US Census,
* American Community Survey; and
* local appraisal district data (i.e. real estate, addresses & spatial data).

In a typical week, I do a bit of data pulling, data analysis, query writing, map making, spatial analysis and marketing for my business, Cubit.”

Joseph Shiraz

Joseph Shiraz is a seasoned entrepreneur who has consulted and started multiple startups in the Austin area. His last large venture, an e-commerce service business did over $3 million in revenue and has locations in four states. He has over ten years of entrepreneurial experience in both strategy and execution roles that spans various industries. Mr. Shiraz has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Mathematics and recently graduated as valedictorian from the Acton School of Business, a top ranked emerging business school.

Blake Ellingham

“I am passionate about technology, food, music, philosophy/theology and traveling and look to innovate at the intersections of those passions.

I excel at the bridge of interpersonal and technical work and love leading teams of driven product engineers to meet objectives.”

Shakeel Rashed

Experienced technologist with varied interest and influence. I have been in the software business for more than 20 years. Mostly been at the forefront of all emerging technologies from client-server to web to cloud to Internet of things. Experience in a an array of industries, including Finance, Telecom and Service providers, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Goods, Advertising, Distribution, Retail, Restaurants, Oil and Gas.

Advisory role in several start-ups and their customer development in parallel with their product development (Steve Blank and Eric Ries Models)>View Profile

Daniel Senyard

Daniel Senyard leads tripchamp’s product strategy and creative direction across all platforms and runs internal operations as COO and Chief Product Officer. Combining a deep background in digital and social marketing with a strong design and product vision, Senyard is a published writer, sought-after speaker and “product guy.”

From full-scale, national marketing and launch campaigns to niche blogging, editorial writing, podcasting and public speaking engagements, Senyard has done it all. Prior projects and clients include vivogig (founder), Strongpages, Microsoft, Amazon, SXSW and Keller Williams Realty. In addition to his writing and marketing background, Senyard has led cross-industry design and development teams, both local and remote, in mobile, web and print strategy and delivery. Whether managing the UX design of an app, conceptualizing assets for onsite event marketing or guest speaking in classrooms and conferences, Senyard has the technical knowhow and management skills to move any project or product from ideation to delivery.
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Matt Bell

Matt started his career in law and hated it. After a couple years he transitioned to banking and hated it. Fed up with corporate life and Wall St. he made the big decision to change industries and get into the digital tech space. He loved it and never looked back.
He started out in the NY tech scene at LinkShare then moved on to hold various marketing roles at Shutterstock. He moved to Austin in 2013 and founded BrewDrop, one of the first on-demand alcohol delivery apps, and the first of it’s kind in Texas.

Dave Perry

Dave Perry has a 30-year history of building high-performance teams in both large and small high-tech companies. With a background in Sales, Marketing, Channels, Mergers & Acquisitions and cross-functional Leadership he was able to grow an early-stage KVM-switch business into a $600M data center management business over a period of 10 years. Currently he is consulting, advising startup companies and teaching Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the Acton Business School MBA program. He also servers as Chairman of the Board for The Marbridge Foundation, an Austin non-profit that serves the residential, training and social needs of people with cognitive challenges.

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Marcos Cunha

Marcos has worked at several Fortune 100 companies such as Goldman Sachs, 3M, General Electric and Dow Chemical. He has also founded several companies and loves mentoring new entrepreneurs.

Professional expertise: Stock and Real Estate Investments, Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship and Executive Management

Strong technical leadership skills with demonstrated cross functional leadership experience across: development, marketing, sales, IT and finance.

Jesse Vickey

“I like building things.”

JD Weinstein

JD Weinstein joined Capital Factory in 2014 as a Venture Associate. Prior to Capital Factory, JD worked with the UT Horizon Fund, the strategic market-driven venture fund for the University of Texas System. He focused on early stage investments in technology, software, communications, digital media, and health care. JD served as University-Wide Representative at the University of Texas at Austin and sponsored the legislation to create the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Today, he serves as an advisor to LEA and the Freshman Founders’ Program at UT. JD received his BS in Political Communication from The University of Texas at Austin.

Becky Taylor

Technology executive and leader: I lead in ways that connect people, technology, and organizations to achieve greater things by working together on bigger objectives.

Alex Zeig

“Hey! I’m Alex – and I enjoy all things tech and startup related.

I grew up in rural Minnesota and attended Hamilton College, where I started VEH Solutions – which went on to raise close to $1mm in funding, and be a finalist in Forbes Most Promising Companies 2013. In early 2015, the company was taken over by a synergistic corporation.

In March of 2015, I started BlueCheck, which focuses on providing identity management and verification solutions for websites. Since focusing explicitly on BlueCheck, we’ve grown it to over a profitable SaaS tech startup that is growing month over month. “

Alex Crosby

Joe Kelly
Joseph Kelly was a co-founder of Infochimps, a big data technology startup that sold to Computer Sciences Corporation in 2013. At Infochimps he focused on sales, marketing, and business operations. In the role of COO he worked with the team to bring the company from its beginnings as a data marketplace to its positioning in the big data managed services space. By the time of the acquisition by CSC, Infochimps had grown to be a hosted analytics platform used by Fortune 100 companies to solve their many unique data challenges.
Joseph is a licensed pilot and enjoys reading. He loves helping entrepreneurs in the ways so many have helped him.

Rohan Kotian
Over 10 years experience in the security industry with research, engineering, operational and business management roles. Previously held different positions from Security Engineer to Security Architect to Product Manager. Earned an MBA from McCombs School of Business, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering from Mumbai University.