PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE FROM A NETWORK OF EXPERTS AND SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS
Each Larta client company is matched with a hand-picked Principal Advisor with experience in the client’s sub-sector. The PA, who is selected from our bench of 100+ seasoned experts, becomes the company’s advocate, guide and curator, guiding each company one-on-one to build and execute a roadmap for success
Interested in joining our network of principal advisors? Contact us.
Mr. Abdullah Y Ahmed is the principal of Occidental Analytical Group (OAG) a consulting engineering firm. The firm's primary focus is in the evaluation, demonstration, and incorporation of energy efficiency and demand response technologies for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. He has in the past provided valuable advice and support to entrepreneurs and developers of new and emerging technologies. His depth of knowledge of customer needs, the market and technology especially from the
Ahmed was the Emerging Technologies (ET) Program manager for Sempra Energy Utilities (SEU), a conglomerate of Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric Company, from 2005 until 2015. Mr. Ahmed managed a $12 million dollar Emerging Technologies Program for the utilities, funded tri-annually through utility Energy Efficiency filings with the California Public Utilities Commission. The goal of the ET program is to evaluate new and emerging energy efficiency natural gas technologies, and energy efficiency and demand response electric technologies. The program also works directly with technology developers to provide them important feedback on their product from the perspectives of functionality, utility program fit and cost effectiveness. Since taking over the ET program at both utilities companies, he transformed the groups into pro-active, visionary, and goal-oriented organizations that conducted field assessments of a large number of technologies in lighting, cooling, heating, water heating, controls, and processes. A significant number of these assessments and evaluations are expected to become part of SEU’s Energy Efficiency and Demand Response portfolio of incentive programs. His program was an early sponsor of the cleantech activities throughout the state including the California Clean Tech Open, the ET Technology Forums, the bi-annual ET Summit Conference, the Cal-Tech’s FLoW program, the CEC funded EISG program and a number of industry initiatives for commercialization of new energy efficiency technologies. He has participated and/or collaborated in projects and programs funded by the California Energy Commission PIER and EPIC programs, DOE SBIR/STTR projects and ARRA funding. He has worked closely with R&D organizations across the USA.
From 1989-2005 Mr. Ahmed was the president of Occidental Analytical Group a consulting engineering firm in Walnut, CA. The company provided professional engineering services to Energy Service Companies and large commercial and industrial clients. The company also provided services to the utility industry in the form of design, planning, implementation and evaluation of third party energy efficiency programs. Mr. Ahmed has over 15 years of utility experience and over 25 years of consulting experience in the energy field. Mr. Ahmed holds a First Class Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Dibrugarh University, India and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from University of Missouri-Rolla.
As a Principal Advisor for Larta's Commercialization Assistance Programs, Alan has mentored a diverse group of companies in areas including cleantech, IT, software, life sciences, education, and biotechnology. He is an expert in financial analysis, identifying financing opportunities, strategic business planning, and market strategy. Alan has worked with national and international companies over the past 20 years, focusing on business strategy and planning internal operations, company positioning, and product marketing. Currently, he is Vice President of Operations for Cerius Interim Executive Solutions, where he has successfully coached companies in a variety of areas. He has served as board member for the San Diego Tech Coast Angels, has been an advisor to and board member of numerous startup and early-stage companies as well as an advisor to several European development groups that encourage entrepreneurial activity. Alan holds a BA from Columbia College of Columbia University, an MS and PhD in Intellectual History from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Education Administration from the University of Michigan.
Andrew Berkhausen's career has involved initiating and managing business operations at all stages for startup companies: from proof-of-concept/validation, to fundraising, to market integration/launch, to scaling/growth, to operations improvement, to acquisitions/exits.
Mr. Berkhausen has made critical contributions to the success of several startup accelerators and has been responsible for the commercialization of their portfolio companies - including SDVG BeachHead, Analytics Ventures and AV Lab, MIT Enterprise Forum, CyberTECH San Diego, CONNECT San Diego, and ScaleMatrix Life Science and Technology Launch Center.
April Bolduc is president and founder of S Curve Strategies and has driven electric since 2011, and inspired thousands of others to do the same by assisting utilities in California and across the U.S. develop and launch their electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure strategies. In addition to utilities, April consults with states, municipalities and advanced technology companies to deploy their EV customer engagement and marketing strategies.
S Curve Strategies’ efforts include developing the EV marketing strategy for the states of Missouri and New Hampshire, the electric West Coast trucking corridor, policy work for the California Electric Transportation Coalition, brand positioning for a global energy company, and work with start-ups to grow in the California market.
Prior to forming S Curve Strategies April was the EV customer engagement manager for San Diego Gas & Electric’s Clean Transportation team acting as their EV spokesperson and leading their EV program development, stakeholder engagement, marketing and EV program sales. She created exponential growth of customer sign-ups to the utility's $45-million Power Your Drive EV charging station program to install 3,500 chargers at 350 apartments and workplaces. Having walked hundreds of sites, April streamlined the utility’s internal sales, planning and installation process.
April drafted and received approval of many of the utility’s EV infrastructure regulatory filings. Her holistic approach to EV program development has been her key to success. She ensures all internal and external stakeholders are moving together in step toward strategic growth and regulatory compliance.
Prior to that, April led the utility’s media relations and communications efforts in the EV, smart grid, microgrid and smart meter departments as the utility spokesperson in these areas. She led the development of the utility’s social media platform and while at the utility’s Sempra Energy headquarters developed the Fortune 500 company’s executive media training program.
April is a graduate of UC San Diego with a degree in communication and a member of the Smart Electric Power Associations’ EV Working Group, Plug In America, Forth, Veloz and the Western Utilities Public Affairs Group.
August has been a consultant to the venture capital and cleantech industries for the past 14 years. In this capacity, she has seen thousands of business plans and companies across all sectors and subsectors of energy technologies. August also works with financial models for financings, transactions, and exit analysis.
During the first internet boom, August worked with online energy start-up Utility.com in many capacities. Prior to that, she helped utility companies prepare for deregulation as a consultant with Andersen Consulting (Accenture).
Additionally, August is a founder and past CFO of the International Youth Nuclear Congress, the international organization for young people in the nuclear industry. August is also actively engaged in volunteer efforts for school governance and enhanced math instruction in public schools, in addition to youth, civic, and athletic organizations.
August holds a BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science Engineering along with an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Bandhana has been actively involved in innovation-driven economic development by promoting technology transfer and commercialization activities, academic-industry collaborations, and developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem. She has worked as Marketing and Business Development Analyst where she assisted in conducting technology and commercialization assessments and helped faculty start-ups. She has also handled position where she managed and negotiated various agreements. Her prior experience includes working as life sciences research professional in US and India.
Bandhana has co-founded CLIMB (Collaboration, Leadership, and Innovation for Missouri Businesses). CLIMB was started with a grant funded by Kauffman Foundation. CLIMB is a student organization, currently involved in the organization as Advisor. In other roles, she has served as adjunct faculty member for International Marketing course and led Study Abroad Program to India.
Bandhana is a certified Registered Technology Transfer Professional and has served on various committees in different leadership roles. Bandhana holds a Juris Doctors (Intellectual Property) and Masters in Business Administration (Marketing and Managment) from University of Missouri. She has advanced degrees in life sciences area (Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, and Zoology) from US and India.
Ben Margolis is a Principal Advisor for Larta's Commercialization Assistance Programs. He is an experienced renewable energy executive with over a decade of experience in both entrepreneurial ventures and large, publicly traded companies.
Ben is currently a Principal at genseed advisors, a management consulting company working with early stage ventures. At genseed advisors, Ben advises companies in the areas of go-to-market strategies, technology commercialization, and corporate finance. Ben has worked on a wide variety of technologies including EVs, grid technologies, storage, and renewable energy.
Prior to Ben's work at genseed advisors, Ben was a Director at Sol Systems, a renewable energy development and finance firm. There, he focused on managing strategic partnerships to deliver renewable energy projects. Before Sol Systems, Mr. Margolis founded and led Pentricity, a company that worked with publicly-owned utilities to implement residential energy efficiency solutions. Mr. Margolis holds an MBA from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and a Bachelor of Sciences in Environmental Engineering from the University of Maryland.
As a Principal Advisor at Larta Institute, Bob brings 30 years of experience in commercializing technology in biotechnology, renewable fuels and chemicals, biomaterials and agriculture. His business experience covers venture capital, corporate leadership, strategic planning, project management, operations, intellectual property, and commercialization.
Bob is the founder and Principal of Encompass Biotech LLC, a consulting company that works with investors, companies, entrepreneurs, and institutions interested in developing and commercializing technologies in agricultural biotechnology, renewable energy, and renewable materials.
Before founding Encompass Biotech, he was the Chief Scientist of Phenotype Screening Corporation where he led the R&D and commercialization efforts of non-destructive imaging technology to analyze the below-ground portion of crop species.
Previously, Bob was a founding employee of ArborGen, a forest biotechnology company, where he led an international team to develop biotech-enabled forest tree species. Prior to that, he was with Westvaco Forest Research for 11 years where he established a biotech research and development program.
Bob holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University, an M.S. in Botany from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in Biotechnology from Worchester Polytechnic Institute.
Brad is a Principal Advisor for Larta Institute. He has over 20 years of leadership, strategic, and business experience in plant biotechnology and agribusiness. While employed at Monsanto Company, Brad evolved from a scientific leader and Science Fellow to focus on business needs assessment, business and partnerships development & negotiations, and strategy processes to identify and explore new areas for the company to grow. Brad blends diverse scientific expertise and knowledge with strong business development and analytic skills. He is skilled at bringing a creative and pragmatic approach to addressing complex problems, and for delivering valuable insights and ideas and leveraging these to excellent outcomes.
Brad left Monsanto in January 2016, and currently is the owner of Fabbri Group LLC, a consulting company focused on serving the venture community from both the investor and company perspective in the areas of biorenewables, agriculture, animal health, food, and feed.
Brad also serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of TechAccel LLC, a Kansas City based private investment firm with a mission to "partner with agriculture and animal health industry leaders increasing food production and quality, and enhancing companion animal health through technology innovation."
He also is a Principal Advisor for Larta Institute (www.larta.org), an LA-based non-profit organization with the mission to “transform technology ideas into solutions that elevate economic opportunities and make lives better for people around the world.” As a Principal Advisor, he provides strategic and business advice to to companies selected to present at the Ag Innovation Showcase that Larta produces annually in collaboration with its partner the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Brad holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis.
As a Principal Advisor for Larta’s Commercialization Assistance Programs, BreAnn brings more than 18 years of leadership and commercialization experience in start-ups and small business in the construction, hospitality and recreation, agriculture/aquaculture, and information technology industries. Her business expertise lies primarily in business and organizational planning, operational accounting, logistics, branding and go-to-market/marketing strategies, business development, and strategic partnerships.
BreAnn spent the first fifteen years of her career in various leadership positions focusing primarily on operational accounting, marketing and branding, business development and strategic partnerships. She was introduced to AgTech and her first start-up, with Smart Vision Works International, a successful public/private partnership with Brigham Young University. After exiting her first start-up, BreAnn turned her focus to helping other start-ups and small businesses achieve their growth goals. BreAnn is the the founder and principle at Orange Canyon Consulting. Orange Canyon specializes in helping clients create and develop commercialization strategies and strategic partnerships, implement new technologies, and prepare for early stage financing. BreAnn also teaches Ethics at Utah Valley University.
BreAnn holds an MBA from Brigham Young University and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Utah Valley University.
Brent is a Principal Advisor at Larta Institute. He brings 15 years of experience helping develop technology and strategy for companies of all sizes. He has strong technical expertise in water, analytics, agriculture, traditional and renewable energy, materials sciences, and medical devices. His business expertise lies in identifying applications, networking, assessing international markets, and building strategic focus. He maintains an extensive network of business executives, technology experts, business strategists, and investors internationally.
Brent is currently co-founder of Maneuver Lab, LLC, a technology development company and market consultancy. Maneuver's current focus outside consulting is on developing precision agriculture analytic systems and green alternatives to traditional pesticides for commercial agriculture and gardeners. Before starting his own company he was Research Director in water, energy, and materials at Lux Research, where he tracked, interviewed, and assessed hundreds of startups as they grew, and advised both Innovation 1000 and startup companies on emerging technology, market trends, and strategy.
Prior to working at Lux, Brent spent six years as a senior chemist and project manager at Hach, part of the highly successful Fortune 500 company Danaher, developing new water and agroproducts analytics products from the bench through market testing and launch. His work included successful products in online monitoring, green chemistry substitutes for traditional tests, and products for the developing world. Brent has also worked in investment banking as Director of Green Technology at China Bridge Capital and as a visiting professor at Colorado College. He has worked extensively internationally. Brent is the author of hundreds of articles, company profiles, and market reports. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune, Forbes, National Public Radio, National Geographic, Mergermarket, and other top venues. He is a regular speaker at top business tech summits.
Brent holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Purdue University, an MBA from Baruch College CUNY, and a BA in Chemistry from Colorado College.
Brett is a Principal for TechAccel LLC, a venture development and technology organization that invests across the agriculture, animal health, and food science industries. Brett leads venture investing and due diligence efforts for the firm and guides all corporate and asset-related transactions.
Prior to TechAccel, Brett worked in corporate development for a commodity trading and handling company focused in agriculture, feed, and energy. He helped source, evaluate, and execute mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, joint ventures, and organic growth initiatives. Further, he led efforts to assess the Agtech venture capital industry and evaluated startups in several areas including imagery, sensors, trading and logistics, and artificial intelligence. Prior to this, Brett worked for a small strategic advisory firm and a local bank.
Brett serves as a selection committee member for InvestMidwest and the Animal Health Investment Forum and volunteers as a coach and mentor for the Ag Innovation Showcase. He also serves as a guest lecturer for the Blue Valley CAPS program.
Brett graduated from the University of Kansas and is a CFA® charterholder. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the Kansas City CFA Society.
A profile of Larta’s bench of Principal Advisors:
13 years average of business consulting experience
18 years average of commercialization experience
98% Have startup experience
35% Have VC experience
50% Have incubator experience
Many have worked for or with industry leaders such as organizations shown at right: