It’s not just about having access to world-class mentors. It’s about the quality of the time you get to spend with them. Chairlift conversations or hikes forge strong relationships far beyond business. No other accelerator can give you that! 

Having over 100 mentors for some programs can feel like good marketing. The reality is that mentor commitments can vary, so every year we work with each mentor to sign up for one of three different commitment levels. The most committed “Lead Mentors” will basically feel like part of the cohort, “Mentors” commit to working regularly with at least one team throughout the program, and the least committed “Members” sign up to take virtual meetings, answer emails, make introductions and attend at least one of our big events. Out of the 100, TVN has about 10% Lead Mentors, 50% Mentors and 40% Members. If a specific mentor is really important to a startup, we do our best to ensure that they commit to at least the “Mentor” level. 

If you are interested in becoming a mentor check out our Mentor Policy here, and reach out to us afterwards. 

Dennis Lankes
Co-Founder, Proximity Space Marketing and Business Consultant with an emphasis on social and viral mediums. Experience in development of digital assets and taking these mediums to the next level of distribution; particularly online video, live broadcast, and web publishing. Currently working with new and existing startups to form identity creation. I implement programs for marketing, online ad purchasing, sales and distribution, and video production specifically for web consumption. I live the Abrams slogan “Ideas not Ads”. These “ideas” help me put new businesses in touch with their clients. I am an action consultant, I use digital actions to create in-person experiences.
Jesse Johnson

Founder, Telluride Venture Accelerator

Jesse is the CEO and co-founder of the Telluride Venture Accelerator. He co-founded and was CEO of Q Collection, a leading sustainable design company (now a part of Rose Tarlow). He has been involved as a mentor and investor in many startup businesses and served on the board of two companies sold to a Fortune 50 company.He serves on the board of 1% For The Planet, Yale s Center for Business and the Environment, Harvard s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Telluride Foundation, and several others. He is a general partner of the Telluride Venture Fund. Jesse has an MBA and MES (Environmental Science) from Yale and a BA from Princeton. He lives in Telluride full-time with his wife and two young boys.

Len Metheny

In 1998, Len founded and served as CEO of ApplyYourself, Inc., a SaaS platform for college and university enrollment management. Len raised venture capital and successfully grew ApplyYourself to be the premier management software used by more than 300 universities and the 400 member colleges of The Common Application. In 2006, ApplyYourself was named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Growth Companies. Len received the Lifetime Visionary Award from a leading admissions association for his contributions and advancements in the college admissions field. ApplyYourself was sold to the UK-based Daily Mail in 2007. Len is nowworking on launching a new tech venture called Vidergize and lives in Telluride full-time with his wife and two children.

Jack Gilbride

Jacks experience is in sales, financial and general management. Initially with Monarch Systems (major account sales), Bank of America (domestic and international corporate lending), the MW Kellogg Company (Asst. Treasurer), Results Consulting Group (Managing Director), SVP First Interstate System, Inc., EVP & COO First Interstate Bancard Company. Co-Founder and CEO of Integratec Corporation, a credit card back-office service company that raised $32M from private equity and venture funds. Chairman and CEO of CBR Information Group, a provider of credit information services to government and corporate clients. When CBR was sold, he started angel investing in the Silicon Valley area. He is a partner in Tuputele Ventures and is a limited partner in several venture funds based in the Silicon Valley and China. Current direct angel investments include: WhiteHat Security, SwitchFly, AGIS, SouthBay Resources Canada and AppMed. Jack is a graduate of CCNY and has an MBA from the Marshall School of the University of Southern California and is a full-time Telluride resident

Carl Ferenbach

Founder, Berkshire Partners

Carl founded Berkshire Partners and currently serves as an Advisory Director. He is Chair of High Meadows Foundation; Chairman of the Board, Environmental Defense Fund and serves on the Board of Princeton University.

Dan Caton

President, McGraw-Hill

Dan is a highly experienced executive in the instructional resources and assessment industry. As the previous president of McGraw-Hill, Dan has a diverse, mature understanding of markets, finance, senior executive recruitment, employee and leadership motivation, organizational communication, mergers and acquisitions. Dan is closely involved with educational policy issues and their effect on product development and marketing, especially in areas of K-12 literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and intervention. He is highly experienced at organizational advocacy at all levels of educational agencies, from local to national, and legislative advocacy as diverse as the White House, the United States House and Senate, and Texas and California state houses. Dan is well known as a leader in the field in the areas of innovation, collaboration, organizational efficiency, growth, and high-quality results, as evidenced by numerous awards, including the 2013 AAP Hall of Fame award, which recognizes career accomplishment in education and the educational resources industry.

Dan Jansen

CEO, NextLaw Labs

Dan is an expert on social media and brand monetization in online communities. He founded Virtual Greats in 2008 (sold in 2013) as an opportunity for leading artists, brands, and IP holders to monetize in the expanding social media space through virtual item sales. Based in Los Angeles, Virtual Greats is the industry leader working with over 200 brands and 25 on-line communities with over 400 million global users; these include leading social networks, casual games and virtual worlds. Prior to founding Virtual Greats, Dan built and led the global Media Practice for the Boston Consulting Group. He created and grew relationships with many of the largest players in Entertainment, including most of the major studios and leading music labels. Dan holds a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from the Wharton School and lives in Telluride with his wife, three children and golden retriever. Dan is the current Mayor of the Mountain Village, Colorado

Elliot Steinberg

Co-Founder, Flynn & Steinberg

Elliots firm specialized in real estate, banking, venture capital and taxation. He acted as General Counsel and Corporate Vice-President of Itel Corporation, managing partner and General Counsel of GMG Securities (an asset management firm) and Vice-Chairman of European-American Securities, a private merchant Bank. Elliot served as a director of the Kimpton Hotel Group, the California Real Estate Investment Trust, and the Saul Zaentz Film Company. His civic activities include active duty in the United Stated Navy and the Chairmanship of the San Francisco Art Institute. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his JD from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.


Emily Hickey is a veteran online growth expert, having spent most of her career in Head of Growth roles at venture-backed start-ups in New York City.  Emily is the Founder and CEO of Chief Detective, a boutique Facebook and Instagram growth agency that helps some of the top retailers and start-ups in the world drastically overhaul their paid social scale and returns. She also is the Co-Founder of which provides on-demand social marketing services to SMBs. Previously, Emily was the COO of social commerce pioneer Lolly Wolly Doodle, where she built the ecommerce business from scratch and helped land the company on the cover of Inc. Magazine as the ‘Startup That Conquered Facebook’; the CMO and Co-Founder of Hashable, where she drove the social networking app to over 1,000 sign-ups per day and achieved ‘Best In Show’ designation at SXSW in 2011;  the COO of PhotoShelter which she helped grow into the market-leading professional photography website provider; and the VP of Product at which she helped grow into a $100m annual business that IPO’d and exited to Yahoo! for $450m. Additionally, Emily mentors early-stage start-ups through Telluride Venture Accelerator, and for Techstars NYC before that. Emily is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and UNC-Chapel Hill, and after 20 years between NYC and the Bay Area, lives in the mountains of Colorado with her young family.

Gary Gaessler

Co-Founder, Cloud Elements

Gary focuses on early stage sales & marketing in fast growth SaaS business-to-business companies. He is the co-founder of Cloud Elements, a Denver based, venture funded, API integration platform. Previously he was the VP of Sales at SteamStep (acquired by BMC Software in 2011). He was the co-founder of, the world s largest site for VoIP reviews (acquired in 2008). He is the past Director of Founders Institute (and a mentor) and the founder of 1 million cups in Denver. He co-founded DV8 Sportswear (an active wear line) and was a competitive freestyle skier, USSA coach and judge. Gary, who considers himself a wannabe extreme skier today, lives with his family in Denver, CO.

Gordon Seabury

CEO, Toad&Co

An outdoor industry leader for the last 15 years, Gordon is committed to building companies and brands that practice a triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) approach to business. Since growing Horny Toad, an outdoor lifestyle brand, from a basement in Telluride, he has co-founded two social ventures (Planet Access and Search for Adventure) serving adults with disabilities. Gordon also launched Lizard Lounge, a sustainable entertainment and arts gathering center in the Pearl District of Portland. More recently, he and the Horny Toad team purchased the Nau sustainable clothing brand. For the last 10 years he has been a Director on the Board of the Outdoor Industry Association, the last 2 years as an Executive Committee member. Gordon earned an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton School of Business. In between family and work he enjoys just about anything the outdoors has to offer especially if it is in the ocean or near their family cabin in June Lake in the eastern Sierras.

Jaqueline Claudia

Founder and CEO, LoveTheWild

Jacqueline Claudia is a lifelong fish nerd who thought she was going to be a marine biologist when she grew up. Instead, after graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Darden School of the University of Virginia, she spent 15 years working in corporate strategy and innovation with companies like Disney, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, Coca‐Cola, James Hardie, L’Oreal, FedEx, and the United Nations before finding her way back to the fish. She fell in love with the potential for sustainable aquaculture while working on Velella Project, which won Time Magazine’s Best Invention of the Year in 2012. She founded LoveTheWild in 2014 to de-demonize great farmed fish, make it easier for people to cook great fish at home, and is passionately building a company that has a real shot at saving the world. Intrafish 40 under 40. Board of Directors for the National Fisheries Institute. Guest lecturer at MIT, Wharton, Darden, and CU. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and four children

Jeff Katz

Past CEO, Leapfrog Enterprises & Orbitz

Jeff has served as the CEO of many successful companies including Wize Commerce Inc, Nextag, Leapfrog Enterprises Inc., Orbitz, and SwissAir. Prior to these roles, Jeff was a Vice President at American Airlines (which included a role as President of the Global Distribution System of Sabre Inc.). He has held board positions on a number of companies as well, including LeapFrog Enterprises, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company,, Northwest Airlines and Orbitz. Jeff holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of CA, Davis; an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and an MS from MIT.

Jen Vescio

Head, Global Business Development, eBay

High growth oriented executive with over 20 years of experience at both early stage and Fortune 500 firms launching profitable new businesses, driving strategy & revenue growth, managing P/L and hiring top talent. Expertise includes leadership development, product strategy, business development, sales, deal structuring and closing high impact strategic partnerships; investments & acquisitions, identifying audience acquisition and engagement strategies, building innovative products, devising new business models, leading global strategy & planning efforts and hiring top talent. Industry Knowledge: Entertainment & Media, Sports, Video, News, Technology, Financial Services, Advertising Ecosystem, Mobile, Search, e-Commerce, Local, Software, Hardware, Social Media, Platform API Business Strategy, Internet of Things (IoT), Executive Coaching Goals: Continue to advance entertainment & media, commerce, social media and technology in our daily lives; lead change and transformation; inspire entrepreneurial ventures.

Jon Tukman

Finance Officer, Synergis

Jon is a finance specialist and currently splits his time as the finance officer for Synergis, LLC, a real estate and manufacturing holding company based in McAllen, Texas and as a ski patroller/forecaster for the Telluride Ski Patrol, and Snow Safety and Avalanche Forecasting. For nine years, he worked for Goldman Sachs in Equity Research covering financials, and specializing in brokers and asset managers. Jon also provided corporate finance consulting for a California-based application development firm. He earned a BA from Columbia College, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Jon lives in Telluride.


 Current and recent affiliations include: Director and Vice Chair of Root Capital (Cambridge, MA), a nonprofit social investment fund that supports sustainable enterprises in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America Director, Women for Women International (Washington, DC); Board President, Georgetown Day School (Washington, DC); President, Telluride Academy (Telluride, CO); Advisor and investor, Loomio (Wellington, NZ). Katherine is also President of the Ebb Point Foundation (NY,NY), a private foundation she founded with her husband in 2000. Ebb Point supports global human rights, especially civil and economic rights, and social enterprise. Recently, Katherine established a new initiative, Ebb Point Ventures, which invests in for-profit and non-profit social ventures.

Katherine spent the bulk of her professional work in the technology sector.  She is the former President of Brand Management and Senior Vice President of America Online. She began her technology career with AOL in the late 1980s, and ultimately oversaw the development and design of online content, including news and information, entertainment services, community, education, and transactional products. In 2003, Katherine transitioned from corporate to non-profit work.     

Katherine and her husband, Gene Weil, have two daughters and reside in New York City and Telluride, CO. 

Kelly Zafar

Strategy Consultant, Executive Coach

Kelly is a private management consultant and executive coach who works with corporate, nonprofit, and government leaders on the development and execution of new business ventures.  Current and past clients include the NFL, Madison Square Garden, PBS, XM Radio, The World Bank, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to founding Touchpoint Strategy she managed a $250 million brand portfolio at General Mills, wrote business plans for social venture startups, and served as an advisor to Fortune 500 companies on international transaction pricing as a Manager at PricewaterhouseCooopers.  She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  When not on location with a client, or exploring new countries, Kelly lives in Washington, DC.

Maile Buker

In various marketing leadership roles, Maile has increased consumer demand for a variety of iconic brands from $6m to $16b in revenue in the outdoor, retail, footwear and beverage industries including Nike, Timberland, Black Diamond Equipment, Eastern Mountain Sports, IZZE Sparkling Juice (Pepsi),  ZICO Coconut Water (Coke), and Coors Beer. She is currently Director of Marketing and Brand Management for Hannaford Supermarkets, a $5.6b business and the most profitable banner in the Ahold-Delhaize portfolio, the world-leading Netherlands-based food retailer.

Maile sits on the Boards for Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Chimani in Portland, Maine and the Historic Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and is an Advisor for Telluride-based TVA startup Western Rise.  She advises startups in the areas of brand strategy, brand identity, consumer research, go-to-market strategy, digital marketing and ecommerce. Maile thrives on creating brand experiences that change people’s lives, is an active outdoorist, and member of the Summit Community based in Powder Mountain, Utah. She loves visiting Telluride to nourish her mind, body and soul. 

Moiz Kohari

VP, Advanced Platforms Engineering

Moiz Kohari currently serves as the Vice President of Advance Platforms Engineering for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). Moizs team is responsible for the low-latency architecture for the exchange platform (leveraged in London, Milan, Oslo and elsewhere), as well as the post-trade components for clearing and settlement purposes. Prior to joining LSEG, he served as the Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering for Novell, Inc. (NASD: NOVL), responsible for the Cloud Computing and Real-Time Computing initiatives. Moiz was also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Critical Linux Inc., a company that was a pioneer in introducing enterprise computing capabilities into the Linux operating system. He received his BS in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology and lives full-time in Telluride.

Paul Tomita

Founder, Staniford Tomita LLP

Paul Tomita’s practice includes: patent preparation and prosecution, infringement and invalidity analysis including the preparation of formal opinions, trademarks, copyrights and intellectual property litigation. Paul has extensive experience in a wide range of technologies including: electrical, mechanical, medical and optical devices, semiconductor fabrication, networks and green energy systems. Paul started his career as a patent attorney for Nikon Research Corporation of America. His clients include: 3D Systems, Affirm, Appcelerator, Assymetrica, EMC, Glow, QVC, Resilient etworks and numerous startup companies. Paul provides intellectual property legal services to various entrepreneurial organizations. He is an advisor, lecturer, mentor and applicant evaluator for: the University of San Francisco School of Law Entrepreneurial Ventures Legal Services Project, the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and Bad Ass Advisor. Mr. Tomita has also written IP articles for Edison Nation Medical. Paul has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University in San Luis Obispo and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is also a 2015 graduate of the Goldman Sachs Babson 10KSB program with a certificate in Entrepreneurship. Prior to attending law school, Paul worked as a design engineer in the consumer electronics and the semiconductor fabrication industries.

Richard Cornelius

Retired Partner, Accenture

Richard managed Accenture’s Payments Practice, helping clients build and expand their card, electronic, Internet and mobile payments businesses globally. He currently serves as Managing Partner of Elevation Ventures, LLC, a real estate and investment company based in Telluride. He also serves as Board President for the Ah Haa School for the Arts and Treasurer for the Telluride Tourism Board. He and his wife live full-time in Telluride.

Ross Saldarini

Co-Founder & President, Mountain Khakis, LLC

Ross has been an entrepreneur through his career, starting, leading and selling businesses since 1996 in technology, finance and apparel. He earned a B.S. in Economics from Davidson College and a Masters degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. His passions include soccer, food, art and the outdoors. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife JoeAnne and is the proud father of a son and daughter.


Stephanie has worked with emerging growth and technology companies for approximately 15 years.  During the first internet boom, she worked as a lawyer in Silicon Valley with start-ups and their investors for Cooley LLP.  At Cooley, she helped her clients to develop and structure their business strategy, customer and partner relationships, technology rights and enhancements, venture capital and angel investments, growing sales and employee bases, as well as acquisitions and IPOs.  In 2000, she joined the executive management team of Raindance Communications, Inc., a $100M online meeting company in Boulder, CO where she was SVP and General Counsel for six years.  After Raindance was successfully acquired, she and her family moved to Telluride 2009.  

Thea Chase

She has vast experience in business development with a specialty in business incubation and as an entrepreneurship educator. Prior to returning to Colorado in 2013, Ms. Chase was the Managing Director of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) and the Director of the Cal Poly SBDC for Innovation.

Ms. Chase received her MBA from the University of Colorado and BA in Political Science from American University. She has 2 children Tyler Chase-Nason, a recent graduate in Computer Science
who works for Boeing in Colorado Springs, CO and Lehl Chase-Nason who is attending Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA and is studying Cellular Molecular Biology. And of course her golden retriever – Tucker.

Todd Brown

Business Coach, ASAP Accounting & Payroll, Inc.

I am a dynamic executive experienced in all aspects of Operations and Supply Chain with Sara Lee, Anheuser-Busch, and Coors as well as startups BIOTA Brands and UniquePak. Formulated and executed strategies aligning mission, operations, products and goals for competitive advantage and improved ROI. Turned around under-performing operations enhancing shareholder value. Motivated and managed staff to reach shared goals. At ASAP, I provide business planning, process improvement, HR assistance, technology adaptation, and other strategic planning for our customers. I am also involved in the Telluride community and serve on Town Council, and as a Board Member for Telluride Historical Museum, Telluride Theatre, Telluride Arts, EcoAction Partners, the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, and others.

Tom Kingzett

Tom completed a 40 year career in semiconductor electronics. He was most recently Corporate VP of Product Operations at Lattice Semiconductor in Hillsboro, Oregon, a supplier of programmable logic chips. He has managed technology development, manufacturing operations and supply chain in the US and in partnership with Asian firms. Tom has managed startup ventures and has Board of Director experience in the technology sector. He is currently Partner in a rural real estate and tree farm venture in the Pacific Northwest. Tom and his wife Gloria have been visiting Telluride since 1972 and currently are part-time residents.

Abe Shasa

Abe is a principal at Abe Shasha Consulting Inc. and is based in Houston, Texas. Abe has spent the bulk of his career leading sales teams in the sales, deployment and value generation of software in the Operations business of the Process Industries. This includes Pulp and Paper, Chemicals and Oil and Gas both Upstream and Downstream. Some of Abe’s accomplishments include: 

-Led Honeywell in the development and execution of a worldwide sales team for advanced software. Business growth from $50M to over $300M with offices worldwide, global client base including all the super-majors, and, tight integration with the broader Honeywell Industrial Control segment. 

-Led AspenTech in driving business with EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), and, all the leading organizations included in the Global Accounts Program at AspenTech. Senior contacts in Oil and Gas and Chemicals were developed, maintained and supported in several critical deployments of technology and services for Operational Effectiveness. 

-Several large engagements with software firms in strategic agreements. Australian software company growth into North American was designed and successfully launched including a multi-million dollar engagement with Schlumberger. This was followed up by an exit to P2. Also, successful pipeline development and exits for other firms including startups exiting to Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures, Yokogawa and others. 

-Founding Partner in Energy Water Solutions – treating PRODUCED Water from Oil and Gas and creating beneficial use products including fresh water, brine and heavy metals to clients both inside and outside the field of Oil and Gas. Privately funded and several plants under construction in the USA and subsidiaries in Latin America and Australia.

Jason Searfoss

Jason Searfoss is the Chief Financial Officer of the Boulder-based Boomtown Accelerator and an active investor in and advisor to several startup and growth-stage technology companies.

Before joining Boomtown, Jason was the Chief Financial Officer and member of the Investment Committee of Longford Capital, a private equity fund providing capital and other financing solutions to companies involved with complex event-driven situations.  Jason was responsible for building the firm’s financial and accounting infrastructure and functionality, including management and oversight of third-party service providers, and helped grow a zero-asset concept into one of the world’s largest and most successful special situations funds.

Prior to his tenure at Longford Capital, Jason served in various leadership roles at The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, a leading U.K. bank holding company, most recently as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Technology Infrastructure Services in the Americas.  Earlier in his career, Jason held positions of increasing responsibility at GE Capital, AEGON, Samsung, and JPMorgan Chase.

Jason received an MBA with concentrations in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Kenyon College, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.  After completing his undergraduate studies at Kenyon, Jason was one of 40 people selected worldwide to receive a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and spent fifteen months in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, and Nepal during the fellowship.  He is a recipient of The National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award for superior academic and athletic performance, leadership, and community service. 

Jason is a competitive ultramarathon runner, having completed races of up to 122 miles and self-supported adventure runs of up to 175 miles in distance. He and his family live in Boulder, Colorado.


Todd’s an Intrapreneur turned Entrepreneur, who recently made the move to the area to join the startup world.  Todd spent the last six years with Amazon, where he built Amazon’s headphones business, was COO of the Textbooks business, served as an Amazon Bar-Raiser, and most recently led a multi-year program to automate Amazon’s end-to-end operations and resulting organizational redesign. Prior to Amazon, Todd worked for Whirlpool Corporation across a variety of roles including product development, sales, operations, and category management, and was also a charter member in the launch of the Gladiator GarageWorks business ( He’s a Michigan transplant, and holds a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University, and a MBA in Finance from Purdue University.  Since moving to the area, Todd has been active in the business mentoring community, and serves on the Board for Bear Systems and as Chief Strategy Officer for Amplio Digital, both Boulder based startups.

Main Street Telluride
Elizabeth Kraus
Richard Betts
Peter Dodge
Aaron Silverman
Cheryl Rosner
Colin Sankey
DJ Jensen
Eli Halliwell
Gary Cantor
James Caruso
Jules Pieri
Kurt Luttecke
Martin Reinfreid
Michael Goldberg
Pekka Laine
Peter Levine
Pete Wheelan
Richard Adams
Richard Fulton
Rick Hurwitz
Skramstad Trong
Solomon Rob
Steven Raymund
Stuart Brown
Todd Herrick
Ryan Angilly