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The Best Co-Founder You Could Have

Platform provides the infrastructure for founders from all backgrounds to build groundbreaking companies which tackle the world’s biggest problems.

Jeremy Burton

Co-Founder & CEO

Jeremy Burton is a 10x serial entrepreneur and has enjoyed building startups for over 30 years. He started his first company at age 14.

Over his career, Jeremy has worn many different hats, spanning engineering, product design, corporate development, sales, and venture investments.

Most recently, he co-founded Wonolo, the leading on-demand staffing company, where he served as CTO and board member.

Jeremy created Platform to encapsulate all his learnings in building startups into a repeatable process to help the next generation of founders succeed.

His blog - Vibrating Melon - shares some of his learnings.

Tim Connors

Co-Founder & Founding Investor

Tim Connors is Founder and Managing Partner at PivotNorth Capital, an early-stage software-focused venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, CA. Tim has co-founded six companies, coached founders to produce $30B+ in market cap, and been part of 6 unicorns.

Tim has engineering degrees from Notre Dame and Stanford, and an MBA from Harvard. Tim was named to the 2022 & 2020 Midas Lists of the top 100 VCs in the world.

Tim loves to be the first investor in a company and serve as founder coach from day 1 to help founders build solutions that wow customers and to build businesses that have compelling unit economics and enduring value.

Norman Winarsky

VC-in-Residence

Norman Winarsky is Advisor to Startups, Author, and Angel Investor. He is past President of SRI Ventures, which he founded, and which has launched more than 70 companies with a total market value of over $70B.

Norman was co-founder and board member of Siri, which was a startup spun out from SRI in January 2008. Siri has now been incorporated into all Apple iPhones, computers, homepods, and more.

He is co-author of "If You Really Want to Change the World: A Guide to Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures,"​ published by Harvard Press.

Norman is a Lecturer in Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, with a special focus on teaching how to create breakthrough companies.

Founders-in-Residence
& Founder Associates

Jada McLean

CEO & Co-Founder, Ethically

A recovering investment banker turned social impact entrepreneur, Jada previously founded Hurry Home, a fintech startup that enabled homeownership through an innovative rent to buy model. Jada has been recognized for Hurry Home’s innovative approach to filling in the gap of financing for small-dollar properties by renowned institutions like Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Techstars, and Village Capital.

Prior to founding Hurry Home she was an investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Mccoll Partners (acquired by Deloitte Corporate Finance) where she focused on advising companies through mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

She holds a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University.

Ayden Syal

CEO & Co-Founder, MOGL

Ayden graduated from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in Management Consulting and Sociology. Ayden has spent his career working in a variety of roles across financial services at Morgan Stanley, Lexington Partners, and IHS Markit. Ayden serves on the Notre Dame Young Alumni Board as the East Regional Director.

Ayden is looking forward to helping athletes and local businesses maximize their brand potential. He is excited about using MOGL to improve the health of communities and the lives of current and former collegiate athletes.

Brandon Wimbush

Chief Athletic Officer & Co-Founder, MOGL

Brandon graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Accountancy. Prior to earning the starting quarterback position for Notre Dame, Brandon was a NJ Gatorade Player of the Year and state champion. While at Notre Dame, Brandon started 16 games for the Irish and led them to a 10-3 record in 2017 before concluding his collegiate career at the University of Central Florida.

Brandon is ecstatic about using his experiences both on and off the playing field to improve the lives of generations to follow. He aspires to use MOGL to allow him to give back to the institutions and communities that have given him so much.

Griffin Eaton

CEO & Co-Founder, Juke

There’s an old joke: what do you call someone who puts $5,000 worth of gear into a $500 car to drive 100 miles to a $50 gig?….a Musician.

Live music is one of the most enjoyable parts of the human experience. A vibrant music scene can turn a city from downtrodden to vibrant. And yet, the majority of musicians struggle to earn a livable wage. Grif invites you to follow Juke as we help musicians monetize their talents, and have a lot of fun along the way.

Grif transitioned his career from the corporate world to tech startups and hasn’t looked back. His time in marketing at Anheuser-Busch ignited his passion for understanding the customer; but it was his time in tech that provided the expertise to create and articulate value to customers. Grif earned his BS and MBA at Notre Dame.

Rilwan Lawal

CEO & Co-Founder, GigEasy

After starting multiple ventures in high school & college, Rilwan worked in the Aerospace industry before co-founding Neu, a Techstars-backed marketplace connecting Airbnb homeowners with cleaning companies.

He was also an early employee at Hugo, a startup building "Uber for school buses". This led him to focus on solving problems for Gig workers.

Most recently Rilwan worked as a Corporate Innovation consultant, leading design-thinking initiatives for Global 100 companies.

Outside of work, Rilwan enjoys reading & traveling. He is also a Chelsea FC fan and plays soccer for fun.

Derek Snook

CEO & Co-Founder, CoLife

After playing basketball at Furman University, Derek spent four months teaching at a school for orphans in a fishing village of Kenya, where he noticed a disconnect between those who want to help and those they are trying to help. Upon returning to Charleston he voluntarily decided to live among the homeless for a year (the background for his first book).

Through the experience he noticed that many of the men he lived with worked day labor, and so he decided to work day labor himself. He saw that while many simply wanted to get their wages for the night, others were sincerely trying to get ahead. Soon after he started In Every Story, which placed as many as 170 employees on a daily basis at 35% + higher wages than competitors.

Derek has a curiosity and thirst for life, having lived on a sailboat in New York City, visited more than fifty countries, and driven a car from Mongolia to London (the background for his second book). He also has blogged for The Huffington Post, has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and has given a TEDx talk.

Marcus Tetwiler

CEO & Co-Founder, Sprinkle

Marcus was with Sequoia-backed unicorn Wonolo for 6+ years, building a better way to work for millions of workers across the USA. Prior to Wonolo, Marcus was an early team member at StoryBox, backed by Innovation Endeavors and Blumberg Capital.

Before falling in love with building technology companies, Marcus served as the Student Body President at the University of Kansas where he received the majority of votes from thousands of his peers. His early exposure to politics later led him to Birmingham, Alabama where Marcus worked onsite with the Doug Jones for Senate campaign.

Marcus is drawn to taking the initiative and service, highlighted by his successful match becoming a Bone Marrow Donor for a stranger. He enjoys spending time with his fiancé Molly, and their Labrador puppy Frances.

Evan Claudeanos

CEO & Co-Founder, Grant Writing

Evan Claudeanos is a founder, engineer, and philosopher. He studied physics and philosophy at Berkeley, then attended Notre Dame, where he earned graduate degrees in applied math and philosophy. While at Notre Dame, he developed expertise in machine learning, natural language processing, and the philosophy of science.

Following graduate school, Evan founded Amaforge, where he developed algorithms and infrastructure to help universities strategically target grant opportunities. His natural language processing, machine learning, and data aggregation code formed the basis of Scry, a platform that finds ideal funding opportunity matches for teams of faculty. Evan’s mission with Platform is to channel his expertise toward new solutions that make funding nonprofits and startups easier for everyone.

When he's not building, Evan devotes his time to his family and to his favorite hobbies: rock climbing, trail running, and playing the banjo.

Iesha Magallanes

Founder Associate, Ethically

Iesha is a designer, engineer and artist. Despite only recently graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she already has experience on the creative teams for Playstation, Estee Lauder, and Brokeandboard.

Her love for design, impact, and building came together in her previous role where she served as the co-founder for a FinTech app named Debtly where she was the original UI/UX designer and front end developer of the app. Debtly was created to teach financial literacy to low income minorities and help with the implementation of wealth building for disenfranchised groups.

As Platform’s first Founder Associate, Iesha will work closely with Jada to build and grow Ethically, getting her hands dirty with everything from talking to users to programming.

Anthony Whitaker

Founder Associate, MOGL

Anthony is an Old Dominion University Alum and served in a number of roles at the University: he was President of the ODU initiative, Brother 2 Brother, a Recruiter and Assistant Running Back Coach for ODU Football, and worked as an entrepreneurial consultant.

As an entrepreneur, Anthony created Unparalleled Co., an Athleisure Clothing Company made to inspire.

He also assisted QuestStone, where he worked with startups, high-profile companies, and individuals, nationally and internationally, to establish them in the digital space.

Studio Core Team

Lissette Arias

Partner & Chief Design Officer,
Platform Venture Studio

Lissette is an optimistic and passionate design leader and systems thinker with over fifteen years of experience owning creative vision, strategy, and execution of B2B and B2C omni-channel solutions, from concept to launch.

Her work encompasses digital products, design systems, wayfinding systems, print, branding, and interactive experiences for some of the world’s most well-known companies and for millions of users.

Challenging the status quo comes naturally to her, and promoting equity, inclusivity, and diversity is always top of mind. She’s a rebel with a (social) cause, because at times, that is exactly what it takes.

Brett Wischow

Head of Growth, Platform Venture Studio

Brett is a technology fanatic with over a decade of experience in building go-to-market teams, growth strategies and user-obsessed products. He brings a background in a variety of industries including restaurants, telecom, meetings and events and 3D mapping.

Brett is driven by lowering the barrier to entrepreneurship, and helping more people find autonomy and ownership in their work. Originally from Virginia, he is particularly interested in expanding tech entrepreneurship beyond Silicon Valley.

In his spare time, Brett enjoys playing guitar, reading fantasy (send any good suggestions to brett@platformstud.io) and hiking.

Jake Sweatman

Head of Finance

Jake has nearly a decade of experience in building and streamlining finance and accounting functions.

He joined Platform after working at a venture studio specializing in adtech, martech, and media. He also has prior experience in fintech, new market ventures, and "Big 4" advisory.

Jake is driven by his insatiable need to dive into data and create financial models (sometimes just for fun).

When not combing through spreadsheets and databases, he enjoys taking his two girls to the park, on walks, or out for ice cream.

Josh Burkwist

Director of Talent Acquisition

Josh has over 14 years of experience in talent acquisition, both agency and in-house.

He was the first person to score 100% on the LinkedIn Recruiter algorithm that tracks user effectiveness, leading the LinkedIn Recruiter Product Team to consult with him.

At the unicorn, Wonolo, he grew the engineering, product, and design teams by 3x, which included the first 19 hires in Canada.

Prior to recruiting, Josh worked in Child Protection as a forensic interviewer.

Josh grew up in Alaska and NEEDS the outdoors.

Carol Alexander

Executive Assistant

Carol brings 20 years of C-level executive assistant experience to her role at Platform.

Past workplaces range from a public policy think tank to one of the world’s leading aluminum manufacturing companies.

She honed her organization, coordination, and follow-up skills over 19 years on the work-from-home stage, wrangling three sons, juggling a freelance writing gig, and volunteering in her community.

Her current hobbies include (in no particular order of importance) pickleball, hiking, road trips, and reading.

Carol refuses to give up on learning to bake artisan bread but currently, she is no good at it — won’t stop, can’t stop.

Kristi Koistinen

Design Lead

Kristi is a multifaceted creative with 20+ years of experience and a love for brand, identity, and UI design. She has worked for startups, design studios, and media agencies, with clients spanning a broad array of industries including tech, entertainment, and publishing.

Kristi has designed brand identities, design systems, enterprise SaaS application UIs, marketing collateral, ebooks, and printed publications. She is passionate about working for positive change and believes design is a powerful communication tool that can help do just that.

A mother of sons, Kristi’s life outside of work involves a lot of baseball.

Charlie Donnelly

Product Developer

Charlie is a recent graduate from the university of Notre Dame where he studied industrial design and computing & digital technologies. During his senior year of college Charlie founded and built a freelance marketplace for college students, launching his web-development career and peaking his interest in entrepreneurship.

At Notre Dame’s Idea Center, Charlie worked with several startups on building high-fidelity MVPs, including an internal goal-management tool for the Idea Center’s Executive Team. His interest in innovation and low-code development led him to Platform, where he leverages his skills as a designer and web-developer to help build amazing startups.

Outside of Platform, Charlie enjoys film, game development and reading mystery novels.

Cynthia Ages

Product Developer

After graduating from Tuskegee University, Cynthia started The Boundless Apps Team with her brother to provide MVP apps for freelancers, gig workers, and early-phase startups.

After discovering the need for no/low code awareness in education, she founded #ibuiltmyapp, a virtual no/low code app building learning program conducive to middle and high school, inner-city students. The YMCA After School Program of Newark, NJ has partnered with her for over 3 years.

Additionally, she has partnered with one of the leading bariatric surgeons in the country to develop the Bariatric Pre/Post Operation Care App themed (Virtual Bariatrics). The app helps bariatric surgery patients continue to live healthier lives after post-opt care.

In her spare time, she loves teaching the youth at her church, exercising, and spending time with her family.

Patrick O'Shea

Software Engineer

Patrick is an experienced builder with a lifelong love of learning and a passion for problem solving. He also has an affinity for data, endlessly interested in both manipulating and analyzing it.

He is constantly seeking new and efficient ways to build as a software engineer, and grow his skill set.

Patrick also has a love of music, inspiring many passion projects involving it.

When he’s not developing, he enjoys spending time with friends and enjoying life’s little pleasures.

Phil Drexler

Senior Data Analytics Manager

Phil is a data nerd. He loves diving into the numbers to tell a story.

Phil has years of experience in analytics, first, as a consultant in the healthcare industry and later in-house for a leader in the burgeoning sports betting industry. He believes analytics are an essential tool for entrepreneurs from the start of a venture. At Platform, his goal is to build a robust analytics culture within each startup.

Outside of work, Phil enjoys watching and playing sports, cycling, walking his dog, and listening to music (everything from Taylor Swift to Grateful Dead).

Daniel Leal-Bruce

Growth Marketer

Daniel’s love for entrepreneurship began in college at University of Florida, where he transformed a side-hustle selling home-baked cookies into Gainesville’s premier late-night cookie delivery service, Cookiegazm. After selling the cookie business in 2017, Daniel moved to the Washington, DC area, where he joined a then-early stage ISP startup, Starry, and helped grow its DC and NYC markets for the following four years until its IPO in 2022.

Daniel’s passion for early stage ventures has led to his involvement in industries including hospitality, telecom, and e-commerce.

Outside of Platform, you’ll find Daniel traveling, dancing salsa and bachata, and playing gigs with his band around some of DC’s hottest music venues.

Hannah Dopico

Venture Analyst

Hannah is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she studied finance and data science.

She served as the Managing Director of Notre Dame’s student venture capital fund, conducting due diligence alongside Tim Connors of PivotNorth, and co-investing university endowment dollars in early-stage startups.

Hannah spent her summers interning at Salesforce and the MacArthur Foundation, and completing the GoingVC and Girls Who Invest intensive programs.