Entrepreneurs in Residence
Launch Chapel Hill's team of Entrepreneurs in Residence works closely with founders to keep track of progress toward key milestones, make connections, and work through challenges around common issues like business planning, customer development, and fundraising.
Brett is a successful entrepreneur, proven growth leader, avid coffee consumer, trivia junkie, wanna-be Civil War historian, and former NCAA football and baseball player. Recognized as a top entrepreneur by Bloomberg Businessweek, he has also founded and sold two startups.
In addition to his entrepreneurial exploits, he earned an MBA from a rival ACC school (don't hold it against him) and has brought his spirited leadership to dozens of high growth businesses - ranging from private equity-backed initiatives to bootstrapped startups to management consulting clients - gaining expertise across the marketing, sales and business development functions.
He excels at launching products and services, building brands and experiences that consumers love, as well as strategically expanding ventures in high-growth environments. Bringing a values-driven and customer-centered focus to his businesses, Brett is devoted to the entrepreneurial journey, even more so after a few cups of coffee. He cites his Dad, a Bay Area-based small business owner of 35 years, as his favorite entrepreneur.
Willy is an entrepreneurial product development and business development manager with technical background and an MBA. He has proven ability to accomplish goals through organization and analysis of technical and market data, strategic long-term thinking and team building.
He is interested in commercializing and marketing technology for medical devices, medical diagnostics and energy efficiency.
Scott is a military veteran, serial entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at UNC-Chapel Hill and a firm believer that craft breweries and distilleries are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Scott is currently the Proprietor of Top of the Hill Distillery – makers of TOPO Vodka, Gin and Whiskey – and currently the only exclusively organic and all-local distillery in the South. TOPO Vodka recently received a five star rating from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirits Journal and all of the spirits have won gold medals at major competitions.
While in law school twenty years ago, Scott founded his first venture -Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery- to prevent a T.G. I. Friday’s from dominating the main intersection of Chapel Hill. Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery has won over 40 “Best Of” awards in the Triangle, is the largest bar in the state of North Carolina and is one of only three breweries in the world with two platinum medals from the World Beer Championships.
Scott sees entrepreneurship as essential to the future prosperity of rural, small and mid-sized communities. Scott’s love of community combined with his own experience informs his teaching of Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC.
Mr. Albert has over 30 years of venture capital and operating experience, primarily working with early stage and growth companies. He is a Venture Partner with The Aurora Funds Inc., a venture capital firm in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. He also teaches at Kenan Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and does early stage and growth company consulting and mentoring.
Mr. Albert was a founding General Partner of Aurora and heads the Technology practice. Aurora was formed in 1994 and manages nearly $250 million across five venture funds. Aurora focuses on seed and early stage financings across a broad industry mix of technology and life sciences companies and has invested in over 60 companies throughout the United States. Mr. Albert is currently the CFO and sits on the Board of Directors of Entigral Systems, Inc., an angel-backed software company in Raleigh, NC. He also has operating experience as the CEO of a venture backed healthcare services company and as the CEO for almost two years of one of Aurora’s early portfolio companies, Centice Corporation.
Mr. Albert is a Mentor for the Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs Program, affiliated with Duke University, where he mentors undergraduate entrepreneurial teams. And he is an Advisor for the Adams Apprenticeship program affiliated with UNC-CH. Prior to founding Aurora, Mr. Albert was a General Partner at Criterion Venture Partners in Houston Texas; and an Associate at Golder, Thoma Cressey in Chicago; and an Associate at Booz, Allen and Hamilton in Chicago and New York. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Natasha Goldstein is the Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer of MCE Social Capital, a $50 million global social investment fund focused on improving the lives of low-income women in rural areas. Prior to joining MCE in 2013, Natasha served as Finance Director at Hot Bread Kitchen, a social enterprise and commercial bakery providing on-the-job training to immigrant women in New York City. In 2010, Natasha founded LIFT Investments, a social enterprise focused on business development and skills training in Nairobi, Kenya. From 2010 to 2012, Natasha also worked for boutique management consulting firm ESV Strategies, where she advised nonprofits and social enterprises on their financial growth. Earlier in her career, Natasha worked at UBS Investment Bank as a financial analyst, where she focused on multi-million and billion dollar cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and equity transactions.
Natasha is also a regular public speaker and lecturer on launching social ventures, impact investing and social enterprise. Venues have included Harvard University, Columbia University, New York University, University of North Carolina, Women Advancing Microfinance and various corporate and industry conferences. Finally, Natasha sits on the Board of three social enterprises based in New York City.
Brent is the inaugural Student Entrepreneur in Residence at Launch Chapel Hill. A successful technology innovator, Brent started a digital marketing company in the Midwest before he started high school and continues to serve as the leader of that team while at UNC. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur himself, Brent has helped several ventures in the area and in his native state of Nebraska go from an idea to a successful venture.
As the inaugural Student Entrepreneur in Residence, Brent serves as the ambassador for Launch Chapel Hill on UNC's campus while also developing the Student Entrepreneur in Residence Program. He is an adviser and coach to several organizations, ventures, and budding entrepreneurs on - and off - campus. His entrepreneurial spirit and drive to see others succeed has landed him speaking opportunities across the country - including a TED talk in both New York and an upcoming talk in Nebraska (November 2014).