Entrepreneurs in Residence

Launch Chapel Hill's team of four Entrepreneurs in Residence - Willy Hoos, Scott Maitland and Laura Zavelson - 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 Nicol

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.



William Hoos

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 Maitland

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. 


Brent Comstock

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).