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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Advisory Board

Alan BravermanAlan Braverman ’96 BS Computer Science, Angel Investor
Alan Braverman was most recently the VP of Engineering at Fwix, a company changing the way people consume local news.  Before joining Fwix, Alan served as Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of several internet ventures:  Eventbrite, an online event registration service; Geni, a social networking web site for families; Yammer, an enterprise micro-blogging service; and Xoom, an online international money transfer company.

Previously, Alan was a software engineer at eGroups, a web-based mailing list company that was acquired by Yahoo in 2000 (and is now known as Yahoo Groups).  Prior to eGroups, Alan programmed web software at Silicon Graphics.

Alan earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Between classes, he worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on Mosaic, the early web browser that helped spark mainstream adoption of the internet.  He was also chairman of ACM @ UIUC during the 1994-1995 school year.

Steve ChenSteve Chen Computer Science Attendee
Co-Founder YouTube and Angel Investor
Steve Chen, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of the video-sharing site YouTube, grew up in Taipei before his family moved to Illinois when he was a boy. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was an early employee at PayPal, where he met fellow YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim.


Jerry FidlerJerry Fiddler ’74 BA LAS and ’77 MS Computer Science, Founder Wind River, Principal at Zygote Ventures, and Chairman Solazyme
Jerry Fiddler is the founder of Wind River Systems (WIND), a company which he started in 1981 in his Berkeley garage. Since then, Wind River has grown to become the leading provider of device software worldwide with over 1,100 employees in 16 countries. Through the company's dramatic growth, Mr. Fiddler's role evolved from that of the sole programmer to CEO and Chairman of the Board until his departure in 2004. While doing so, he gained a reputation as an expert in the design and implementation of real-time systems. Wind River was acquired by Intel in 2009.

Since beginning his career at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Mr. Fiddler has published and presented many technical papers and articles and has been the keynote speaker for numerous conferences worldwide. He is a member of the UC President's Advisory Board on Science and Innovation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

Mr. Fiddler sits on several corporate boards, including Wind River, Tensilica, Crossbow, and Nanochip, as well as a number of advisory boards. He served as a UC Berkeley Fellow in Entrepreneurship and as a Wharton Entrepreneur in Residence and has undertaken similar responsibilities at the University of Illinois. Mr. Fiddler received a B.A. in music and photography, and an M.S. in computer science, both from the University of Illinois.


David JeskeDavid Jeske ’96 BS Computer Science
Co-Founder Neotonic and Managing Director Steps Capital
David's experience in building companies pre-dates his time in Silicon Valley and at Illinois. While still in high school, David founded his first company in the telephony space which was successful enough to be profitable and teach him some of the first lessons he would need as an entrepreneur. After the successful exit from eGroups, David co-founded Neotonic in 2001 with another Illinois alum, Brandon Long. Neotonic produced technology for email customer support and was acquired by Google in April 2003 bringing its Trakken CRM product in-house. The company also developed ClearSilver web templating language and the Archive email web archive. ClearSilver is Open Source and is used by several Google products and other projects such as Trac. The ideas behind Archive formed the basis for Google Groups.


Christopher MichelChristopher Michel ’90 BA Political Science and MBA Harvard, Founder and Affinity Labs and Managing Director Nautilus Ventures
Chris Michel ’90, Harvard MBA ’98, managing director of Nautilus Ventures, founder of Affinity Labs, founder of and Naval Flight Officer discussed 5 Lessons to Startup Survival in Difficult Times
Christopher Michel is a photographer, investor & entrepreneur and the founder of and Affinity Labs. and Affinity Labs were sold to in 2004 and 2006 respectively, for more than $100 million.  He currently runs Nautilus Ventures, a seed venture fund.  Chris and Nautilus are early stage investors in Alliance Health, Zinch, GoodReads, Offbeat Guides, iSkoot, Red Answers, MD Drinks, Lookery, LabPixies, Powerset, CR Reality, Pangea 3, Flour & Water, and other Internet companies. In addition, Chris is an advisor to Ooga Labs, Affinity Circles, RepairPal, etc.  Chris serves as a Director of Dale Carnegie, Ventana, and Alliance Health and is a Governor on the USO World Board.  He is also a member of the Northern California chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization and is on the oversight committee for the Division on Earth and Life Studies, one of six study divisions of the National Academies.  In 2005, his book, The Military Advantage: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Military & Veterans Benefits, was published by Simon & Schuster.

Chris earned his commission from the NROTC program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as the distinguished naval graduate.  He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.  Chris was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and serves as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 


Harsh PatelHarsh Patel ’92 BS Mechanical Engineering and MBA Stanford
Venture Capital Investor and Entrepreneur
Harsh is an early-stage technology investor and entrepreneur.  He was a General Partner with RRE Ventures and earlier with In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  As both a venture capitalist and angel, Harsh has invested in a wide range of technology startup companies including Palantir Technologies, Tendril, Flipswap, LiftMedia, Badgeville, GrubWithUs and others.

Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Harsh was a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Orbit Commerce (acquired by Digital River, NASD:DRIV). He led the development of a pioneering eCommerce SaaS platform for the small-and-medium business market, sold via trusted brands including FedEx, Network Solutions and Gateway Computer.  Harsh began his career with the R&D organization of Accenture.

Harsh earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Stanford Business School.  He is a founding affiliate of the Webb Investment Network and a founding member of Palindrome Advisors, matching Silicon Valley leaders with promising non-profit organizations.


DanDan Peterson ’05 BS Computer Science
Co-Founder Opensocial Foundation and Product Manger Google
Dan Peterson is a Product Manager on Google+ with a passion for developer platforms and open source projects. Dan was a member of the Google Wave team, where he grew the developer community and promoted the federation protocol. Prior to that, Dan helped establish the OpenSocial specification, Apache Shindig, co-founded the OpenSocial Foundation, and guided the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) team as it became an open source project. Dan began at Google on the core infrastructure team, contributing to web search and data center management. Dan earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as minors in Technology & Management and Philosophy. Dan is also active on the Department of Computer Science's advisory board and an occasional angel investor.


Pete SolvikPete Solvik ’80 Business and Information Systems
Managing Director Sigma Partners
Pete Solvik joined Sigma Partners, an early stage venture capital firm, as a managing director in 2002. He invests across the entire spectrum of information technology products and services and was responsible for the firm’s investments in Topio (acquired by NetApp), KACE Networks (acquired by DELL), Digital Fuel Technologies, Encover, Enkata, Centrify, Docusign and ScanCafe. He joined Sigma following a very successful 10-year career at Cisco Systems. His accomplishments as Senior Vice President & CIO, and founder of the Internet Business Solutions Group, helped make Cisco one of the more successful companies of our time.

During Pete’s tenure from 1992-2002, Cisco achieved wide recognition for early and aggressive use of the Internet, e-commerce and information technology, growing from $200 million to well over $20 billion in annual sales. Prior to Cisco, Pete spent 11 years at Apple Computer (1981-1992), where he held a number of senior IT management roles supporting the rapid growth and global expansion of the firm, including oversight of the Apple Online Services Group.
While at Cisco, the IT organization under Pete's leadership was chosen for CIO magazine’s CIO 100 award four times. He was also selected as one of “The 25 Most Powerful Executives in Networking” by Network World, and featured in four Harvard Business School case studies on the successful use of IT within the enterprise. He has often been quoted in articles on IT and eBusiness in Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, the Economist, the New York Times, Information Week, CIO magazine and many other publications and books. He has been a keynote speaker at more than 50 industry conferences on IT and eBusiness.


Chris TrimbleChris Trimble ’95 BS Math and Computer Science
Senior Software Engineer Groupon




Emily WesterholdEmily Westerhold ’07 BS Business Accountancy
Senior Associate PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Emily Westerhold graduated from University of Illinois in 2007 with a degree in Accountancy from the College of Business. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and currently works for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their assurance practice for biotech and venture capital clients. Emily travels back to the Champaign-Urbana campus regularly for recruiting trips and presentations on behalf of PwC. During her four years at Illinois, she was actively involved in Phi Gamma Nu, a business fraternity on campus. She enjoys running and outdoor activities during her free time.