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The Venture Capital Advisory Board for HBS Alumni Angels of New York is comprised of leading, senior-level, HBS-grad, NY-area venture capitalists who advise HBSAANY on its growth and development and look to HBSAANY companies as a source of candidates for subsequent venture investment. 

  • Chip Austin, Co-Founder & General Partner, i-Hatch ventures

  • Deborah Farrington, Founder & General Partner, StarVest Partners

  • Matt Gorin, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Contour Venture Partners

  • Rick Heitzmann, Managing Director, FirstMark Capital

  • David Teten, Managing Partner, HOF Capital

  • AJ Plotkin, Independent Investor & Venture Capitalist

  • David Arcara, Managing Partner, Laconia Capital Group

Meet the VCAB: 



Chip has advised and built companies in Technology and Media for his entire career. In addition to founding, Bertelsmann’s E-commerce division, Chip was a member of the senior executive team leading the buyout and restructuring of Prodigy, and was a co-founder of McKinsey’s Interactive Practice, where he spent seven years advising Fortune 500 companies on their media strategies.

Most recently, Chip was President and CEO of Bertelsmann Online, where he was responsible for building Bertelsmann’s global e-commerce business. Chip was the first employee at BOL, and built parallel services in the UK, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France (via joint venture with Vivendi/Havas), and the US (via Bertelsmann’s 50% investment in Chip served as Chairman of the Board of BOL France, and was a Board Member and officer of Doubleday Direct, BCA, BOL, Inc., and Bertelsmann’s E-commerce Control Board. BOL has been the recipient of several industry accolades, including CeBIT Innovation of the Year Winner and the highest rated European e-commerce site by a Forrester Research.


Prior to Bertelsmann, Chip was a member of the management-led buyout of Prodigy, where he was SVP of Sales and Business Development and General Manager of Prodigy’s first Internet Service. While at Prodigy, Chip built an ISP from scratch, launched Prodigy Internet, which replaced Prodigy’s Classic proprietary service, and was responsible for all customer acquisition and subscription revenue. In addition, Chip was responsible for all major account relationships, including OEM channels such as Packard Bell/NEC, and technology/distribution providers, such as Microsoft, Netscape, and Excite. Prior to sale to SBC, Prodigy’s initial public offering had a market capitalization that had exceeded $3 billion dollars.


Chip is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on Technology, Media, and Angel Investment-related topics as well as serving on the boards of several public and private companies. Chip has also worked at Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking division and IBM’s Personal Computer division during the launch years of the IBM PC. Chip has a degree in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.



Deborah is co-founder and managing partner of New York City-based StarVest Partners, founded in 1998 to invest in technology-enabled business services. StarVest is one of the largest women majority owned venture capital firms. Its focus has been on software-as-a-service, digital marketing, and data & analytics. Notable investments include NetSuite (NYSE: N), which StarVest invested in when it had minimal revenues, and which was sold to ORCL for $9.2 billion in 2016 when it had $1 billion in revenues; she was lead director and chair of the Compensation Committee from the time in went public in 2007 until its sale. Other investments include the first internet insurance company, the first digital ad agency, and HR and financial infrastructure, SaaS solutions and leading marketing
technology companies. On behalf of StarVest, she currently serves on the boards of Planful, Xignite, and Snag Holdings, Inc. 
In addition, she is a director of NCR (NYSE: NCR) where she chairs the Compensation & Human Resources Committee; Ceridian HCM Holding (NYSE: CDAY) where she chairs the Nominating & Governance Committee; and Cumulus Media where she is a member of the Audit Committee. Earlier in her career she was president and CEO of Victory Ventures, a multi strategy investment firm headquartered in New York City, a managing director of Asian Oceanic Group in New York and Hong Kong, and an investment banker and division director of Merrill Lynch in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. She began her career after college and prior to HBS as a credit analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank. She has been named multiple times to the Forbes Midas List of Top 100 Venture Capitalists and in 2018 received the Foreign Policy Association Medal for Achievement in Financial Services. She received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where she has served on the Visiting Committee, as a Vice-President of the Alumni Association, endowed a Fellowship for Women Entrepreneurs and is a chair of the HBS Club of New York. She is a graduate of Smith College, where she was a Trustee for eight years and chaired its Investment Committee, responsible for its endowment. She currently serves as a member of the board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and a board member of the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL.



Matt Gorin is a co-founder of Contour Venture Partners and has experience in technology operations, start-ups, venture capital and turnaround management. He is passionate about helping to build early stage companies, with a focus on the financial services, internet and applied technology sectors. Contour invests in seed and early stage technology companies in the northeast United States with a focus on the financial services, digital media and the internet sectors.

Matt was previously with Promontory Financial Group, a merchant banking firm focused on the financial services sector. He was part of the launch team at Promontory Interfinancial Network, a financial services technology platform company which has subsequently grown to over one hundred employees. Prior to this, Matt worked for Red Hat in its Strategic Planning & Corporate Development group where he was responsible for starting Red Hat’s Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partnership Program, ultimately establishing extensive business and technology partnerships with many of the top global independent software vendors. Matt also worked at Morgan Stanley in its strategic venture capital fund, concentrating on making investments in early-stage financial services companies. Earlier in his career, Matt was a turnaround consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he helped devise and implement operating strategies for troubled companies in various industries.

Matt is the Founder of StreetWise Partners, a nonprofit focused on providing low-income individuals with a path to a successful career through mentoring, job skills and professional experience. He co-authored a Harvard Business School case study analyzing the origins of free trade and a paper in the World Economic Outlook on the economic and political risks in the Middle East.

Matt received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and B.A. in Economics and American Studies from Brandeis University, where he was co-captain of the tennis team.



Current ventures include: dashlane, Live Gamer, Meteor Entertainment, Pinterest, Playnomics, 
SneakPeeq, Sulia, Tapad, Tubular, WePlay. Historical investments include:  
Clickable (acquired by Syncapse in 2012), Riot Games (acquired by Tencent Holdings in 2011), FirstAdvantage (acquired by First American in 2009), StubHub (acquired by eBay in 2007), and US Search (acquired by First Advantage in 2003).

Rick received a B.S. from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Rick has traveled all seven continents and is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. Friends claim he has seen every movie on Netflix.

Rick Heitzmann, a founder and managing Director of FirstMark Capital, focuses on investments in the media, adtech, gaming, and mobile sectors. Prior to founding FirstMark Capital, Rick was a Partner with Pequot Ventures. Rick also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Venture Capital Association.



David Teten is Venture Partner with Coolwater Capital, known as “Y Combinator for emerging VCs”. Coolwater runs an accelerator for emerging VC fund managers and invests as a limited partner, into general partnerships, in fund management companies, and also directly into startups. He is Founder of Versatile VC, backing early-stage “investment tech” companies which help investors generate alpha and succeed. He is Chair of PEVCTech, a community of investors in private companies using technology and analytics to generate alpha. He was previously a Managing Partner with HOF Capital; Partner with ff Venture Capital; and Founder of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of NY. He writes periodically at

AJ headshot.jpg



Adam J. Plotkin is an independent investor and venture capitalist. From 2014 to 2023, Adam was a Partner at ff Venture Capital, a seed stage-firm with 90+ active portfolio companies based in New York City and Warsaw. Informed by his previous background, Adam is particularly interested in structured, complex capital solutions. At ff, Adam was a director of more than 15 companies including Rhino, Sure Insurance, Omaze, CardFlight, Burro, PlusOne, Civic Eagle, and StoryFit.


Prior to ffVC, Adam joined the founding team of a startup insurance company. Previously, Adam was a hedge fund investor at an opportunistic, broad-mandate hedge fund focused on macro trends, and at a distressed debt fund. Adam started his career at Goldman Sachs in Leveraged Finance. He is a Trustee of the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ.


Adam holds a M.B.A. degree from the Harvard Business School. He also holds Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Sciences, and Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.




David Arcara is Co-Founder and General Partner of Laconia Capital Group, a NYC based seed-fund investing in B2B software solutions. A 5x founder, David has deep experience with all aspects of business operations, governance, and the path of taking a company from idea to exit. A lifelong New Yorker, David attended the University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard Business School.

Ex-Officio members: 




Jason E. Klein is an experienced media CEO and builder of digital and traditional businesses who has led two successful turnarounds.  He is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC , an advisory and investment firm in digital media, marketing, and information; a Managing Director at Empirical Media; and a mentor at several NYC-area incubators. Mr. Klein was previously CEO of Newspaper National Network LP, and CEO of Times Mirror Magazines/Time4 Media.

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