This week's Panelists

January 25, 2018


Assim Gupta


Assim has a background in eCommerce, SaaS, mobile and ERP/CRM space. In last 20 years Assim has played several roles ranging from a software engineer to a product manager to the CEO of start-ups. He specializes in taking an idea from "a gleam in the eye" to the "hands of the consumer". He has worked on product strategy, architecture, development, deployment and global operations.

Assim not only brings a strategic vision along with deep technical expertise, he also adds managerial depth to the team. He has created wide spectrum technical teams from scratch and has led/ directed several complex projects as a people manager and a program manager for companies like Oracle and VMware. He has worked extensively in  distributed software development scenarios and has been recognized for his expertise in lean software development. Some other companies Assim has worked with are Apple, Google and SGI.

Fred Drinkwater

Fred Drinkwater is an angel investor and technical program manager. He was a Principal at Drinkwater Consulting, with experience in consulting and project management for developing products in the mobile communication fields. He has worked with major OEMs such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola, and most recently managed production of generic and custom products for fortune 100 OEM companies. Fred graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

Maryanne Morrow


CEO and Founder at SurgeXLR, Angel Investor

Maryanne is a FinTech and MarketingTech Expert. She is connecting Startup innovation with the Fortune 1000. Maryanne has over 20 years of consistently successful business development and relationship management in highly competitive markets. She has a broad disciplinary expertise across the financial services industry with experience in: mutual funds, separately managed accounts, unified managed accounts and structured products.

Maryanne is a member of the Keiretsu Forum angel investor group as well as the CEO and founder of SurgeXLR, a new kind of accelerator that is breaking the Silicon Valley model to help our founders fast-track growth and success by building business from the ground up.

Maryanne’s specialties include: Advertising, Multi-Media, Marketing and Communication Strategies, Fee-Based Asset Management, Mutual Fund Industry, Advisor Practice Management, Relationship Management.

Russell Brand


Russell Brand is an active member in Keiretsu Forum.

Two of the companies he started did well; but not well enough for anyone to have ever heard of. One saved the tax payer 1/4 billion dollars by teaching the federal government to use what is now called open source software; the other help an inventor group get compensated for their work that had been stolen.


He has advised and/or helped with the due diligence of more than 100 companies; and personal invested in 26 in the past two years.


This year he is focusing on helping charities and early stage companies develop better stories for their investors, customers and partners.

Wendy Kok


Wendy Kok is an active angel investor and a seasoned executive with 20+ years of experience in investment management, corporate finance, and tax structuring. Since 2011, Wendy led Sequoia Capital China (Sequoia) as Chief Financial Officer and Operations Lead through the most aggressive growth period and with over 200 active investments to govern. Wendy retired from Sequoia in December 2016 and become its Consultant. She co-founded the Hong Kong Private Equity Finance Association to advocate for knowledge sharing and promotion of positive impact of venture capital. Previously, Wendy was Partner in the Tax & Business Advisory Services with Ernst & Young. She was also appointed as the Leader for Tax Accounting and Risk Advisory Services for the Central China region. Wendy attained Partnership within 9.5 years of her career and was the youngest to be admitted into the Ernst & Young partnership in the China tax department. During her time with Ernst & Young, Wendy led the first acquisition by a U.S. private equity fund into a state-owned enterprise in North-eastern China, negotiating with the government officials and navigating sensitive and complex compliance issues. Wendy also made history by successfully negotiating the first provincial city Advance Pricing Agreement for Xiamen in Southern China. She was awarded as one of the Top 10 CFOs in the private equity and venture capital industry in China for 2015. Wendy received an executive MBA from Kellogg School of Management, a Master of Applied Finance and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Tony Lazar


Tony is Co-President of the HBS Alumni Angels and has been an active member of the HBSAA Selection Committee since 2009. He focuses on healthcare and technology commercialization, and has started three Silicon Valley healthcare-related companies: Allocade, to commercialize a NASA real-time scheduling algorithm for optimizing patient flow through hospitals; TeraForm (now DocuStream), to automate the extraction of electronic data from complex healthcare documents, and SageScan, to develop a new diagnostic imaging modality for internal head injuries. Tony started out as a Database Administrator at NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. He holds an MBA from Stanford and an A.B. from Harvard.