Columbia University

Technology Ventures


William LaFontaine

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William LaFontaine is a recognized leader in the areas of technology licensing, technology partnerships and intellectual property.  In his current role as General Manager of Intellectual Property at IBM, Dr. LaFontaine and his team work at the intersection of Research, Business Units and Clients to accelerate market introduction of new technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing and Healthcare.  Dr. LaFontaine is responsible for annually delivering over a billion dollars in joint development, technology transfer and patent licensing. In his 29-year career at IBM, Dr. LaFontaine has been the Chief Operating Officer for IBM’s Research division, General Manager of Global Technology Services in Middle East and Africa as well as General Manager of Worldwide Semiconductor and Technology sales.

Cheryl Martin

Harwich Partners, ARPA-E
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Dr. Cheryl Martin founded her consulting firm, Harwich Partners, to engage public and private sector entities in designing and implementing solutions for complex problems, especially those related to energy, sustainability, urban development and technology adoption.  

Previously she was a member of the Managing Board at the World Economic Forum where she was responsible for a range of business and innovation initiatives.  Before this, Cheryl had served as the Acting Director of the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E).  She was also the Deputy Director for Commercialization at the agency where she developed the Technology-to-Market program, which helps breakthrough energy technologies succeed in the marketplace.  Prior to joining ARPA-E, Cheryl was an Executive in Residence with at Kleiner Perkins after a career with Rohm and Haas Company in roles ranging from technology development to finance and business management. 

Cheryl serves as the chair of the Board for Sound Agriculture, an early-stage sustainable agriculture technology company, as well as on the Boards for Evergreen Climate Innovations (Chicago) and Elemental Excelerator (HI and CA).  Cheryl is also on the Board of Queens Gambit Growth Corporation (GMBT), an ESG-focused SPAC.  She received her PhD in organic chemistry from MIT.

Peter Tollman

Boston Consulting Group, MPM Capital
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Peter Tollman is Senior Partner Emeritus and Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group. He's also an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and an advisor to several private equity firms and development-stage companies.

Previously, Peter was Managing Director and Senior Partner in BCG's Boston office. He led BCG's CEO Advisory Practice globally, served as global leader of BCG’s Biopharmaceutical Practice, and led its People and Organization Practice in the Americas.  He was also a BCG Fellow, a prestigious thought-leadership post.

Over the course of his consulting career, Peter has served many leading firms across industries and around the globe and has counseled numerous CEOs.  He specialized in strategy and organizational and operational effectiveness and has advised on numerous corporate transformations, restructurings and mergers.

Peter has authored a large number of publications, and has been a featured speaker at many corporate and industry events. He coauthored the book Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated, detailing the transformational approach to improving organizational performance that he helped to pioneer.

Peter joined BCG in 1989. He was also founding managing director of a healthcare venture capital firm, MPM Capital. He is a board member of Tech Care for All and sits on the Board of Governors of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance at the Hebrew University.

Peter received his PhD in engineering from the University of Cape Town, and his MBA with distinction from Columbia Business School.