Our Zell Fellows Venture Further

Introduced during the 2013-14 academic year and funded by Sam Zell, the Zell Fellows Program at the Kellogg School of Management is designed to be a unique, applied entrepreneurial experience for a select number of MBA candidates interested in starting a new venture or acquiring an existing one.

Zell Fellows are known not only for their intellect, drive and entrepreneurial passion, but also for their humility, collegiality and desire to support other aspiring entrepreneurs. The program provides mentorship, leadership coaching, resources, and guidance that will help each Fellow attain personal as well as professional goals. Whether you’re looking to launch a startup or acquire an existing venture, the Zell Fellows Program offers the tools, resources and community you need to chart your entrepreneurial career. Kellogg Zell Fellows are a part of the larger Zell Global Entrepreneur Network, a network of entrepreneurs throughout the world who were also selected to be part of the program.

Already the Zell Fellows program has built a reputation that brings students to Kellogg for the potential of participating in career-changing opportunities. In 2016, the Kellogg Zell Fellows program received the “Outstanding Contribution to Venture Creation” award from the Greater Consortium of Entrepreneurial Centers.
The deadline for Spring (early) applications is April 22, 2019, 11:59 p.m. The deadline for Fall (regular) applications is October 6, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Applications will only be accepted electronically, and late applications will not be accepted.

Venture Track

Students in one of the venture tracks of the program will start their entrepreneurial journey as the founder of a new venture. The program’s three venture tracks provide resources specific to each founder’s industry and needs. The Consumer & Enterprise track is designed for students aspiring to launch a business in the B2B or B2C space. Students in the Healthcare track have access to specific resources to address the unique regulatory, research and development, intellectual property, strategic partnerships, and other challenges that these startups face. The Emerging Markets & Social Impact track of the program focuses on helping students starting ventures located in developing economies or ventures with social impact, both of which require specialized support. Businesses that students are working on will be as market-ready and as fundable as possible by graduation, but ultimately, the program aims to provide entrepreneurs with the experiences, tools and frameworks that they can use to continue to grow as entrepreneurs throughout their careers.
Read about the program as well as several recent Zell Fellow startups in this Poets & Quants article: Off the Launchpad: Kellogg’s Hottest MBA Startups.

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) Track

The Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition track is designed for students whose path to becoming an entrepreneur involves acquiring a small to medium sized company rather than launching one. There are several ways to achieve this:
  • a traditional search, in which the entrepreneur raises capital from investors to find, acquire and run an existing company
  • a self-funded search, where the search itself is self-funded and the acquisition is identified before the financing is determined
  • an incubated or funded search, in which the entrepreneur works with an investment firm experienced in acquisitions and succession.
  • the apprenticeship model, which pairs an aspiring entrepreneur with existing company leadership
  • a CEO-in-training program that provides development and operating experience
  • supporting a family business with the goal of encouraging expansion

Program Highlights

All Fellows participating in the program, both the Venture tracks as well as the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition track, will benefit from the following:
  • Mentorship from track faculty, outside advisors and practitioners, sharing their experience as well as providing guidance on the practical aspects of launching or acquiring a business
  • Experiences, including visits with Chicago-area entrepreneurs; leadership and executive presence workshops and private coaching; and both domestic and international treks to visit successful entrepreneurs, Zell Fellows alumni, and the other schools that are part of the Zell Global Entrepreneur Network
  • Resources, both financial and from vetted service providers, to put towards their businesses and entrepreneurial journey
  • Community, within their own Kellogg cohort, with other Kellogg Zell alumni, and with participants and alumni of the programs at other schools that are part of the Zell Global Entrepreneur Network

Zell Fellows

Expand the accordion for each track to see a complete listing of Zell Fellows with information on their ventures.

Consumer & Enterprise Track

The Consumer & Enterprise track (originally known as the New Venture track) was the original track of the program and is designed for students interested in creating lasting value as they start their own ventures, generally B2B or B2C businesses.

Full Listing of Consumer & Enterprise Fellows

2017-18 Cohort
Nick Anastasiades ’18 / 2ndKitchen
Jennifer Barron ’18 / OutFox
Kathryn Bernell ’18 / reBLEND
Allison Brown ’18 / Cariset
Rei Kawano ’18 / Heed Foods
Chase Michalek ’18 / Hilltop Health
Brittany Phillips ’18 / Carewaye
Milan Raj ’18 / Shaadi Destinations
Adam Swick ’18 / Swick Capital

2016-17 Cohort
Saumya ’17 / Kheyti
Nathan Cooper ’17 / Wise Apple
Rachael Feuerborn ’17 / Finch
Roshni Khurana ’17 / The Right Hook
Jared Scharen ’17 / eRetirements
Tiffany Smith ’17 / Tiltas
Carolyn Snider ’17 / Welltended
Eduardo Uriarte Ruiz ’17 / Kairos
Rachel Xanttopoulos ’17 / Daybreak

2015-16 Cohort
Tushar Garg ’16 / FlyHomes
Jordan Hollander ’16 / Citykey
Nidheesh Patel ’16 / Carvnient
Blair Pircon ’16 / The Graide Network
Bobby Powers ’16 / SharEd
Justin Saeheng ’16 / IFM Technologies 
Beth Santos ’16 / Wanderful
Asaf Segev ’16 / Syteful 
Rebecca Sholiton ’16 / Wise Apple

2014-15 Cohort
Lorena Arathoon ’15 / Snackerie
Jeremy Bolian ’15 /Acentive
Jesse Chang ’16 / MDAR Technologies, Inc.
Michael Jung ’15 / UroProx
Stephen Lane ’16 / FlyHomes
Priya Mathew ’15 / Practico
Luciana Silva De Oliveira ’15 / New Hope Ecotech
Kieren Patel ’16 / Opticent Health
Gaurav Shenai ’15 / Touchtrail
Tyler Wanke ’15 / Innoblative

2013-14 Cohort
Ty Benefiel ’14 / MeterGenius
Christopher Chon ’14 / Leonard & Church
Mathew Elenjickal ’14 / Four Kites
Vaibhov Goel ’14 / Tuplee 
Travis Granger ’14 / Arbyl
April (Yong Kyung) Kim ’14 / Chatting Cat
Daniel Klein ’15 / REPP
Jeremy O’Briant ’14 / License Buddy
Jason Sandler ’15 / Innoblative

Healthcare Track

The Healthcare track was added to the program in 2016. Students starting healthcare ventures face special challenges that are materially different than students in the other tracks of the program, including regulatory and FDA issues, advanced R&D, intellectual property, strategic partnerships, licensing, and others. The Healthcare track aims to support the needs of students starting these ventures.

Full Listing of Healthcare Fellows

2018-19 Cohort
Jonathan Bateman '19 / Red + Blue
Kyle Metz '19 / Jabiru Medical LLC
Tim Taxter '19

2017-18 Cohort
Ben Beidler ’18 / Novosight
Andrew Cabodi ’18 / BackWave Technologies
Dianna He ’18 / Sit the Moon Health
David Nguyen ’18 / okam health
Kyle Wildnauer Haigney ’18 / ScriptPass

2016-17 Cohort
Barath Anandakumar ’17 / ActiWit
Gal Ben Dor ’17 / Getoo
Todd Cruikshank ’17 / Surgical Innovation Associates
Smit Naik ’17 / Actualize Therapy
Eloy Vinuales ’17 / PrediCare

Emerging Markets & Social Impact Track

Students starting ventures in developing economies face special challenges that are materially different than students in the other tracks of the program, as do students starting ventures with social and/or environmental impact. This track was created to help address those concerns.

Full Listing of Emerging Markets & Social Impact Fellows

2017-18 Cohort
Chioma Aladi ’18 / ENG Women
Nakul Khanna ’18 / Instago
Alejandro Orvananos Obregon ’18 / Qualtrium
Zain Shahzad ’18 / Allif
Patrick Tagny Diesse ’18 / Afiri

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Track

The ETA track is designed for students wanting to prepare for acquiring or leading a company sometime in the future.

Full Listing of Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Fellows

2018-19 Cohort
Ian Goldberg '19
Dan Kish '19
Isauro Reyna Valenciana '19
Fernando Ribeiro '19
Andro Rodriguez '19
Nick Seger '19
Robbie Sutkay '19
Blake Toll '19
Mayank Vijayvergia '19

2017-18 Cohort
Jose Anguis Horno ’18
Nate Barajas ’18
Anthony Cardona ’18
Lauren Davis ’18
Russell Johnston ’18
Carr Lanphier ’18
Marcella Lobo ’18
Timothy Novick ’18
Charlie Pratt ’18
Richard Roman ’18

2016-17 Cohort
Ayu Djaputra ’17
Blair Kessler ’17
Matthew Dellen ’17
Matthew McGarry ’17
Stanley Rodos ’17
Ashish Rohil ’17
Jay Shah ’17

2015-16 Cohort
Shaun Currie ’16
Ray Fan ’16
John Griffin ’16
Tommy Jackson ’16
Elise Krieger ’16
Will Wright ’16
Margaret Yeager ’17

Zell Fellows Stats

Venture Startups

Venture Funding Raised

Venture Jobs Created

Acquisition Pursuits

Zell Fellow Successes


Tyler Wanke ’15 MMM


Mathew Elenjickal ’14 2YMBA


Saumya ’17 2YMBA

Application Process

The Zell Fellows Program will include four tracks for 2019-20. There are three new venture tracks, including Consumer & Enterprise, for students aspiring to launch a business in the B2B or B2C space, Healthcare, to address the unique regulatory, R&D, intellectual property, strategic partnerships, and other challenges that these startups face, and Emerging Markets & Social Impact, to help students starting ventures located in developing economies or ventures with social and/or environmental impact. The fourth track, ETA, is for students approaching entrepreneurship through one of the many paths to entrepreneurship through acquisition, including a traditional search fund, self-funded search, incubated search, apprenticeship, family business, or CEO-in-training program.

The Zell Fellows Program is open to any Kellogg full-time student in the second-year of the 2Y or MMM program, 1Y, JDMBA or MDMBA program or any student in the Evening & Weekend program who can be available for all of the activities.

Students interested in the Zell Fellows program have the opportunity to apply in spring of the year before they would participate (if already a student) or in fall of the year they would participate. The program will officially begin in October, after all Fellows selected have been invited to join the program. Students invited to join the program in the prior spring will receive limited benefits and resources until the official program start.

To be a competitive applicant for the program, a student should be able to demonstrate his/her commitment to entrepreneurship, whether the eventual goal is starting a new venture or acquiring an existing one. For the venture tracks, students should have performed research into a need/problem and be able to show traction with a proposed solution. For the ETA track, an understanding of and commitment to this path to entrepreneurship should be evident.

Key Dates - Application Process

Date Info

Spring Application

April 9, 2019
12:15 – 1:15 PM
Program Information Session
Applications open
April 22, 2019
11:59 PM
Program Application Deadline
Weeks of:
April 29, 2019
May 6, 2019
Zell Fellows Interviews
May 10, 2019
2019-2020 Invitations Issued

Fall Application

September 27, 2019
12:15 – 1:15 PM
Program Information Session
Applications Open
October 6, 2019
11:59 PM
Program Application Deadline
Weeks of :
October 14, 2019
October 21, 2019
Zell Fellows Interviews
October 25, 2019
2019-2020 Invitations Issued

Key Program Dates

Date Info
November 16-17, 2019
Fall Trek
December 8-11, 2019
Individual Track Treks
Spring Break
March 20-28, 2020
Israel and Individual Track Treks
Visit from IDC Zell Program
June 14-16, 2020
ZGEN Gathering at Kellogg

Faculty Leadership and Program Staff

The Executive Director of the program, David Schonthal, founded the program in 2013 and has led the expansion of the program over the past several years as additional tracks, focus areas, resources, and experiences have been added to meet the specific needs of the students in the program.

Faculty leads for the tracks are as follows:
Consumer & Enterprise: Gregg Latterman and Rebecca Sholiton
Healthcare: Pete McNerney and Kate Wolin
Emerging Markets & Social Impact: Jamie Jones and Tasha Seitz
Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition: Alex Schneider and Matt Littell

Program staff are:
Senior Program Manager: Jennifer Herold
Program Assistant: Tyler Seybold

Contact the program at zellfellows@kellogg.northwestern.edu

About Sam Zell

Sam Zell is a global, opportunistic, often contrarian, investor. He specializes in identifying market anomalies and emerging trends, and has a long track record in turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. Much of his investment portfolio is in energy, logistics, transportation, manufacturing, communications and healthcare, but he is often best known for his pioneering role and stewardship in creating the modern commercial real estate industry.

Sam is the Chairman of Equity Group Investments, his private investment firm. He chairs five companies listed on the NYSE: Equity Residential; Equity LifeStyle Properties; Equity Commonwealth; Covanta Holding Corporation; and Anixter International Inc. He also chairs Equity International, a private equity firm he founded to focus on opportunities outside of the U.S.

Sam is recognized for his advocacy of corporate governance, particularly in real estate and in the emerging markets. He is an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education. He holds a JD degree and a BA from the University of Michigan.


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