Nasir Ali is a Managing Partner at StartFast Ventures. He has spent the last two decades building Upstate NY’s high growth entrepreneurial ecosystem through the non-profit Upstate Venture Connect and investments in 60 companies. He launched Upstate NY’s first angel fund in 2007 and co-founded StartFast Venture Accelerator in 2011 with Chuck Stormon. By 2021, the accelerator’s successes led to the formation of StartFast Fund II for investments in diverse B2B SaaS founders outside major VC hubs. Nasir holds a Bachelors degree in Physics from Princeton University and a Masters in Management from Yale University. He is a board member and advisor to the NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund, Next Gen Venture Partners, Fitzgate Ventures and multiple StartFast portfolio companies.
Chuck Stormon, is a 7X serial entrepreneur and prominent figure in the fields of artificial intelligence and venture capital. Stormon left his PhD studies to found Coherent Research which commercialized chip architecture for neural networks, which was acquired by Cypress Semiconductor. Stormon then co-founded Coherent Networks which combined neural networks and expert (rule-based) systems with human-in-the-loop processing at scale in one of the first commercially successful hybrid AI solutions, SmartMaps, which transformed the electric utility industry. Coherent Networks was acquired by Osmose Corp. Stormon’s next venture was Steleus, which was acquired by Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC), and was subsequently acquired by Oracle. After these successes, Stormon pivoted into Venture Capital, while continuing to be an entrepreneur/operator in a series of businesses. Stormon earned his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University.
Michael Quigley is a technology entrepreneur, angel investor and startup advisor. As a Managing Member of the General Partner of Fund II, Mike focuses on fund raising, investment selection, and portfolio company development. Mike is the co-founder of Impel, a SaaS company whose automotive merchandising platform is used by nearly every carmaker and thousands of dealerships across 40+ countries. At Impel, Michael serves as President and Chief Strategy Officer, and has led product, finance, customer success, and M&A. He is a member of Impel’s Board of Directors, and Impel's audit and compensation committees. Michael is an active angel investor in the B2B SaaS sector, and mentor in the StartFast and Cornell Tech networks. He holds a B.A. in Economics from New York University.
Olivia Goldstein is the Vice President at StartFast Ventures. She’s an exited tech founder with 10 years of experience working in and with B2B software companies. Early in her career, Olivia advised international tech companies on U.S. market entry strategies. This exposure to tech brought her to India where she spent time working for a B2B software startup based in Bangalore overseeing their international product growth. While there, she co-founded RepHike, a marketing software for brands to find and work with influencers & brand ambassadors, and ultimately led it through to its acquisition by a Syracuse group in 2019. Olivia holds a B.A. in Economics from University of Pittsburgh and a M.A. in International Relations from the Institute of World Politics.
Benjy Kest is an investment associate at StartFast Ventures. He co-founded Ripple Interactive, a startup that aims to provide users with a better networking experience. Benjy is passionate about technology and strongly believes that giving the right companies sufficient capital to execute their mission will lead to a better world. He previously served as an intern for Congresswoman Haley Stevens and is an undergraduate mathematics student at New York University.
Elena Chopyak is an Investment Associate at StartFast Ventures and joined the team in 2023. Elena's background is in nonprofit innovation, fitness and gaming, and product management for early stage startups. Her experience and interests span digital health, VR/AR, AI, "metaverse" technologies, and beyond. In her previous career, Elena was an international humanitarian aid worker with the International Rescue Committee. She has been deployed to humanitarian crises in Iraq, Bangladesh, South Sudan, DR Congo, and Yemen. Elena holds a Masters of Science from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, and a BA in Sociology and French from Swarthmore College. Elena is also currently a Venture Fellow at Alumni Ventures.