Fellows 2016/17

The Haas Venture Fellows are selected each year for their background and expertise across a variety of industries, including engineering, clean-tech, and healthcare.

Zach Thigpen Bio / LinkedIn

Zach Thigpen
Bio / LinkedIn

Josh Ephraim Bio / LinkedIn

Josh Ephraim
Bio / LinkedIn

Ali Sardar Bio / LinkedIn

Ali Sardar
Bio / LinkedIn

Chinmay Malaviya Bio / LinkedIn

Chinmay Malaviya
Bio / LinkedIn

Sahinaz Safari Bio / LinkedIn

Sahinaz Safari
Bio / LinkedIn



Zach thigpen

Prior to Haas, Zach worked with a number of startups in a variety industries and roles such as Business Development, Strategy and Marketing. He also works with multiple accelerators and VC firms and is passionate about working with startups and founders to prepare strategies to solve problems today to plan for the future. In addition to Haas Venture Fellows, Zach is also a Fellow at Better Ventures, a Student Partner at Contrary Capital, part of the Executive Committee for VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition), an Intern at SkyDeck Accelerator, and head of Long-Term Strategy for LAUNCH Accelerator.


Josh EphRaim

Josh Ephraim is an Investment Partner at Dorm Room Fund. He is a JD-MBA student at Berkeley Law and the Berkeley-Haas School of Business where he is the founder of InSITE Fellows as well as berkeleystartupcentral.com, the only place to find the exhaustive list of events and resources for entrepreneurs in Berkeley. Prior to graduate school, Josh worked at IMS Consulting Group working with healthcare clients and at StartUp Health, a global digital health startup accelerator as the Enrollment Director. He is excited to help Berkeley startups get the resources they need to grow and succeed. Josh holds a BA in History from UC Berkeley.


Ali Sardar

Ali leads Technical Marketing & Ecosystem Partnerships at Qorvo, where he has grown topline revenue in Enterprise, Mobile and In-Home Connectivity market segments. In addition to completing his MBA from Haas, Ali has been heading Product Management and GTM Strategy for Adolene, a seed stage startup, where he is developing products that combine IoT with Machine Learning for industrial IoT applications. He is interested in areas of machine learning and AI.

Taylor Smith

Taylor came to Haas from NetApp where he was a Corporate Development Senior Analyst. His role included startup scouting, corporate investing, acquisition analysis, execution, and integration. Prior to NetApp, he worked in investment banking and private equity covering enterprise technology, fintech, healthcare IT and biotech. Taylor is passionate about technology startups and enjoys exploring new, innovative products and working with entrepreneurs.

Sundar Subramanian

Sundar has spent nine years in the solar energy industry and is currently the Operations Manager for NEXTracker for its Asia Operations. He is also currently working on his start up idea in the area of real estate financing and development for solar energy projects using machine learning and drone technology. Sundar is passionate about clean energy economy and autonomus vehicle and AR technologies.

Jeff Oldenburg

Prior to Haas, Jeff spent 10 years working in fixed income sales and trading in New York and Chicago. Most recently, he ran institutional interest rate sales for RBS in the midwest and south. Here at Haas, Jeff is interested in entrepreneurship and venture capital, and is a Berkeley Chapter InSITE Fellow. Jeff holds a BA in Economics and Geography from Middlebury College.

Amanda Eller

Prior to Haas, Amanda was Director of Impact and Partnerships at SunFarmer, a Y Combinator-backed startup that launches solar energy businesses in developing countries. Before that, she led marketing for the women's underwear startup Dear Kate. At Haas, Amanda is a team lead for the Impact Investing Network, and is passionate about supporting entrepreneurial solutions to the world's biggest problems.

Chinmay Malaviya

Chinmay has an entrepreneurial background, having helped build online food delivery startup foodpanda in Asia as CEO for Singapore and Hong Kong. He also has experience working in Latin America through his consulting stint for a social venture builder in Colombia right before Haas. He is passionate about startups and entrepreneurship and wants to use his 2 years at Haas to learn the most from Berkeley and Silicon Valley startup ecosystem. Chinmay holds a Computer Engineering degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Sahinaz Safari

Sahinaz is an Electrical Engineer and an entrepreneur. Sahinaz has been in the executive team of 2 startups in Enterprise SaaS and Wearables. She has deep roots in Silicon Valley startup community through her experiences with StartX, Stanford BioDesign, and Y-Combinator. Currently, she advises the most prominent UC Berkeley startups and connects them with the investor community and talent.