VINITHA WATSON - FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Vinitha is an entrepreneur, design strategist, and artist. She opened Google’s first office in India and was a fellow at Institute for the Future.  Vinitha is the founder and Executive Director of Zoo Labs, the world's first music accelerator.  Zoo Labs sits at the intersection of art and business and is about re-imagining entrepreneurship as a creative endeavor and supports teams of artists leading with their vision and craft.  With roots in Silicon Valley our non profit brings together some of the best mentors in tech, business, and art to have a hand in shaping the future—something bigger than its parts. Sometimes people ask her if she’s crazy. And she might well be.

VINITHA WATSON - FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Vinitha
 is an entrepreneur, design strategist, and artist. She opened Google’s first office in India and was a fellow at Institute for the Future.  Vinitha is the founder and Executive Director of Zoo Labs, the world's first music accelerator.  Zoo Labs sits at the intersection of art and business and is about re-imagining entrepreneurship as a creative endeavor and supports teams of artists leading with their vision and craft.  With roots in Silicon Valley our non profit brings together some of the best mentors in tech, business, and art to have a hand in shaping the future—something bigger than its parts. Sometimes people ask her if she’s crazy. And she might well be.

BRANDT WILLIAMS - CHIEF OF OPERATIONS + STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS Brandt is a lifelong musician and serial entrepreneur.  He has been a co-founder and on senior leadership teams of several successful start-ups.  Most recently he was the CMO and strategist at a Fortune 500 Company where he also served as an intrapreneur creating new business opportunities.  Brandt was co-founder of an enterprise software venture that was later acquired by Amazon.  Brandt sees the future of Zoo Labs as the platform for developing creative entrepreneurs.  He spends his downtime playing the guitar and mandolin with the band The Real Placebos and as an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts.

BRANDT WILLIAMS - CHIEF OF OPERATIONS + STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Brandt
 is a lifelong musician and serial entrepreneur.  He has been a co-founder and on senior leadership teams of several successful start-ups.  Most recently he was the CMO and strategist at a Fortune 500 Company where he also served as an intrapreneur creating new business opportunities.  Brandt was co-founder of an enterprise software venture that was later acquired by Amazon.  Brandt sees the future of Zoo Labs as the platform for developing creative entrepreneurs.  He spends his downtime playing the guitar and mandolin with the band The Real Placebos and as an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts.

MARIEKE van der POEL - CHIEF OF MARKETING Marieke is the creative mastermind and founder of Proef; a lateral applied trend forecasting consultancy with offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Rotterdam. Her approach allows Proef to help their multi-national clients to craft concepts to create tangible and relevant directions.  Currently based in San Francisco, Marieke has previously lived in Italy and the Netherlands where she started her career in trend analysis, working as an editor and consultant for Italian, English and Dutch Magazines. She advised Peclersparis as a trend consultant for five years and worked with ESP Trendlab as a strategic partner, before starting Proef. Marieke holds advanced degrees in both fashion editing and humanities, plays the harp and loves to read. Education has a special place in her heart; she ran a department of classical languages during her humanities studies. 

MARIEKE van der POEL - CHIEF OF MARKETING
Marieke is the creative mastermind and founder of Proef; a lateral applied trend forecasting consultancy with offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Rotterdam. Her approach allows Proef to help their multi-national clients to craft concepts to create tangible and relevant directions.  Currently based in San Francisco, Marieke has previously lived in Italy and the Netherlands where she started her career in trend analysis, working as an editor and consultant for Italian, English and Dutch Magazines. She advised Peclersparis as a trend consultant for five years and worked with ESP Trendlab as a strategic partner, before starting Proef. Marieke holds advanced degrees in both fashion editing and humanities, plays the harp and loves to read. Education has a special place in her heart; she ran a department of classical languages during her humanities studies. 

BRAD DOLLAR - CHIEF OF MUSIC DEVELOPMENT Brad is an inspired producer, engineer and guitarist. A Bay Area native, he has been cultivating art & community through music since his youth. His passion for merging our human connection into sonic landscapes that move people has carved out a place for Brad to help others achieve their greatest creative visions. This has lead him to elevate artists such as Bob Weir, Finish Ticket, G-Eazy & The National to new musical heights. Brad comes to Zoo Labs with a deep desire to infuse new energy, ideas & heart into reclaiming value for art.

BRAD DOLLAR - CHIEF OF MUSIC DEVELOPMENT
Brad is an inspired producer, engineer and guitarist. A Bay Area native, he has been cultivating art & community through music since his youth. His passion for merging our human connection into sonic landscapes that move people has carved out a place for Brad to help others achieve their greatest creative visions. This has lead him to elevate artists such as Bob Weir, Finish Ticket, G-Eazy & The National to new musical heights. Brad comes to Zoo Labs with a deep desire to infuse new energy, ideas & heart into reclaiming value for art.

JESSIE NUCHO - OPERATIONS MANAGER Jessie is an avid chamber musician and proponent of new music, Jessie is passionate about sharing her love of performing and teaching. Well versed in both the traditional and contemporary repertoire, she received Carnegie Mellon University’s 2010 Harry G. Archer award for excellence in performance. Off the stage, Jessie is devoted to her work as flute teacher and chamber music coach. Jessie holds a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Tim Day of the San Francisco Symphony. Her level of creativity & organization helps Zoo Labs stay a course & hit warp drive.

JESSIE NUCHO - OPERATIONS MANAGER
Jessie
 is an avid chamber musician and proponent of new music, Jessie is passionate about sharing her love of performing and teaching. Well versed in both the traditional and contemporary repertoire, she received Carnegie Mellon University’s 2010 Harry G. Archer award for excellence in performance. Off the stage, Jessie is devoted to her work as flute teacher and chamber music coach. Jessie holds a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Tim Day of the San Francisco Symphony. Her level of creativity & organization helps Zoo Labs stay a course & hit warp drive.

BRENDAN DREAPER - STUDIO CHIEF + ZOOKEEPER Brendan is a sound engineer, band manager and musician. Born and raised in Berkeley, CA, he has embarked on numerous creative adventures including drumming for various groups, apprenticing as a studio glass artist and managing emerging artists under Mixtape Management. He is fascinated with how the process of studio and live sound engineering amplifies an artist's voice and when he's not at Zoo Labs he can be found making those voices heard as a live sound engineer at The Independent, Neck of the Woods and UnderCover Presents. 

BRENDAN DREAPER - STUDIO CHIEF + ZOOKEEPER
Brendan is a sound engineer, band manager and musician. Born and raised in Berkeley, CA, he has embarked on numerous creative adventures including drumming for various groups, apprenticing as a studio glass artist and managing emerging artists under Mixtape Management. He is fascinated with how the process of studio and live sound engineering amplifies an artist's voice and when he's not at Zoo Labs he can be found making those voices heard as a live sound engineer at The Independent, Neck of the Woods and UnderCover Presents. 

LANCE COLEMAN - SOCIAL WEAVER & ZOO LABS ALUM Lance has worked in the music industry in a number capacities including being a digital strategist, artist , and social weaver. He has worked on projects for Kanye West, Drake, Jeezy, Jill Scott, America's Cup, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, T.I., G-Eazy, and more. As an artist he has been featured on XXL, MTV, and has amassed a large online following. His experience gives him unique in-depth understanding of new technologies, the intricacies of content creation and how to work with artists and technology companies while recognizing the nuances of their constraints and motivations.

LANCE COLEMAN - SOCIAL WEAVER & ZOO LABS ALUM
Lance has worked in the music industry in a number capacities including being a digital strategist, artist , and social weaver. He has worked on projects for Kanye West, Drake, Jeezy, Jill Scott, America's Cup, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, T.I., G-Eazy, and more. As an artist he has been featured on XXL, MTV, and has amassed a large online following. His experience gives him unique in-depth understanding of new technologies, the intricacies of content creation and how to work with artists and technology companies while recognizing the nuances of their constraints and motivations.

BOSCO KANTE - ZOO LABS ADVISOR & ALUM Bosco started his music career music while still at USC completing his Mechanical Engineering Degree by producing the theme song to hit TV show In Living Color. His career blossomed from there as his production, songwriting, and mastery of the talkbox led to a Grammy with Kanye West, two additional Grammy Nominations and hit records with platinum recording artists Drake, Skrillex, Big Boi, J. Cole, Janelle Monae, and many more.  In addition to being a singer, songwriter, and producer, he is a Mechanical Engineer and founder of a new music tech hardware startup called ElectroSpit, a wearable voice synth that supercharges your vocals

BOSCO KANTE - ZOO LABS ADVISOR & ALUM
Bosco started his music career music while still at USC completing his Mechanical Engineering Degree by producing the theme song to hit TV show In Living Color. His career blossomed from there as his production, songwriting, and mastery of the talkbox led to a Grammy with Kanye West, two additional Grammy Nominations and hit records with platinum recording artists Drake, Skrillex, Big Boi, J. Cole, Janelle Monae, and many more.  In addition to being a singer, songwriter, and producer, he is a Mechanical Engineer and founder of a new music tech hardware startup called ElectroSpit, a wearable voice synth that supercharges your vocals

DAVE WATSON - ZOO LABS ADVISOR Dave is a music producer and computer scientist. In 2007, he co-founded The Zoo (the first incarnation of Zoo Labs), a music incubator located in Oakland, CA, where he is still an actively involved as a music producer and mentor. Prior to that, he worked for Google, Inc as a Staff Software Engineer. David holds a B.S. in Creative Studies from UC Santa Barbara.

DAVE WATSON - ZOO LABS ADVISOR
Dave is a music producer and computer scientist. In 2007, he co-founded The Zoo (the first incarnation of Zoo Labs), a music incubator located in Oakland, CA, where he is still an actively involved as a music producer and mentor. Prior to that, he worked for Google, Inc as a Staff Software Engineer. David holds a B.S. in Creative Studies from UC Santa Barbara.

VICTOR KOVALEV - ZOO LABS ADVISOR Victor is a techie musician – passionate about bringing the successful tech entrepreneurship practices into the world of music to help independent artists scale. He is a composer / songwriter, keyboardist & budding producer. His professional expertise is in building driven cultures that foster radical innovation. He was Indiegogo’s VP of Engineering, leading the amazing technical team revolutionizing funding. Prior to that he’s held engineering leadership roles at Yelp and VMware through some crazy fun times, and worked for a 5-person startup. 

VICTOR KOVALEV - ZOO LABS ADVISOR
Victor
is a techie musician – passionate about bringing the successful tech entrepreneurship practices into the world of music to help independent artists scale. He is a composer / songwriter, keyboardist & budding producer. His professional expertise is in building driven cultures that foster radical innovation. He was Indiegogo’s VP of Engineering, leading the amazing technical team revolutionizing funding. Prior to that he’s held engineering leadership roles at Yelp and VMware through some crazy fun times, and worked for a 5-person startup. 

 

BOARD

Raffi Minasian / Chairman of the Board

Raffi is a designer, educator, innovation specialist, and start-up mentor. He holds degrees in Product Development and Transportation Design. His impressive twenty-five year career includes projects with Boeing aircraft, Mattel toys, car designs for Toyota, Subaru, Moal Coachbuilders and award winning scale model cars. A pioneer professor in the California College of the Arts DMBA program Raffi teaches industrial design and innovation and is a noted speaker at museums and corporate events on the subject of futurism, new ventures, and creative process. Raffi devotes much of his professional energy to educational programs for young people interested in design professions, including his Board of Directors position with the Collectors Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving youth in the automotive community through scholarships, grants, and museum support. At age eight, Raffi took up the violin, and by age seventeen had recorded with several bands and orchestras including the bluegrass group Hayfever.

ASHER WALDFOGEL

Asher is a founder at venture-backed Silicon Valley companies including Redback Networks, Tollbridge Technologies, and Peakstream, where he has held key positions in engineering, marketing, technology, and general management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in philosophy from MIT. He serves on SFMOMA’s Architecture and Design accessions committee and the Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission. He and his wife collect American ceramics and furniture.

MARINA GORBIS

Marina is a futurist and social scientist who serves as executive director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF). Marina’s current research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries. She has blogged and written for BoingBoing.net, FastCompany, Harvard Business Review, and major media outlets. Marina has also keynoted such international events as the World Economic Forum, The Next Web Conference, NEXT Berlin, the World Business Forum, the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges annual conference. She holds a BA in psychology and a master’s of public policy from UC Berkeley.

Brandt Williams

On top of being critical to the strategic development of Zoo Labs, Brandt is also an accomplished guitarist and avid mandolin player. His deep love of American roots music and jump blues motivates organic, reactive and uplifting solutions that artists connect with. Brandt is also an amateur grilling champion, with a small but growing following around his homegrown cuisine. 

SUZANNE WALSH

Suzanne Walsh is a Deputy Director on the Postsecondary Success Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she leads the Foundation’s institutional transformation strategy. Before joining Gates, Suzanne worked at two other foundations: Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative, which was aimed at increasing college productivity by bringing about fundamental change in the way higher education does business; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development.  She got her start in community college work as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College. And she began her professional career as an attorney at Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. Suzanne has her juris doctorate and masters in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s of science from Cornell University, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College. She is a member of a number of international, national and local organizations: the World Economic Forum’s Future of the University group, Carnegie Mellon University’s Global Learning Council, Seattle CityClub board and the advisory boards for Roadtrip Nation, as well as education start-up Uncollege. She is also a proud judge for Dance Your PhD.