Our Tribal Council
Startup Tribes is a collective group of startup warriors, INC 500 ranked founders, mentors, educators, students with awesome ideas, tech geeks, community influencers, policymakers, ecosystem builders, and entrepreneurship support organizations. We strive to help innovators and business owners and are dedicated to help build hyper-local innovation ecosystems that enable resilient founders to transform dreams into reality.
Founder & CEO
Senior Adviser & SME in Entrepreneurial Thinking
Dr. Norris Krueger
Few are able to make a difference in research, education and practice in the field of entrepreneurship, yet Norris Krueger has managed to keep moving the needle for all three. He with proven, recognized expertise in helping founders and entrepreneurial thinkers and growing entrepreneurial communities. As a thought leader in entrepreneurial learning, Norris’s university programs earned 6 national & 2 global best practice recognition. Most-cited scholar in his specialty on entrepreneurial thinking, Norris had had external fellowship with Max Planck Institute for Economics. He serves as a Senior Subject Matter Expert at OECD/EU and the Kauffman Foundation for entrepreneurial learning and building entrepreneurial ecosystems. Norris has served as doctoral committee chair for Suresh Kumar, leading to a breakthrough study on Asian American hi-tech entrepreneurs that was the basis of the Startup Visa proposal introduced by the US Congress. Most recently, Norris helped resurrect Idaho’s Women’s Business Center.
Senior Adviser & Tech/Innovation Industry Leader
James Barrood is among the primary leaders of innovation ecosystems of the East Coast of the US. He has been recognized as a Power 100 List leader and a Top 100 Influencer for the past four years. He recently concluded five years as CEO of the NJ Tech Council (currently TechUnited:NJ), among the largest and most respected industry support organizations of its kind nationwide with 1,000+ member companies. Prior to this, James led the top-ranked entrepreneurship and innovation center at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He currently leads Innovation+ and serves as an advisor to startups, growth companies and higher ed institutions as well as Tech Council Ventures and Jumpstart Angels. James has been widely quoted regionally and nationally and interviewed on TV (ABC, MSNBC, NJTV and My9). He frequently speaks at regional and global conferences and serves on several boards. He holds an MBA from Texas A&M University and a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.
Senior Adviser in AI
Zeze is a Cornell educated Rocket-scientist and former Director of Product engineering, who spent the last 15 years making simple solutions to complex problems in Applied AI, eCommerce, Consumer goods and Big data systems for Fortune 1000 companies.An avid technologist, futurist and innovator, Zeze builds companies solving tough problems. He is a frequent speaker, mentor and all around amazing guy to work with, and for. He is the founder & CEO of Beam.city, a company that built DNA, a powerful yet simple to use AI platform that helps businesses set up their ads on top ad networks, then optimize and scale them automatically. His aim is to enable ads that come to you with the perfect solutions to your problems before you even search, while maintaining privacy.
Senior Adviser in Marketing & Communications
Tim is an expert in marketing and communication tools for small business clients and educational/non- profit organizations. His strengths are attention-to-details; thorough editing; and off-the-charts brainstorming. Tim earned a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Roosevelt University (where he served as an Adjunct Faculty for Heller College of Business Administration). He is the founder of Ignite Young Adults, based in Chicago that focuses on mentoring young professionals about academics, careers and startups and connecting with local resources and networks. During past decade, Tim has served Adjunct Faculty at three institutions. His background includes delivering targeted marketing/communications for corporations and small businesses. Conway is an alumnus of University of Dayton and Roosevelt University. A resident of suburban Chicago, Tim has published several blog articles and a book chapter.
Senior Adviser of Data Analytics
Arun Shroff is a serial tech entrepreneur and business leader. He is the founder/CEO of Xtend.AI, a startup using AI to solve challenges in health and other domains. He is also the co-founder/CTO of Medindia.net, one of India’s top health websites, visited by 30 million visitors each year. Arun serves as a topic lead at the Focus Group on AI for Health – a joint initiative of WHO and ITU (UN agency) for assessing AI for health models and creating a global AI community on health. Based on his expertise in AI, he has been an invited speaker and has presented at the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, ITU/WHO conferences in New York, Wilton Park, London, IIT Madras, Apollo Hospitals and TiE among others. Arun has been a star through his academic too, coming from the top universities of engineering and business. He’s done his MS in Computer Science from Penn State, MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, B. Tech from IIT Madras & certifications in AI/ML from Stanford.
Director of Marketing
Usha Agarwal is a dynamic small business leader, entrepreneur and management consultant. She is a resilient business development and marketing professional with deep expertise in co-founding and scaling multiple high-growth startups in the technology and life sciences industries. Usha is actively engaged in building the innovation pipeline for multiple higher education institutions, in NJ and NY including NYU, Rutgers University, NJIT and NJCU. In her varied roles as Adjunct Professor, Consultant, and Mentor, she guides Startups teams to take their business ideas to the next level by connecting them with co-founders, clients, partners and investors. Building strong customer relationships with a focus on retention and revenue generation thru service delivery, is her forte. A natural leader and the kind of personality that people gravitate to; Usha has leveraged her expertise to lead diverse teams that are based on high trust and strong interpersonal relationships. Usha earned her MBA from New York University, Stern School of Business with specializations in Sales, Marketing and Business Strategy. She is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).
Usha is passionate about empowering women and children from minority and underserved communities, especially in the areas of digital connectivity, entrepreneurship, health and education. She volunteers on the board of several nonprofits, including the NJCU-Jersey City Connect Project and New Women, New Yorkers, an organization that empowers immigrant women to get their first paying job, and to provide a safe, transformative space where they can build a community. Usha enjoys traveling and exploring the art and culture of countries she is visiting.