Why We Exist

We enable you to succeed.

We launched the region’s first accelerator, not just in name, but literally to accelerate the process of commercialization. We accomplish this by matching appropriate funding and resources to the stage of an innovation, because few entrepreneurs have every skill needed to ensure a business venture’s launch. We cater to your needs whether you are developing the next scientific breakthrough, creating a business that drives social good, or seeking international collaboration.

Our Team

Michael M. Matesic

President & CEO of Idea Foundry, Inc.,

Mr. Matesic is a seasoned business executive experienced in working with businesses at a variety of stages. Over the last 15 years at Idea Foundry he has invested in and participated in the development of over 200  start-ups, creating jobs in the region. Previously, Mr. Matesic was Chief Executive Officer for two start-up companies and Chief Financial Officer for MetalSite, Inc., participating in the rapid growth of the company and public registration process. While at MetalSite, Mr. Matesic led the startup of the company’s subsidiary, ScrapSite.

Before that he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Anker Coal Group and its subsidiaries where he was responsible for Human Resources, Information Technology, Tax and Finance functions. During his ten years with Anker Coal, Mr. Matesic led a successful registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, managed the company’s substantial growth, established and invested in various start-up companies and completed many acquisitions.

A 1987 graduate of Duquesne University with a B.S. in Business Administration, he spent two years on the audit staff of Ernst & Young, LLP in Pittsburgh.

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Nehal Bhojak

Director of Innovation

Nehal Bhojak brings a multi-disciplinary background to Idea Foundry with considerable experience in technology and management consulting. As one of the earliest members of the Idea Foundry team, Nehal has fulfilled many roles in the company across sectors and functional areas and helped grow its various programs and initiatives in addition to developing over 150 startups. In her current role as Director of Innovation, she oversees Idea Foundry’s various science-based Accelerator and Investment Programs as well as their University and Corporate partnership initiatives. She is deeply involved in all aspects of technology commercialization including technology transfer, licensing, company formation and strategy related to taking early stage companies to the next level in their growth. She is an active participant in the region’s innovation ecosystem participating as an Advisor at various organizations and educational institutions. She is also an Advisor to various global start-ups and research centers.

Prior to Idea Foundry, Ms. Bhojak held positions as Senior Consultant at i2 Technologies, Dallas and Whittman-Hart, Chicago in the areas of technology strategy and management.

Ms. Bhojak holds a Masters from the Heinz College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. She also holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She completed her undergraduate education in Mumbai, India.

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Nicole Muise-Kielkucki

Director, Social Enterprise Initiatives

Nicole joined Idea Foundry in August 2012, excited to contribute to the organization’s brand new Social Enterprise sector activities. She stepped into a full time role leading those efforts, including InterSector, Idea Foundry’s Social Enterprise Accelerator, in early 2013, bringing to the team extensive management experience, a philosophy of hard work and pragmatism, and a unique perspective rooted in sustainability and community development.

Nicole holds a Masters of Food Studies from the School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University, where she was awarded a scholarship from the Institute of Food Technologists, as well as the Katherine M. Grosscup Scholarship from the Garden Club of America. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and Philosophy.

Since coming to call Pittsburgh home in 2005, she has worked and volunteered for several local environmental non-profits in the city, including Tree Pittsburgh and Phipps Conservatory. She is passionate about contributing to the development of resilient and sustainable communities, which includes at the forefront building robust local economies and healthy regional food systems. She currently serves on the board of the Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee.

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Josh Hanson

Manager, Pittsburgh Office, Greater China Initiatives

Initially a student of cello performance at Carnegie Mellon University, Josh decided to shift gears and began intensive study of Mandarin Chinese on his own, eventually majoring in Chinese with a minor in International Relations at the University of Pittsburgh. Not long after spending a semester in Shanghai, China, he graduated with honors from Pitt in December 2014, and then joined Idea Foundry’s Greater China Initiatives in January 2015 as Program Assistant.

Josh became Manager of the Pittsburgh Office for the Greater China Initiatives in the fall of 2015 and is now working to grow the Greater China Initiatives with his team of international colleagues.

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Sumantha Bhatt, Ph.D.

Project Manager, Science and Technology Innovations

Sumantha earned her B.A. in Biology and Psychology and Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from Case Western Reserve University. She has over 8 years of experience in life sciences research and is trained in a variety of scientific disciplines. During her training, Sumantha received a number of awards for her work and authored book chapters, research publications, and review articles in high quality, peer-reviewed journals.

Sumantha joined the Idea Foundry team in the fall of 2015 as an Analyst for the Science Sector, conducting technical assessments and promoting science-based initiatives. She transitioned to the role of Project Manager for Science and Technology Innovations in the spring of 2016 and works closely with early-stage innovators to help them assess and commercialize their technologies.

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