The Elevate Pitch Competition will award over $25,000 in cash and prizes to winners and finalists.

There are three Grand Prize Awards, which can be won by any entrant in the three categories of business ventures, social entrepreneurship and the arts, media and entertainment:

  • The AOL Award for Creativity
  • The Perkins Coie Award for Innovation
  • The Dr. James S.C. and Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Award for Change

The GRAND PRIZE WINNERS will receive a cash and prize package that includes:

  • $2500 cash award
  • Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 Design Premium Software (retail value of $1899 each)
  • MyPRGenie’s Do-It-Yourself PR platform –  a 3 month free package of MyPRGenie’s premium subscription service and SourceMedia distribution (retail value $900)
  • Alumni mentorship luncheons with leading Harvard Asian alumni in business, finance and the arts & entertainment, whose invaluable advice will help winners further shape their ideas.
  • Meeting with literary agent or A&E executive – Winners whose entries are creative arts & entertainment -oriented will receive (1) a free year of Full Membership to Harvardwood, and (2) Harvardwood will also arrange a meeting with a high-level representative or executive in the winner’s area of interest — a  literary agent or a New Media executive in music, film, and TV.
  • Other Professional services TBA to help you develop, execute and market your winning ideas…

The remaining FINALISTS will be awarded prizes that include:

See some of our Alumni luncheon donors below. Luncheon awards are valid for 12 months and expire October 17, 2011.



Alumni Luncheon Prize Donors


Stephen Chao ’77, M.B.A. '81

Stephen Chao '77, MBA '81

Stephen Chao ’77, M.B.A. ’81, is co-founder and CEO of WonderHowTo, a community-fueled, search engine and directory for free how-to video.  Launched in 2007, it is venture backed by General Catalyst Partners. Prior to founding WonderHowTo, Chao funded private equity investments and also enjoyed a colorful and successful career as a media executive. He joined News Corp in 1983 as vice president of acquisitions and was involved in the purchase of Twentieth Century Fox and the Metromedia TV stations. Later in 1987, he transferred to the Fox Television Stations and launched the successful groundbreaking America’s Most Wanted, followed by the provocative reality TV hits Cops and Studs.  While at Fox, Chao took on the additional responsibilities of President of the Fox Television Stations and President of Fox News.

After Fox, Chao became an independent producer and partnered with Cisneros Television Group to create networks for Latin America and Asia, including the 24-hour animation channel, Locomotion, Playboy TV and MuchMusic.  Chao further pursued the platform-and-channel strategy on behalf of CTG with the highly successful acquisition of the Imagen Satelital six-channel suite for the DirecTV platform.

In the late 1990s, as  President of USA Networks’ USA Cable division, Chao augmented its original programming mandate with top shows including Monk, Attila, and Dead Zone. During his tenure, The Sci-Fi Channel, aided by the success of Taken (a Spielberg event mini-series), finally broke into the top-ten rankings of all basic cable channels for the first time in its ten year history.  Chao also oversaw the acquisition and growth of new digital channels TRIO and Newsworld International.

Though he has spent the bulk of his career in television, Chao’s first job out of college was reporting for the National Enquirer. Chao holds an AB in Latin Literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Darryl D. Chiang, JD '94

Darryl D. Chiang,  J.D. ’94, is the Executive Director and Board Chair of the Asian American Theater Company (AATC), a non-profit performing arts company in San Francisco, California. AATC was established in 1973 and continues to produce world premieres of new plays and revivals of classics through its mainstage performance seasons. AATC also champions the work of emerging playwrights, actors and other artists through its NewWorks Incubator program. Darryl joined AATC’s Board in 2001 and became its Executive Director in 2008. By day, Darryl is Senior Corporate Counsel at Google Inc. in Mountain View, California, where he works on intellectual property licensing transactions for Google Maps and Google Earth. He joined Google’s Legal Department in 2006 after working at Hitachi America, Ltd., Bio-Rad Laboratories, Latham & Watkins, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Darryl earned his A.B. magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1990 and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1994.

Richard Chin ’88, M.D. '94

Richard Chin '88, M.D.'94 OneWorld Health

Richard Chin ’88, M.D.’94, is CEO of Institute for OneWorld Health, the first U.S. nonprofit pharmaceutical company. OneWorld Health, which is largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, develops affordable drugs for the most impoverished patients in the developing world.

Previously, in the for-profit sector, Dr. Chin oversaw the development of numerous breakthrough drugs, with aggregate current sales of several billion dollars, including Lucentis, Tysabri, Rituxan for autoimmune diseases, and Xolair.  His earlier roles also include President and CEO of Oxigene, Senior Vice President of Global Development at Elan, and Head of Clinical Research for the Biotherapeutics Unit at Genentech.

Dr. Chin is currently on the faculty of UCSF and was previously on the adjunct faculty at Stanford. He has also authored a major textbook on clinical trial medicine. In 2006, he was named by Businessweek as one of the youngest 99 public company CEOs in the United States.

He received a A.B. in Biology, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and the equivalent of a J.D. with honors from Oxford University in England under a Rhodes Scholarship. Dr. Chin holds a Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School and is licensed to practice medicine in California.  He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of RXi Pharmaceuticals, a company founded by Craig Mello developing novel RNAi based treatments for human diseases, and of Genmedica Therapeutics, a leading biotech company in Spain developing innovative treatments for diabetes.

Zen Chu

Zen Chu

With over fifteen years of investing and operating experience, Zen Chu works at the earliest stages of medical technology development to envision, create, de-risk, and commercialize medical innovations that impact patients. Zen is the Director of Business Development for Harvard Medical School at Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. Simultaneously, he serves as the Director of the Wyss Institute Accelerator Fund at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, a new entity that spans Harvard Medical School, Harvard University and partner engineering and clinical institutions worldwide. With a focus on revolutionary biomaterials, medical devices and disease reprogramming technologies, Zen works closely with Harvard faculty, physicians, staff and students to map the rapid development and commercialization of Wyss Institute innovations through patenting, clinical collaborations, corporate partnerships, licensing and spin-out companies.

Zen is also an active entrepreneur and investor in medical technologies, including co-founding three successful healthcare companies, and serving as board director to a handful of others. Prior to the Wyss Institute, Zen founded Accelerated Medical Ventures to advise and invest in early-stage medical devices, consumer medical products, and healthcare information technology. Prior to AMV, Zen co-founded 3DM Biomaterials along with a group of MIT scientists, serving as the CEO of the venture-backed regenerative medicine company for five years before selling it in 2008. In Silicon Valley, Zen founded and directed Hewlett Packard’s HPGarage New Technology Ventures program. He has served also as an advisor on healthcare innovation to Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology (HST).

Zen earned a BS in Biomedical/Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and a Masters of Business Administration from Yale University.

Danny Chun '02

Danny Chun '02

Danny Chun ’02 is a TV writer from Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in 2002 and was Vice President of the Harvard Lampoon. He spent six years at the Fox Network hit,  The Simpsons, as a writer and a producer.  In 2009, he moved to NBC’s The Office in 2009, where he is currently Head Writer and Co-Executive Producer.  Danny won a 2010 Annie Award for writing the 20th edition of the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons.  He was also nominated for Writers Guild Awards in 2009 and 2010 as part of the writing staffs of The Simpsons and The Office, respectively.

Danny has been listed as one of Paper Magazine’s 140 people to follow on Twitter (under the handle @dannychun). He co-wrote The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios. His writing has also been published in print and online at TNR.com, New York Magazine, Huffington Post, and others.

Chris Kao, JD '99

Chris Kao, JD ’99 is a Partner in the Silicon Valley office of Perkins Coie LLP.  He represents client in patent and other intellectual property litigation, including copyright, trademark and trade secrets disputes.  He also regularly counsels inventors, entrepreneurs and start-up companies regarding intellectual property issues.  Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Chris was an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York and a law clerk for the Honorable Carol B. Amon, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.  He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his JD from Harvard Law School, where he was President of the Harvard Journal on Legislation.

Eugene Lee '84

Eugene Lee '84

Eugene Lee ’84 is the Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors at Socialtext.  Socialtext is a leading provider of enterprise social software, whose suite of web-based applications include microblogging, OpenSocial widges, shared spreadsheet-wiki and weblog collaboration tools.  Used by over 6500 organizations including Intel,  CondeNet, Epitaph Records, Mayo Clinic, IKEA, Nokia, Ogilvy PR, Symantec and The Washington Post.  Socialtext’s platform enables organizations to foster collaboration, improve knowledge sharing, and build dynamic social networks.  Socialtext investors include Omidyar Network, DraperFisherJurvetson and SAP Ventures.

Lee assumes day-to-day management and operational control over all aspects of Socialtext’s business, including driving product direction and development, strategic alliances, and scaling the sales, marketing and support organizations globally.

Lee comes to Socialtext from Adobe Systems, where he led Adobe’s enterprise marketing and vertical market segments. Previously, he held several executive leadership roles at Cisco Systems, ranging from Vice President (VP) Worldwide Small/Medium Business Marketing to VP Worldwide Enterprise Marketing. Lee also held key management positions at Banyan Systems, including General Manager for the messaging business unit. He was co-founder of Beyond Inc., developers of the award-winning BeyondMail product, and holds four patents in messaging, workflow and privacy technologies. Lee has a B.A. in Physics and a B.S. in Engineering and Computer Science from Harvard College and an MBA from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

Gilman Louie A.M.P.'97

Gilman Louie AMP '97

Gilman Louie, A.M.P. ’97, is a partner of Alsop Louie Partners, a venture capital fund focused on helping entrepreneurs start companies. He is the founder and former CEO of In-Q-Tel, a strategic venture fund created to help enhance national security by connecting the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. intelligence community with venture-backed entrepreneurial companies. Previously Gilman built a career as a pioneer in the interactive entertainment industry, with accomplishments that include the design and development of the Falcon F-16 flight simulator as well as being the person who licensed Tetris, the world’s most popular computer game, from its developers in the Soviet Union. During that career, Gilman founded and ran a company called Spectrum Holobyte which ultimately was acquired by Hasbro Corporation, where he served as chief creative officer of Hasbro Interactive and general manager of the Games.com group before founding In-Q-Tel.

Gilman has served on a number of boards of directors, including Wizards of the Coast, Total Entertainment Network, Direct Language, FASA Interactive, and most recently the National Venture Capital Association. He serves as a member of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. In 2006, Gilman was presented with the Directors Award by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Porter Goss, for his service in creating In-Q-Tel and providing service to the intelligence community. Gilman completed the Advanced Management program/International Seniors Management Program at Harvard Business School and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from San Francisco State University.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, MBA '98, JD '99

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, MBA ’98, JD ’99, is founder and CEO of Care.com.  Sheila is an entrepreneur whose passion for business and family led to the founding of Care.com in 2006. After enduring frequent struggles to find quality caregivers for her two boys, Sheila recognized a lack in resources available to help families address their care needs, and she founded Care.com to fill that void. Since then, the site has paired thousands of families throughout the U.S. with qualified caregivers, establishing Care.com as the largest and fastest growing solution for care on the web.       The company has been featured in national news outlets such as NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, ABC News Now, The Wall Street Journal, Parenting Magazine, Cookie magazine, and BusinessWeek. In 2007, Care.com won the Stevie Award for “Best New Company of the Year.” In 2009, as Founder and CEO of Care.com, Sheila was recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. And this year, she was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in New England.

Care.com is a continuation of Sheila’s interests in community involvement and helping others through successful internet businesses. The company has received funding from both Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. Other prominent investors and advisors include: Brian Swette, former COO of eBay; Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn; Jonathan Kraft, President of the New England Patriots, and the Kraft Family; Steve Kaufer, President and CEO of TripAdvisor; and others.

Prior to founding Care.com, Sheila was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with rgw venture capital firm Matrix Partners. Sheila has also served as an executive at several successful Internet companies. She was the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Upromise, a site helping families save for college. And she held the position of Vice President and General Manager at TheLadders.com, an executive job search engine. Sheila currently serves on the Board of Trustees for several non-profit organizations including the Ayala Foundation USA, an organization that helps over 100 Philippine non-profits; and the Achievement Network, which helps students reach academic excellence by providing effective, data-driven strategies.

Sheila graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Economics. She went on to pursue both an M.B.A. and a J.D. from Harvard University, graduating with honors and receiving two prestigious awards: the Dean’s Award for overall leadership and contributions to Harvard Business School; and the Fitzie Foundation Award, given by the Margaret Fitzgerald Grogan Petersmeyer Foundation, which honors the most outstanding female students.  She resides in the Boston, MA area with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.

Ellen Pao J.D. '94, M.B.A. '98

Ellen Pao JD '94, MBA '98

Ellen Pao,  J.D. ’94, M.B.A. ’98, is a partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Her primary areas of focus are consumer and enterprise application and services platforms. She believes cloud infrastructure, ad and application platforms, and iterative development are enabling new levels of innovation.  She also worked closely with KPCB China as a founding member of its investment committee.  She is a director on the boards of Lehigh Technologies and Flipboard, Inc.

Prior to KPCB, Ellen held various operating roles at BEA Systems, including head of business development for products, site manager for new mobile products, and lead for new engineering efforts in India. She also served in corporate development, leading strategic projects for the CEO and M&A transactions. Prior to BEA, Ellen focused on business development and closed technology licensing deals for Tellme Networks as one of its first 20 employees and for Microsoft’s WebTV division. She also served as a consultant at MyCFO and at Danger Research, where she headed the Sidekick’s first marketing requirements efforts.

Before entering the tech field, Ellen was a corporate attorney for Cravath, Swaine & Moore in both its New York City and Hong Kong offices, working on deals across the Philippines, Singapore and Greater China. She provided guidance on high-yield debt offerings, M&A transactions, aircraft financings, and pro bono projects for Habitat for Humanity and Covenant House.

Ellen holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and a certificate from the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She also serves on the board of the Apollo Alliance and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

James Wu

James Wu

James Wu is a Business Development Associate at Acumen Fund, a pioneering not-for-profit venture fund that is changing how the world addresses poverty. Acumen Fund invests patient capital in business models that deliver critical, affordable goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since its founding in 2001, Acumen Fund has invested more than $40 million in companies that provide access to water, health, energy, housing and agriculture inputs to low-income consumers in South Asia and East Africa.

At Acumen Fund, James is responsible for online communications and community engagement, overseeing the organization’s website, blog, social media, and video strategies. He plays a key role in developing and managing Acumen Fund’s brand and strategic marketing initiatives. He began his career with the organization in 2006 as the Executive Assistant to Jacqueline Novogratz.

Prior to joining Acumen Fund, James worked in Planning and Development at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), coordinating various fundraising initiatives including corporate sponsorships, individual giving, board relations, and special events. Previously, he served as the Director of Business Development at Modea, a full-service digital agency, managing the consumer goods, telecommunications, and healthcare verticals. James has the proud distinction of being “Employee No. 1.”

James received a BS in Economics with a minor in Communication Studies and Public Relations from Virginia Tech, where he currently serves on the Advisory Board for the University Honors Program and teaches an Honors Colloquium on branding. He has worked as a College Marketing Rep for Sony Music, an antitrust intern with Skadden Arps LLP, and a Design for the Environment intern at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gideon Yu, MBA '99

Gideon Yu, MBA '99

Gideon Yu, M.B.A. ’99, is currently a General Partner at Khosla Ventures. Previously, Gideon was the Chief Financial Officer of Facebook, where he led the $375 million investment round from Microsoft and Hong-Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing at a record $15 billion valuation. Before that, Gideon was a Partner at Sequoia Capital, and was also the Chief Financial Officer at YouTube where he negotiated its $1.65 billion sale to Google amidst a highly competitive auction for the company.

Prior to YouTube, Gideon was the Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Finance for Yahoo, executing over 30 acquisitions / investments, including Alibaba / Taobao, Overture, Inktomi, Flickr, and del.icio.us and over $5 billion of capital markets transactions, including $750 million in zero coupon / zero yield convertible notes – Yahoo’s first financing since its IPO. Prior to Yahoo, Gideon was the Chief Financial Officer of NightFire Software (acquired by NeuStar, NYSE: NSR) and held positions at Disney, Hilton, and DLJ / CSFB. Gideon graduated from Stanford University majoring in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Gideon is also very active philanthropically and serves on the Board of Directors of the UCSF Medical Foundation.


Brian Ascher

Brian Ascher

Brian Ascher joined Venrock in 1998 as a Kauffman Fellow and is currently a Partner based in Venrock’s Palo Alto office. Brian focuses on a broad range of Consumer Internet, SaaS, and Healthcare IT investments and currently serves on the Board of Directors of several private companies, including Red Beacon, Billfloat, Social Shield, Awarepoint, Vocera, Retail Solutions, and Inrix.  Past investments include ADiFY (acquired by Cox Enterprises), DATAllegro (acquired by Microsoft), RelayHealth (acquired by McKesson) and Unicru (acquired by Kronos). Prior to Venrock, Brian was a Senior Product Manager at Intuit responsible for Quicken and Quicken.com,  and earlier in his career was a Strategy Consultant at the Monitor Group.  In 2009, Brian was named to the Forbes Midas List, which ranks the top venture capitalists in technology and life sciences, and was chosen as an Always On VC100 for the VCs who have backed the most profitable winners in the last four years.  Brian received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.