Our Team


prakash-shukla.jpg

Prakash Shukla

Managing Partner

Prakash is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of general management, finance, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Prakash is a managing partner with seed firm Solarex LLC (family office). Before that he was a partner with HGM asset management (PE fund) and was a 2013 advanced leadership fellow at Harvard University. He served as senior vice president and CIO of TAJ group of hotels from 1999-2012.
With a background in some of the industry's most venerable corporations- Unisys / Sperry and IBM, Prakash has provided solutions for numerous corporations and financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Paine Webber and Solomon Smith Barney. In addition, Prakash was an early investor and a board member of Speech & Software Technologies (a Tata promoted company), TravelGuru (Sequoia funded India centric travel portal sold to Travelocity) and Transerv.
Prakash is a graduate of Rutgers University with degrees in electrical engineering and English, and New York University with a master's degree in computer science. He attended the advanced management program at Harvard Business School and was 2013 advanced leadership fellow at Harvard University. He was an active board member of HFTP and has served on HTNG's board. Prakash was inducted into HFTP "International Hall of Fame" for his contributions to hospitality industry, and has served on Microsoft hospitality advisory board.


dave-berkus.jpg

Dave Berkus

Managing Partner

Dave is acknowledged as one of the most active angel investors in the United States, having made and actively participated in over 140 angel technology investments, achieving an IRR of 97%. Labeled "Super Angel" by Inc. Magazine, Dave currently manages several angel VC funds, and is past Chairman of Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel network in the United States. He currently serves as chairman of six of his portfolio companies, and was named "Director of the Year, Early Stage Businesses" by Forum for Corporate Directors for his successful directorship and CEO coaching efforts, as well as "Tech Leader of the Year" by the Los Angeles County Supervisors.
Dave was the founder of Computerized Lodging Systems Inc (CLS), which he guided as CEO for over a decade that included two consecutive years on the Inc.500 list of America's fastest growing companies. For his accomplishments in advancing technology in the hospitality industry, in 1998 he was inducted into the HFTP "International Hall of Fame", one of only thirty-nine so honored worldwide over the years.
Dave is author of "Extending the Runway", the BERKONOMICS series of three books, and "Get Scrappy," all books addressing resource and growth issues for businesses and their leaders, and travels internationally giving keynotes and workshops on trends in technology and building great corporate boards. His weekly emails and blog are read by over 120,000 entrepreneurs and CxO's.


ned-cloonan.jpg

Ned Cloonan

Partner

Ned Cloonan formed the business consulting firm Ned Cloonan Associates (NCA) after spending over three decades in progressively senior positions on the front lines of one of the worlds most influential enterprises : American International Group. Reporting directly to the Chairman, Cloonan created one of the most effective and respected global external affairs operations in corporate America. Considered core strategy, the work of his department was integral to the success of some of the company's most important initiatives - both domestic and international. For his leadership, he was made a C.V. Starr Partner by the Chairman, the highest form of recognition within the company.


jeff-lapin.jpg

Jeff Lapin

Partner

Jeff is an accomplished executive with over 30 years of C-level management experience primarily in hospitality and technology, serving as the CEO, President or COO of four public and four private companies. He has invested in over twenty start-ups, and serves on the Boards of, and/or is a consultant to, several companies.
Jeff began his career as outside attorney to the predecessor of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Then joined the company in 1986 and served in various capacities with Starwood and its predecessors, including from 1991 to 1996 as Starwood's President and CEO.
Following Starwood, Jeff served as a Director and Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two Interactive Software, and as CEO and a Director of Atari, as COO and Vice Chairman of the Board of THQ Inc. - both companies in gaming and entertainment technology. Jeff served as a C-level executive with House of Blues Hospitality, In-Fusio Group, RazorGator Interactive Group, and Spilo Worldwide.


jyoti-narang.jpg

Jyoti Narang

Partner

Jyoti is a business leader with 35 years of work experience, including 16 years of senior leadership positions in the hospitality industry. Jyoti was the Chief Operating Officer of Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, India. The Taj group manages a large and varied portfolio of 122 hotels spread across 5 continents. Before her current operations stint, Jyoti was the Global Head of Marketing for the Taj Group. Jyoti has a Bachelors in Economics and an M.B.A in Finance. She has attended Executive programs at Wharton School of Management, IMD Lausanne and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Her contribution led her to be recognized as the most powerful woman in the travel industry worldwide by Travel Agent, a leading US trade weekly.


Advisory Team


terry-jones-bw.jpg

Terry Jones

Founder, Travelocity

Best known for founding Travelocity.com and serving as founding Chairman of Kayak.com, Terry Jones has become a powerful voice in the world of entrepreneurship through his numerous speaking engagements and the publication of his book, ON Innovation. His career path has established him as a thought leader on innovation in our increasingly digital world.
Jones, who began his career as a travel agent, spent 24 years at American Airlines, in marketing and information technology, capping his career as Chief Information Officer of its SABRE division. While at SABRE he led a team of six working on a project that became Travelocity.com. Jones served as CEO of Travelocity for seven years transforming it to a public company with three billion dollars in travel sales..He left Travelocity when the company was taken private and became part of the founding team at Kayak.com, a company that yet again revolutionized how travel was purchased. He served as Chairman of the company from its founding until it was sold to Priceline for $1.8 billion dollars in 2013.
Today he is the Chairman of Wayblazer and managing principal of ON Inc, a consultancy he founded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy.
He has served on theboards of thirteen public and private companies and currently serves on the boards of Wayblazer, Boingo, Smart Destinations and The Camping and Education Foundation.
He is a venture capitalist with General Catalyst Partners and Sierra Angels.
The holder of several patents. Jones is a graduate of Denison University and has an honors doctor of letters from Sierra Nevada College.


krishna-palepu-bw.jpg

Krishna Palepu

Ross Graham Walker Professor at Harvard Business School

Krishna Palepu has been a professor at the Harvard Business School since 1983. He is the Ross Graham Walker Professor of Business Administration and also serves as Senior Advisor to the President of Harvard University for Global Strategy.  He previously served as Senior Associate Dean for International Development at Harvard Business School and other leadership positions.

Professor Krishna Palepu has published many academic and practitioner-oriented articles and case studies in the areas of strategy,  financial analysis, and governance. He teaches courses in the Accounting and Control unit and courses on strategy in emerging markets at Harvard Business School.  He chairs or co-chairs the Global CEO Program in China, Building Businesses in Emerging Markets, and Leading Global Businesses.

Professor Krishna Palepu has a doctorate in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (now Aalto University).


page-petry-bw.jpg

Page Petry

Cheif IT Officer, Americas, Marriott International

Page Petry is the Chief IT Officer of the Americas at Marriott International in Washington, D.C., where she is charged with directing key initiatives from conception to completion, with responsibility for 3500 hotels that span from Canada to Argentina. Page joined Marriott in 1979 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in several areas including Hotel Operations, Customer Call Centers and Regional Information Systems. Following her initial tenure with Marriott, Page worked with Fannie Mae and Varsity Books.com before rejoining Marriott in 2000 as the Regional Director of IR North American Lodging Field Services for the Southeast Region.

In 2006 Page's accountabilities expanded to include the North American portfolio as the Senior Vice President. In 2010 Page joined the Americas Continent organization as the Chief Information Resources Officer. Page led the IT integration for the Autograph Collection, Gaylord Hotels and Delta Hotels and Resorts. In 2011, Page was honored with a place on Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders. Page earned her Bachelor of Science at Syracuse University and is certified PMP through the Project Management Institute. She sits on the Board of Directors at the Academy of Information Technology for Montgomery County Public Schools.


jim-armstrong-bw.jpg

Jim Armstrong

Partner, March Capital Partners

A successful and experienced early stage venture investor in enterprise and consumer technology, Jim Armstrong has established himself as a leading investor based in Southern California. Jim has 19 years of technology investment experience, and has generated multiple large exits through IPOs or mergers and acquisitions from companies he either incubated or participated as the first institutional investor.


floor-bleeker-bw.jpg

Floor Bleeker

Chief Information Officer, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts

Floor is a tech guru like no other. He is not only MBA material, but a dynamic problem solver. He’s spent more than 15 years honing his hospitality IT skills and has brought energy and enthusiasm to Mövenpick’s technology team. Off duty, Floor is a Dutch super dad who loves to take his daughter horse riding and on desert hacks. He also takes time out to read to her and her classmates every Tuesday.

A solutions architect needs focus, and Floor leads a varied life to sharpen his mind. He relishes practicing yoga in his garden, scratching tracks in his home DJ booth, and having a kick-about with his local football team. .


laurent-idrac-bw.jpg

Laurent Idrac

Group Chief Information Officer, Accor Hotels

After graduating from French business schools ESSCA and ESSEC, Laurent Idrac started his career with Accor in 1983 where he held several positions in operations and support functions (finance, marketing and reservations). He notably managed all the worldwide call centers.  From 2002 to 2012, he ran IT Departments for Accor North America.  He returned to France in 2012 to be appointed Group Chief Information Officer for Accor.  Laurent Idrac has taken part in numerous IT projects including the design and roll-out of TARS (The Accor Reservation system), which is used by the group’s 3,700 hotels, and of FOLS in-house PMS (Property Management System) in 1,800 hotels, as well as the management of CRM and sales force automation projects.  Since 2012, he manages Accor’s partnership with the Innovation Factory, the first innovation campus cluster in Paris.  In 2014, Laurent Idrac has also been elected member of the Board of Governors of the association Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) which defines technology standards in hotels.  Laurent Idrac, lives in Paris, France. He has a French and US dual citizenship, is married with 2 children who live in the US.


rashesh-jethi.jpg

Rashesh Jethi

SVP Engineering & Head of Innovation for Airlines, Amadeus

Rashesh Jethi leads the engineering teams for Amadeus in North America responsible for development and delivery of travel industry software platforms and products. He also leads the global team driving innovation for Airline customers.
Rashesh’s background includes two Silicon Valley startups, leadership roles at Cisco Systems, Virgin Mobile and Wells Fargo Bank and building decision support systems for Lufthansa and American Airlines. He holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama and an executive education program certification from the London Business School. Rashesh is a speaker, author and visiting faculty member for numerous technology topics, and holds a patent in the area of multi-tenant mobile platforms.


ellen-keszler-bw.jpg

Ellen L. Keszler

Travel Industry Board Member and Advisor

Ellen has spent her career in the travel technology industry, serving in operational and finance leadership roles at American Airlines, Sabre and Travelocity. She has served on the board of eight public and private companies and has advised numerous technology start-ups through to raising a series A round or to a strategic acquisition. Her extensive finance background also qualifies her as an Audit Committee Financial Expert. She is a nationally recognized travel technology expert and is a sought-out advisor by entrepreneurs in the industry. She was also named to the Skift30 as one of the top 30 movers and shakers in online travel. Ellen currently serves on the board of Pros Holdings (NYSE PROS), Sojern, Travel and Transport, Extended Stay America and Yapta.


michael-levie-bw.jpg

Michael Levie

Founding Partner and in-charge of Operations, citizenM Hotels

Upon graduating from Essec Mba in hospitality management (IMHI Cornell / Essec), Michael worked for various international hotel chains including Sonesta International Hotels Corporation and NH Hoteles all over the world. As Vice-President of Operations he managed large hotel portfolios. Michael also worked for SynXis, where he started and headed up the European office. Michael Levie is currently a founding partner and in charge of operations at citizenM hotels.


monika-nerger-bw.jpg

Monika Nerger

Global Chief Information Officer, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Monika Nerger is Chief Information Officer overseeing all aspects of the Group's global technology. She joined Mandarin Oriental in 2006 as Vice President of Technology, the Americas, and was promoted to her current role in 2011. She is based in the Group's Hong Kong and San Francisco offices.

Prior to joining Mandarin Oriental, Ms Nerger worked internationally with Pan Pacific Hotels, KPMG Consulting, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. She holds a Master's Degree in Business from the University of Miami as well as an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. She is currently a Board member of HTNG (Hotel Technology Next Generation).


dennis-reynolds-bw.jpg

Dennis Reynolds

Dean, Barron Hilton School of Hospitality University of Houston

Author or co-author of five textbooks with his latest in its 10th edition; author of more than 50 articles published in such journals as the Academy of Management Learning and Education, the Advanced Management Journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, and the International Journal of Hospitality Management; ranked 15th among the world's most prolific hospitality-management authors; editorial board member of all the leading hospitality research journals; frequent speaker to management groups in Asia, Europe and North America; recipient of numerous research, teaching and service awards, including Best Paper from the Academy of Management, the International Journal of Hospitality Management's Best Paper of 2007, multiple Teacher of the Year awards (Cornell University and Washington State University), and Doctorate of Foodservice Award from the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers; past president of International CHRIE, the non- profit professional organization that provides programs and services supporting global education, research and service in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Dennis has a BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, Golden Gate University; MPS, Ph.D. in Hotel Administration, Cornell University.


alexander-shashou-bw.jpg

Alexander Shashou

Co-Founder and President, ALICE

Alex is the co-founder and President of ALICE. Since founding ALICE in 2013, the startup has become one of the fastest growing companies in the hospitality technology space, raising a total of $39M, building a team of 100 and a global customer base of 1,800+ hotels.

As President, Alex runs the company's brand, culture and management team, with the company being awarded best places to work, best concierge software and best staff task management software by Hotel Tech Report in 2018.

In 2016, Alex was awarded the HFTP President's Award. The award recognizes a person who has made a significant contribution to the hospitality industry. Born and raised in London, Alex grew up well-acclimated in the hospitality industry, as his family operated 90 hotels across three hotel chains in the UK. He is a hospitality thought leader, speaking on technology and innovation in the space at conferences around the world.

Alex received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. After graduation, he began his career with Goldman Sachs in the Equity Sales division in New York before leaving to found ALICE.


frank-wolfe-bw.jpg

Frank I. Wolfe, CAE

HFTP CEO, Speaker

Frank Wolfe, CAE joined Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) in March 1991 as the association's director of education. He became executive vice president/CEO of HFTP in 1994, and at that time was one of the youngest association CEO's in North America. As HFTP's CEO, Wolfe oversees the association's operations, as well as represents the association worldwide at industry events, on industry boards and committees and via the news media.
As the spokesperson for HFTP, Wolfe frequently speaks on hospitality finance, technology, social media and travel issues to varied audiences and has presented in more than 25 countries. He is also a regular columnist for Hotel Management magazine - "Tech Watch" is Wolfe's monthly column. He has been featured in association, conference and industry publications including Convene magazine, Association Management magazine, MeetingTech Online and Hospitality Upgrade magazine. He has appeared on several television network interviews and programs including CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, TVAsia and Bloomberg.
Wolfe's current & previous director positions include: International Hotel & Restaurant Association; American Hotel & Lodging Association; Dean's Advisory Board at Hilton College - University of Houston; Texas Society of Association Executives. Wolfe's been an instructor for the Academy of Assn. Management on topics including assn. law, finance & technology.