About Us

Core Team


Jim Chung

Jim Chung
Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
George Washington University

Jim Chung is the Associate Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the George Washington University, and a Co-Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation I-Corps Node in Washington DC (DC I-Corps).

He was previously the director of the Mtech Venture Accelerator at the University of Maryland, where he worked with faculty and students to launch startup companies based on university technology. Prior to Maryland, he served as the Director for New Business Development at the Corporate Executive Board and helped establish the company’s mergers and acquisitions capabilities. He also served as Vice President at Cherington Capital (now Intervale Capital), a middle market private equity firm in the oilfield equipment and services industry.

He started his private sector career as an early stage venture capital investor, most recently at incTANK Ventures, where he was the managing director. Before becoming an investor, Jim was an academic researcher studying how business, government, and academia work together to create new innovations in high technology industries.

Jim Chung is the Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF DC I-Corps Node Award. He is also a certified national NSF I-Corps instructor.

Dan Kunitz

Dan Kunitz
Director, DC I-Corps Accelerator


Dan Kunitz is a media and technology executive and entrepreneur who has been involved in the creation and management of several successful web and media start-ups. 

As Director of the DC I-Corps Accelerator Dan advises and provides support to all early stage technology companies in the NSF-sponsored DC I-Corps program run by University of Maryland, George Washington University, Virginia Tech University, and John Hopkins University.  In addition to working with many ventures that originate in University labs, Dan mentors a growing number of teams from Federal Lab initiatives and from incubators throughout the Washington region. Dan serves as Chairman of the Washington DC Economic Partnership's AccelerateDC program, where he manages a mentor network of technology start-up founders and executives.  He is also a Senior Advisor at Venture Well to NSF’s National Innovation Network.  Dan has also championed, instructed, and/or managed several international I-Corps and lean startup initiatives.

Prior to joining the DC I-Corps team, Dan was an entrepreneur, founder, and executive for several startups in the web, new media, and education sectors.  As Co-Founder and COO of Irides, LLC, a Virginia-based managed services provider, Dan oversaw all aspects of the company’s strategy and operations, and negotiated six acquisitions.  Dan was on the founding team of Politico, a Virginia-based new media venture covering politics, Capitol Hill, and lobbying.  As Associate Publisher and Managing Editor of politico.com, Dan was responsible for all aspects of the online strategy, built and managed a team of developers, designers, and content producers, and negotiated numerous strategic partnerships. Politico grew to over 100 employees and had 5 million monthly unique visitors in its first year.  Dan was involved in two other new media start-ups in the Washington region:  Local Point TV, an innovative short-form entertainment-based digital spectrum sub-channel, and NewsIT, a mobile platform for crowd-sourced news.  Dan’s career also includes two education ventures.  At MBA Center, Dan directed all aspects of the company’s communication, marketing, media, and editorial activities for Europe’s largest test prep provider with 12 locations throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.  Dan subsequently co-founded Professional Prime, a strategic advisory and consulting company headquartered in Paris and London, with offices throughout Europe and education clients worldwide.

Dan Kunitz is the Co-Principal Investigator on the GW NSF I-Corps Sites AwardHe is the Director of I-Corps Node activities at GW and a certified national NSF I-Corps instructor.

Lex McCusker

Lex McCusker
Director of Student Entrepreneurship Programs, GWU

Leo X. (Lex) McCusker, PhD, is the Director of the Student Entrepreneurship Programs at George Washington University, where he also directs the GW New Venture Competition.  He came to GW from School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, where he served as Dean from 2006 through 2009.

Prior to joining Stevens Institute, Dr. McCusker worked for 23 years at AT&T and Bell Laboratories in the areas of software development, professional technology services, technology licensing and intrapreneurship.

Lex holds a doctorate in Experimental Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dartmouth College.

Lex McCusker is the Principal Investigator on the GW NSF I-Corps Sites Award.

Tengiz Sydykov

Tengiz Sydykov

Program Coordinator


Tengiz is the Program Coordinator for the GW Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He manages promotion, outreach, and operations in support of the New Venture Competition, DC I-Corps, and the International Lean Startup programs at GW. Tengiz comes from the American Society for Engineering Education where he managed federally and privately funded projects on education policy, inclusion, and curriculum design. In 2013, he was involved in implementation of the pilot NSF Innovation Corps for Learning program that applies startup principles to innovation within STEM education efforts. Tengiz ran three consecutive I-Corps L national cohort programs. In addition, he was the financial administrator for EcoCAR: Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition program, sponsored by the General Motors and the Department of Energy, and consulted at the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge, sponsored by NASA, Lockheed Martin, and SpaceX. 

Tengiz Sydykov received his Bachelor's in Economics from the George Mason University.

Instructors and Mentors


Karl Ginter

Karl Ginter

President & CEO
Inspyris, LLC
Email: kginter@klgai.com

Advisor, serial entrepreneur, mentor to early stage companies.

Thirty-five+ year career in various computing environments (software, network, telecommunications, embedded computing systems, computer security and cryptography, and medical devices). Areas of expertise include product innovation, basic and applied research in technical areas, intellectual property development, and busniess model development. Highlights include Chief Scientist for a technical company from early stage that went public, running a consulting practice of approximately 30 people, and being an inventor on many issued patents (approximately 70 issued in the US so far) in technology fields of digital rights management, secure computing, distributed network management, alternative locomotive power, and several other technologies.

Mentor to numerous local startups, focusing in business models and customer discovery. Karl Ginter is a three-time national I-Corps team mentor.

Karl Ginter is also one of GW Mentors-in-Residence. You can reserve office hours with him here. 

Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon
Managing Director
DanGordonTech LLC

Dan Gordon has over thirty years of experience working with technology, as a venture investor, entrepreneur, computer scientist, and software developer.

DanGordonTech LLC provides advice, consulting, and strategic counsel to technology executives and technology businesses.

Prior to founding DanGordonTech LLC earlier this year, Dan was a Technology Partner at Valhalla Partners, a DC-based venture-capital firm. In earlier roles, Dan was a Director and senior staff member at PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Centre, and was a technical leader at well-known Silicon Valley firms like Symantec, Intuit, and Oracle. Dan has also been involved in startup companies in the applied Artificial Intelligence and Web applications fields.

Dan has a B.A cum laude from Harvard University and an M.S. degree from New York University in Computer Science. He is a Professional Member of the ACM. 

Dan Gordon is a certified national NSF I-Corps instructor.

Bob Smith

Bob Smith
Director, Mason Small Business Development Center
George Mason University

Bob Smith is the Director of the Fed Tech I-Corps Program at GWU. He is also Chairman of CollegeFactual.com, a leading college rankings and selection website. He has over 30 years’ experience creating, running and funding start-up businesses. He held senior management positions at Congressional Quarterly and America Online in sales, marketing and new product development and was the founder and CEO of the first nation-wide online city guide, Digital City. As an executive, angel investor and advisor he has helped companies in e-commerce, e-government, identity management, publishing and local media go from launch through to favorable exits. He received a BA from USC and his MBA from GWU. He is a veteran of the US Navy.

Bob Smith is also one of GW Mentors-in-Residence. You can reserve office hours with him here.

Grant Warner

Grant Warner
Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Howard University

Dr. Grant Warner is an established technology entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of ConnectYard, a social analytics platform integrated into leading learning management systems and e-learning platforms. He is also a co-founder of XediaLabs, a DC-based incubation firm that provides training and technical consulting to local startups.

Grant leads the HowU Innovate initiative at Howard University.  HowU Innovate is an interdisciplinary initiative which provides campus-wide innovation programming, including the Bison Startup and Bison Accelerate courses, in which students are guided through the process of founding technology startups.  He also directs the Howard University – Hampton University I-Corps Site which focuses on commercializing university research from HBCUs in the DMV area. Additionally, Grant is a member of the national faculty for the NSF I-Corps program. In that role, he has provided innovation and entrepreneurship training to 100+ teams and companies from across the nation.

Grant received a B.S. degree from Cornell University, an M.S. degree from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University all in Mechanical Engineering.

Grant Warner is also one of GW Mentors-in-Residence. You can reserve office hours with him here.

Grant Warner is a certified national NSF I-Corps instructor.