Office Hours

Office Hours Information and Rules

What is the Office Hours program?

Ventures enrolled in VMS can book 30-minute appointments with experienced professionals to receive business-focused answers and practical advice on the following topics: Legal, Intellectual Property (IP), Immigration, Accounting, Government Contract Accounting, User Experience (UX), and Human Resources (HR).

Scheduling

Calendly is the scheduling tool the VMS office will be using moving forward. Using the embed below, or https://calendly.com/mitvmsofficehours, you will now see an embed where you can schedule yourself for 30-minute sessions on available days. The Calendly embed only shows available timeslots. If it isn’t on there, it isn’t available. New sessions are posted every two weeks.

Rules

  1. Your venture’s primary contact must be the one to schedule. Should your information be incorrect and unaligned with the information in our database when you register, your appointment will be canceled and reopened to everyone else. As always, be as accurate and careful as possible when scheduling.

  2. To use the Office Hours service, you must have already scheduled and attended your First Mentor Meeting.

  3. Cancellations and missed appointments

    1. Cancellations communicated to mitvms@mit.edu in enough advance will not be penalized. Please let us know ASAP won't be able to make your session so that we can fill the spot. Same-day cancellations will be decided on a case-by-case basis, as we understand emergencies happen.

    2. No-call, no-show appointments will result in one warning regardless of reasoning.

    3. Two warnings will result in a suspension from VMS Office Hours for 60 days. We value the time our volunteers give us, and want to make the best possible use of it.

  4. Immigration Office Hours

    1. Immigration Office Hours are the only office hours the primary contact does not have to attend. However, they do have to be the one who schedules the session.

 

 

 

Who are the Legal Office Hours volunteer mentors?

We currently have 4 attorneys staffing Legal Office Hours:

  • Peter Rosenblum (Foley Hoag) 
  • Ted Lund (Rich May) richmaylaw.com 
    • Ted works with entrepreneurs and startups  engaged in a variety of activities – including medical device, data cleansing and mining, energy and other high and low technology businesses.  His involvement with clients typically begins at business inception advising on formation, capital structure and structuring of founder relationships and continues as the business matures, advising on critical contracts and strategic partnerships, acceptance of third party debt and equity funding, and mergers and acquisitions.  As a former litigator turned business and transactional attorney, Ted takes a practical and legal approach to working with his clients and seeks to identify and address issues that otherwise might lead to disputes.
  • David Gammel (Gunder)
  • Ed Pease (Mintz)

Advice provided during these office hours does not serve as legal advice.  The purpose of the office hours is to provide advice on general legal matters. 

Note: Participating in office hours does not commit a VMS entrepreneur to use Foley Hoag, Rich May, Gunder or Mintz as its law firm.  This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the attorneys listed above and their commitment is greatly appreciated.

Who are the IP Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • Aliki Collins ('87, AKC Patents, LLC)
    • AKC Patents is a leading provider of patent services for corporations, educational institutions, research organizations and private inventors.  AKC Patents offers a unique combination of patent development and patent prosecution services.  They take inventory of your patentable ideas, prepare a comprehensive report, review your ideas and help you develop a patent strategy in view of your business, technical and financial goals. They then help you execute your patent strategy by preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  They also offer international patenting services at the European Patent Office (EPO).

      Dr. Collins has expertise in intellectual property law, magnetic materials and devices, optical materials and devices, semiconductors, ceramic materials, chemical vapor deposition process and equipment, rapid solidification of metals, business quantitative methods, statistical process improvement methods and radiation oncology physics. She has extensive experience in patent prosecution, new product development, team leadership, project and program management and teaching.  Dr. Collins holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and a M.S. in Physics (Diplom Physiker) from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany.  She is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  She has published several scientific papers, co- edited a book and authored several theses.  She is an inventor and holds two issued and several pending patent applications.  She is fluent in German and Greek.

  • Bruce Sunstein (Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP)
  • Rory Phieffer (Barnes & Thornburg LLP)
    • Rory is a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in the Intellectual Property Department and a founding member of the Boston office for the firm. Rory works with clients to develop patent portfolios, domestically and abroad, that align with their business goals.  He also counsels clients on patent opinion and clearance matters, IP due diligence issues on the buyer and seller side, license negotiations, and trademark portfolio growth and enforcement in conjunction with building a brand.  A Course 2 grad, he has extensive experience protecting inventions related to 3D printing, aircraft, biotechnology, cleantech, consumer products, digital cameras, electric vehicles, electronics and lighting, fluid dynamic applications, medical devices, robotics, software and mobile applications, thermovoltaics, and a variety of other mechanical and electrical-mechanical systems.  He works with clients of all sizes, from Fortune 100 companies to start-up companies.

  • Steven Saunders (Nutter)
    • Steven Saunders is an angel investor, entrepreneur, engineer, university lecturer, and a mentor to other entrepreneurs. In his day job as a patent attorney, he co-chairs Nutter’s Intellectual Property Department where clients of all sizes rely on Steven’s counsel for managing their IP needs, including portfolio development, strategy and evaluation, patent preparation and prosecution, freedom to operate, IP litigation, and licensing. Steven also conducts extensive due diligence analysis for angel and VC investments, mergers, and acquisitions.

      Drawing on his engineering and scientific background, Steven works with a wide range of technologies, including medical technologies, electronics, computer software and hardware, cloud computing, routing, IoT, alternative energy, high performance computing (HPC), integrated circuit design, MEMS, semiconductor fabrication, and materials processing.

      Steven is a member of Hub Angels and Launchpad Ventures and has advised numerous startups on growth strategy and raising capital. A leader in the legal industry, Steven has been involved in a wide variety of educational support activities, including as adjunct faculty at Boston University, a mentor for teams in MIT’s $100K Business Plan Competition, and MIT’s delta v program.

Advice provided during these office hours does not serve as legal advice.  The purpose of the office hours is to provide advice on general legal matters. 

Note: Participating in office hours does not commit a VMS entrepreneur to use AKC Pattents, LLC, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP, or Barnes & Thornburg LLP as its law firm.  This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the attorneys listed above and their commitment is greatly appreciated.

Who are the Immigration Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • Bill Coffman 
    • Bill Coffman is Special Counsel at the Boston firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. where his legal work focuses on U.S. immigration and nationality law and related international law. Bill regularly represents clients in immigration matters before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Labor, as well as before US and foreign consulates.  He is a frequent presenter at CLE immigration conferences including the AILA Annual Conference, Massachusetts CLE, and local AILA events.  He earned his JD from the University of Houston Law Center where he served on the editorial board of the Houston Journal of International Law.  He is recognized in Best Lawyers in America: Immigration Law (2013 – 2022), Boston Magazine Top Lawyers – Immigration (2021), and International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers since 2016.

  • Angel Feng (Mintz)
    • Angel focuses her practice on business immigration matters and related compliance issues. She works with employers in designing and defining corporate immigration programs and policies, and in structuring short and long-term visa strategies for management, professional and specialized skill foreign employees. She also advises employers on discipline, suspension and/or termination of visa sponsored employees and litigation prevention measures; and counsels clients on employment eligibility verification, I-9, and E-verify compliance and employer defense in ICE audits, and worksite investigations.

      Angel’s expertise includes developing visa strategies during M&A transactions (reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions, divestments, etc.) and minimizing a transaction’s impact on key employees.

      She has extensive experience in obtaining non-immigrant work visas and employment-based immigrant visas, including H-1B, L-1A, L-1B, E-3, TN, P-1, O-1, E-1, E-2, PERM, EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories.

      As a regular contributor to Mintz’s immigration blog, Angel often provides employers with insight on immigration-related developments that may affect their businesses and offers tips for responding to government agency activities, such as Department of Homeland Security worksite visits and inspections.

      Prior to joining Mintz, Angel was senior counsel at a law firm in New York where she advised on corporate immigration strategies. She has also served as an Assistant Vice President & Counsel at Fortune 100 financial company where she oversaw all immigration and employment matters. Angel has practiced as an attorney at various national and regional law firms, as well as non-profits, where she has provided immigration and employment law counseling as well as employment litigation representation.

      Angel has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of Employment: Immigration as a “Next Generation Lawyer” and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and several other professional organizations.

      She is fluent in Mandarin, Spanish, and Taiwanese.

Advice provided during these office hours does not serve as legal advice.  The purpose of the office hours is to provide advice on general legal matters. 

Note: Participating in office hours does not commit a VMS entrepreneur to use any of the firms listed above as its law firm.  This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the attorneys listed above and their commitment is greatly appreciated.

Who are the Government Contract Accounting Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • George Moker (Ambrosi Donahue Congdon, Moker CPA)
    • George is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, focusing in the area of startup and small organizations. George earned his MBA from Suffolk University in Boston, where he currently serves as Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, as well as being a member of the entrepreneurship faculty. Through his firm, George has been engaged at various levels, including helping Phase 0 and Phase 1 awardees understand and use government-required adequate accounting systems. In addition, George has participated in the due diligence process of several intellectual property commercialization strategies for startup organizations with client acquisitions ranging from less than $10 million to $100 million. Clients were acquired by companies including Merck, Analog Devices, Quidel, and Finisar. George has held similar workshops at other locations including UPENN, Penn State, Forefront Conference Center, University City Science Center, etc. Professionally, George served in senior management positions in a privately-held, aerospace support government contractor firm (having administered contracts with NASA and the U.S. Air Force), specializing in metrology systems used in the aircraft engine design, manufacture, and overhaul processes, as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations. George's entire professional career has been spent in the realm of starting and growing small organizations, with a focus on entrepreneurial attitudes of the management team towards commercialization. George served nearly a decade as a public official in his community, as well as serving on other community boards.

Note: Participating in office hours does not commit a VMS entrepreneur to engage Ambrosi Donahue Congdon or Moker CPA.  This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the CPAs listed above and their commitment is greatly appreciated. VMS mentoring services are educational only. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating entrepreneurs.

Who are the Accounting Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • Joe Faris (Founder - Accountalent) accountalent.com
    • Accountalent provides best practice corporate tax and CFO services to startups.  Mr. Faris and his firm have worked with 1,200 startups in the last 25 years, including many from MIT. 

Note: Participating in office hours does not commit a VMS entrepreneur to engage Accountalent. This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the CPAs listed above and their commitment is greatly appreciated. VMS mentoring services are educational only. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating entrepreneurs.

Who are the Human Resources Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • Carlton Aird (Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources - TJX Companies, Inc.)
    • The TJX Companies, Inc., is the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide (US, Canada, U.K., Europe and Australia). With over $39 billion in revenue (2018) and approximately 270,000 Associates, TJX ranks 85 among companies in the most recent (2018) Fortune 500 listing. 
  • Julie Quinne
    • Julie is a leadership strategist, consultant, and coach who helps her clients take action and get results in both work and life. She inspires change-thirsty leaders to make big moves and provides them the frameworks they need to execute successfully.
    • Learn more about Julie here: https://juliequinne.com/about-julie-quinne-leadership-strategist/
  • Andy Porter
    • Andy is a leadership coach and former C-level executive with a passion for supporting leaders who have taken on broader, more complex roles. With his extensive experience in human resources, company building, and leadership development, he brings a unique blend of expertise and insight to his coaching practice. 
    • Learn more about Andy here: https://andyportercoaching.com/about/

Note: This time is being donated to VMS entrepreneurs by the mentors listed above, and their commitment is greatly appreciated. VMS mentoring services are educational only. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating entrepreneurs.

Who are the User Experience Office Hours volunteer mentors?
  • Karen Donoghue (Interaction Architect, Principal at HumanLogic)
    • Karen solves challenging interaction design issues for her clients including Google (Chrome OS), VMware, Olympus, T-Mobile, SecurityScorecard, Imprivata, and many startups. Karen’s client work focuses on enterprise product design for Enterprise IT, cybersecurity and device management. 

      Karen Donoghue has designed MVPs that have produced significant impact, including the UX for Resilient Systems, a startup acquired by IBM Security. Her recent work for startups includes MVP design for Equip Health, an online platform for treating eating disorders. 

      Karen serves as an Advisor to aiberry (Seattle), Turivius (Sao Paolo and a MIT VMS alum venture), and SecurityScorecard (NYC).  She was an advisor to the founders of MetaCarta (a startup acquired by Nokia) and held a one-year appointment to the Tufts University Department of Computer Science where she advised on strategy and diversity initiatives in Computer Science education.

      Karen has deep experience in platform product design for connected devices.  She has led user experience design for globally released mobile platforms, including SavaJe OS, Motorola (Razr2), VMware Switch, and a (confidential) neurorehabilitation robotics platform. Additionally, between 2018-2020, Karen completed two successful consulting engagements for Google Chrome OS Product Management on platform UX.  

      Karen also releases her own mobile products, most recently Local Haze, an iPhone app for monitoring local air quality that crowdsources sensor data for over 29,000 sensors worldwide.

      Karen is an inventor on over a dozen software patents related to software user experiences. In 2002, she authored the first book linking business strategy to online user experience, published by McGraw-Hill in New York. In 2021, Karen co-authored “Envision Product: User Experience for Founders” with Craig Newell.

      Karen earned an MS from the MIT Media Laboratory and a BS in Computer Science from Tufts University.