Eric Koester is a serial entrepreneur.
He has spent much of his career building companies, working with entrepreneurs and writing and teaching around topics of customer discovery, lean, entrepreneurship and innovation. Eric is currently the founder of Main Street Genome, a new technology startup developing tools for the small business economy. Previously, Eric was a co-founder of Zaarly, a marketplace to locate local small businesses and service providers, named by Fast Company as one of the Fifty Most Innovative Companies in the World. He was also an executive at Appature Inc., a cloud-based relationship marketing software company acquired by IMS in 2013; a founder of Learn that Name, acquired by Blackberry in 2010; and a founder/manager of other companies in the environmental consultancy and web development sectors. Eric was recently named one of Washington DC’s “40 under 40” and has written several books on startups and technology, including The Green Entrepreneur Handbook (CRC Press 2011) and Starting a High Tech Business Venture (Taylor & Francis 2010). Eric also devotes considerable time to building the startup community, including as a board member of UP Global and Startup Weekend and the DC co-chair of Enstitute. Eric began his entrepreneurial career as a corporate securities attorney at Cooley LLP, focusing on high-growth startups, venture funds, private equity and technology companies.
Katherine Zmoda, Academic Director Katherine has served as the Specialist for UMD Honors College’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) since August 2018.
She supports program activities, student involvement, academic planning, marketing, partnerships, and general strategy. She advises student ventures in every aspect, but specializes in customer discovery, market research, and pitching. At UMD, she is also the Program Manager for the local node of NSF’s Innovation-Corps, working with researchers and inventors on bringing their products to market. Her professional experience also includes interning in marketing for Baltimore-based sports equipment company STX, and working with multiple local startups by advising on business development strategy, branding, and customer acquisition. Katherine is an Honors College graduate from the University of Maryland with a double major in Marketing and Management, as well as a minor in Spanish, which included a winter abroad in Sevilla, Spain. While a student in EIP, she served on the Student Advisory Board as Curriculum Chair. After completing the Social Innovation Fellows (SIF) program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business as a sophomore, she worked as the teaching assistant for SIF for two years. As TA, she assisted students in developing their understanding of social value creation through the application of business practices and consulting with local mission-driven ventures. Katherine was also a DJ, staff writer, and the social media director for WMUC, UMD’s student-run radio station.