INVENTOR PITCH COMPETITION Moderators

Panel Discussion Moderator - Elana Fine, Managing Director, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Robert H. Smith School of Business


Elana Fine is Managing Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Elana's primary focus is leading the Dingman Center in support of its mission to build a community that discovers, equips, connects and celebrate entrepreneurs. Key responsibilities include oversight of our student venture incubator, Fearless Founders; Dingman Center Angels investor network, business competitions, and integration with Smith School entrepreneurship curriculum and research activities.  Elana also develops and maintains relationships with donors, board members, EIRs, the Smith School community and other campus and regional partners.  Elana is also an adjunct faculty member with the Smith School’s Management & Organization department and part of the national teaching team for NSF’s ICorps program. 

Elana started in investment banking at Bear Stearns, but started working with technology startups when she joined Revolution Partners, a boutique investment bank specializing in M&A and private capital advisory for software companies. She joined the company in its infancy and helped the team grow to 40 bankers on both coasts, assisting and leading transactions from $10M-$200M in deal value. Elana left upon the firm’s sale to Morgan Keegan.

Elana earned an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2002, and earned a BS in Finance, magna cum laude, from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1997.  She started her career as a technology consultant with an Accenture. 

Elana was recently named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine, “Power Women in Tech” by Tech Bisnow and “50 On Fire” by In The Capital.  She is also a contributor to the Washington Post Capital Business. Elana resides in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and two children.

Professor Venture Fair Moderator - Dean Chang, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Dean Chang is committed to helping students and researchers discover and cultivate the innovator and entrepreneurial mindset inside of them through design thinking, lean startup, and team-based experiential learning. He is the University of Maryland’s (UMD) founding Associate VP for the Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (AIE), reporting to the President and Provost and tasked with engaging all 37,000 students in all 12 colleges in innovation.  Prior to AIE, Dean oversaw the School of Engineering’s technology startup venture programs. He is also a lead PI and instructor in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) I-Corps Node program. 

Prior to UMD, Dean spent 15 years in Silicon Valley where he served dual roles as the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Gaming Business of Immersion Corporation.  He joined Immersion as employee #4 and helped transform the venture-backed, Stanford University robotics lab spinout into a publicly traded (NASDAQ: IMMR), world-leading licensor of haptics technology embedded in hundreds of millions of products from companies like Microsoft, Apple, BMW, Samsung, and Electronic Arts.  

Dean holds over 40 U.S. and international patents and is a Pi Tau Sigma graduate from MIT, an engineering AFOSR Fellow and PhD from Stanford, and a Palmer Scholar MBA from Wharton.