The Motimatic platform blends the latest advances in online advertising technology and motivation science to deliver highly targeted messages that drive economically beneficial behavior. The messages support specific users in achieving their goals, while creating economic value for Motimatic client organizations in a wide variety of markets, from Healthcare to Financial Services, Insurance and Education.
Chief Executive Officer
Alan is a veteran entrepreneur who has devoted his career to enhancing student motivation, success, and achievement. He is CEO of Motimatic, the automatic motivation company. He previously founded InsideTrack (now a unit of Strada), the national leader in student coaching systems and technology. His first business was SCORE! Educational Centers, a national chain of K-7 learning centers he sold to Kaplan in 1996. Alan is a graduate of Stanford Business School and served as a faculty member there from 1999 to 2002. He was previously employed by H&Q Technology Partners, the Wall Street Journal and Boston Consulting Group.
Michelle is a nationally recognized expert in designing and researching the impact of innovative educational technologies. Her diverse skill set spans interactive technology design, learning and motivation science, assessment design, and independent evaluation research. As President of Designs for Learning, her clients have included the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Digital Promise, UCLA CRESST, MIT Education Arcade, Michelson Runway and Amavitae. Most recently, Michelle served as managing director of learning and assessment at GlassLab. Previously a professor of educational psychology at the University of Southern California, she authored the first experimental study of an iPad learning app. The author of over 100 publications and presentations, Michelle holds a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in mathematics-physics from Brown University.
Chris brings a depth of expertise working with senior administrators in developing programs that improve student outcomes. His clients have included Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, the University of Washington, Arizona State University, Georgetown University, St. Mary’s College of California, and dozens of others. A keen observer of trends in higher education, Chris has written articles for a variety of publications, including AACRAO’s College and University, UPCEA’s Continuing Higher Education Review, and CAEL’s Forum and News. Previously, Chris served as head of sales at InsideTrack and in product development, strategy, and investor relations roles for technology companies. He holds a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Education from Stanford University.
Chief Technology Officer
Jeff is a senior technology executive with a history of delivering solutions to help learners, educators, and companies thrive in a complex and changing environment. He builds effective software development organizations that use leading edge technology and software engineering best practices to create high quality solutions that make learning more effective, in and beyond the traditional walls. With over 30 years in the industry, Jeff has worked at many start-up and large companies including PDI Ninth House, where he delivered award-winning eLearning and assessment content and services for Leadership and Management training, and Autodesk, where he spent over a decade delivering key contributions to their flagship products. Most recently, Jeff was head of engineering for the next generation of the Blackboard “Learn” LMS technology to make learning more personalized and intuitive for learners and educators. Jeff holds a degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Online Learning Consortium
Marie A. Cini, PhD, is a strategic leader creating innovative ways to serve adult learners. Dr. Cini’s practice and research focuses on empowering adult learners to succeed and thrive. Her deep experience in the development and management of adult-focused undergraduate and graduate programs spans both public and private institutions. As a Provost and Academic Dean at UMUC, Dr Cini transformed the curriculum to an outcomes-based model targeting career-relevant education for students. To that end, she created the Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success, and led both the undergraduate and graduate schools to completely replace publisher textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OER). She is currently the board chair for the Online Learning Consortium, the premiere organization for quality online and digital learning.
General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners
Jason Palmer joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2016 as a General Partner. Jason brings twenty years of experience as an education technology entrepreneur, executive and investor, and focuses on fund strategy, supporting portfolio companies and leveraging deep connections with industry leaders. Jason previously served as Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led postsecondary innovation efforts to improve the outcomes of low-income, minority and first-generation college students. Prior to the Foundation, Jason founded and grew three investor-backed technology and services companies before holding a series of executive positions at Microsoft, SchoolNet, Kaplan and StraighterLine. At Kaplan, he led three education businesses as general manager or president, in addition to founding and leading the company’s venture capital effort. Jason holds a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and also serves on the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation Board.
Managing Director, University Ventures
Troy Williams is a Managing Director of University Ventures. Prior to University Ventures, Troy was a senior executive at Macmillan where he was CEO of Macmillan Enterprise Solutions and President of Macmillan New Ventures, managing an edtech portfolio of seven companies with a focus on data and analytics, university systems and student performance and outcomes. Troy founded and for nine years was CEO of Questia Media, an early ebook company ultimately sold to Cengage Learning. Troy started his career in the mergers and acquisitions practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.At University Ventures, Troy leads the firm’s investments in EverTrue, Examity, Motimatic and Oohlala Mobile and focuses his investments in software and systems for universities generally. Troy received his bachelor’s degree in History, Phi Beta Kappa, from Rice University, and his law degree from the Harvard Law School where he was a member of Harvard Law Review. He is on the Advisory Board of Rice University’s School of Humanities.
University of Virginia
Ben Castleman in an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. Ben’s research applies insights from behavioral economics and social psychology to help people make active and informed decisions across a variety of policy domains, including education, employment, and consumer finance.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earl Miller is a professor of neuroscience and the director of the Miller Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Research interests in the Miller laboratory center around the neural mechanisms of attention, learning, and memory needed for voluntary, goal-directed behavior.
Baba Shiv’s research expertise is in the area of neuroeconomics, with specific emphasis on the role of neural structures related to emotion and motivation in shaping decisions and experiences. His recent work examines the interplay of the brain’s “liking” and “wanting” systems and its implications for marketing, innovation, leadership and decision making.