Rachel is an inventor and entrepreneur with a passion for helping high tech startups and academic innovators identify viable business models and connect to their first customer. Rachel actively encourages and supports entrepreneurs through her roles in the Launchpad business incubator and the Miller Entrepreneurship Center, and through teaching entrepreneurship at William & Mary.
Rachel received a Ph. D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida in 2005. After working in electronics and materials research and development at the Naval Research Lab as an American Society for Engineering Education postdoc she joined the commercialization team at The University of Alabama as a Research Engineer to develop prototypes based on academic intellectual property. In 2012, Rachel decided to pursue her own invention. She founded and leads a performance materials company that serves the automotive industry by providing an affordable and sustainable alternative to carbon fiber. Her experience starting a company grew into a passion to help entrepreneurs. Since 2015, she has dedicated her career to supporting other entrepreneurs by teaching customer discovery and mentoring startups. She is a certified Kauffman FastTrac® Facilitator and certified Lean Launchpad® Educator. Rachel enjoys extracurricular activities such as mentoring teams in the Innovation and Commercialization Assistance Program of Virginia, spending time with her family, and enjoying the outdoors.
Areas of Interest/Expertise
- Customer Discovery and the “Scientific” Approach to Evidence Based Entrepreneurship
- Business Model Innovation
- Partnerships and Co-Development for Product Innovation
- Prototypes and Minimum Viable Products
- Patent Trends and New Technologies
- Technology Commercialization
- Value-Based Pricing for Startups