This week’s PitchForce Panelists

December 7, 2017


Assim Gupta 

Assim has a background in eCommerce, SaaS, mobile and ERP/CRM space. In last 20 years, Assim has played several roles ranging from a software engineer to a product manager to the CEO of start-ups. He specializes in taking an idea from “a gleam in the eye” to the “hands of the consumer”. He has worked on product strategy, architecture, development, deployment and global operations.

Assim not only brings a strategic vision along with deep technical expertise, he also adds managerial depth to the team. He has created wide spectrum technical teams from scratch and has led/ directed several complex projects as a people manager and a program manager for companies like Oracle and VMware. He has worked extensively in distributed software development scenarios and has been recognized for his expertise in lean software development. Some other companies Assim has worked with are Apple, Google, and SGI.

Neal Strickberger

Neal is a hands-on operation, product, and engineering executive. He facilitates teams to solve hard problems, deliver measurable results, enable customer success, and support the bottom line.  

Neal applies a systems mentality and wide range of expertise to translate strategic goals, understand architecture, and then execute tactical actions that drive results. He is an intuitive problem solver, project manager, cat-herder, participative leader, facilitator and mentor.

Other interests include visual arts – democratizing access to original artwork by enabling direct connections between artists and buyers. Neal collects art primarily from local emerging artists. He also has a large-scale public art project using billion-candlepower searchlights.


Axel Tillmann

Great ideas need to find their anchor in the business world to create value. This is the hardest to accomplish and I have unique cross-cultural insights and experiences to create the vision(s) for strategy. Once the vision becomes clear it will take passion to drive a company to success. This is regardless of the size of the company – Startup or division of a larger corporation.

Years of Senior C-Suite leadership of early-stage privately held and emerging public companies with strong P&L ownership are the foundation for who I am today.

  • Domain Expertise: Network & Security, Software, Semiconductor, Renewables, Healthcare
  • Strong Sales and Marketing focus (Going2Market Expert)
  • Seasoned Technologist (US Patent Holder, BSEE)
  • Broad International Experience (Europe, South America, ASIAPAC, CIS)
  • Multiple M&A transactions (proven depth in shareholder value creation)


Scott Russell 

Scott has over 30 years of private equity, technology operating and international experience. Over his career, Scott has successfully helped raise seven venture funds and invest over $2.5BN in technology startups.In 1996, he co-founded SOFTBANK Technology Ventures ( Mobius). A General Partner & MD, Scott invested in over 40 software, financial services & Internet companies.

In 2002, helped co-found Carnegie-Mellon University’s (CMU) Silicon Valley campus along with several other prominent alumni. The campus offers PhD & master degrees in software engineering. In 2007, Scott created eCarnegieTech to more formally mentor, incubate, co-found & invest in CMU startups.

Prior to his career in Venture Capital, Scott spent 14 years managing corporate technology for Swiss Bank, SG Warburg, Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan. Scott has been both a major purchaser of technology as well as the manager of numerous large software development teams. Scott is a member of CMU’s School of Computer Science Dean’s Advisory Board and an advisor to the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper Business School.He holds a BS in Computer Science from CMU and completed the SG Warburg sponsored Advanced Development Program at the London Business School.