Our Coaches

Work one-on-one with the best high school innovation coaches in the world

Experienced Entrepreneurs

We believe you can’t teach innovation and entrepreneurship without living and breathing it yourself.

Deep Personal Networks

Coaches aren’t only teachers but also teammates who will roll up their sleeves to help students make the connections they need to change the world.

Dedicated Educators

Our coaches care deeply about every student. Their work is their calling: to inspire and transform kids to reach their full potential.

Graduates of top US Universities

Stanford, Cornell and Michigan.

Exhaustively Trained

Our coaches receive 3 months of training to master our proprietary Spike coaching curriculum and processes.

Exhaustively Recruited

Our coaches are vetted through a 5-round interview process that is two times more selective than Harvard’s admissions process.

Lloyd Nimetz

Stanford MBA ’08 + Williams BA ’01

Lloyd is the founder of The Spike Lab. He is a serial entrepreneur and startup investor who has been a founder of five for-profits and nonprofits in the US, Taiwan, Argentina and India. Previously he directed 4.0 Schools’ education startup accelerator and before that was the co-founder of Dev Bootcamp NYC (parent company was acquired by Kaplan Inc in 2014). Lloyd went to Stanford University for his MBA, majored in Economics during his undergraduate studies at Williams College and was a Fulbright Scholar.

He has lived all over the world and currently resides in his native New York City with his wife, two young daughters and dog. He speaks English and Spanish fluently and is being taught Mandarin at home by his wife and daughters and during his frequent trips to Asia.

Larry Liu

Michigan MA ’08 + BS ’07

Larry is an educator and co-founder of The Spike Lab. He was a high school teacher for six years, during which he taught AP Psychology, AP English, IB Physics, Robotics, Game Design, and Special Ed English. He has designed and run student leadership programs in the US, China, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Larry is an expert on growth mindset and founded an education consulting company that coaches school leaders throughout the US.

Before The Spike Lab, Larry became an experienced entrepreneurship coach, mentoring the founders of early stage startups through recognized startup accelerator programs like 4.0 Schools, the CUNY Student Accelerator, and The New School’s New Challenge. Larry speaks English and Mandarin fluently and currently lives in Taipei.

Theo Wolf

Cornell BA ’13

Theo is a writer and educator with a background consulting for ed-tech startups and as a staff member at Cornell University. He has led teacher training workshops at the Dwight School, guest lectured at Cornell University, and mentored students at entrepreneurship events across New York City.

His plays and screenplays have been produced in New York and Los Angeles. Theo is originally from Boston and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Grace Chiang

Stanford MBA ‘+ MA ’19 + Yale BA ’15

Grace is an entrepreneur and educator with deep expertise in adolescent development and business. She has been working with adolescents for over a decade, and is currently working on a start up to support parents of teenagers. Prior to her current start up, Grace started her career at McKinsey before working in venture capital, impact investing, and a number of start ups.

She loves discussing topics related to mental wellbeing, productivity, and diversity & inclusion. She studied history and economics at Yale, and received her MA in Education and MBA from Stanford. Grace is originally from Taiwan and currently resides in California with her puppy, Bailey.

Uchechi Kalu

Princeton BA ’14

Uchechi is an entrepreneur, educator, and artist. She started her career in Beijing where she worked in international education and business for 4 years. She currently runs a consultancy for college and graduate school admissions and wrote and published a college admissions guide book. Uchechi went to Princeton for her BA, and majored in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic. She’s also a singer, writer, and actress, and speaks multiple languages, including, Mandarin.

Uchechi is originally from South Carolina, and after many years living around the world, she recently returned to her home state to live.

Ayna Agarwal

Harvard MBA ‘20 + Stanford BS ‘14

Ayna is a tech product expert, social entrepreneur, and public servant. She has spent the last 8 years in the technology sector, across start-ups and large companies in the Silicon Valley, and co-founded she++, a non-profit to encourage women to pursue technology. After spending a year studying technology policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, she is now finishing her MBA at Harvard.

She began her career at Palantir Technologies, building software for the US government. Ayna loves talking about empathy in business, design and creative expression, public policy, diversity & inclusion, and animals! She grew up in New Jersey and studied Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University. She loves any chance to travel, and has visited 40 countries.

Nathaniel Toppelberg

Yale BA ’15

Nathaniel has been coaching students professionally for 9 years. His specialty is to guide his students to discover the untapped potential within themselves. At the age of 18, he launched his first business, a college admissions consultancy. As an undergrad at Yale, he helped launch Gakko, a startup initially based in Japan which raised over $5 million in seed capital. Most recently, he co-founded Beson Education, an elite education consultancy serving Chinese families.

Nathaniel currently resides in Boston, where he loves to cycle and practice yoga. He is fluent in Spanish and English

Justin Gupta

Georgetown BS ‘09

Justin is a management consultant and educator with deep experience in social entrepreneurship. He has advised or grown social enterprises in such sectors as financial inclusion, health care, affordable housing, and more.

He has also served as a mentor and coach to a diverse set of aspiring entrepreneurs, including students at the high school and college levels. Justin is passionate about language and culture; he has lived, worked, or studied in 5 countries and is fluent in Spanish. He is originally from Massachusetts and now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Jane Marie Chen

Harvard MPA ‘08 + Stanford MBA ‘08 + Pomona BA ’03

Jane Marie Chen is the co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help the 15 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year, through a low-cost infant warmer. The Embrace infant warmer costs about 1% of a traditional incubator and is estimated to have helped over 300,000 babies to date. Prior to Embrace, Chen worked with nonprofit organizations on healthcare issues in developing countries.

She spent several years as the Program Director of a startup HIV/AIDS nonprofit in China (Chi Heng Foundation) and worked for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in Tanzania.

Our coaching is inspired by the following thinking

In addition to high scores and high grades, you need even more at top schools to set you apart.

Michele Hernandez

from her book: A is for Admissions

It is worth it to become the kind of kid who organizes something in high school. Who builds projects that might not work and does them without the normal club or sports organization helping you become a cog in the system.

Seth Godin

from his Akimbo podcast episode, “How to get into a famous college”

Developing a sense of purpose is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of adolescent development.

William Damon

from a Wall Street Journal Article on his Stanford University Research.

Forget well-rounded. What you need to do is develop a huge spike.

Alan Cheng

Experiences, rather than short-term memorization, develop the skills and motivation that transform lives.

Tony Wagner

The Law of Focus. Master one serious interest. Don’t waste your time with unrelated activities.

Cal Newport

Innovation is a bottoms-up, decentralized, and unpredictable thing, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be managed.

Eric Ries

from his book: The Lean Startup

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.

Carol Dweck