Rodrigue Fouafou, who goes by Rod, is a seasoned entrepreneur who has a proven track record of successfully launching and scaling new business ventures. Originally from Bafoussam, West Cameroon, Rod graduated with honours from the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Technology and Engineering with a degree in computer engineering. Subsequently, Rod forged a successful career at IBM and Nortel.
In 2009, Rod resigned from Nortel to co-found an online venture known as Vertamin, Inc., which operates Gourmandia.com and Gourmetrecipe.com. With Rod as Vertamin, Inc.’s chief operating officer (COO), Gourmandia.com quickly became the fourth most popular social networking site for food lovers, garnering more than 16.5 million monthly views.
Rod has a strong background in technology, a passion for entrepreneurship, and the ability to lead with impressive results. Additionally, Rod offers a wealth of knowledge and connections in the African startup scene. From mobile money operators and tech firms, to media companies and e-commerce establishments, Rod has a vast network of reliable partners in Africa. Rod currently mentors young entrepreneurs while serving on the board of 15 promising startups.
Marc Andre Hart, Chief Strategy Officer
Bahram Zahir, Senior Business Advisor
Bahram is a research scientist with an entrepreneurial background who serves as HartNamtemah’s Senior Business Advisor. Bahram advises HartNamtemah regarding the firm’s business strategy and operations. Bahram worked as a research engineer at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, and later as a research associate at the University of Ottawa. In January 2001, he joined Nortel Networks’ wireless team and worked on 3G systems (UMTS). Bahram co-founded Hivva Technologies and served as their chief technology officer (CTO) from 2003 to 2006. He has also worked as a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Technology and Engineering, an assistant professor at the University of Kurdistan, and a visiting professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ryerson University in Toronto. Since establishing Avicenna Solutions in Toronto in 2010, Bahram has worked as an engineering and scientific consultant in machine learning, UI design, and control and signal processing. He has published several technical papers and has one US patent.
Bahram is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and has served in various positions within the IEEE, including the Ottawa ComSoc Chapter chair in 2006. He was also the secretary (2011-12) and president (2013-14) of the Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA). Bahram has a PhD in communications and electronics from Telecom Paris-Tech, an MS in signal processing from Grenoble INP, and a BS in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran.
David R. Smith, Senior Business Advisor
Based in Silicon Valley, CA, David R. Smith is an entrepreneur, transaction broker, and educator with more than 30 years of experience in the high-tech sector. As a Senior Business Advisor to HartNamtemah, David will provide support in the areas of technology and investment. David has founded numerous high-tech startups in Silicon Valley, Europe, and Asia, mostly in the areas of online marketplaces, online education, software, multimedia, and Internet publishing. A former world marketing manager with Apple, David is the founder and chairman of Tynax Inc., a global patent and technology exchange. He is also the founder and president of Silicon Valley Business School (SVBS), founder and director of Silicon Valley High School, and author of the books Patents, Cloaks & Daggers (www.daggers.co), Dollar Value (www.dollarvalue.co), and Zero-to-IPO (www.zero-to-ipo.com). David holds a BSc in computer science and economics from the University of Leeds in the UK and a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law in the US.