Our Team of Advisors!

Nitin Pradhan

CEO and President

Nitin Pradhan has 25+ years of experience in delivering results-focused innovation, transformation, and business expansion for organizations. Nitin is currently the CEO of Launch Dream and ScaleUP USA. ScaleUP USA is a transformative program of Launch Dream.

Nitin was a first-term Obama administration appointee and the award-winning, nationally recognized federal CIO for the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) where he provided IT leadership, vision, strategy, policy, and oversight for US DOT’s more than $3.5 billion annual IT portfolio and for over 3,000 IT employees -- the 6th largest in the federal government.

 Earlier, Nitin was the IT Executive at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the 10th largest school district in the USA. Nitin has also been the Managing Director of the prestigious Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), which is focused on technology-based economic development, and the CEO of a wireless startup, TechContinuum.


Dr. Sanjay Chitnis

Mentor, AI/Machine Learning Startups

Sanjay Chitnis is an academician, technologist, and mentor in the domain of Machine Learning. He has experience of over 35 years in various leadership roles in Product Development in various Technology domains.

In Motorola, he managed a project for the development of the Messaging Subsystem of IRIDIUM, the communication network based on low orbit satellites. He was also responsible for setting up best practices for Software Engineering, Six Sigma, and Project Management in Motorola, India as well as other software centers of Motorola across the world. He was SEI certified CMMI SCAMPI B Lead Assessor and Trainer in Motorola University for Six Sigma for Product Development. Later in LG, he led the platform engineering team in India for LG Smart devices.

He is currently the Chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Dayananda Sagar University, Bangalore. He has been the Principal of CMR Institute of Technology, Bangalore, and Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Dayananda Sagar University.

He did his M.Tech from IIT Kanpur and Ph.D., in Machine Learning from the Dept. of Computer Science and Automation, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.


Isaias "Cy" Alba

Government Contracts Legal Advisor

Isaias “Cy” Alba counsels' clients on a broad range of government contracting matters before government agencies and federal courts, which includes overall regulatory compliance with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) small business programs. Mr. Alba represents small and mid-sized companies looking to structure compliant teaming, joint venture, and mentor-protégé agreements. He also handles the prosecution and defense of small business size and status protests; appeals before SBA and the Office of Hearings and Appeals; as well as bid protests before Government Accountability Office, the Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.


Mr. Alba's work for the firm's federal contractor clients also includes the preparation, negotiation, and prosecution of Contract Dispute Act claims, Requests for Equitable Adjustment, termination for convenience settlements; defense of suspensions and debarments; preparation of Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) mitigation plans; and counseling related to OCI issues, as well as Federal Acquisition Regulation/Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement data rights issues, IP licensing, copyright, and trademark issues.



Sailee Kulkarni 

Strategy and Product Management Advisor 

Sailee has expertise in IT Product Management and Strategy, with a keen interest in Product Marketing. She has experience working in India, UK, and US-based companies. She is also well versed in Agile methodologies and has CSM® and CSPO® certifications from Scrum Alliance®. She has previously invested in and run an India-wide Bicycle and Bicycle accessories Import and Distribution business.


Sailee was awarded the ISB Goldman Sachs Scholarship for Women Entrepreneurs and completed a certificate program in entrepreneurship from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, India. She was selected for the Entrepreneur Development Program (EDP) run by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India conducted by Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune. She has also been a finalist at the City University London City Spark Big Idea Competition.


She holds a  B.Sc. in Electronics from the University of Pune, an M.B.A. in Information Technology from I.S.M.S., Indira Group of Institutes, Pune, India, and an  M.Sc. in Business Systems Analysis and Design from the School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering, City University London, U.K.



Pratap Basutkar

Federal Government Contracting Advisor 

Pratap is a Business Consultant to technology companies helping them pursue contracts with the US Government. His background has been in the areas of Business Development, Pre-Sales & Capture Management.

He has supported small businesses win US Federal, as well as State & Local government contracts in the range of $50,000 to 150 million, either as a Prime or Subcontractor. Some of his wins have been with agencies like the Department of Justice, Department of the Navy, General Services Administration, Health & Human Services, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration to name a few.

An interest in emerging technologies and a passion to help small businesses succeed in the US Government contracting space has driven Pratap to be involved in the Startup community & ecosystem, and eventually being a part of the larger global Startup Grind community as a Chapter Co-Director.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a Master’s Degree in Personnel Management from Pune University.


Sunil MP

Community Outreach Advisor


Sunil is a technology and business enthusiast and an ardent believer in community engagement. He has evangelized the concept of open innovation and collaboration in the enterprise and startup ecosystems across India.


He is currently part of many such global communities and working with them independently in visioning and strategic execution. He is a growth enabler, collaborator, entrepreneur, business enabler, and innovator.


He has professional industry and entrepreneurial experience of more than 15+ years in the field of strategic industry partnerships, startup/corporate partnerships, and stakeholder management of startups, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and funding agencies. 


Sunil has the passion to support and enable eco-systems between industry and academia and help students/startups, young business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurship programs, educators, and other stakeholders.



Riya Pradhan

Business Technology Analyst and Marketer

Riya helps identify strategic and business partners for the growth and distribution of ScaleUP USA products and services. She reviews existing online course content on ScaleUP USA and ensures the programs are regularly updated to maintain the quality and rigor for all applicants. 


Riya is focused on helping in business planning and coordination of ScaleUP USA’s “Skill Proofed,” online AI gamification-based learning platform. She plans, designs, develops, and tests multimedia strategies to create traffic and conversion campaigns on appropriate social media sites. She writes blogs, creates digital videos, builds presentations, and other social media content to enhance the brand and website traffic for ScaleUP USA. 


Riya Pradhan is an IB honors student at South Lakes High School in Fairfax County, in the Washington DC Metro area and is working toward studying Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence.