Mike Silagadze is the CEO and co-founder of Top Hat. Under Silagadze’s leadership and vision, Top Hat has become the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America.
Silagadze is an active speaker and lecturer in the higher education, technology and startup communities, having lectured at the Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization, the ASU GSV Summit, MaRS, Tech Fest Toronto, SAAS North and TEDxLaurierUniversity, among many others.
Silagadze holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Mohsen Shahini is the chief academic officer and co-founder of Top Hat. He leads the strategy, vision and growth of the Top Hat Marketplace.
Shahini is a recipient of the Best Teaching Award from the University of Waterloo. He has published six academic papers in peer-reviewed journals and has spoken on a panel at SXSWedu on the social impact and financial sustainability of educational startups.
Shahini holds a Ph.D. in Mechatronics, Robotics and Automation Engineering from the University of Waterloo, as well as a B.AS. in Mechanical Engineering—Manufacturing and an M.A. of Science in Manufacturing Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology—Tehran Polytechnic.
Ralf Riekers is the CFO at Top Hat and has been with the company since 2013. He oversees finance, operations and human resources.
Before joining Top Hat, Riekers held VP level positions in finance, operations and client services during his 13 year tenure at Eloqua until its acquisition by Oracle for $950M, six months after its IPO on the NASDAQ.
Riekers is a SaaS industry veteran, and an expert in building and scaling fast growing SaaS companies. He is also actively engaged in mentoring startups in the Toronto area.
He holds a M.Eng. from the University of British Columbia and graduated from Queen’s University with a B.Sc. in Engineering Physics.
Nick Stein is the CMO at Top Hat and is responsible for driving the company’s overall marketing strategy, including brand management, corporate communications, customer acquisition and retention, and marketing planning and execution.
Prior to Top Hat, Stein held marketing leadership roles at customer intelligence software provider Vision Critical, enterprise cloud computing giant Salesforce.com and Rypple, a venture-backed startup acquired by Salesforce in 2012.
Before he joined the startup world, Stein was an award-winning business journalist at Fortune Magazine and CBC Television.
Stein holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University. He has taught at Columbia University and New York University.
John Hood is Top Hat’s Chief Revenue Officer, and oversees all revenue-generating functions, including Inside Sales, Enterprise Sales, and Customer Success.
Hood joined Top Hat from Oracle, where he was the Group Vice President in Sales Development & Demand Generation for Oracle Digital, and led a team of more than 800 sales professionals. Prior to that, he was the Chief Revenue Officer at Auction.com, where he steered high-impact sales, sales operations, and support teams. Previously, Hood was Vice President and General Manager at HP, where he was responsible for the Americas SMB market. He began his career with Dell, where he spent 17 years in a variety of sales, operations, and general management roles in the U.S. and internationally.
Hood holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Before joining Top Hat, Bendtsen was EVP of Operations at WilsonHCG, where he led an international team of 300 focusing on business operations and revenue generating strategies. Prior to WilsonHCG, he was Head of Global Recruiting at Uber and VP of Global Go-to-Market Recruiting at Salesforce.
He holds a B.Comm in Marketing from Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Jacquie is Top Hat’s Vice President of APAC. She’s focused on building key relationships with educators at colleges and universities across Australia and New Zealand. She’ll also be forming partnerships with regional companies across markets such as Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Before joining Top Hat, Jacquie was VP of Sales at Vision Critical.
Jacquie holds an Hon. BA from the University of Toronto.
George Eichholzer is the VP of engineering at Top Hat and has been with the company since 2015. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Top Hat’s technology engineering, development and execution.
Eichholzer is an industry leader, with more than 20 years experience conceiving and building business software solutions for B2B and B2C customers across a broad range of large-scale and high-growth, start-up software organizations. Before joining Top Hat, he held senior leadership positions at NexJ Systems and Oracle.
Eichholzer is an active speaker on the topics of engineering and technology development, and is an advocate of computer literacy and coding. He has spoken at DevTO and is a member of many Toronto CTO groups and meetups.
Eichholzer is a professional engineer and holds a BASc in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Mumin Al-Shawaf is the VP of customer success at Top Hat and has been with the company since 2013. His team manages the ongoing success of Top Hat’s customer base of professors and universities through account management, onboarding and support.
Prior to current role at Top Hat, Al-Shawaf served in finance, operations and sales roles at the company. Before joining Top Hat, he was director of product support at Eloqua.
Top Hat is Al-Shawaf’s third startup, having joined Eloqua and Netsuite in their growth stages. He helped build the customer support departments at both companies, which played an important function during both IPOs. Both companies were acquired by Oracle.
Al-Shawaf holds a Kellogg-Schulich Executive M.B.A. from the Schulich School of Business and a B.A. in Computer Science from Ryerson University.