RA Farrokhnia
Executive Director
Dean’s Office;
Adjunct Associate Professor of Business
Columbia Business School

RA Farrokhnia, a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, is an executive director at the Dean’s Office of “Advanced Projects and Applied Research in Fintech.” He also teaches courses at Schools of Business and Engineering; in addition, he is a lecturer and board member of the Knight-Bagehot Program at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

With a focus on the intersection of academia and practice, his academic and teaching endeavors center on the successful integration of deep industrial, operational, and business analyses with practical development and execution of inventive, design-centric growth solutions. His professional background encompasses innovation-driven principal investments in startups, M&A, operations management, and turnaround/restructuring of established and start-up ventures, with an emphasis on financial services, technology, data, and media.

The inter-disciplinary subject matters of RA Farrokhnia’s Business School Program and teaching are primarily on innovation, applied solutions, and entrepreneurship in finance and financial services, in particular, venture capital, private equity, and financial technology (fintech). His project-based and hands-on engineering program and course are on design, lean product launch, and agile project management, with a special emphasis on lean user research, idea validation methods, iterative prototyping models, optimal team composition, and venture infrastructures for rapid growth. And his work with Columbia School of Journalism evolves around data analytics, storytelling through data, data visualization, and future of news and media platforms for journalistic endeavors.

Prior to his current role, he held a variety of professional and leadership positions in finance, buyside, and startups, including in the ventures’ division of an asset management firm, a fintech startup acquired by NYSE Group, and a principal at an emerging-markets’ focused investments opportunity fund. He is also the founder and principal of IMG DevLab, an applied solutions, data analytics, and design lab as well as a venture incubation and growth platform based in New York.

He collaborates with venture capital and private equity funds as well as large innovative corporations and new ventures on idea development, product launch, and venture growth. His work and methodologies have been deployed in various startup and corporate enterprises as well as featured in various articles and books, including the New York Times bestseller Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days (by Jake Knapp et al, Google Ventures), How to Kill a Unicorn: How the World’s Hottest Innovation Factory Builds Bold Ideas That Make It to Market (by Mark Payne, Fahrenheit 212), and other upcoming books. His commentary appears in industry publications and leading news outlets.

He attended Columbia University for both his undergraduate and graduate studies, and is active in startup, tech, and design communities around New York and Silicon Valley. He also has extensive global professional experience, including long-term residency in three continents and fluency in several languages.