Launc[H] Team

Dedicated to nurturing a city of transformative thinkers and industry-shifting startups, the Launc[H] team is made up of individuals with extensive experience in leading groundbreaking change. Collectively, the notable executives of global organizations, the innovative leaders of area universities, and the community connectors, directors, and pioneers that form Launc[H] work together to weave the fabric of Hartford’s future day in and day out.


Launc[H] Team

  • Michelle Cote

    Michelle Cote

    As Director of Launc[H], Michelle leads the development of relationships with key community stakeholders that help to make Hartford a visible and vibrant hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. Working together with anchor institutions and other community partners, Michelle has helped to seed and support several key programs, including: Hartford InsurTech Hub, Digital HealthCT, and Nassau Re/Imagine. Launc[H] also provides entrepreneurs and partners with connectivity to resources across the Hartford region. At the UConn School of Business, Michelle teaches courses that help students and faculty build skills critical for entrepreneurship and innovation, and supports them in forming the business models necessary to bring new ventures to market. Michelle’s other professional experience includes providing coaching and technical assistance to entrepreneurs in South America and Afghanistan; founding and leading a social enterprise; and designing and launching an accelerator, focused on social enterprise, in Hartford.
  • Rache Brand

    Rache Brand

    As Business Innovation Lead for Launc[H], Rache Brand bridges the gap between startups and industry leaders by connecting the right ideas with the innovation needs. She helps to ignite the tech ecosystem with activity and maintains the most up-to-date technologies and companies from around the globe, to ensure the collective future of the Hartford region. Rache maintains an active role as an advisor, investor and strategist with growth-stage FoodTech and BioTech businesses through her consultancy RISE. With each growth-stage business Rache serves, the solutions she delivers are based on not only science and data, but also design and creative out-of-the-box thinking. She brings this expertise to Launc[H]. Rache is an avid lover of architecture, meditation, and the culinary arts.
  • Jazna Stannard

    Jazna Stannard

    Jazna joins the Launc[H] team from the social sector having spent the majority of her life dedicated to helping social and tech innovators from creation to expansion. She launched a business at the age of 14 scaling it nation wide and international by the time she was a sophomore in college at Purdue University. While at Purdue she studied International Relations with a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She was awarded "5 Students Who Move the World Forward" and took her nonprofit on to speak at the Clinton Foundation two years in a row and then to the United Nations. Throughout college and beyond she started several more businesses. She takes on the role of Program Specialist at Launc[H] helping to be a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation in Greater Hartford. A Boston native she enjoys traveling, singing in multiple languages, and connecting with new people.
  • Linda Mitrook

    Linda Mitrook

    Since joining Launc[H]’s innovation program office in 2017, Linda has been collaborating with innovation leaders and project partners who are on the frontlines of building out Hartford’s innovation ecosystem. Her favorite thing about the city is its diversity in cultures and industries, and when Linda isn’t providing fiduciary or contracting support, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves cooking and experimenting with recipes (Salute is her favorite Hartford spot), getting outdoors for a brisk walk or bike ride (you can find her at the Riverfront), and breaking into song (but only when no one is looking).

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