About Us

Zilla will accelerate progress toward enabling land-based ecosystems of opportunity using new technology


Advisory board

Professor Sanjay Sarma

  • Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers professor of mechanical engineering.
  • Director of Digital Learning and founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT. The Auto-ID Center, commonly referred to as the EPC, is utilized by over a thousand companies on five continents.
  • Founder of software company OATSystems, which was acquired by Checkpoint Systems in 2008.
  • Consultant and board member at several companies and governments, including EPC Global, and also serves as a permanent guest of the board of GS1 and a member of the board of governors of GS1US. Sarma also serves on the City of Boston's Complete Streets Advisory Group and is currently a Managing Director at IoTask LLC.
  • Dr. Sarma received his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, master's in design from Carnegie Mellon University, and his PhD in automation from the University of California at Berkeley.

Carlos Heeren

  • CEO of Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia (UTEC) and Tecsup (Instituto Superior de Tecnologia) since 2014.
  • Board of several companies, as well as non-profit organizations.
  • Previous partner in the largest consulting firm in Peru, Apoyo Consultoria, where he served as the head of management consulting.
  • Additionally, he spent 12 years as a faculty member in the Graduate School of the Universidad del Pacifico, and has published in various local media.
  • Obtained his bachelor´s degree in Economics at the Universidad del Pacifico, and went on to complete his MS in Economics at the University of Texas at Austin.


Dr. Gitanjali Swamy

  • Managing Director at IoTask.
  • Experienced finance and technology investment professional, innovator and entrepreneur. Dr. Swamy has founded, built and served as a board director in many entrepreneurial and intra-preneurial enterprises as well as held investment and consultant professional roles in global market leaders such as The Carlyle Group and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
  • Currently serves as the Director of Special Projects at the Private Capital Research Institute at Harvard Business School and is a board advisor to several entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Previously, Dr. Swamy was an investment professional with The Carlyle Group. Prior to Carlyle, she was a consultant with Matrix Partners, advising on investment strategy and portfolio incubation. Dr. Swamy has also worked in management consulting at Booz Allen and Hamilton helping financial and technology clients with strategy, innovation and new business creation. She has also held line operating roles at Mentor Graphics and The Mathworks.
  • Dr. Swamy has founded, invested in, or served on the boards of nearly a dozen entrepreneurial ventures, most of which were successfully acquired or continue to be in business. She has held senior management positions including Chairman & CEO and led the companies from inception through fundraising, team recruitment to market development of cross-border enterprises and to acquisitions.
  • Dr. Swamy received her Bachelors of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the IIT Kanpur winning several Academic Proficiency Prizes. Received her Ph.D in EECS from U.C. Berkeley, where she was an NSF Fellow and President of WICSE, and her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was the CFO of the student association. She has 22 publications and 2 patents in process in the fields of data, algorithms, technology and policy. 

Professor Philip Auerswald

  • Associate Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and cofounder and coeditor of Innovations: Technology, Governance, and Globalization, a quarterly journal about entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges published by MIT Press.
  • Leads the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, an initiative of the Kauffman Foundation. His most recent book is The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Economy.  
  • From 2010 to 2013 he was an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on job creation and market-based solutions.
  • Previously he co-led a multiyear study at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and George Mason University, on the topic of private and public sector coordination in disaster response; that project resulted in a co-edited book titled Seeds of Disaster, Roots of Response: How Private Action Can Reduce Public Vulnerability which was published by Cambridge Press in 2006.
  • Professor Auerswald has published over twenty books and peer-reviewed research articles; has blogged and written op-eds for Harvard Business Review, Forbes, The International Herald Tribune, and The San Francisco Chronicle; and has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Slate.
  • He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington and a B.A. (political science) from Yale University. 

Ignacio Montero

  • Director of Research and Business Development at Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Perú.
  • Previously he has worked as Executive Director of the United Way in Perú and as an analyst for Perú at the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (now Clinton Giustra Enterprise partnership) and as a consultant for the public and private sector at Apoyo Consultoría.
  • He holds and MPA from New York University and a B.A. (economics and political science) from the Univeristy of Pennsylvania.

Thanos Yamas

  • Managing Director at IoTask
  • From 1998 to 2014 he has set and coordinated more than 30 complex information & communication technologies (ICTs) projects within the European Commission initiatives & framework programs, in the areas of wireless & mobile, technology-enhanced learning, knowledge management, security, crisis management etc.
  • These include both private sector and public sector clients. Notable public sector client include the European Commission, the Scottish Government, the Ministry of Trade & Industry (UK), the Ministry of Economy and Finance - Secretariat for Information Society Program (Greece), the Ministry of Tourism (Spain, Portugal, Greece), the Ministry of Citizen Protection (Greece) etc. Notable private sector clients include: TOYOTA Europe (Belgium), FIAT (Italy), IKEA (Sweden), Deloitte (Greece, Portugal, UK), Athens International Airport (Greece), Cruers Del Port de Barcelona SA (Spain), UniCredit (Italy), etc. as well as a number of s/w & web-based start-ups.
  • In parallel, from 2003 till now Thanos acts as an investor, partner & board member as well as strategy expert in a number of technology-based companies, active in e-business applications & services, enterprise mobility, mobile marketing, video streaming technologies etc. 
  • Mr. Yamas received his Master’s Degree in Science & Technology Policy, Centre of Information & Communication Technologies, University of Sussex, Science Policy Research Unit, UK. and his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece.