About Us

Our Leaders

Cognizant Accelerator is at the forefront of how Cognizant innovates, both for our clients and ourselves. Our team of leaders have diverse experiences across technology startup and enterprise software leaders. Our mission: to find and fuel groundbreaking ideas that solve the challenges our clients—and we—will face.


Sean Middleton

President, Cognizant Accelerator

Sean founded the Emerging Business Accelerator in 2012, renamed Cognizant Accelerator in November 2016. He’s helping Cognizant and its clients solve the innovator’s dilemma by finding great ideas and building ground-breaking offerings. He also runs Cognizant Ventures, the corporate venture capital group responsible for making strategic investments in external startups. He holds a BS from Cornell University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Todd Paoletti

General Manager, Cognizant Accelerator

Todd manages Cognizant Accelerator’s operations model, including LaunchPad and Cognizant Products. He spearheads our partnerships with Cognizant’s industry practices to find, develop and oversee the early phases and growth of their investments. Todd joined Cognizant in 2015 having previously served as VP Global Operations and Product Marketing for Pivotal and VP of Products for the Emerging Technology division of Akamai. He holds a BS from University of Utah.


Rob Clark

Vice President, Engineering

Rob is responsible for all aspects of software development for Cognizant Accelerator. Before Cognizant, he was VP of software development at Oracle, where he ran its IoT Cloud Service & Applications team. Rob brings 20+ years of experience leading teams in large and small organizations, including HP, Mercury Interactive, Attachmate, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and several startups. He’s authored numerous technical articles and has been named as inventor on three U.S. patents. He holds a BSCS and an MSCS from University of Connecticut.


Michael Cucchi

Head of Product Strategy

Michael has over 20 years of engineering, product management and marketing experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining Cognizant, Michael was Sr. Director of Outbound Product for platform as a service innovator, Pivotal, where he ran their Data, Mobile and IoT solutions.  He has also held various product and marketing leadership roles at a number of companies including Riverbed, Akamai and Expand Networks. He holds a BA from Skidmore College.


Irene Sandler

Head of Marketing

Irene runs all aspects of marketing for the Cognizant Accelerator. She’s a veteran of both startups and large corporations, most recently coming from Cisco, where she ran product marketing for the Internet of Things portfolio. Irene has started or has been an early member of six startups, three of which exited successfully. She holds a BSFS from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard University.


Ingrid Alongi

Head of Recruiting

Ingrid runs recruiting and coordinates mentors for the Accelerator. She also acts as hiring manager for the Cognizant Products North America team. Prior to Cognizant, Ingrid worked for and founded a variety of startups including Gnip (acquired by Twitter), Quick Left (acquired by Cognizant) and Sprintly. She holds a BA from University of Colorado, Boulder and an MA from San Diego State University.


Phuong Palmares

Head of Project Management and Delivery

Phuong runs project management and project delivery for the Cognizant Products team. Phuong has more than 15 years of building and running project management for lean and agile software product teams. She was an early member of successful startups based in San Francisco and Portland. She holds a BA from University of California, Irvine.


Corinne Lewy

Head of Product Operations

Corinne manages the new product introduction process and execution. She brings vast experience in enterprise pricing and business operations for companies such as Pivotal, Oracle and Openwave systems. Prior to Cognizant, she ran the product operations team at Pivotal, where she designed and managed go-to-market operations and pricing for all products and services. She holds a BS from University of Lausanne, an MS from University of Neuchâtel and an MBA from Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.


Chris McAvoy

Head of Cognizant Products/North America

Chris McAvoy builds and runs great software engineering teams. Chris helps teams develop their product and translate business ideas into working software products. Chris has been CTO of several startups, built teams for large companies and trained teams in product management and agile / lean software development practices around the world. Chris lives in Boulder with his wife, son and two cats. He holds a BS from Arizona State University.


Subhas Hegde

Head of Cognizant Products/India

Subhas runs engineering and support functions for Cognizant Products India. He has over 20 years of experience around technology consulting and delivery. In his prior role as Head of Product Engineering Group, he worked on several Accelerator ventures in their incubation phase. He lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter. He holds a BE from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka.


Rashli Liyackat Ali

Head of Operations

Rashli is the Head of Operations for Cognizant Accelerator, where he runs all aspects of operations. A serial intrapraneur, he has been in corporate technology for 16 years in multiple leadership roles. He holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University.