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Rays of light

Software-only startups in the US and Israel
Pre-Seed & Seed 

Society is experiencing dramatic disruptions in many markets and geographies. Talented entrepreneurs are nimbler and better suited than incumbents to take advantage of rapidly changing market conditions. ​

Our founders target emerging opportunities and design their ventures with the rules of new paradigms in mind.




Founder & Managing Director

As the Founder and decade-long CEO of MassChallenge, John is obsessed with entrepreneurship and has worked with thousands of startups since 2010. MassChallenge is the most-startup-friendly and largest startup accelerator on the planet and has graduated over 3,000 startups which have cumulatively generated billions of dollars of revenue and have created over 200,000 jobs.


While launching and running MassChallenge, John generated a vast network of new and established founders, corporate partners, investors, and innovation talent. Furthermore, John gained unrivaled experience working to support startups as an advisor and connector, learning which teams, models, and partners create sustainable success most consistently. John left MassChallenge in 2019 to launch Two Lanterns in 2020.


John holds a BA from Bowdoin College, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an Honorary Doctorate from Suffolk University, and certificates for Leadership and Innovation from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

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Michal Gilon-Yanai has been the founder and director of multiple entrepreneurship programs in the US and in Israel. She founded the MBA Innovation & Entrepreneurship track at IDC, directed two programs at MIT’s entrepreneurship center and, most recently, founded and led the Biomedical Entrepreneurship Program at the NYU school of medicine. Through this work, she developed a keen understanding of technology and science commercialization and supported dozens of innovators and entrepreneurs over the course of two decades. Michal began her career at a healthcare IT startup where she filled several roles and served as a member of the company’s management team. 


Michal also played a critical role in launching the MassChallenge Israel program, joining its advisory board for several years. She has outstanding access to deal flow, and contributes deep startup experience to Two Lanterns. Michal served in the IDF Intelligence corps, received computer science and law degrees from Tel Aviv University, and earned her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2007. She joined Two Lanterns Venture Capital in 2020.

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Lily Toto is an Associate on the Two Lanterns team. She brings a wealth of experience from her time at L.E.K. Consulting, where she worked on due diligence, strategy, and M&A projects within the firm's private equity group.


In addition to her time in consulting, Lily has worked at several early-stage software startups, including leading business development at Veriphix, spearheading strategic operations at Wellist, and launching marketing efforts at Resultid, an artificial intelligence startup that went through Techstars in 2020. Her combined background in consulting and startups enables her to conduct diligence on potential investments, as well as navigate business challenges and identify growth opportunities for portfolio companies at Two Lanterns.

Lily studied Economics and Government at Georgetown University, where she also served as CEO of Georgetown Collegiate Investors (GCI), one of the largest student-run and student-owned equity investment funds in the country. She joined Two Lanterns Venture Capital in 2023.

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Photo of Desh Deshpande


  • Founder Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, etc

  • Serial mentor, investor, philanthropist

  • Life-member of the MIT Corporation

  • Founding Board Member, MassChallenge

  • PhD Queens University

  • B.Tech. IIT Madras



  • Israeli Super Angel with extensive experience as an investor (over 200 investments) and investment advisor

  • Transaction manager for some of Israel’s most recognized exits, managing each from inception to exit

  • Pivotal advisor for creation of MassChallenge Israel

  • MBA Tel Aviv University

  • BS EE/CS Technion University

Photo of Peter Parker


  • Managing General Partner at Mission BioCapital

  • Founder and Director, LabCentral

  • Life Sciences Champion, MassChallenge

  • President and CEO, Cequent Pharmaceuticals

  • General Partner Ampersand Capital Partners

  • BS, MS Columbia University



  • Executive Fellow in Entrepreneurship at
    the Rock Center, Harvard Business School

  • Executive Partner of Blue Cloud Ventures,
    a growth equity fund based in NYC

  • Entrepreneur in life science and healthcare

  • Active early-stage investor; member of
    TiE Angels, TBD Angels, and Sky Ventures

  • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on medical imaging



Logo for Knox, Frictionless Ownership

Knox is the first automated wealth advisor and management company for property investors delivering superior investment outcomes end-to-end – from payments to banking, leasing to insurance, financing to tax, vacancy avoidance to maintenance. Knox is democratizing access to preferred rates of return via the $1.25T/yr residential investment property market. Founder sold prior real estate startup to Private Equity firm. 


Co-Investors include G20, Pillar, TBD Angels, and Greycroft.


Koffie Insurance is a digital insurer purpose-built for the next generation of trucking and transportation and is the first insurtech to integrate safety technology into underwriting, pricing and loss control. Using real time data and machine learning models, Koffie delivers instant and tailored policies to modern truckers that invest in safety, rewarding them with lower premiums than traditional insurers.


Co-Investors include Anthemis, Lerer Hippeau, Plug and Play Tech Center, and Breakout Capital.

Logo for LEX

Lex is creating a securities marketplace for fractionalized commercial real estate investments. LEX sources investment opportunities in Core and Core+ assets, and structures and prices them for an offering using the RegA Tier 2 exemption. LEX then facilitates secondary trading on an Alternative Trading System using NASDAQ technology.

Co-Investors include Greycroft, Thor Equities, and Ric Clark (Chair of Brookfield Properties)

Contact Us




1 Cotswold Terrace

Newton, MA 02459

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