Visiting Faculty, Cornell Tech; Co-lead, Startups & Society Initiative
Lyel has extensive experience in launching and scaling innovative products, services, and organizations at the intersection of technology and social change.
He is currently Visiting Faculty and the Head of the Public Interest Technology Studio at Cornell Tech, and co-leads the Startups & Society Initiative — a non profit research project backed by Ford, OSF, and Omidyar to support founders and investors with responsible innovation practices.
Lyel was a Co-founder of Swayable (YC W18), which uses data science to create more persuasive media for many of the worlds leading advocacy organizations, social + political campaigns, and brands, including the ACLU and Airbnb.
Following nearly a decade of building technology education and economic mobility programs in under-invested neighborhoods across the country, Lyel became an early executive at The Flatiron School — the country’s leading school for web and mobile development that has worked with the White House and The City of New York on groundbreaking economic mobility initiatives. Under Lyel’s leadership, Flatiron Precollege built a diverse, mission-driven, 60-person team, expanded to 13 cities, achieved 10x year-over-year revenue growth, and built teacher-training programs with 100 NPS.
Lyel is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on Public Interest Technology, Social Innovation, and the Future of Work. He has spoken at Google, 500Global, VentureCrush, MIT, SXSW, Spotify, Techonomy, the US State Department, The Mexico Foundation for Science, among others. His work has appeared in The Stanford Social Innovation Review, Wired, Fast Company, Techcrunch, Bloomberg, and more. Lyel sat on the boards of the Centre for Social Innovation, The Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, Sourcemap, and is currently an advisor to Elis, Kibo School, and MEET.org.
He holds degrees in Physics and Political Science from MIT, where he was a Burchard Social Science Scholar, and an advanced degree in Business, Media + Technology, and Education from NYU where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. He was named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper in 2013.
He is an avid if marginally competent surfer, and enjoys LGBTQ+ literature, guava soda, and air-drumming on the subway.