Brief Summary

A behavior designer, social entrepreneur, and mentor capitalist, Margarita Quihuis’s career has focused on innovation, technology incubation, access to capital, and entrepreneurship. Her accomplishments include being the first director of Astia, a technology incubator for women entrepreneurs where her portfolio companies raised $67 million in venture funding, venture capitalist, Reuters Fellow at Stanford, and Director of RI Labs for Ricoh Innovations. She is a behavior designer and researcher at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and executive director of the  Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford where she conducts research on innovation, game design thinking, persuasive technology & the potential of technology to change society for the better. Her projects have included the study of collaboration and citizen engagement to foster government innovation – Manor Labs, bottoms-up post-disaster response and recovery – Relief 2.0 and advisory roles in citizen psy-op efforts such as the the Israel Loves Iran and Romancing the Border social media campaigns.  She was also a member of the working group for the Stanford/Naval Postgraduate School/US Army Governance Innovation for Security and Development research project.

She is a recognized thought leader in the areas of innovation, emergent social behavior, and technology and has been part of Deloitte’s On Social Roundtable and Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Open Innovation and Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology.

She has advised and or taught the principles of persuasive technology and behavior design and their application in insurgent movements and PsyOp to the US Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM), NATO PsyOp community, Hoover National Security Fellows, US State Department, Naval PostGraduate School, and the Eisenhower Fellows at National Defense University.

As Director of R I Labs for Ricoh Innovations she created a consumer focused innovation lab that focused on new market opportunities from generational behavior (Millenials), cloud and mobile computing, emerging social technologies, crowdsourcing, and open innovation.

Her past efforts include access to development capital through the productive use of remittances in Mexico and developing and advising mobile banking companies that serve the needs of diasporas.

In 2004, Women’s eNews named her as one of their ’21 Leaders for the 21st Century’ and was one of WITI’s Women to Watch in 2003. She was named ‘One of The 100 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley’ and received the Maestro Award by Latino Leaders Magazine.

Ms Quihuis has served as a consultant to the US State Department on entrepreneurship. She has been widely quoted in the Asian Venture Capital Report, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, US News & World Report, Forbes, CNN and CBS MarketWatch.

Special Skills

  • Behavior design, persuasive technology, and agile development
  • Design and application of behavior interventions through technology (software, devices)
  • Deep knowledge of private equity and venture capital industry and markets
  • Deep knowledge of Silicon Valley-style tech entrepreneurship
  • Practitioner, rapid prototyping, design thinking, viable minimum product concepts
  • Has designed programs and initiative to increase access to capital, technology startup boot camps (fundraising, board structure, go-to-market strategies, product focus and refinement) for women and other POC entrepreneurs
  • Launched a startup technology incubator focused on increasing women’s representation and access to venture capital funding in the technology startup market
  • Partner in a seed-stage technology venture fund focused on investing in women and under-represented minorities.
  • Experience with hybrid social entrepreneurship models, application, and design of technology for developing country needs.
  • Deep knowledge of diaspora and remittance markets and behaviors
  • Broad experience with private, government, and non-profit organizations.
  • Has lectured at conferences and organized academic workshops and conferences.
  • Familiar with web development and analytics tools, and social media.
  • Speaks reads and writes in English and Spanish.

Areas of Expertise

Persuasive Technology & Behavior Design

Researcher, Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, Behavior Design Lab at Stanford

Workshop Co-Organizer, Persuasive Technology for Web and Mobile Developers, Web 2.0 Conference

Behavior Design Consultant, Aetna RFP Live Challenge,  Deloitte, Xerox PARC

Behavior Design Consultant/Senior Consulting Fellow, SocialxDesign

Senior Fellow, SocialxDesign, strategy consulting firm dedicated to bridging the worlds of online engagement and offline experience for businesses, government agencies, and NGOs. Clients include the White House, Department of Labor, State Department, European Commission, BestBuy, Coca Cola, and Unilever.

Peace Innovation

Executive Director, Peace Innovation Institute, The Hague
The Peace Innovation Institute is the coordinating body for the Peace Innovation City Lab network.

Executive Director, Stanford Peace Innovation Lab
Project Lead, PeaceDot, Stanford’s first initiative to quantify peace behavior data across the internet.

Project Lead, Peace Innovation Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Teaching Team, Getting to Trust in Conflict Environments pop up course, Stanford

Government Innovation

Project Lead, Manor Labs. Recognized by the White House, Manor Labs was one of the first municipal innovation labs in the Gov 2.0 movement.  Designed persuasive technology strategy to increase citizen to local government engagement.

Corporate Innovation

Director, RI Labs, a consumer-facing innovation lab for Ricoh Innovations.  Commercialized R&D innovations to consumer applications. Developed program and strategy to move technology from concept to usable product.

Head of New Media, IDEO. led IDEO’s initial efforts in the use of video on the internet through the Monday Morning Media project. Led studies on gender and technology in product design for interactive on-line services and consumer level information appliances; and she also created new models for multimedia oriented knowledge management systems.

Humanitarian Aid

Founding Partner, Relief 2.0 (2010), disaster response with local stakeholders, social networks and technology.

Hosted Haiti 2.0 workshop at Stanford that gathered 80 stakeholders from the academic, NGO and volunteer communities where they shared their uses of social media for disaster response.

Hosted Chile 2.0 workshop at Stanford where Chilean professors worked with social media practitioners to apply crowdsourcing concepts to earthquake relief.

Coordinator, Ideas4Haiti, innovation platform for post-earthquake recovery

Incubation, Entrepreneurship & Access to Capital

Advisor, USAID Resilient Africa Network Resilience Innovation Labs, network of innovation labs in Sub Saharan African. Provide guidance and support in the establishment of the RI Labs, mentorship and guidance to the RI Lab leaders on startup entrepreneurship, funding, and access to capital.

Founding Director, Astia., a technology business incubator focused on women entrepreneurs. Responsibilities were comprehensive in scope, ranging from the physical setup of the incubator, development of the ongoing entrepreneurial curriculum, evaluation and selection of companies for admission, mentorship and coaching to the resident companies, and access to the VC community.

Board, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) (1995-2000). FWE, now known as Watermark, was a non-profit focused on increasing the number of women technology entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Designed several of the programs and boot camps to increase women founders’ skills and abilities to grow and manage their companies and raise capital.

Board Member and Chair, Hispanic-Net, a Silicon Valley-based network of Hispanic entrepreneurs, executives, innovators, and investors that work to create market-leading companies. Developed networks, programs, and events.

Venture Capital

Venture Partner, New Vista Capital, seed-stage venture fund focused on women and POC founded tech startups

Director, Horsley Bridge Partners, a venture fund of funds.

Founder, 1st Wednesdays, networking group for venture capital women.

Social Entrepreneurship

Co-Founder, Aggrigator, 2014-2015, sustainable farm to table supply chain platform

Digital Vision Fellow, Stanford University (2005).

Mentor, Digital Vision Program, Stanford University (2006-2007)

Advisor, Social-M, Stanford, a student-led effort to launch projects that foster lasting social change.


Founder, Indigo Financiera (2004), a social enterprise designed to help diaspora communities to organize and send funds to their communities of origin for economic development.  Subject matter expert on Mexican and Central American hometown associations.

Advisor, Tierra Natal (2008), a social networking startup targeted at connecting the Hispanic diaspora and hometown associations to their communities of origin in Mexico.

Co-Founder, M-Via (2006), a mobile payments startup that drastically reduces the cost of sending money home.

TEDx Conferences

Organizer of TEDxHayward. Guest speaker at TEDxSantoDomingo, TEDxKRP, and TEDxMonterey, TEDxBayAreaWomen.

Past and Present Boards

  • AcrossWorld
  • Agent Software
  • Alive Ventures (current)
  • Coro Hispano
  • Friends of the Palo Alto Library
  • Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Hispanic-Net
  • James Burke Institute
  • Merrill Lynch Latino Advisory Board
  • TargetSolutions
  • The Scan Foundation (current)
  • UnaMesa (current)
  • Women’s eNews

Summary Experiences

  • Board member, Compensation, Finance committees, The Scan Foundation, 2020
  • Board member, Alive Ventures, 2020
  • Executive Director, Peace Innovation Institute, 2017
  • Advisor, TargetSolutions LE Advisory Board, 2015
  • Co-Founder, Aggrigator Inc., 2014
  • Associate Fellow, Peace Infomatics Lab, Leiden University, 2014
  • Research Associate, Resilient Africa Network, Stanford University, 2013
  • Senior Fellow, SocialxDesign, 2012
  • Executive Director, Peace Innovation Lab, Stanford University, 2010 – present
  • Researcher, Persuasive Technology Lab, Behavior Design Lab, Stanford University, 2009-present
  • Board, UnaMesa, 2009-present
  • Director, RI Labs, Ricoh Innovations Silicon Valley, 2008-2009
  • Chair, Hispanic-Net, 2008-present
  • Advisor. Tierra Natal, 2008-2009
  • Co-Founder, M-Via, 2006-2007
  • Founder, Indigo Financiera, 2005-2008
  • Board, Women’s eNews 2004 – present
  • Board, James Burke Institute, 2003-present
  • Venture Partner, NewVista Capital 2001-2002
  • Founding Director. Astia, 1999-2001
  • Consultant, State Department, 1999
  • Head, New Media, IDEO 1996-1998
  • Director, Horsley Bridge Partners, 1990-1996


Veirum, N. E., Søndergaard, M. K., Nelson, M., & Quihuis, M. (2015). Peace Coins-a concept for money creation based on measurable pro-social interaction. Stanford University Press.

Quihuis, M., Nelson, M., & Guttieri, K. (2015, March). Peace Technology: Scope, Scale and Cautions. Building Peace, 5, 14-16. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Quihuis, M. (2013). Persuasive game design. Retrieved from SlideShare: persuasivegamedesign.

Singh, Jasjit, Quihuis, Margarita, Rodriguez, Giovanni, Bennett, Christopher. (2013). Turban Myths: The Opportunities and Challenges for Reframing Sikh American Identity in Post-9/11 America, SALDEF

Fogg, B.J., Kara Chenasyk, Margarita Quihuis, Neema Morajevi, Jason Hreha, and Mark Nelson. 2010. Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change [Online]. Stanford: Stanford University. Available at Accessed May 3, 2017.

 Honors And Recognitions

  • Astia: Recognized as one of the top incubators in the country by Red Herring and eCompany (1999)
  • Women’s eNews 21 Leaders (2004)
  • WITIs Women to Watch (2004)
  • Digital Vision Fellow, Stanford University (2005)
  • 100 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley  (2007)
  • Latino Leaders Magazine Maestro Award (2010)
  • Manor Labs: “Bright Idea” Innovator by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance at Harvard University (2010)
  • Manor Labs: the Altimeter Group’s “Open Leadership Award” (2010)
  • Manor Labs: Center for Digital Government’s Best of Texas awards (2010)


  • BS, Petroleum Engineering, Stanford University 1996
  • Fellowship, Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship Program, Stanford University 2004-2005