About me

Diane Tarshis

Founder & Principal

As a seasoned startup advisor and founder of Startup Distillery, I’ve spent 20+ years working with entrepreneurs across the U.S. and around the globe. I come armed with a broad background in finance, retail, manufacturing and operations, as well as a Wharton degree and an exacting eye for detail. My unique firm specializes in advising startups by crafting custom roadmaps, business plans, decks and pitches that attract investors and customers. Working closely with clients, I help them develop:

  • Compelling stories
  • Roadmaps to build profitable, growing businesses
  • Irresistible pitches
  • Effective execution strategies
  • Realistic financial projections

I differentiate my work with a hands-on collaborative approach, plus my dual talents as both wordsmith and number cruncher. This allows me to develop an expert-level aptitude for any industry’s financial and operational nuances. As a result, I work with clients in a wide array of industries ranging from biofuels to home furnishings, movie production to medical devices. And distilleries, of course.

Since building a business can feel overwhelming at times, I break down the process into manageable steps, explaining each one along the way. As I get to know your business, I’ll point out weak assumptions and gaps — then we’ll work together to resolve them. As part of my process I take on several roles: trusted advisor, devil’s advocate and cheerleader… but my most important role is as your toughest critic (you’ll thank me later).

Whether my clients bootstrap or seek outside funding, they’re better prepared to succeed because I help them plan for it. Work with me, and you will be, too.

Quick-witted and perceptive, I am a firm believer that candor is highly underrated. With a husband, two sons and a dog named Super Cooper at home, I swear the occasional Jedi mind trick is used only in the service of good.

Let’s talk.
It all starts with a phone call.


Chicago, Illinois