Startup Grind Global Conference
Vlad Tenev is the cofounder of Robinhood. A first-generation immigrant from Bulgaria, Tenev earned his B.S. in Math and Physics at Stanford University before starting two finance companies in New York City, selling trading software to hedge funds. In 2013, Tenev created Robinhood, a financial services company focused on offering free trading for everyone. The company has raised $66 million from NEA, Index Ventures, and others.
Reggie Bradford brings more than 20 years of experience to his role as Senior Vice President, Startup Ecosystem & Accelerator at Oracle. In his current role, he is focused on driving Oracle’s global startup initiatives and leading the expansion of its Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator program, as well as championing Oracle’s vision to become the global leader in Cloud Computing. He also serves as a thought leader speaking and writing about Entrepreneurism, Cloud, Internet of Things, Globalization, Data Visualization, Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies. Prior to joining Oracle, Bradford was the founder and CEO of Vitrue, the global leader in cloud-based social marketing and management. Vitrue was acquired by Oracle in May 2012 and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle. Prior to Vitrue, Bradford held executive management positions at TANDBERG Television, N2 Broadband, and WebMD. Over the course of his career, Bradford has received a number of industry accolades recognizing his success as an entrepreneur and Internet visionary, including Business Insider’s 2014 Most Influential People in Cloud Computing; Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Distinguished Entrepreneur Award in 2013; Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2012. Bradford currently serves on the board of directors of Integrate, a cloud-based marketing and media services provider; Mana Health, a healthcare technology startup which helps physicians glean trends from patient medical record data; and Persado, a marketing technology startup which provides marketers with an automated copywriting software that generates persuasive language to their target audience. Bradford received a BBA in Finance from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Emory University. He serves on numerous advisory boards including Felix Capital of London. Bradford resides in London with his wife Holly and their children.
He love's technology and believes that the Internet is deeply impacting humankind. He got started on the Net before there was a web browser, founded a couple of technology startups, led eBay’s Platform Solutions Group in Europe, launched a consulting firm helping entrepreneurs with their strategy & operations, invested into early-stage tech startups, led Mozilla Labs, created Mozilla’s accelerator program WebFWD, headed up Mozilla’s Office of the Chair and invested into social impact organizations around the globe at Google.org. I also created the non-profit organizations Mentor for Good and co-founded The Coaching Fellowship; the GyShiDo (Get Your S%#& Done) movement and publish the influential The Heretic newsletter.
Today he heads up Singularity University’s startup initiatives, where they grow startups solving the most intractable problems in the world. Further he is the entrepreneurship chair and SingularityU’s Global Evangelist. I frequently speak and write about the magic which happens at the intersection of entrepreneurship, technology & global impact.
Jim has achieved 5 ‘unicorn’-level successes over the past 20 years as a founder, executive, and investor. His top performers include Zoom ($1B valuation), Cruise ($1B sale to GM), Bebo ($850M sale to AOL), Tango ($1B+ valuation), and NBCi ($6B IPO), plus several other exits including the recent acquisition of Check by Intuit for $360M. Jim is one of the leading growth experts in Silicon Valley, a TED speaker, and a frequent presenter and judge at many startup conferences and events. Jim has a BS in Neuropsychology from Duke University and earned a JD at the University of California Davis School of Law. Jim has startup in his blood. He’s been a serial entrepreneur dating back to his high school and college days.
Immediately prior to founding Maven Ventures, Jim was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Charles River Ventures (CRV), a leading venture firm where he helped source, vet, and advise their consumer portfolio companies. Jim is one of the early pioneers of the social networking phenomenon as one of the first employees and the former head of business development and sales at the first social networking site, Friendster. In 2005, Jim left Friendster to join co-founders Michael and Xochi Birch to launch Bebo as the first employee and Board member. Prior to his internet career, Jim practiced corporate and intellectual property law at a leading Silicon Valley law firm for 3 years.
Brian Wong is the co-founder and CEO of Kiip (pronounced "keep"), a category-creating mobile rewards network that is redefining mobile advertising through an innovative platform that leverages "moments of achievement" in games and apps to simultaneously benefit users, developers and advertisers. Backed by Hummer Winblad, Relay Ventures, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, and others, the company has raised $15.4 million in funding to date. Kiip has been listed by Forbes as one of the 4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List, and been named to the Dow Jones FasTech50 List.
Called the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding by TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal, Brian received his Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia at age 18, after skipping four K-12 grades. He has been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including: Forbes' 30 under 30; the Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada; Business Insider's Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley and 18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising; Mashable's Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch; and the AdAge Creativity Top 50.
Derek Andersen is the Founder & CEO of Startup Grind, a 400,000 person entrepreneurial community with 200 chapters in 85 countries run by more than 1,000 volunteers. Startup Grind's mission is to help every entrepreneur in the world. It's core values are giving before you take, helping others first, and making friends. Derek Andersen spent four years in product management at Electronic Arts working on games like The Godfather, Burnout, The Sims 3, and Mirror’s Edge. He left EA in 2009 to start Vaporware Labs, a product incubator which mostly failed but built products including Commonred which was acquired by Income.com in 2012, and Startup Grind. After running Startup Grind as a side project for 2 years, Derek turned his full attention to scaling it from 3 chapters to 200 chapters today. In 2015 Startup Grind will host 1,200 events for 75,000 entrepreneurs. He currently lives in Palo Alto, California but has lived eight years outside the U.S. in France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands.
Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an earlystage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies. Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at SoftTech VC. In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications, and marketplaces. In addition to his investment activities, he supports SoftTech portfolio companies on business and corporate development matters. He was also the CoFounder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Androidfocused mobile games startup based in San Francisco, CA. Prior to joining SoftTech VC and cofounding Bionic Panda Games, Charles Hudson was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga in February 2010. Prior to Serious Business, he was the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Interactive, an online hangout and virtual world for teens. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for earlystage products in the advertising, mobile, and ecommerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of antispam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007. Charles was also the founder of the Virtual Goods Summit and Social Gaming Summit, two of the leading conferences in the freetoplay games space. Charles spent several years working at InQTel, the strategic venture capital group for the Central Intelligence Agency. While at InQTel, he focused on identifying investment opportunities that could deliver significant value to the CIA and the commercial market in both the short and long term. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Stanford University.
Peter is a passionate entrepreneur with roots in Southern California starting his career with 8 years in the enterprise hardware and software space. Having success in building companies ranging from solid state storage to SAS businesses Peter then focused his time in the consumer internet space. At Photobucket he was the 5th employee and was responsible for driving growth to 61M users and leading its $300M acquisition in 2007 to Fox Interactive Media, a division of News Corporation. Peter then turned his energy in helping people save money as CEO of BillShrink from inception to their 1st Million users in a little over a year. BillShrink became TruAxis which was acquired by MasterCard in 2012.
Continuing the journey of building early stage companies Peter was the Co-Founder & President of Color exploring the future of mobile and social interactions through proximity. Most recently he spent time as a 2nd time Entrepreneur In Residence at Trinity Ventures.
He spent more than a decade as an engineer, engineering manager, and business development executive for digital camera manufacturing giants Nikon to Lytro. A serial entrepreneur and longtime mentor and technology advisor to the startup community, WhatsApp was invented at his kitchen counter. At Bugsee, Alex brings his practical experience, business connections and enthusiasm for innovation to his role as Chief Executive.
Elena Grewal leads Airbnb’s team of data scientists, data analysts, and machine learning specialists. The team partners with the all parts of the company, from the product team to the policy team, enabling Airbnb to use data effectively throughout. Examples of team projects include price prediction, payments routing optimization, lead scoring for operations teams, and analytics around recruiting and performance. Prior to working at Airbnb Elena completed a doctorate in education at Stanford where she modeled friendship networks in schools and the impact of friendships on educational outcomes. She has a longstanding passion for diversity and inclusion and has championed diversity at Airbnb and beyond.
Amy Feldman is a staff writer at Forbes, where she covers entrepreneurs for Forbes magazine and Forbes.com. Before returning to Forbes last year, she was a staff writer or senior writer at BusinessWeek, Money and the New York Daily News, as well as a contributor to numerous publications, including Barron’s, Fast Company and Inc. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @amyfeldman.
RJ Jain is the Founder and CEO of Price.com. Prior to Price, RJ co-founded Appurify, which pioneered on-device debugging, CI testing and performance optimization for mobile applications. Google acquired Appurify in 2014. Jain previously served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Foundation Capital and as a technical advisor for Metamorphic Ventures, a New York City based venture capital firm. Additionally, he has held engineering leadership roles at the ride-sharing startup Sidecar and the gaming company Zynga.
Dennis Mortensen is the CEO and Founder of x.ai, whose artificial intelligence driven personal assistant lets people schedule meetings using plain English and nothing more than a CC to firstname.lastname@example.org.
He’s a pioneer and expert in the analytics, optimization and big data space – and has been since its inception. He is also a fully-fledged entrepreneur and has successfully delivered a number of company exits.
Dennis is an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the Author of Data Driven Insights from Wiley and a frequent speaker on the subject of Analytics and Data.
A native of Denmark, Mortensen currently calls New York City his home.
TD Lowe is a Partner at 42Phi Ventures and is Founder of EnovationNation Inc. TD serves as faculty at Southern Methodist University and has served as a guest instructor at Stanford University’s School of Engineering. In addition to being a Politico Ambassador, she is an economist and self-taught developer who draws on her passion for innovation and her experience in technology, finance and strategy as driving forces to enhance, influence and educate the world on the power of innovation.
TD has worked in Technology, Strategy, Finance and Venture Capital at several Fortune 50 companies and smaller firms. During her tenure, TD assumed key roles as a leader in corporate innovation, finance, product marketing, contract negotiations, and technical development. Her passion for innovation and entrepreneurs has served as a catalyst for her work with Startup Grind’s Startup Exhibition.
Laura is the founder and CEO of Atipica, a talent life cycle engine that that uniquely combines both artificial, human intelligence to help companies realize the lifetime value of their candidate and employee data. Additionally, she is a founding member of Project Include, a nonprofit formed to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry. She previously worked at Twitter, where she was a founding team member of the International team and lead product expansion into 50 languages and in dozens of countries. Gómez has also worked at Hewlett-Packard, Jawbone and YouTube. Laura was recognized by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her involvement in the TechWomen Program 2012. She serves on the board of Institute for Technology and Public Policy alongside Lt Governor Gavin Newsom and FWD.us Innovation Council - which mobilizes the tech community in support of commonsense immigration reform.
After completing her BSE in Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania— The Wharton School, Arum Kang has focused in delighting customers in the consumer product space. She has worked with a variety of companies including Amazon and Avon Products. After obtaining her MBA degree from Harvard Business School, Arum co-founded Coffee Meets Bagel with sisters Soo and Dawoon Kang. As the CEO, Arum creates and executes the vision of Coffee Meets Bagel. With her various roles, her overarching goal is always to make sure the customers’ needs are heard and met with a superior product experience. She has been interviewed many times about the dating and startup scene and has given many talks about the subject alongside her sister, Dawoon.
Howard Love is a life-long entrepreneur who has founded, co-founded, funded and managed startups for over 30 years. He is the Founder & CEO of LoveToKnow, one of the largest US digital media companies, whose web properties include lovetoknow.com, yourdictionary.com, trails.com, and golflink.com. Love founded his first company, Inmark Development, while an undergraduate at Colgate University. Inmark Development was eventually sold as Rogue Wave and subsequently went public. Since then, Love has founded or co-founded over 15 businesses and invested in over 50 startups. Love speaks frequently on entrepreneurship for conferences, summits & events in North America and overseas, including Techtoberfest, Startup Grind, Start-Up Week, TechStars, Plug & Play, Capital Factory – as well as Slush Helsinki & the Government of Spain. Love recently published his first book, the Amazon bestseller The Start-Up J Curve.
Ian Kalin is passionate about empowering people. He started his career in the U.S. Navy as a Counter Terrorism Officer and later as a Nuclear Engineer. Ian built a successful clean-tech business called Power Advocate where he supported over $35 billion of power plant and transmission line construction. He supported Smart City data projects for companies like Socrata and Google and most recently served as the first-ever Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Ian has received awards and honors from Harvard Kennedy School, two Presidential Cabinet Secretaries and from President Barack Obama. He lives in San Francisco with his family.
Philz Coffee’s unique blends, community-oriented stores and one-cup-at-a-time approach have drawn a cult following nationwide. Founded by Phil (Jacobs Dad) with Jacob by his side, the first store opened in the Mission district of San Francisco in 2002. Jacob started running the business at the age of 18 and has since guided Philz to national expansion, opening more than 30 stores on the East and West coasts. Jacob aims to buck trends – from the coffee it serves, to its customer service approach and care for employees. Jacob believes his mission is to better people’s day, one coffee at a time. Philz has raised $75 million in venture capital, and the once-small Bay Area cult coffee shop is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the national coffee scene. His favorite Philz coffee: Tesora — the first blend his dad created — with honey and a bit of cream.
Kanishk Priyadarshi captains the national AI App Engineering team for IBM. He leads the IBM Watson AI and Data Platforms practice for the west-coast out of Silicon Valley.
Eli Bressert loves big ideas and putting them into action by connecting the impossible. He manages the Growth and Messaging Analytics team at Netflix to help usher Netflix into the future on a global scale. Prior to Netflix Eli headed Data Labs at Stitch Fix where his team researched exponential technologies and methodologies for data science initiatives. Eli has an astronomically biased history where he obtained his PhD in astrophysics, produced media-quality visualizations for space telescopes at the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute for Astrophysics, and developed new models on star formation. He is a mentor to Singularity University and author of the NumPy & SciPy O'Reilly book.
Hulya Emir-Farinas is a founding member of the data science team at Pivotal. She has extensive experience in applying algorithmic approaches to complex problems in multiple vertical industries. Before joining Pivotal, Hulya held positions at IBM and M-Factor, where she helped enterprise customers make better business decisions using machine learning algorithms with optimization routines. She holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of Florida.
Hannah Kuchler is a San Francisco Correspondent for the Financial Times, writing about technology with a particular focus on social media and cyber security. She enjoys telling the story of the Silicon Valley to the FT's broad international audience. Hannah has worked for the FT for over seven years in the US, Europe and Asia.
Ryan Sweeney joined Accel in 2008 and manages its growth fund. He is the first outside investor and board member in a number of leading enterprise software companies like Atlassian, Hootsuite, Qualtrics, Squarespace and Xero. Ryan is also active with innovative mobile and payments startups like Invoice2go, Lightspeed and VSCO. He was also responsible for numerous investments with notable exits, including AirWatch (acquired by VMware), Braintree/Venmo (acquired by PayPal), Groupon (public), Lynda.com (acquired by Linkedin) and OzForex (public). Ryan grew up in South Jersey and graduated from Notre Dame and Harvard Business School.
Jack co-founded SeatGeek, where he currently focuses on Email and Slack Administration. Prior to SeatGeek he specialized in writing code for IE7 compatibility mode, a skill he is sad to observe is no longer valued in the job market. Jack studied math and econ at Dartmouth College, but also has a sensitive side.
John Locke joined Accel in 2009 and helps lead the firm’s growth fund. He focuses on mobile, software, payments and marketplace companies. John is the lead investor and board member in SeatGeek, GoFundMe, Lightspeed, Wyzant, Invoice2Go, Pond5 and QMC Telecom. He also works closely with the teams at Prosper, Tenable Network Security, CrowdStrike, WorldRemit, Braintree/Venmo (acquired by PayPal) and OzForex (public). John grew up in Ashland, Ohio and graduated from Princeton.
Owais is the President and Co-founder of West Agile Labs. With over 15 years of experience helping business grow he helps ensure success for West Agile Labs’ clients thinking through the Create, Build and Scale philosophy. Before West Agile Labs, Owais was an extremely active investor focusing on TMT, Software and Industrials. Owais loves bringing process to the creative things West Agile Labs does. Outside of work Owais is either chasing fast moving objects, spending time with his 18 month old son, or telling people to Git off his Lan while drinking coffee or scotch.
Brian is a startup evangelist, advisor, and angel investor. He is currently the Director of Product at Real Time Cases, an EdTech startup based in DC. He is also the director for Startup Grind DC and Executive-In- Residence at the AOL Fishbowl Labs. He was also formerly the global COO of Startup Grind and has started three previous startups.
Corey is a partner at West Agile Labs and oversees product, creative strategy and business consulting. Corey spent his twenties diving into the startup scene gaining firsthand experience in the food, music, and travel industries, and has launched two startups leading one through an accelerator program. He holds degrees in Entrepreneurship and Business Management from Butler and DePaul University. Corey recently relocated to San Francisco late 2015 via Chicago to work for West Agile Labs and is a lifelong Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks fan. Outside of work, you can find Corey somewhere in Golden Gate Park playing fetch with his Kelpie, Juno, or exploring the winding trails of SF on his Cannondale, Ollie.
Zach began his career in high school when he started a website hosting company called BounceHost. The company later pivoted to a digital marketing and software development company and rebranded to BounceFire. Before graduating college, Zach was recognized as one of the top 33 student entrepreneurs in the world for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (put on by Entrepreneurs Organization and the Kauffman Foundation) in 2010 and shortly after sold his company, BounceFire.
In 2012, Zach joined forces with Ilya Pozin and became the CEO of Coplex with the intent of shifting it to a Startup Studio business model. The company applies lean and agile techniques to repeatedly validate, build, and grow startup companies. By 2016, Zach acquired the company from the founders. To date, Coplex has worked alongside founding teams to create more than 250 startups. Later in 2016, Zach also became a founding partner of Coplex Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund that invests in select startups that go through the Coplex Startup Studio.
Zach has been involved as a mentor and advisor for a variety of other startups and maintains a column for Entrepreneur Magazine. He was recognized as one of “Arizona’s 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35,” an “Empact Showcase” award winner, and a winner of the Spirit of Enterprise “Social Impact” award by Arizona State University. Zach holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Ohio Northern University with a dual-minor in Mathematics and Entrepreneurship.
Sanjit is an Investment Director at Intel Capital. He drives investments in several areas like Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, IoT, eCommerce, Virtual/Augmented Reality, Robotics, etc. He is on the Board of several companies.
Sanjit has been on Hillary Clinton's Tech/Innovation Policy Advisory team. He is on University of California President's UC Innovation Council. Sanjit has the fastest Eng PhD from University of Illinois (2yrs 9mo after undergrad), which he received in 2000 with top research awards. He also attended the Venture Capital Executive program at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. He’s an invited Speaker at several top events, eg SURGE/WebSummit, TiECon, ShopTalk, McKinsey leadership event, Silicon Valley Open Doors, Global Big Data and IoT conferences. He’s a mentor at Stanford and Berkeley’s Entrepreneurship programs.
He has had several Exits within 1 year of investment with excellent financial returns - eg VokeVR (acq by Intel within 7 months of investment), Basis Science (Wearables, acq Intel) and Maginatics (Cloud Storage, acq EMC). He is currently a Board Member in several startups, including True Fit (AI for eCommerce with 51 Million users), Body Labs (AI for Body Models using Image Recognition), Reflektion (AI recommendation for eCommerce) and Enlighted (IoT).
He is currently an investor in DocuSign (eSignature), True Fit, Reflektion, Body Labs, MongoDB (NoSQL Database), Enlighted (IoT), Mirantis (Cloud Computing), GoodData (SaaS BI) and Arcadia Data (Data Analytics 2.0), to name a few.
Sanjit has over a decade of Exec leadership experience in Product Design, Business Development and Strategy across several domains: Big Data, Natural Language Processing, 3D Camera/Apps, Supply-Chain Analytics and Flash Memory. He has managed $2Bill/year accounts and executed >30 partnership deals in $100M-$2Bill range. Always ahead of the curve, Sanjit worked on Big Data Analytics before industry created the term 'Big Data'. Similarly, he launched 2 online courses during grad school in 1999 and published iconic papers on learnings, way before the MOOC revolution started.
Personally, Sanjit has an interest in film-making. He has made a few short movies and taken courses in script-writing, lighting, editing and production at DeAnza College, Cupertino.
Jack Nicas covers Google and its sister companies for the Wall Street Journal. Jack joined the WSJ in 2011 in Chicago, where he covered national news and aviation. He joined the San Francisco bureau in 2015, and has also written about emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics. He previously wrote for the Boston Globe.
Joel Riddell is an Emmy Nominated IACP award-winning journalist and talk show host who happily the calls the San Francisco Bay Area Home. When not recording or writing, Riddell is out and about emceeing culinary events, judging wine, or researching the next story in some far-off nation. A passion for Food, Wine, and Travel keeps Joel on the go, tasting everything from Haute Cuisine to farm cooking. Find out more about Joel via T - @joelriddell I- @diningaround and on www.diningaround.com.
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