Douglas Leone is a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital focusing on internet, software and communication investments. Doug currently sits on the boards of Aruba Networks, Aster Data Systems, Alion, Birst, CafePress, Color, Hayneedle, MedExpress, Meraki, RingCentral, Service-Now and Zirmed.
Doug’s previous investments at Sequoia include Agitar Software and SourceForge Inc. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 1988, he held sales and sales management positions at Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Prime Computer.
Doug is a true powerhouse in the world of venture capital, with a critical mind and engaging personality. He holds an MS in Management from MIT Sloan
Tom Stemberg pioneered the office superstore industry when he opened the first Staples store in 1986. Under Tom’s tenure as CEO, Staples grew to become the world’s second largest retailer and now has more than $25 Billion in sales. It is a Fortune 200 company.
Eager to share his entrepreneurial experiences Tom joined Highland Capital Partners in 2005 as a Venture Partner. In 2007, Tom launched the $300 million Highland Consumer Fund as its Managing General Partner to focus exclusively on consumer products, services and retail investment opportunities. Tom currently represents Highland on the boards of City Sports, Guitar Center, J. McLaughlin, Pharmaca, David’s Tea and StriVectin.
Dedicated to providing advice and guidance to entrepreneurs, Tom is a member of the Board of Directors at CarMax (NYSE: KMX), lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU) and PetSmart (Nasdaq: PETM).
Tom has twice been recognized by Worth magazine as one of the most accomplished CEOs and by Boston magazine as the city’s best CEO. Additionally, he has been named to Babson College’s Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award.
Tom is a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and maintains close ties to his alma mater, Harvard University, where he serves on the Overseers Committee to Visit Harvard College and is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Financial Aid Task Force.
Erik Brynjolfsson (Moderator)
Erik Brynjolfsson is the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science, a Professor of Information Technology, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Brynjolfsson explores how advances in information technology contribute to business performance and organizational change. He directs the MIT Center for Digital Business, a research initiative that analyzes the business uses of the Internet and other digital Technologies. His projects include a study of information worker productivity, a valuation method for intangible organizational capital, calibration of increased product variety online (a.k.a. the "long tail"), and an analysis of optimal pricing strategies for digital goods. In a related work, Brynjolfsson is assessing how investments in computers and networks alter economic growth, industry structure, and labor demand.
Brynjolfsson holds an AB in applied mathematics from Harvard College, an SM in decision sciences from Harvard University, and a PhD in managerial economics from MIT.
Since joining CRV in 1997, Izhar has built an impressive portfolio of startups and successful exits mostly in the Enterprise space. Recently, he was named by the Boston Globe as one of the top Enterprise VCs in Boston, and appeared on the 2012 Forbes Midas List.
His startup portfolio includes: GrabCAD, Capriza, Optaros, 24M, TerraPower, Aveksa, and Intellectual Ventures. Prior successful investments included Performable (acquired by HubSpot), RPX (Nasdaq: RPXC), Conduit (acquired by Zynga), Vlingo (acquired by Nuance), iSkoot (acquired by Qualcomm), Virtusa (Nasdaq: VRTU), Guardent (acquired by VeriSign), iPhrase (acquired by IBM), iBasis (Nasdaq: IBAS), Yantra (acquired by AT&T), and Oberon (acquired by Vignette).
Prior to joining CRV, Izhar was vice president of marketing at Onyx Interactive, a computer-based training company in Israel. Izhar holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and studied Cognitive Psychology at Tel Aviv University.
Alex Benik is a venture capital investor with Battery Ventures focused on infrastructure technologies for Enterprise, Data Centers, and wired/wireless service providers. Alex has also been actively involved in building Battery’s semiconductor portfolio and is a point person for the firm’s relationships with technologists and end-users at Fortune 1000 enterprises and large web scale operators. He is particularly interested in the challenges of building web scale data center networks and distributed computing systems. During his tenure at Battery, Alex has been involved with several of the firm’s investments including Achronix, Anobit Technologies (acquired by Apple), Aurora Networks, Cumulus Networks, MaxLinear (NYSE: MXL), Nutanix, Optichron, Tracelytics (acquired by AppNeta), Veraz Networks (NASDAQ: VRAZ), VSS Monitoring (acquired by Danaher), and ZeroG Wireless (acquired by Microchip).
Alex co-authors www.thewholestack.com, a blog focused on infrastructure IT, and was named a top cloud investor by GigaOm in 2012.
Kent Bennett, a vice president in Bessemer's Cambridge, Mass. office, joined the company in 2008. Kent focuses on investments in the "big data", data-infrastructure, and communications sectors.
At Bessemer, Kent has been involved in investments including data-management companies Endeca (acq. by Oracle), Streambase, Vertica (acq. by HP), Hadapt, Netuitive and Portrait Software; mobile-communications companies BroadSoft (IPO), Millennial Media (IPO) and Enforta; as well as in Goal.com (acq. by Perform Group) the world's largest soccer portal.
Prior to joining Bessemer, Kent was a creative executive for an entertainment-production company, where he developed and sold original material including a network television pilot and a feature film. He began his career with Bain & Co., where he worked on projects in industries spanning IT, retail, consumer products, healthcare and biotech.
Dr. Jon Orwant leads Google Research in their Paris and Boston offices. He received four degrees from MIT, culminating in his PhD from the Electronic Publishing Group in 1999. Before joining Google he was the CTO of O'Reilly Media, Director of Research for France Telecom, and a Lecturer at MIT. He is also the author of several books on programming, including the bestselling Programming Perl.
Matt Gross (Moderator)
Matt is a founder of Mobile Monday Boston and its national nonprofit trade association. As part of the founding team at WHERE (now eBay), Matt launched mobile products into the iPhone and Android ecosystems to build a consumer audience of millions, and as head of MapQuest Mobile ran a $5m product line across all major US carriers. He currently serves as advisor to mobile startups, works on entrepreneurial projects at matt.tv, and spends time with his new daughter.
Neil DeSilva is a Managing Director at LEÓN, MAYER & Co. (“LM”), an investment banking and private equity firm founded by alumni of Goldman Sachs and KKR. Prior to LM, Mr. DeSilva was at Goldman Sachs. Previously, Mr. DeSilva was an early stage technology entrepreneur.
Mr. DeSilva works closely with entrepreneurs, investors, and strategic acquirers in the technology, media, and communications sectors. Previous clients/counterparties have included: The Washington Post, Kaplan Learning Technologies, Priceline, IBM, Konica Minolta, Rackspace, Nuance, Savvis, MRO, Reader's Digest, Dow Jones, AT&T and Comcast, among others.
Vivek Farias is the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Professor and an Associate Professor of Operations Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Professor Farias’ research focuses on the development of new methodologies for large-scale dynamic optimization under uncertainty, and the application of these methodologies to the design of practical revenue management strategies across various industries, including retail and online advertising.
Andrew has founded four companies over his career in software and is an expert in mobile commerce and digital advertising. He has invented several patented or patent-pending technologies including mobile self-checkout.
Prior to his new startup, Lookout Gaming, Andrew founded AisleBuyer, a mobile commerce company, which was acquired by Intuit in April 2012. Before AisleBuyer, Andrew was the founder of Photrade, a digital media and advertising company.
In addition to founding his own companies, he spent several years in private equity and venture capital where he was a professional investor for Fort Washington Capital Partners and The Watermill Group. He is on the board of two technology startups and is an active angel investor in several more.
Michael Skok joined North Bridge Venture Partners in 2002 to seek out great entrepreneurs and lead innovative software investments. Prior to this, Michael had himself been an entrepreneur and CEO in the software business for 21 years. He founded and recruited teams that attracted over $100M in venture to his investments in multiple successful software companies. As a VC, Michael has initiated ventures with, seeded and invested in many great entrepreneurs who have built over a $1bn of value focusing on large market changing technologies and disruptive business models such as SaaS, Cloud Computing, Open Source and Mobile. He is active on the boards of all recent investments including Acquia, Akiban, Apperian, Demandware(NYSE:DWRE), and Unidesk, as well as Actifio and Revolution Analytics.
Michael's passion for innovation and entrepreneurship is also fueling his work mentoring and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. For example he is currently developing and leading workshops such as the "Startup Secrets" series with the Harvard i Lab. His work in this regard can be found online at www.mjskok.com Twitter follow @mjskok
Intellectual Property Panel Speakers
Scott Stern (Moderator)
Scott Stern is the School of Management Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Stern explores how innovation—the production and distribution of “ideas”—differs from more traditional economic goods, and the implications of these differences for entrepreneurship, business strategy, and public policy. His research in the economics of innovation and entrepreneurship focuses on the drivers of commercialization strategy for technology entrepreneurs, the determinants of R&D productivity in both the public and private sector, and the role of incentives and organizational design on the process of innovation.
He works widely with both companies and governments in understanding the drivers and consequences of innovation and entrepreneurship, and has worked extensively in understanding the role of innovation and entrepreneurship in competitiveness and regional economic performance.
Keith Bergelt is the chief executive officer of Open Invention Network® (OIN), the collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. In this capacity he is directly responsible for enabling, influencing and defending the integrity of the Linux ecosystem. Central to the achievement of his goals is the acquisition and transfer of patent rights designed to permit members of the Linux ecosystem to operate free of the threat of assertion and litigation from those whose business models are antithetical to innovation and global economic growth in information technology and computing.
Prior to joining the Open Invention Network®, Mr. Bergelt served as president and CEO of two Hedge Funds – Paradox Capital and IPI – formed to unlock the considerable asset value of patents, trademarks and copyrights in middle market companies. Paradox and IPI were the first Funds of their kind to offer specialty lending products supported exclusively by intellectual property. Driven by Mr. Bergelt's creativity and entrepreneurial approach, these funds enabled the emergence of patents, trademarks and copyrights as a viable source of collateral in asset-based loans, forever reshaping the emerging IP Finance landscape.
During Mr. Bergelt's stewardship of these IP-based lending activities, he raised more than $300 million dollars and financed portfolio companies of private equity firms including Texas Pacific Group, Kelso & Co., JH Whitney, Weston Presidio, Goode Partners, Palladium Capital and Castanea Partners, among others.
Rodman K. Forter, Jr.
As General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Mr. Forter is responsible for Skyhook's legal affairs, including litigation, technology licensing and contract negotiation, management of Skyhook's intellectual property portfolio and various other matters. Prior to joining Skyhook, Mr. Forter was an attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City and Ropes & Gray in Boston. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Forter earned his B.A. from Colgate University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from Columbia Law School.
Cameron F. Kerry
As the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce, Cameron Kerry is the principal legal advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and third ranking secretarial officer.
During his tenure as General Counsel, Kerry has been engaged in the wide range of issues facing the Department of Commerce as it seeks to lay a new foundation for economic growth. He has been a leader on work across the US government on patent reform and intellectual property issues, privacy and security, and efforts against transnational bribery, including co-chairing the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Commercial Data Privacy that produced the Administration's privacy blueprint, Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. Kerry has travelled to the People’s Republic of China several times and serves as the co-lead in the Transparency Dialogue with China and the US chair of the US-China Legal Exchange.
Robert Tosti is experienced in all areas of IP law including patent and trademark counseling, opinions, and prosecution, IP portfolio strategy and development, licensing, litigation, and the assessment and enforcement of IP rights. He is a registered patent attorney with a background in electrical engineering and represents clients across a variety of technologies including software, business methods, electronics, computer-related technologies, semiconductors, and medical devices.
Rob has served as an adjunct faculty member at Suffolk University Law School. Before beginning his law practice, Rob worked as an electrical engineer doing software development and hardware design at General Electric, Mitre, and IBM.
Education Panel Speakers
Eleanor Laurans (Moderator)
Eleanor Laurans is a Senior Principal in The Parthenon Group's Boston office and a member of the firm’s Education Practice.
Ms. Laurans has contributed to Parthenon’s work in education across multiple sectors and client types, including public school districts (Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago and Omaha Public Schools), national foundations (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Stupski Foundation), and international for-profit education publishing and higher education organizations. Her projects have focused on topics ranging from school finance reform, strategies to improve high school graduation rates, and next generation learning, among others.
Prior to joining Parthenon, Ms. Laurans was a Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the New York City Department of Education, where she helped manage special projects and cross-functional teams. In addition, she has prior consulting experience at Bain & Company.
Eleanor has a BA with Honors in Economics from Yale University and an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School.
Jeremy Friedman is Co-founder and CEO of Schoology. It is a company which offers a collection of features to help teachers enhance their lessons plans, as well as manage their classrooms. It allows educators to host discussions, set up coursework, add videos and interactive media, and track grading and engagement in one spot. In many ways it is an LMS, but with a Facebook feel.
Since founding Schoology in 2009, Jeremy has helped navigate the company through financing rounds and successfully prepare for rapid growth, including the support of more than 20,000 schools and districts.
Mike Goldstein is the founder of the MATCH Charter School and MATCH Teacher Residency in Boston (www.matchschool.org). MTR is currently running a randomized trial of teacher coaching in New Orleans; last year MATCH designed and implemented an intervention in Houston which recruited and deployed over 200 full-time math tutors in Houston turnaround schools, as part of a larger experiment run by EdLabs. Mike serves or has served on various advisory boards: transition teams for the past two MA governors (Deval Patrick and Mitt Romney), the National Council for Teacher Quality, Harvard's Futures of School Reform, Boston Schoolchildren's Consortium, Education Sector, and others. He received his masters in public policy from Harvard University and his B.A. from Duke University, which -- through various computer models -- appears to have a 27% chance of returning to the Final Four in 2012, and a 97% chance of remaining the most hated team in college basketball.
John S. Serafini is a Director at Allied Minds, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to fostering early-stage innovation, where he manages the firm’s investments in technologies originating from US federal research institutions with domain expertise within cybersecurity and defense technologies. John’s investment portfolio centers upon the intersection of profit-maximizing private capital and the unique requirements and R&D capabilities of the US Government.
Previously, John was a Principal at Good Harbor Consulting where he partnered with Paladin Capital and Mr. Richard Clarke, the former White House special advisor to three US Presidential Administrations, as a venture capital/growth equity investor and M&A specialist with sector concentration in cybersecurity and expertise managing investments impacted by US national security regulations inclusive of FOCI, CFIUS, ITAR, and FCPA. In this capacity, John was also responsible for the origination and transaction of acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships for Good Harbor and its affiliated investment funds and provided cybersecurity advisory services for government clients, venture capital backed companies, and asset managers.
Troy Williams is President of Macmillan New Ventures, where he is responsible for managing a portfolio of innovative educational technology companies and identifying emerging technologies and trends that will have a major impact on student performance and outcomes. Prior to Macmillan, Troy advised development stage companies focused on restructuring, cost containment and product development. From 1998 to 2007, Troy was President and CEO of Questia Media, Inc., an early online electronic book offering that he founded and sold to Cengage Learning. Questia raised $150 million in financing and served 400,000 subscribers across 180 countries.
Troy is a member of the Advisory Board at the Rice University Humanities and has served on the boards of the Harris County Education Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship in Austin, and Imprint, Houston’s leading literary arts organization, among others. He has also been an adjunct professor at NYU, where he taught the capstone thesis course on starting new businesses in the Masters of Publishing program.
VIP Dinner Keynote Speaker
John Harthorne is the Founder and CEO of MassChallenge, a startup accelerator and competition designed to catalyze a startup renaissance by connecting high-impact startups from around the world with the resources they need to launch and succeed.
John received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2007. While at school, John received Grand Prize in the 2007 MIT $100K Business Plan Competition and received the 2007 Patrick J. McGovern Award for impact on quality and visibility of entrepreneurship at MIT. He also led the 10th annual MIT Global Startup Workshop (GSW) held in Trondheim, Norway