As a Launch X Fellow, you will get access to workshops led by the speakers below.
Alex Taub, Co-Founder of SocialRank (NYC)
Alex Taub is the co-founder of SocialRank. Alex previously led business development and partnerships for online integrations at Dwolla and Aviary. Alex is active in the NY tech scene as the creator of the BD Meetup and an advisor to early-stage companies. He has been featured in Business Insider as one of the “Top 20 Under 25” in the NY tech scene. Alex writes a popular blog called Alex’s Tech Thoughts, has been published in Fast Company, The New York Observer, The Next Web and VentureBeat, teaches Business Development classes, and has been quoted on many tech websites including TechCrunch, GigaOm, The New York Times, Business Insider, Mashable, and PC Magazine. He is also a contributor for the Forbes Entrepreneur section. Alex holds a BA in Economics from Yeshiva University.
Anarghya Vardhana, Rothenberg Ventures (SF)
Anarghya Vardhana is an investor at Rothenberg Ventures, with a focus on edtech, e-commerce and virtual reality (VR). She has been a part of investments in Zady, Preserve, Hello Giggles, Andela, Nearpod, and several VR companies. She also helps facilitate the River Accelerator at Rothenberg Ventures, the first VR and augmented reality accelerator of its kind. Anarghya spent four years focusing on UI, UX, and led product teams at Google. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Science, Technology, and Society. In her minimal spare time, Anarghya runs marathons, trains in Indian classical dance, and practices yoga.
Ann Miura-Ko, FLOODGATE (SF)
Ann Miura-Ko has been called "the most powerful woman in startups" by Forbes and is a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford. The child of a rocket scientist at NASA, Ann is a Palo Alto native and has been steeped in technology startups from when she was a teenager. Prior to co-founding FLOODGATE, she worked at Charles River Ventures and McKinsey and Company. Some of Ann's investments include Lyft, Ayasdi, Xamarin, Refinery29, Chloe and Isabel, Maker Media, Wanelo, TaskRabbit, and Modcloth.
Ann is known for her debate skills (she placed first in the National Tournament of Champions and second in the State of California in high school) and was part of a five-person team at Yale that competed in the Robocup Competition in Paris, France. She graduated with a BS in EE from Yale University and a PhD in Math Modeling of Computer Security from Stanford University. She lives with her husband and 3 kids ages 8, 5 and 3.
Anu Duggal, Female Founders Fund (NYC)
Anu believes passionately in the power of female founders. She founded F Cubed (Female Founders Fund) to prove the thesis that when you invest in women, you get great returns. An entrepreneur herself, Anu’s many successes include India’s first wine bar, as well as co-founding Exclusively.In, an Accel and Tiger-backed e-commerce site named as one of the Top 20 Fashion Destination sites in the world. Anu was named one of the top angel investors in New York in 2012. Anu graduated from Vassar College, and holds an MBA from London Business School.
Belinda Chiang, Former Techstars (NYC)
Belinda Chiang has worked in both investing and entrepreneurial roles pursuing her interests in technology, social impact, and design thinking. She was most recently at the accelerator Techstars New York working to select and advise twelve companies out of 1500 applicants. Previously, she helped fund for-profit, social impact startups at an impact investing firm in Asia. She created and taught a course on "Women & Entrepreneurship" at Stanford, reviewed as "one of the best classes that I've taken at Stanford." She also co-founded the first design thinking firm in Taiwan. Belinda serves as a selection judge and mentor for Venture for America, a fellowship program for entrepreneurs, as well as the Mentor Capital Network, a business plan competition for mission-driven companies. She holds a BA and MS from Stanford University.
Charles Hudson, SoftTech VC (SF)
Charles Hudson is a Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Internet and mobile startups. He was also the Co-Founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup, VP of Business Development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga in February 2010, and 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 early-stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007. Charles spent several years working at In-Q-Tel, the strategic venture capital group for the Central Intelligence Agency. While at In-Q-Tel, 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.
Christina Wallace, Founding Director of BridgeUp (NYC)
Christina Wallace is the Founding Director of BridgeUp: STEM, a new educational initiative at the American Museum of Natural History with a mission to captivate, inspire, and propel girls and minorities into computer science. It is funded by a generous $7.5M 5-year grant from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust. Previously Christina was a Vice President at Startup Institute, the Founder and CEO of venture-backed fashion company Quincy Apparel, a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, and an arts manager at the Metropolitan Opera. She holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and theater studies from Emory University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Christina is a resident with 30 Weeks, a Google-backed incubator, and a mentor with Techstars Detroit, Coolhouse Labs, and the New York Fashion Tech Lab. She is pleased to sit on the alumni board of Interlochen Center for the Arts. An avid writer, she contributed a chapter to Passion and Purpose, published by Harvard Business Press in 2011. She was named to Mashable’s list of “44 Female Founders to Know” and Refinery29's list of "Most Powerful Women in NYC Tech."
Denise Thomas, CEO and Chairman of ApplePie Capital (SF)
Denise founded ApplePie Capital to create a new, more efficient source of capital for franchise businesses. As CEO and Chairman, she oversees all aspects of the company. Denise has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in business and market strategy development. Her public and private company expertise spans the financial services, technology, healthcare, hospitality and online services industries, and she has led companies backed by leading venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow and Sequoia Capital. Denise has founded three other companies, and held executive and management positions with SharesPost, Healthiest You, Navigenics, LesConcierges, OffRoad Capital, Onyx Microcomputer, Post Communications, Kao Infosystems, and National Semiconductor. She has been a guest lecturer at both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley.
Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners (SF)
Ethan Kurzweil is a Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners where he focuses on investments in consumer technologies and cloud computing – and leads Bessemer’s roadmap on developer platforms. Ethan’s portfolio includes consumer companies Twitch, Life360, and Piazza; developer platforms Twilio and Sendgrid; and cloud computing pioneers Intercom, Simply Measured and Hightower. He has also been actively involved with the firm’s investments in Playdom (sold to Disney), adap.tv (sold to AOL), Zoosk, Crowdflower, Reputation.com, Sweet Labs, Skybox Imaging, and Mojave Networks. Ethan joined BVP from Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life. Previously, he held a series of positions at Dow Jones & Co., including leading new business development efforts and managing the turnaround of The Wall Street Journal international editions. Ethan earned a BA from Stanford University – where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa – and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.
George Garrick, Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor (SF)
George Garrick is a serial tech startup CEO, board member, advisor and investor. Operationally he specializes in growth stage companies and turnarounds. Garrick has raised over $200 million in venture funding, and has led one IPO and four exits for a combined investor value of almost $3 billion. Garrick spent 15 years as a member of the initial management team of IRI (Information Resources, Inc.) which he helped grow from $2 to $300 million and served as President of US Information Services, CEO of IRI Europe, and CEO of IRI North America. During this time IRI was the undisputed leader in marketing, advertising and retail information services and technology. He also served as CEO of A.C. Nielsen for a short time. In 1996 Garrick moved from Chicago to Silicon Valley to pursue a career in the early Internet and related tech, and in 1999 he led a $500 million IPO for Flycast Communications which he built into the largest and most successful advertising and direct marketing network of its time. Within a year after the IPO Garrick sold Flycast to CMGI for $2+ Billion. Following Flycast Garrick held CEO positions at a number of startup companies including PlaceWare (sold to Microsoft), Wine.com, 1-800-FREE411 (acquired by Marchex), Tapjoy, Social Shield (acquired by Avira), and Brand.net (acquired by Valassis). His past and current board, advisor and investor involvements include Shopzilla, Responsys, Digital Impact, Telephia, Comscore, Qik, Playdom, Adify, Dynamic Signal, Exitround and Shelfbucks. Currently, Garrick is President and CEO of Mobeam, Inc., a growth stage company with a breakthrough technology that enables smartphones to “beam” digital information via infrared. He holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and engineering and a master’s degree in management from Purdue University, as well as two patents: one in the field of high intensity lighting and the other in website optimization.
Kelly Peeler, CEO and Founder of NextGenVest (NYC)
Kelly Peeler is the Founder and CEO of NextGenVest, a community of students navigating key financial decisions. Since its recent inception, NextGenVest has grown to help high school and college students in 15 states and 6 countries solely through student referral. Kelly has always been interested in empowering young people and previously started Business Across Borders, a non profit that helps Iraqi students rebuild their own economy by starting their own companies and the International Women in Business Summit, bringing together top female college leaders. She was selected as one of the eight Kauffman Foundation Global Scholars, named by Goldman Sachs as one of the100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and a named a White House #StartTheSpark Ambassador.
Lisa Falzone, CEO and Co-Founder of Revel Systems (SF)
Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of iPad Point of Sale (POS) company Revel Systems. A graduate of Stanford University, Lisa led her Silicon Valley-based startup to profitability in just a year’s time, and has been pivotal in turning the often “old school” perception of POS on its head. She has raised over $115 million in venture capital funding for Revel and the company currently has more than 250 employees worldwide. The iPad POS system that Lisa co-created regularly beats out established competitors such as MICROS Systems/Oracle, NCR and Aloha, and has sold hundreds of millions of units since it came out of beta in 2011. Lisa’s achievements as a young female entrepreneur have been recognized through numerous prestigious awards such as Forbes ’30 Under 30′, Business Insiders “30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech”, San Francisco Business Times ’40 Under 40′ and Business Journal’s “Upstart 100”.
Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Shasta Ventures (SF)
Nikhil is an investor at Shasta Ventures and advisor to The Thiel Fellowship’s 20 Under 20 Program. Nikhil is involved in many of Shasta’s consumer-oriented investments, and is a board observer at Bloc and ClassDojo in San Francisco, and Hinge and Timehop in New York City. He was named in 2015 to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for Venture Capital. Before joining Shasta in 2012, Nikhil was a member of the investment team at Insight Venture Partners in New York. Nikhil earned an A.B. in Molecular Biology with a certificate in finance from Princeton University, where he won the Spirit of Princeton award and was co-president of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club for two years. While there, he co-founded Artsy, an online platform for discovering and collecting art. He also built and ran an elevator pitch competition and laid the foundation for a campus-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Peter Boyce, General Catalyst and Rough Draft Ventures (NYC)
Peter is an investor at General Catalyst and is based in their NYC office. Peter is also the Co-Founder of Rough Draft Ventures (RDV). Before launching RDV, he helped rally the tech community at Harvard through his work directing HackHarvard and Harvard College Venture Partners. Peter also worked at NYC-based startup Skillshare, helped found personal finance platform GoGirl Finance, and worked on technology partnerships and marketing at Bad Boy Entertainment. Peter graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.
Ruby Lee, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers (SF)
Ruby Lee is a Product Partner at KPCB Edge, a division of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers. KPCB Edge is a team that builds products to help founders and makes seed-stage investments out of San Francisco, CA. Prior to KPCB, she was an Associate Product Manager at Google on the Chrome and Project Fi (Google's wireless carrier service) teams. Ruby also served on the Stanford Dorm Room Fund (backed by First Round Capital) where she sourced investments and made funding decisions on early-stage startups. Ruby has an undergraduate degree in Bioengineering and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. She was also the President of the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial students (BASES), the largest entrepreneurship group on campus.
Sam Gerstenzang, Andreesen Horowitz and Imgur (SF)
Sam most recently ran the product, design and data teams at Imgur, which serves over 140 million unique visitors and 80 billion image views each month. Before that, Sam was a partner on the investment team at Andreessen Horowitz, where he sourced or worked on investments into Imgur, Instacart and others. Sam also worked in engineering roles at startups like Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and Community Connect, and as an investment analyst at Lerer Ventures. He was also the CTO of Fourth Story Media, a children’s digital media studio founded by a former senior Disney and Scholastic executive. Sam graduated from Stanford, where he studied History and Symbolic Systems.
Steve Blank, Serial Entrepreneur and Professor at Stanford (SF)
Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur, father of the Lean Startup movement, and a professor at Stanford and Berkeley, Blank has started and funded some of the best startups in the world.
After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, Steve retired in 1999. He co-founded E.piphany in his living room in 1996. His other startups include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers, a workstation company Convergent Technologies, a consulting stint for a graphics hardware/software spinout Pixar, a supercomputer firm, Ardent, a computer peripheral supplier, SuperMac, a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL and a video game company, Rocket Science Games.
After Steve retired, he took some time to reflect on his experience and wrote a book about building early stage companies called Four Steps to the Epiphany. It’s been called the book that launched the Lean Startup movement. His latest book, co-authored with Bob Dorf, The Startup Owners Manual integrates 10 years of new knowledge.
He moved from being an entrepreneur to teaching entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University, NYU and UCSF. The “Customer Development” model that he developed in my book is one of the core themes in these classes and the core of the Lean Startup movement. In 2009, he was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering. The same year, the San Jose Mercury News listed him as one of the 10 Influencers in Silicon Valley.
In 2011 at the request of the National Science Foundation he modified his Lean Launchpad class and it became the curriculum for the NSF I-Corps. Science wrote an article about the I-Corps and so did Nature, the Economist, and Forbes. National Public Radio did a story on the class here and so did the San Jose Mercury. In 2013 Steve partnered with UCSF and the National Science Foundation to offer the Lean LaunchPad class for Life Science and Healthcare (therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health.)
Sutian Dong, FirstMark Capital (NYC)
Sutian is an investor at FirstMark Capital. Sutian was previously Director of Marketing for Norisol Ferrari, a New York-based luxury outerwear brand, and worked in Sales and Marketing at MarketFactory, a FirstMark portfolio company developing software applications for high-speed trading platforms. Sutian holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Zaw Thet, Signia Ventures (SF)
As one of the founding team / Partner at Signia, Zaw is focused on early-stage tech investing and on creating a new model of venture capital. Zaw is a veteran entrepreneur / operator who has been at the forefront of new technology and starting companies since the age of 19. Zaw was the founder and CEO of 4INFO, one of the first and largest mobile advertising platforms in the world. Business Week recognized him as one the "Mobile Barons" helping to shape the mobile ad industry since 2004. In 2011,Zaw was selected as one of ten entrepreneurs to serve on the United Nations Foundation's inaugural Global Entrepreneurs Council, where he is now an Emeritus Member of the board.
He is also dedicated to philanthropy. Zaw is the Chairman & Founder of Palindrome Advisors, a nonprofit he launched in March 2011 with a mission is to change how leaders give back and with over 300 elite business leaders that have taken Palindrome Pledge and are matched with nonprofit boards. He also works with numerous other nonprofits including #climate, After School All Stars, the San Francisco SPCA, and Polar Promise. Zaw studied Political and Computer Science at Stanford, where he was a President's Scholar. He also received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Soros Fellow, and was the youngest graduate in the school's history.