John Frankel

Partner, ff Venture Capital

John Frankel is the founding partner of ff Venture Capital, and has been an early-stage investor since late 1999. John has served as a director of over 35 companies and an investor in more than 76 companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD on NASDAQ), Indiegogo, Ionic Security, Klout, SkyCatch, Plated, 500px, Distil Networks, and Bottlenose.

Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering, and capital markets. In capital markets, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge funds, and developed a keen understanding of portfolio risk/return management. He started his business career in London with Arthur Andersen having earned a Master of Arts from New College, Oxford where he studied Mathematics, Philosophy and Logic. He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of dozens articles on venture capital and entrepreneurship. He has also appeared in leading publications such as The BBC, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, Business Insider, The San Francisco Chronicle, TechCrunch, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

Jon Karlen

Partner, FKA

Jon Karlen is a partner in the technology group at Atlas Venture and focuses on investments in software and online services.

Jon joined Atlas in early 2014 and sits on the boards of CustomMade, Fashion Project, Kinvey, PillPack, and Robin. Prior to joining Atlas, Jon was a partner at Flybridge Capital, where he led seed investments in disruptive software businesses including Open English and Digital Lumens. He also pioneered investments in Virtual Computer (acquired by Citrix), ZING Systems (acquired by Dell), and Restorando. Jon began his career at Greylock where as an EIR he developed an investment opportunity in Oat Systems, an RFID software company.

Jon is a frequent contributor and advisor at local incubators, and founded the University Research and Entrepreneurship Symposium, a one day conference that connects investors with technology startups spun out of university research. He received an MBA from Stanford University and an AB from Harvard College.

Rami Essaid

CEO and Co-Founder, Distil Networks

Rami Essaid is the CEO and Co-Founder of Distil Networks, the leading public and private cloud security provider that blocks malicious bots. With over 11 years in telecommunications, network security, and cloud infrastructure management, Rami has advised enterprise companies around the world, helping them embrace the cloud to improve their scalability and reliability while maintaining a high level of security. Rami is a frequent contributor to news publications such as Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Rami founded a mobile communications start-up resulting with him making a successful exit. He was recently selected as one of the most promising CEO's to watch by Under30CEO. He pitched at SXSW Interactive HATCH Pitch competition where he was named the winner and is a regular judge for the competition.  His current company is frequently in the press for online security achievements notably with Forbes, The Washington Post, and Microsoft.

Balaji Gopinath

Evolution Labs

Over the last twenty plus years, Balaji has worked with leading media, technology, and entertainment companies spearheading digital initiatives in global roles as a GM, SVP and VP at both private and public companies including Turner/Media Camp, Delivery Agent, and Nike.

He was instrumental in helping launch and among others in the dot com era. Balaji also founded and directed the first media focused accelerator (Media Camp) investing in 27 digital entertainment startups over 3 years and holds multiple patents in the entertainment and digital advertising space.

He has been a founding member of several companies, is an angel investor, and has been involved with corporate development, corp VC, and investment roles.

Balaji earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Ben Wilson is Chief Technology Officer at GE and is located in Houston, Texas.  He holds several degrees and certifications but is basically a caffeine-based life-form that enjoys tinkering in the cloud, opening up anything to see what’s inside, ignoring instructions for anything that needs assembly, writing bios in the third person and wondering why bios are needed when LinkedIn exists.  If you feel compelled to know more please read on….
Ben oversees Global Infrastructure Operations across more than 600 locations, global application support, enterprise cyber security and Industrial Internet deployment and operations.  Ben is also one of the global Cloud leaders for the General Electric Corporation and actively engaged in IoT with GE's customers.       
Prior to GE Ben was CIO and Head of Global IT Trading Operations at BG Group, CIO for Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division and a Partner with PwC.

Aya Zook

Principal, Microsoft Ventures

Aya Zook is a Principal at Microsoft Ventures, responsible for managing marketing and PR, and is passionate about building new initiatives designed to source and engage promising early stage startups for the fund program. Aya joined Microsoft Corp. in 2006, and has worked in various senior marketing roles, first with MSN then Windows Live, Bing, and the Bing Fund.

Before joining Microsoft, Aya worked for an interactive agency as a designer and a project manager. He sits on the executive council of the Internet Marketing Association. He graduated from the University of Washington where he studied philosophy.

Kerry Rupp

Emcee, HATCH pitch

For the past 5 years, Kerry was CEO and General Partner at DreamIt Ventures, a startup accelerator focused on helping launch early-stage companies. Kerry grew DreamIt from one program per year in one city, to five programs in four cities in 2014 – with noteworthy partners like Comcast Ventures, Penn Medicine, Independence Blue Cross, Johns Hopkins University, Northrup Grumman, Kaiser Permanente and others. During her tenure, DreamIt helped launch 165 companies and the DreamIt companies in aggregate now have a market value of over $500 million dollars.

Before DreamIt, Kerry was a Marketing, Strategy & Business Development consultant to senior executives at AllRecipes, ReadersDigest, LexisNexis, Payscale, and Taleo. She served in Vice President level positions in Marketing, Business Development, Sales, Strategy, and Operations at Jobster,, and LexisNexis.

Kerry was the founder of Holiday Golightly, an online travel service specializing in girlfriend getaway trips. Her early career included coding in COBOL at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), and Product Management at a startup acquired by Sterling Commerce.

Kerry holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Biology from Duke University. She is an avid adventurer that has visited over 50 countries and 49 US states. In Austin, she serves on the leadership teams of Women@Austin, HBS Alumni Club, HBS Alumni Angels and DukeGEN-Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Rick Pleczko

President & CEO, symplr

As a 25+ year veteran of the software industry, Pleczko has held senior executive, marketing and technical positions in a number of leading software companies across a wide range of industries, including systems and database management, application development, healthcare and aerospace. Prior to symplr, Pleczko was the founder, president and CEO of Idera, which he grew to become a multi-national company with a broad product portfolio used by over 12,000 companies worldwide. Previously, he was Chief Marketing Officer at NetIQ Corporation, vice president of Products and Marketing at Mission Critical Software, vice president of Marketing at Platinum Technology, and senior vice president of Marketing at LBMS. Rick has also served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Austin Ventures, is active as a board member and advisor for a number of early stage companies, and has been nominated for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Stephen Forte

Managing Director, Fresco Capital

Stephen Forte a managing director at Fresco Capital, an early stage Venture Fund, and is involved in all aspects of investment and operations with a specific focus on enterprise, big data, and IoT. Previously, Stephen was the Chief Strategy Officer of Telerik, a leading vendor of developer and team productivity tools acquired by Progress Software in 2014. Stephen was the founder of Mach5, a Silicon Valley based startup accelerator and co-founder of AcceleratorHK in Hong Kong. Involved in several startups, he was the co-founder of Triton Works, which was acquired by UBM in 2010 and was the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Corzen, Inc., which was acquired by Wanted Technologies in 2007. Prior to Corzen, Stephen served as the CTO of Zagat Survey. Stephen has an MBA from the City University of New York. He is a Scrum Alliance board member. An avid mountain climber, Stephen leads a trek in the Mt. Everest region every fall to raise money for charity.

Jared Stasik

Vice President, Detroit Venture Partners

Jared is a VP with Detroit Venture Partners. He manages finances and operations for DVP's $55m seed fund and takes an active role working in the trenches with DVP's portfolio companies on sales, marketing, operations, and finances. Jared is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received an MBA from UC Berkeley-Haas.



Joel Yarmon

Investor, Draper Associates

Joel is an investor at Draper Associates. Prior to joining Draper Associates, Joel served as a Director for the United States Senate Commerce Committee, advising Senators on technology legislation and policy. Joel also co-founded an IT consulting startup, Iceware Technologies, where he specialized in wireless application infrastructure. Joel holds an MBA from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and a BA from the University of Puget Sound where he was an NCAA skier. Joel also attended the United States Naval War College where he studied Joint Maritime Operations. In addition to skiing, Joel enjoys running, biking, and flying.

Nicole Glaros

Managing Director, Techstars New York

Nicole got her entrepreneurial start in the 4th grade, orchestrating cousins into theatrical plays and charging neighbors admission.  Later, she founded three startups including Property Management Shop, all still operating.  She has spent nearly a decade working to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colorado through leadership roles at various organizations and incubators such as CTEK, Investor Avenue, CleanLaunch, and the Advance Colorado Center. She considers herself privileged to have worked with nearly 100 brilliant and gutsy seed-stage web software entrepreneurs. Nicole graduated with a Master’s from the University of Florida, likes to do at least one philanthropic thing annually, and shares the wonderment of parenthood with the love of her life, Mark. When not thinking about Techstars, you’ll find Nicole on the slopes or on her bike, hanging with her big fat greek family, traveling to some exotic destination, or generally making a fool of herself to entertain others.

Lynne Chou

Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers

Lynne Chou joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers in 2013 and focuses on life science investing in medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health.

Before joining KPCB, Lynne had over twelve years of healthcare operating and investing experience at Abbott Vascular and Guidant in multiple roles and worked on the launch of over ten interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery products both in the US and internationally. Lynne lead the global launch of Absorb, recognized by Wall Street Journal as Medical Device Technology Innovation of the Year and Popular Mechanics. Earlier in her career, Lynne worked at Apax Partners with a focus on software venture capital investing. In addition, Lynne worked at Goldman Sachs in the Mergers and Acquisitions group and worked on multiple multi-billion dollar acquisitions and sell side transactions in various industries.

Lynne earned a B.S. degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Sumeet Jain

Director, Intel Capital

Sumeet Jain joined Intel Capital in 2013 and focused on Internet and Mobile enabled Consumer products and services. His primary interest areas are Data Driven Consumer Experiences, Innovative Ecommerce, Marketplaces, Wearable Technologies & Internet of things, Marketing Services, and lightweight SaaS software.

Sumeet brings a perspective to investing that comes from having been intimately involved with entrepreneurship and technology from multiple angles - as a startup executive and operator, an engineer, a strategy consultant, and an investment banker.

Prior to Intel Captial, Sumeet was a Partner with CMEA Capital. At CMEA, Sumeet invested and worked with disruptive technology companies and was intimately involved in the firm’s investments in companies such as Intermolecular (Nasdaq: IMI), Cafe Press (Nasdaq: PRSS), Apriso (Acq by Dassault), AWR (Acq by National Instruments), Foro Energy and Surgiquest.

Patrick Eggen

Director, Qualcomm Ventures

Patrick is a Director at Qualcomm Ventures and based in San Francisco. He oversees Qualcomm Ventures’s Seed program, focused on very early stage opportunities. Additionally, he serves as the group lead for investment opportunities in the mobile software and services sector.

Prior to joining Qualcomm, Patrick worked for Salomon Smith Barney’s Investment Banking unit in their Chicago, London and Hong Kong offices. He was a member of their Global Telecommunications team, involved in both M&A advisory roles and capital-raising transactions. Patrick has an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. from Northwestern University.

Patrick currently manages and/or actively serves as a Board Observer for Qualcomm Ventures investments in ChaCha, Clarifai, EduPath, Kaleo Software, M87, MightyText, Matterport, Noom, OpenSignal, Plivo, Starmaker, Tempo AI, and Trigger. Prior investments (exits) include Aicent, Clicker (acquired by CBS), Divide (acquired by Google), Plixi (acquired by Lockerz), ThinkNear (acquired by TNAV) and Viewdle (acquired by GOOG).


Dr. Werner Vogels

CTO, Amazon

Dr. Werner Vogels is Chief Technology Officer at where he is responsible for driving the company's technology vision, which is to continuously enhance the innovation on behalf of Amazon's customers at a global scale.

Prior to joining Amazon, he worked as a researcher at Cornell University where he was a principal investigator in several research projects that targeted the scalability and robustness of mission-critical enterprise computing systems. He has held the positions of Research Engineer, VP of Technology and CTO in companies that handle the transition of academic technology into industry.

Vogels holds a Ph.D. from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and has authored many articles for journals and conferences, most of them on distributed systems technologies for enterprise computing.