Program & Speakers

  • 2015 Final Conference Schedule

    9:00-9:30 am Randy Komisar, Partner, Kleiner Perkins
    Opening Keynote: “Innovate or Die”
    9:30-9:50 am Fran Maier, Co-Founder,
    “€œEmbracing the Female Market”
    9:50-10:10 am Gagan Biyani, Founder, Sprig and Udemy
    “Lessons from Udemy and Sprig: Building High Growth Products”
    10:10-10:30 am Break
    10:30-10:50 am Sam Zaid, Founder and CEO, Getaround
    10:50-11:10 am Lynn Perkins, Founder, UrbanSitter
    “Being the David in a field of Goliaths- how to gain market share, brand recognition and differentiate yourself in a field with established companies as your competitors”
    11:10 am-12:10 pm Pitch Competition
    12:30-1:45 pm Lunch break
    1:45-2:15 pm Afternoon Keynote
    Ben Parr, Co-founder and Managing Partner, DominateFund
    “Captivology: How to Capture the Attention of Investors, Customers and Users”
    2:15-2:35 pm Ryan Hoover, Founder and CEO, Product Hunt
    Interviewed by Kia Kokalitcheva, Fortune Magazine
    2:35-3:15 pm Press Panel:
    Owen Linderholm, Editor for Yahoo! Small Business Advisor
    Scott Mace, Senior Technology Editor, HealthLeaders Media
    Mark Boslet, Senior Editor, The Venture Capital Journal and PEHub
    Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media
    Ian Sherr, Executive Editor, CNET News

    Moderated by Eric Savitz, Partner, Brunswick Group
    3:15-3:45 pm Break
    3:45-4:15 pm Nir Eyal, Author
    Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”
    4:15 pm VC panel:
    Ho Nam, General Partner, Altos Ventures
    Joel Eriksson, Creandum
    Carey Lai, Intel Capital
    Sharon Wienbar, ScaleVP
    Patricia Nakache, General Partner, Trinity Ventures 
    Sandhya Venkatachalam, Co-Founding Partner, Centerview
    Alison Wagonfeld, Operating Partner, Emergence Capital

    Moderated by Bill Reichert, Managing Director, Garage Technology Ventures
    5:30 pm After Party


    2015 Conference Speakers

    • Randy Komisar

      Randy Komisar PartnerKleiner Perkins

      Randy Komisar joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2005 and focuses on the firm’s digital and sustainability practices. Earlier in his career, he was a co-founder of Claris Corp., served as CEO for LucasArts Entertainment and Crystal Dynamics, and acted as a “virtual CEO” for such companies as WebTV and GlobalGiving. Randy also served as CFO of GO Corp. and as senior counsel for Apple Computer, following a private practice in technology law. Randy is a founding director of TiVo and serves on the advisory board of Roadtrip Nation, as well as on the global advisory board for the Institute for Energy Efficiency at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a lecturer on entrepreneurship at Stanford University and the author of the best-selling book The Monk and the Riddle, as well as several articles on leadership and entrepreneurship. He is also the co-author of Getting to Plan B, a book on managing innovation. Randy frequently speaks in the United States and abroad on such topics. Randy holds a B.A. degree in economics from Brown University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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    • Fran Maier

      Fran Maier Co-Founder and First General

      Fran Maier is serial entrepreneur and brand builder with nearly 20 years experience in B2C and B2B internet businesses. She is best known for her 10+ years leading TRUSTe, the leading privacy trustmark and solutions provider, and as co-founder and first general manager of Fran serves on several for-profit and non-profit boards including GE Capital Bank, SOLOMO Technology, and Children’s Council of San Francisco. In addition she is on the Steering Committee for Stanford Women on Boards. In 2012, Fran completed the Stanford Rock Center For Corporate Governance Director's College (2012). Fran speaks widely on the subject of women in entrepreneurship and technology as well as the importance of marketing to the large and influential female market. Several of her advisory roles are with female led start-ups including Women’s Start-up Lab and Potfolia.

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    • Gagan Biyani

      Gagan Biyani FounderSprig and Udemy

      Gagan Biyani is the founder and CEO of Sprig, a dine on demand meal service. Sprig enables anyone to get a hot, healthy meal delivered within 15 minutes. He also co-founded Udemy, an education marketplace. Between those two companies, he's led teams of over 150 employees and his companies have raised over $105M. He was also a growth advisor to Lyft and co-founded the Growth Hackers Conference.

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    • Sam Zaid

      Sam Zaid Founder and CEOGetaround

      Sam Zaid is an engineer and entrepreneur. He is Founder & CEO at Getaround, the leading carsharing community and winner of TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2011. Before Getaround, Sam founded Apption, an enterprise software consultancy, and Gazaro, a retail price intelligence platform. Sam is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a Microsoft Code Award winner, and a Google Scholarship recipient. He studied Engineering Physics at Queen's University and is a graduate of the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program.

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    • Lynn Perkins

      Lynn Perkins CEO and Co-FounderUrbanSitter

      Lynn Perkins is CEO and co-founder of UrbanSitter, a venture-backed mobile and online service that connects parents and babysitters through social connections. Launched in 2011, Lynn led the company from notion to national marketplace in less than a year. An Internet startup veteran, UrbanSitter is Lynn’s third startup experience. Previously, she served as founder and CEO of and VP of Business Development at Before founding UrbanSitter, Lynn was the Director of Real Estate for Joie de Vivre Hospitality. There she focused on real estate transactions, hotel concepts and development projects for the company. Previously Lynn worked for Gap Inc. and LaSalle Partners concentrating on real estate strategy, services and transactions. Lynn is a graduate of Stanford University.

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    • Ben Parr

      Ben Parr Co-founder and Managing PartnerDominateFund

      Ben Parr is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, investor, and expert on attention. He is the author of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attentionand the Co-founder and Managing Partner of DominateFund, an early-stage venture capital firm. Previously, he was Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable; and served as columnist for CNET. Parr was named one of the top ten tech journalists in the world by Say Media and named to the Forbes “30 Under 30.” He lives in San Francisco.

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    • Ryan Hoover

      Ryan Hoover CEO and FounderProduct Hunt

      Ryan is the CEO and founder of Product Hunt, a site and community that surfaces the best new products in technology, every day. Prior to Product Hunt, Ryan was the Director of Product at PlayHaven and and contributing writer to Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products with Nir Eyal.

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    • Kia Kokalitcheva

      Kia Kokalitcheva Fortune Magazine

      Kia Kokalitcheva is a San Francisco-based reporter for Fortune Magazine where she covers Silicon Valley, technology, startups and everything in between. Previously, she covered similar topics for VentureBeat, an online technology publication. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she studied social sciences. She has a potentially unhealthy addiction to Twitter.

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    • Eric Savitz

      Eric Savitz PartnerBrunswick Group

      Eric J. Savitz joined Brunswick Group as a partner in the San Francisco office in March 2013. Before joining Brunswick, Eric spent 29 years as a reporter, columnist, blogger and editor for a variety of business publications. Most recently, he was San Francisco Bureau Chief for Forbes, where he managed coverage of the technology business and Silicon Valley for Forbes magazine and He also wrote The Tech Trade, a popular blog about tech investing, and penned stories and columns for Forbes magazine. Eric joined Forbes in November 2010 after a long career at Barron’s, where he covered the technology business, the stock market and other investment topics. Eric spent almost 20 years at Barron’s in two tours of duty, including 7 years in New York. During his years at Barron’s he launched Plugged In, a column about technology stocks, created Tech Trader Daily, a well-read tech investing blog, and wrote many cover stories and other articles. In between his two stretches at Barron’s, Eric spent three years as executive editor at The Industry Standard, an Internet bubble-era San Francisco-based magazine that covered the Internet economy. Eric also previously wrote a column on technology investing for Smart Money. He started his career at Dow Jones News Service. Savitz has been a frequent speaker and television and radio commentator on business- and technologyrelated issues. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was managing editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. A Philadelphia native and obsessive Phillies fan, Eric, his wife and three children live in Palo Alto.

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    • Owen Linderholm

      Owen Linderholm EditorYahoo! Small Business Advisor

      Owen Linderholm is the Editor for Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, the online destination for news, advice, and tools to help start, build and grow a busines s with a particular focus on small and early-stage businesses. He has over twenty years of editorial experience for business and technology organizations ranging from BYTE and PCWorld to the BBC. Microsoft and Yahoo.

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    • Scott Mace

      Scott Mace Senior Technology EditorHealthLeaders Media

      Scott Mace was born in Michigan and grew up in the Santa Clara Valley just before it turned to silicon. After studying writing and journalism at San Jose State University, he joined the computing trade publication InfoWorld in 1981 just before IBM introduced its Personal Computer. Over the next 14 years, he covered topics ranging from robotics to database management software, and also collected bylines in The Village Voice, The International Herald Tribune and Personal Computing magazine, among others. From 1985 to 1994, he resided in the Maryland area and also covered government procurement and regulation of technology. Returning to California in 1995, he led teams at InfoWorld’s Test Center conducting exhaustive comparisons of networking technology products. During the first wave of Internet adoption, he continued to write and report, organized events and produced podcasts for several companies. He focused on healthcare IT starting in 2004, freelancing for NurseWeek magazine. He also studied medical writing, completing a certificate in clinical trial design and management at UC San Diego Extension with an emphasis on medical devices. He rejoined the news business in 2012 with HealthLeaders Media. He is based in Alameda, California. About HealthLeaders Media HealthLeaders Media is a leading multi-platform media company dedicated to meeting the business information needs of healthcare executives and professionals. As an integrated media company, HealthLeaders Media consists of the following entities: HealthLeaders magazine, HealthLeaders Media Online, HealthLeaders Media Live, HealthLeaders Media Breakthroughs, the HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit, and California HealthFax. All are available on the Web at

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    • Mark Boslet

      Mark Boslet Senior EditorThe Venture Capital Journal and PEHub

      Mark is a long time technology and financial journalist, and currently a senior editor at The Venture Capital Journal and PEHub. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the San Jose Mercury News, The Industry Standard, Greentech Media and newspapers nationwide. Before joining The Venture Capital Journal, he was a bureau chief and senior writer at Dow Jones. He has received several awards for his industry coverage, including a Society of American Business Editors and Writers 2008 Best in Business award. Prior to covering technology, he served as a business and general-news reporter at newspapers including The Times Union of Jacksonville Florida and The Waterbury (CT) Republican-American.

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    • Rieva Lesonsky

      Rieva Lesonsky CEOGrowBiz Media

      Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content creation company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationallyknown speaker, best-selling author, and authority on entrepreneurship, Lesonsky has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur magazine.

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    • Ian Sherr

      Ian Sherr Executive EditorCNET News

      Ian Sherr is an executive editor for the west coast at CNET News. He writes about Facebook and manages coverage of video games, Internet giants, cybersecurity, the sharing economy, venture capital and wearable tech. Before that, Mr. Sherr wrote about consumer technology from The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco bureau. While there, he covered a broad array of topics ranging from video games to smartphones, tablets and computers made by Apple, Dell and H-P. He's also covered microchip companies and the retail sector for Reuters News, and before that he was a regular contributor at the Agence France-Presse.

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    • Nir Eyal

      Nir Eyal Author of "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products"

      Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir is also an advisor to several Bay Area start-ups, venture capitalists, and incubators. In addition to blogging at, Nir is a contributing writer for TechCrunch, Inc.and Psychology Today. Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.

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    • Bill Reichert

      Bill Reichert Managing DirectorGarage Technology Ventures

      Bill Reichert is Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a leading seed-stage and early-stage venture capital fund, based in Silicon Valley. Garage makes seed investments in promising early stage technology companies and works intensively with them to help them to the next step. Some of Garage’s most successful startups include Pandora, Tripwire, LeftHand Networks, Coremetrics, Hoku Scientific, Kaboodle, WhiteHat Security and Simply Hired. Bill has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur and operating executive. Prior to joining Garage in 1998, Bill was a co-founder and senior executive at several early-stage, venture-backed technology companies, including Trademark Software, The Learning Company, Infa Technologies, and Academic Systems.   Earlier in his career, Bill worked at McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles, the World Bank in Washington, DC, and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. Bill earned his BA from Harvard University and his MBA from Stanford University. Email:, Desk: 650.383.5659, Twitter: @billreichert, Website:

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    • Ho Nam

      Ho Nam General PartnerAltos Ventures

      Ho Nam is a General Partner of Altos Ventures, focusing on investments in the areas of software, mobile, and internet technologies. He currently serves as a director of Accolo, DigitalPath, Lohika, Trilibis Mobile, TVU Networks, and WhiteHat Security. Ho led the firm’s prior investments in Axis Systems (Cadence), Enwisen (Infor), Evolve (Oracle), Immunet (Sourcefire), (Real Networks), Nishan Systems (Brocade), Pixo (Sun) and SayNow (Google). Ho began his VC career at Trinity Ventures and began his professional career at Bain & Company where he advised clients in technology and consumer products industries. Before co-founding Altos Ventures, Ho worked at Silicon Graphics and Octel Communications. Ho received an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.

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    • Joel Eriksson

      Joel Eriksson Creandum

      Joel is with Creandum (, a leading European Venture Capital fund with $400M under management and investments such as Spotify, Tictail, Neo4j and Vivino. Before joining Creandum, Joel worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the seed fund Nebula Ventures where he founded UBI Global ( During his career he also founded a technology consulting firm working with strategy and technology spin-off projects for some of the Nordic’s largest corporations such as Sandvik, Cloetta, and Stora Enso. Joel studied Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, where he has been back as a guest lecturer teaching about Venture Capital. He is based at Creandum’s Silicon Valley office and is spending a lot of time on Blockchain and Virtual Reality Technologies.

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    • Carey Lai

      Carey Lai Intel Capital

      Carey Lai joined Intel Capital in July 2011 and has over ten years of venture capital and technology experience. He focuses on Internet-Enabled Consumer and Marketing Services, Digital Media, Technology-Enabled Cloud Services and Virally-Adopted Software. His currently portfolio include 500Friends, Box, BrightEdge, Nexmo, Sprinklr, SweetLabs, and UUCUN. Prior to Intel Capital, Carey worked at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) where he focused on rapidly growing later-stage and growth-equity investments in Internet & Software companies. He actively worked with the following IVP portfolio companies: ConnectAndSell, Cortina Systems, Hands-On Mobile (RYOU), LiveOps, MotoSport (LINTA), Synchronoss Technologies (SNCR) and Varolii. He also actively participated in venture investments in the following companies: ArcSight (HPQ), (DEXO), Concur (CNQR), Danger (MSFT), eHealth (EHTH), Data Domain (EMC), HomeAway (AWAY), MarkMonitor (TRI), Mobile365 (SAP), Motion Computing, SuccessFactors (SFSF), Tripwire (Thoma Bravo), and Yodlee. Carey also worked in the Technology Investment Banking Group at Banc of America Securities as a Financial Analyst focused on the Software and Financial Technology sectors. His transaction experience included offerings for some of the leading technology companies in the country, including Blackbaud Software (BLKB), Computer Associates (CA), Hewlett Packard (HPQ), Sungard Data Systems (SDS), and Tibco Software (TIBX).

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    • Sharon Wienbar

      Sharon Wienbar ScaleVP

      Sharon invests in Mobile and Internet companies at ScaleVP. She sits on the boards of Actiance, Applause, Everyday Health, and The Lucky Group. Prior to ScaleVP in 2001, Sharon was Vice President, Marketing for Critical Path and Amplitude Software. She spent most of the 1990’s at Adobe Systems, starting as Product Manager for Asian Products and later led marketing for many of Adobe’s applications, and spearheaded numerous cross-product initiatives. Before her technology line experience, Sharon practiced strategy consulting at Bain & Company for nearly five years.

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    • Patricia Nakache

      Patricia Nakache General PartnerTrinity Ventures

      Since joining Trinity Ventures in 1999, Patricia has focused on funding companies launching innovative online consumer and business services. She is particularly interested in the impact of mobile and social media on the next generation of Internet services. Patricia has active investments in Eat Club, Kixeye, Lucky Group, Owler, RelayRides, Ruby Ribbon, and ThredUp, and was previously involved with Affinity Labs (acquired by Monster Worldwide), (CRCM), LoopNet (LOOP), MyNewPlace (acquired by RealPage) and Sabrix (acquired by Thomson Reuters, TRI) and PayScale (acquired by Warburg Pincus). Prior to Trinity Ventures, Patricia worked at McKinsey & Company, helping enterprises in technology, financial services, and retailing identify and address their strategic and operational issues. Previously, she also contributed to FORTUNE magazine and other publications on management best practices in technology companies. Patricia received her M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her A.B. in Physics and Chemistry from Harvard University. Email: Twitter: @pnakache

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    • Sandhya Venkatachalam

      Sandhya Venkatachalam Co-Founding PartnerCenterview

      Sandhya has extensive experience building and investing in new businesses. Sandhya co-founded Centerview Capital, a leading growth equity firm that provides late-stage capital to fast growing, category defining, private technology companies. Prior, Sandhya was VP of Monetization Products, and Head of Corporate Development for Skype, where she built a new $100 million B2B business and facilitated Skype’s sale to Microsoft for $8.5 billion. Sandhya has also held senior executive roles in Cisco’s Corporate Development group and at Andiamo Systems, a leading datacenter startup that was acquired by Cisco. Sandhya holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.

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    • Alison Wagonfeld

      Alison Wagonfeld Operating PartnerEmergence Capital

      Alison is an Operating Partner at Emergence Capital. She is part of the investment team and works with the Emergence portfolio companies on marketing, strategy, talent/recruiting, and resource development. The San Francisco Business Journal named Alison one of the “Most Influential Women in the Bay Area” in 2014. Prior to joining Emergence, Alison was the Executive Director of the Harvard Business School California Research Center located in Menlo Park, California. In this role, she was responsible for developing and writing over 100 business case studies and research materials about entrepreneurship. Prior to Alison’s role with HBS, Alison worked at Intuit, where she co-founded QuickenLoans. Alison was also the SVP of marketing and business development at, an online car sales company, incubated by Kleiner Perkins, which was later acquired by CarsDirect (Internet Brands). Alison has also worked in the mergers & acquisitions group at Morgan Stanley (in New York and Hong Kong), and as a product manager at Microsoft. Alison received her B.A. from Yale University and her MBA from Harvard Business School.

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