Ayah Bdeir is an engineer and interactive artist who does not believe in boundaries set by disciplines or cultures. With an upbringing between Lebanon, Canada and the US, Bdeir’s work uses experimental tools to look at deliberate and subconscious representations of identity.
Bdeir received her masters degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and Sociology from the American University of Beirut. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA and is part of the museum’s permanent collection. Other exhibits include her first solo show “Identities in Motion” at the Peacock Visual Arts gallery (Aberdeen), the New Museum (New York), Ars Electronica (Linz), Badcuyp and the Royal College of Art (London). Bdeir has been featured in the New York Times Magazine (2011), Inc Magazine (2011), BBC (2011), Elle Oriental (2010), Art Asia Pacific (2009), among others.
In 2008, Bdeir was awarded a fellowship at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center and taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons. She has lectured extensively and taught numerous workshops to get non-engineers, and particularly young girls, interested in science and technology. Bdeir was a mentor in the regional reality tv-show Stars of Science (initiated by Qatar Foundation) promoting science and technology innovation in the Middle East. She has an ongoing affiliation with Eyebeam as an honorary fellow.
In 2010, Bdeir was granted a fellowship with Creative Commons in recognition of her work, including spearheading the first Open Hardware definition and co-chairing the Open Hardware Summit at the New York Hall of Science in September of 2010 and 2011. Just recently, Bdeir was awarded the highly prestigious TED fellowship, as one of 25 innovators in 2012 from around the world.
Bdeir is the creator of littleBits, an award-winning kit of pre-assembled circuits that snap together with tiny magnets. She is also the founder of Karaj, Beirut’s lab for experimental art, architecture.
Founder & CEO, fuseproject
Renowned designer Yves Behar brings more than twenty years of product design, branding, user experience and communications work to August. He is the founder and CEO of fuseproject, a design and branding firm he established in 1999.
He is also chief creative officer at Jawbone, where for the last 11 years his products, brand and communications work has helped the company become a leader in wearable and audio consumer electronics. Behar is also the creative co-founder of OUYA, an open sourced gaming platform. In addition, he is currently the artist trustee of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and was named a Top 25 Visionary by TIME Magazine.
Founder and Managing Partner, SoftTech VC
Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, one of the most established seed VC firms in Silicon Valley, having closed 150 investments since 2004. An early angel investor in Web 2.0, Jeff and his team have backed successful startups like Mint (Intuit), Kongregate (GameStop), Brightroll, Milo (eBay), Wildfire (Google), Bleacher Report (Turner), Fitbit, Eventbrite, Sendgrid, Fab, Poshmark and Class Dojo. The portfolio has also seen acquisitions by Groupon, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL. The firm is currently investing out of its $55M Fund III, making 20 commitments of $500K per year in mobile/cloud saas, monetization infrastructure, marketplaces and e-commerce.
Born, raised and educated in France, Jeff graduated with a MS in Computer Science and a degree in Distributed Computing. He joined Effix, a financial services startup, as one of the initial developers while still at school and eventually led it as CTO. After 5 years, Reuters acquired the company and Jeff expanded his remit to several product and development organizations in Europe and the USA. In 2000, he moved to Silicon Valley as General Partner for RVC, the $450M venture fund affiliated with Reuters.
In 2004, Jeff left RVC to start SoftTech VC and invest in the early pioneers of Consumer Internet. Within a couple of years, he was being recognized in the media as one of the “super angels”, and in 2007, he subsequently raised one of the first micro-VC funds, $15M Fund II. After three years, and 60+ investments closed on his own, Jeff built a team and raised a larger, $55M Fund III.
One of the early VC bloggers in 2004, Jeff is now a popular conference speaker and social media/TV commentator. When he is not spending time with SoftTech’s portfolio companies, Jeff enjoys traveling, skiing, scuba diving, collecting wine and hanging out with friends and family.
Founder and Managing Director, Shasta Ventures
Rob started his career as an aerospace engineer and automotive engine tester, then became an investor in early stage technology companies. He co-founded Shasta Ventures in 2005.
Rob is looking to work with entrepreneurs who are creating disruptive new approaches to mobile and networked devices, as well as technology applications that leverage novel infrastructure technologies in creative ways. He is particularly interested in high-risk startups that are rapidly scalable, impact the lives of millions of people and connect the “real world” to the Internet, whether via smart phones, low-cost sensors, or other innovative new devices. He focuses on smartphone-based businesses, collaborative consumption and The Internet of Things. His current companies include Nest, Mocana and Relay Rides.
Brady Forrest is the Head of the PCH Accelerator and is on the lookout for the next great piece of hardware.
He co-started and “shepherd” Ignite; he’s part of the team currently organizing Ignite SF. He’s a Venture Advisor to 500 Startups and spent some time on the Investment Staff at Khosla Ventures.
Formerly he was at O’Reilly and worked on a number of things including: the radar blog, Web 2.0 Expo, Where 2.0, ETech, and Foo Camp.
Vegas Tech Fund
Jen leads Vegas Tech Fund’s investments in the hardware space with Nimbus, a new early-stage portfolio focused on robotics, 3d printing, drones/UAVs, EVs, connected devices, hardware-as-a-service, internet of things, and smart home technologies.
She was previously an early ops employee at Romotive Inc., a personal robotics company Series A funded by Sequoia.
McCabe founded now-dark Contagion Health, a Y Combinator 2010 company. Contagion received seed funding from Founders Fund Angel and Esther Dyson before merging with Healthmonth in summer 2011 to form Habit Labs Inc.
Before Contagion, Jen worked in healthcare management and administration for a Unity Healthcare facility in Washington, DC, where she also served on 2 nonprofit boards.
Venture Partner, New Enterprise Associates
As Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Sun, Greg Papadopoulos directs the company’s approximate $2B R&D portfolio with an eye toward innovation, simplicity, and eco-responsibility. With more than 20 years experience in the technology industry, Papadopoulos is responsible for managing Sun’s technology decisions and architecture. His team leads Sun Labs, the DARPA High Performance Computing Systems program, global engineering architecture and advanced development programs.
Passionate about technology and its possibilities, Papadopoulos supports open development models that stimulate communication, creativity and innovation, which he promotes through his blog, Greg Matter, as well as numerous speaking engagements. View Gallery Images [View Gallery Images] [View Gallery Images] [View Gallery Images] During his tenure with Sun, Papadopoulos has held several positions, including vice president of technology and advanced development for the company’s systems business, chief scientist for server systems engineering, and chief scientist for enterprise servers and storage. Before joining Sun in 1994, Papadopoulos was senior architect and director of product strategy for Thinking Machines, where he led the design of the CM6 massively parallel supercomputer.
Papadopoulos was an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, where he conducted research in scalable systems, multi threaded/data flow processor architecture, functional and declarative languages, and fault-tolerant computing. Papadopoulos also worked as a development engineer at Hewlett-Packard and Honeywell, where he designed flight-control systems for Boeing jetliners. He co-founded three companies: PictureTel (video conferencing), Ergo (high-end PCs) and Exa Corporation (computational fluid dynamics).
Papadopoulos participates in several associations, including serving as chairman of the board for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and as a member of the President’s Board on Science and Innovation at the University of California. Greg acts as a technical advisor for BP and Alien Technologies.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in systems science from the University of California at San Diego, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.
CEO and Co-Founder, MakerBot
Bre Pettis makes things that make things. Passionate about invention, innovation, and all things DIY, Pettis builds infrastructure for creativity.
He is a founder of Makerbot, a company that produces robots that make things, and a founder of NYCResistor, a hacker collective in Brooklyn.
Besides being a TV host and video podcast producer, he has created new media for Etsy.com, hosted Make’s podcast Weekend Projects, and has been a schoolteacher, artist, and puppeteer.
CEO and co-founder, Indiegogo
Slava Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way that people fund what matters to them, and has led the organization to becoming the largest crowdfunding platform in the world. Slava is responsible for executing the company’s strategic growth initiatives, while overseeing all daily operations of the business.
Prior to Indiegogo, Slava was a strategy consultant working on behalf clients such as MasterCard and FedEx for over a decade. He is also the founder of “Music Against Myeloma,” an annual charity event that raises funds and awareness for cancer research.
Slava represented the crowdfunding industry at the White House during the signing of the JOBS Act and has played a crucial role in working with the White House and the SEC to finalize the rules and regulations for equity crowdfunding. He was named one of Fortune’s “40 under 40” in September 2013 and frequently speaks at events across the globe including SXSW, Google I/O, Thomas Friedman’s Global Forum and the Bloomberg Next Big Thing Summit.
Slava graduated with a B.S.E. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He currently travels back and forth between Indiegogo’s San Francisco and New York offices.
Co-Founder & CEO, Anki
As an engineer and researcher with experience in building diverse robotic systems—from consumer products to off-road autonomous vehicles and bomb-disposal robots—Boris is making it his life’s work to create products that people would not expect to be possible.
Prior to founding Anki, Boris worked at iRobot and Neato Robotics. He earned a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University.
Boris debuted Anki’s vision to bring robotics out of the labs and into people’s lives at Apple’s WWDC event in June 2013.
Managing Director, FirstMark Capital
Matt Turck is Managing Director of FirstMark Capital.
Previously, he was the Managing Director at Bloomberg Ventures, and before that, co-founder of TripleHop Technologies, acquired by Oracle.
Matt is founder of two large New York tech community events: Data Driven NYC (all things data) and Hardwired NYC (Internet of Things, 3D printing, open hardware, etc.).
He is also an angel investor, advisor and mentor at various NYC accelerators (Techstars, NYC Venture Fellows, ERA, Dreamit, First Growth Venture Network, etc.).
Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Trae Vassallo is a Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Since joining the firm in 2002, Trae has put her technical and entrepreneurial background to work with companies in two main areas of focus: Greentech and Consumer Internet. Trae works closely with the management teams of Ausra, utility grade solar provider; Altarock Energy, geothermal development company; Fisker Automotive, extended electric luxury automotive company; Terralliance, technology driven O&G exploration; GloriOil, enhanced oil extraction using biotechnology; Aggregate Knowledge, a platform for online discovery; and Cooliris, an incubation focused on a new browsing UI with several recent Stanford grads.
Trae is currently focusing on opportunities where Green and Consumer intersect. Her most recent investment is RecycleBank, an incentive program that rewards consumers for recycling.
Prior to KPCB, Trae was a co-founder of Good Technology, a KPCB portfolio company (acquired by Motorola) that provides an end-to-end wireless corporate email solution. While at Good, Trae helped orchestrate the development of the G100 handheld device. Prior to Good Technology, Trae worked as a design engineer at IDEO Product Development where she developed a range of products including the PalmV, the Dell Latitude Docking station and many others. Trae holds 13 patents.
Trae earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with honors from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Trae is passionate about new technology, good design and spending time with her husband, Steve, and two children.