The landscape has shifted dramatically since our dinner on corporate development and M&A last year. With a series of newly minted public companies (and a few more companies to come), how should entrepreneurs think about things? We’re bringing together new friends and old from big players like Twitter and Facebook for a lively panel discussion about this new world.
This month, we’re building on April’s discussion on Interaction Design by inviting BJ Fogg, head of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, to share how Behavior Design should change the way that you think about users, design and the way you launch (and relaunch) your product.
His approach will change the way you think about why products like Zynga, Instagram, Groupon and Facebook are effective. It is no accident; students of his are working at all of those companies.
BJ taught the first Facebook App class at Stanford in 2007 and he’s spent the last decade understanding how software can create new habits. He makes a persuasive case that most startups spend too much of their time working on the wrong approaches to getting traction. Instead, he suggests a behavior-centric way of thinking that asks exactly what startups want users to do and focuses on the triggers to get them there.
Fortune magazine says that he’s “one of the most sought-after thinkers in Silicon Valley” and named him one of their “10 Gurus You Should Know.” Students from his Stanford Facebook App class convinced 16 million people to install apps that they built during his 10 week course. He spends most of his time split between teaching at Stanford and consulting with companies like Nike and eBay. You can read more about him at his website or twitter feed.
We’re in the middle of a series on core issues for startups. This time we’ll cover interaction design. We’ve invited the lead designers responsible for Facebook, Mint and Posterous to give us their point of view on designing great products, hiring great designers (and figuring out if they are any good), the value of A/B testing and what drives great designers crazy. Plus they’ll answer your burning questions.
Kate Aronowitz is Director of Design and User Experience at Facebook, where she leads a team of designers, researchers, engineers and content strategists. Prior to Facebook, Kate was the first Director of Design at LinkedIn, where she helped build and establish their design and user research group. Previously, she managed design teams at eBay. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from The Savannah College of Art and Design.
Jason Putorti was lead designer at Mint.com from early 2007 through launch and acquisition in November 2009. After Mint.com, he was Designer-in-Residence at Bessemer Venture Partners. He’s now co-founder of Votizen and on the side runs elegant.ly, a resource for startups to pitch great designers.
Garry Tan is designer-in-residence at Y Combinator. Previously, he cofounded Posterous and helped build it to a world-class website used by millions. He also cofounded the engineering team for Palantir Technology’s quant analysis platform. He was named among BusinessWeek’s Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs of 2010, Inc Magazine’s 2010 list of 30 under 30, Advertising Age Magazine’s 2010 Creativity 50, and Business Insider’s 2011 30 Under 30 Who Are Shaking Up Industries.
We’re starting the year off with a return to the core issues that face startups. First up: engineering.
We’re pleased that Yishan Wong has agreed to be interviewed on starting, building and nurturing startup engineering organizations. He’s got some insight into these issues as he was Director of Engineering at Facebook. From 2005 to 2010, he worked on many of Facebook’s key challenges: mobile, ads, payments, platform, applications, hiring and internationalization. He’s currently spending time at Sunfire Offices, a co-working space in Mountain View that he co-founded. He started his professional career as a Senior Engineering Manager at PayPal.
You can get a sense of Yishan’s perspectives on startups and engineering at Quora or about his background at TechCrunch.
Dave McClure will lead a lively interview with Yishan on topics such as recruiting and hiring, Yishan’s pre-Facebook social dating site, mentoring engineering managers and the engineer’s way to scale a business.
Who needs the public markets? IPOs are so last century. The secondary market for stock in private companies has created an opportunity for shareholders to get liquidity once again, and investors are jumping in head first. But how can companies benefit from the secondary market? How do you sell your shares on a secondary market? How are shares valued, and what are the mechanics behind the secondary market? Or perhaps you’d just like to know how you can buy some of these elusive shares? For good measure we’ll be selling shares of the top five start-ups in Silicon Valley to all attendees! I bet that got your attention, didn’t it? Well, we might not be selling start-ups shares at the event, but Barry Silbert, founder of SecondMarket, will be educating all of us on how we can buy and sell start-up shares of some of the hottest companies by talking about a world he invented six years ago.
Barry Silbert is the Founder and CEO of SecondMarket, the world’s largest marketplace for buying and selling illiquid financial assets, including private company stock. Founded in 2004, SecondMarket has conducted billions of dollars in transactions across nine different asset classes. Since 2009, more than $350 million in private company stock traded over SecondMarket in numerous venture-backed companies, including Facebook, Zynga, Twitter and LinkedIn. SecondMarket’s customized liquidity programs provide private companies with an effective way to organize and control secondary activity in their shares.
Please join us for a special evening event at the estate of Woodside Capital partner Kelly Porter. Our newest sponsor, Michael Marquez from CODE Advisors, has assembled six giants of corporate development on one stage: Cisco, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo!
Our discussion will center on the new world of acquisitions. Our esteemed panel will share what each of their companies are looking for, what has and hasn’t worked in the past, and where they see the acquisition landscape going in the future.
Now more than ever we are seeing acquisitions for talent, where teams are purchased and products end of life’d. We are also seeing far more acquisitions where products are rebuilt from scratch inside the new company. As new industries form around mobile and social, companies are transforming themselves by acquiring the focus and momentum of those brave enough to risk tackling new markets. You will likely never see a line up like this again, so RSVP early to reserve your spot in the grand ballroom.
Derek Idemoto, Cisco
Derek Idemoto is the Director of Corporate Development at Cisco Systems, and is responsible for driving Cisco’s strategy, acquisitions and investments across the consumer and digital media markets. Prior to joining Cisco, Derek was Managing Director of Venture Investment for ITOCHU Technology, the Silicon Valley-based technology venture capital investment and business development arm of ITOCHU Corporation. Prior to joining ITOCHU Technology, Derek was Vice President of Corporate Development at Overture Services, the pioneer of commercial search services on the Internet. Derek received a B.S. in finance and marketing from U.C. Berkeley an M.B.A. from The Anderson School at UCLA where he was a Venture Fellow.
Michael Brown, Facebook
Michael Brown is Manager of Corporate Development at Facebook. Mike’s primary responsibilities at Facebook include acquisitions and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Facebook, Mike was a Principal at Foundation Capital, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley where he led numerous investments in the consumer Internet sector. Mike started his career at McKinsey & Company in the Firm’s San Francisco office. Mike is an investor in and/or active advisor to a number of Silicon Valley companies including Counsyl, RockYou, Structural Wealth Management, Satisfaction Inc., Tapulous, and Brilliant Earth. Mike attended Yale University and Stanford Business School.
Amin Zoufonoun, Google
Amin Zoufonoun joined Google in 2003, and is a senior member of its Corporate Development team, which is responsible for evaluating, negotiating and executing Google’s mergers, acquisitions and investments. He has led several of Google’s key strategic acquisitions and investments both in the U.S. and internationally, including Google’s first acquisition of a publicly traded company (On2). Previous to Google, Amin was a practicing attorney, both in-house and at a number of Silicon Valley law firms. Amin holds bachelors degree in electrical engineering as well as a Juris Doctor (law) degree.
Fritz Lanman, Microsoft
Fritz Lanman is Senior Director in Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions at Microsoft, where his responsibility spans strategy development across Microsoft divisions, advisory to the CFO, CEO and Board of Directors as well as Corporate Development for Board level deals. He especially focuses on Microsoft’s emerging businesses in Search, Advertising, Mobile and Entertainment and he has worked on several large deals for Microsoft including Facebook and Yahoo.
Jessica Verrilli, Twitter
Jessica works on Corporate Development, New Business Development, and Special Projects at Twitter. She has played an influential role in the company’s search partnerships, Series E financing, and acquisitions. She is currently working on new commercial programs and ongoing M&A. Jessica joined Twitter from Venrock, a venture capital firm, where she focused on technology and healthcare investment opportunities. Jessica is a graduate of Stanford University where she was a Division I lacrosse player and a Mayfield Fellow.
Taylor Barada, Yahoo!
In his current role, Taylor works with the Americas and Global Product orgs at Yahoo! leading strategic analysis/execution of acquisitions, divestitures, investments and other strategic relationships. Recent transactions include the sale of Zimbra to VMware and the acquisition of Citizen Sports. Prior to Yahoo! he worked as an investor, consultant, and operator at Rosewood Capital, Bain & Company, and Peregrine Systems. Taylor started his career as a professional soccer player and was a three time National Champion at the University of Virginia while completing his B.A. in History and Foreign Affairs.
The venture capital industry in the midst of a dramatic transition as prominent firms have shut down and new ones have risen. What’s going to happen? Does it change how entrepreneurs should work with Angels and VCs? Does it change how they should choose firms?
We’ve asked three great–and outspoken–investors to give help us figure out what it all means. John Malloy (BlueRun), David Lee (SV Angels) and Steve Harrick (IVP) have invested in startups like PayPal, MySQL, Twitter, Spiceworks, Hunch and Slide. They’ll give a candid inside view into what the landscape looks like now for VCs and what has changed–and what has not changed–in the way that startups should raise money and find partners.
Join us for a lively panel and discussion on the new VC at our first dinner of the summer.
Steve Harrick joined Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) in October 2001 and has over twelve years of venture capital experience. He focuses on investing in later-stage technology companies with exceptional growth potential. Steve was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world by his inclusion in the 2009 Forbes Midas List. He was also recognized by AlwaysOn as one of the top 100 venture capitalists by his inclusion in the AlwaysOn 2009 VC 100 List.
Steve led IVP’s investments in Aster Data Systems, Business.com (acquired by R.H. Donnelley Corp.), CafePress.com, eHealth (EHTH), MarkMonitor, Motion Computing, MySQL (acquired by Sun Microsystems, Inc.), RGB Networks, Spiceworks, Teros (acquired by Citrix Systems, Inc.), Tripwire, Varolii and WebEx (WEBX). He was actively involved in IVP’s investments in ArcSight (ARST), Danger (acquired by Microsoft Corp.) and Yext. Steve currently serves on the Board of Directors of MarkMonitor and Spiceworks and is a Board Observer for Aster Data Systems, Tripwire and Varolii.
David Lee is General Partner of SV Angel, an angel fund that focuses on investments in the consumer Internet, mobile, video and other IT industries. Some current investments include Twitter, Hunch.com, StackOverflow, NowMov and DailyBooth. Prior to SV Angel, he was a partner at Baseline Ventures, a leading seed-stage investment firm with investments in companies like TrialPay, Aardvark (acquired by Google), Heroku and Weebly. He also had business development leadership positions at StumbleUpon and Google, and was an attorney at Morrison and Foerster representing high-tech companies in commercial transactions. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, NYU (JD) and Stanford (MSEE), where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate fellow.
John is a General Partner and co-founder of BlueRun Ventures, formed in 1998. John’s commitment to entrepreneurs and their market vision is reflected by his thoughtful, passionate and consistent efforts to help founding teams reach the full potential of their endeavors.
John brings global operations and marketing experience into such investment areas as internet services, digital media and mobile broadband services. He has more than 20 years’ experience as an executive, entrepreneur, investor, and director of venture-backed start-ups, and has served on the boards of more than 20 companies. Most notably, he was the first venture investor and board member in Paypal, for which he was named on Forbes’ Midas List of Top Venture Capitalists.
Some of John’s current investments and boards include Chomp, Slide, Topsy, Varolii and FusionOne.
Prior to founding BRV, John served in management and executive roles with Nokia, Go Communications and MCI. He holds a J.D. from George Mason University and B.A. from Boston College.
Want to know how Mark Fletcher got 10x more people to help him start his new company at 1/10th the cost of his last one? For our January dinner, we have invited Mark, founder of ONEList (now Yahoo! Groups) and Bloglines, to walk through the choices he made with each startup including the stealth project he is working on right now. From databases to design, hiring to financing, Mark will share his own personal stories of what worked and what didn’t. Most importantly, he’ll share his latest secrets for getting a product up and running on almost nothing.
In 2003, Mark Fletcher started Bloglines, a free web-based news aggregation service. Using Bloglines, users can search, subscribe to, share and publish blogs and RSS feeds. Bloglines was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Web Sites for 2004, and was named the Best Blog/Feed Search Engine by the Search Engine Watch Awards in 2005. In February, 2005, Bloglines was acquired by Ask Jeeves, where Mark served as VP & General Manager of Bloglines until May, 2006.
In 1997, Mark started ONElist, a free Internet email list service. To that point, email lists had been difficult to set up and administer. Through ONElist, Mark set out to make email lists available to even novice users. As CEO, Mark raised money from CMGI and Bertelsmann Ventures in 1998. The service was the category leader from the beginning and in November 1999, ONElist acquired eGroups, its main competition. Yahoo acquired the resulting company, renamed eGroups, in June 2000 and the service is now called Yahoo Groups. At acquisition, eGroups served twenty million active users, one million email lists, and sent out over two billion email messages a month, making it one of the largest services on the Internet. Mark served as CEO of ONElist from inception until October 1999 and was CTO until the acquisition by Yahoo.
Prior to ONElist, Mark was a Senior Software Engineer for Sun Microsystems, where he worked on web enabled set top boxes. He came to Sun through the acquisition of Diba, a Menlo Park, CA startup working to develop an embedded web surfing software and hardware system. At Diba, Mark developed key embedded web browser technologies.