The Conference for Startups
Who Want to Succeed with Investors
Nov 14, 2018


Tom O'Malley

Tom O'Malley LinkedIn

CEO, Convetit

Technology, Sustainability and Innovation Enthusiast. Move with an unreasonable sense of urgency.

Anita Gardyne

Anita Gardyne LinkedIn

CEO, Oneva

Proven Chief Executive Officer building a patented enterprise grade in home services platform. Mentored by Fred Thiele, Microsoft GM Benefits and Team to design and operate a mobile responsive PAAS. Visionary Skilled in Fund Raising, Collaborating, Negotiating, Business Planning, Enterprise Sales, Talent Acquisition & Management, and Go to Market tactical Marketing that aligns with overall corporate Strategy. Serial entrepreneur with a MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Don Ross

Don Ross LinkedIn

Life Science Angels

Don is an active startup investor and his personal investments include digital health, social networks, diagnostics, medical devices, and software companies. When appropriate, he assembles investment syndicates among angel groups and with venture capital firms.

Don is Board Director and Managing Partner Digital Health at Life Sciences Angels. He also is member and co-founder HealthTech Capital, member and former board director Sand Hill Angels, and member Sierra Angels. Don serves on several company boards and is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and startup investing.

Don has worked in healthcare for over 35 years. In digital health, Don pioneered software for psychological testing and anxiety interventions, health risk appraisal, health behavior change, and blood pressure monitoring. Don subsequently co-founded a healthcare publishing company, funded it internally, and managed it for 15 years until acquisition. Publications were sponsored by major pharmaceutical companies and focused on general health issues as well as specific topics, such as allergy and asthma, skin care, psychopharmacology, and kidney health.

Don is a published author, with articles, software, NIH-adopted literature, and two college-level nutrition textbooks (now in 6th editions). He is an honors graduate from UC Berkeley (architecture).

Bill Reichert

Bill Reichert LinkedIn

Garage Technology Ventures

Entrepreneur, venture capitalist, mentor, author, speaker, board member, advisor, educator, partner, spouse, parent, and general enthusiast. Not always in that order.

I love to work with great entrepreneurs to build great companies.

Specialties: Seed stage and early stage emerging technology companies across information technology, energy tech, materials science, edtech, and fintech, among other sectors.

Philosophy: Successful entrepreneurs focus on the disciplined growth and development of their value proposition, strategy, team, operations, finance, sales and marketing.

Ron Weissman

Ron Weissman LinkedIn

Dr. Ronald Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in investment and executive management. Since 2000 he has been a partner at a global venture capital and private equity firm, Apax Partners, where he focused cross-border deals and portfolio support and on software investing. Through his VC and his angel activity Ron has invested in or advised more than 60 companies and has served on more than 25 private companies. His investment focus is on software, analytics, SaaS, text technologies and health IT. He is Chairman of the Software Special Interest Group of the Band of Angels, Silicon Valley’s oldest Angel group and a model for angel groups worldwide. His most recent angel investments include Decision Next (supply chain analytics), Practice Fusion (electronic medical records), Navera (employee benefits portfolio management), Gainsight (customer revenue optimization), Poetic Brands (food products), Wingtip (hybrid men’s furnishings and men’s club) Taulia (dynamic invoicing and payment management) and Sonim (ruggedized telephony). Before joining Verity, Ron spent more than five years working directly for Steve Jobs at NeXT, where he managed European and corporate marketing.

A business advisor and frequent conference speaker, Ron has published and lectured extensively on venture capital and angel investing, entrepreneurship, corporate governance and software trends. He frequently guest lectures at Stanford and UC Berkeley and at the University of Santa Clara’s Law School and Business School on venture capital and on corporate governance. He is currently advising public storage leader Western Digital’s HGST business unit on its vertical market strategy a private, venture-funded technology leader Druva on its core markets, a European leader in maritime commercial applications of the Internet of Things and an award-winning Canadian bioscience firm exploring the predictive use of Big Data to drug toxicity.

Max Shapiro

Max Shapiro LinkedIn

Keiretsu Forum

Max is a member of Keiretsu Forum, a global investment community of accredited private equity angel investors, venture capitalists, and corporate/institutional investors.

Max is also the founder and CEO of PeopleConnect, bringing remarkable energy, a rare blend of experience, a sense of creativity, and a tenaciousness that has made it possible for many startups and established companies to add key talent to their teams. A lifelong entrepreneur, a consummate networker and a business strategist, Max understands the minds and passions of startups and companies focused on growth. Max has always been an expert in finding talent; he was the youngest talent scout in the history of the NBA, serving as Chief Scout for the Phoenix Suns. He owned and operated a company that produced sports camps for children, and baseball and basketball fantasy camps for adults, where he partnered with some of the biggest names in sports, including Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, John Wooden, and Billy Casper. Max founded PeopleConnect Staffing in 1998, where he currently focuses on business development and client relations. He is an active member of several angel investment groups, and his passion for finding talent extends to introducing PeopleConnect clients to the professional resources they need to bring their company to the next level.

Leon Wong

Leon Wong LinkedIn

Harvard Angels

Leon Wang, led a $100M P&L, doubled profitability and closed deals with Fortune 500 companies and developed and commercialized new products & services resulting in tens of millions in revenue & profits. He also generated successful products and valuable IP, contributing to successful startup exits (IPO, acquisition). He has also earned rapid promotions, performance awards and US patents. His extensive multi-functional experience includes business model development, strategy, product development, product management, product marketing, corporate marketing, digital marketing and business development in US, Europe and Asia for both consumer and B2B experience.

Leon has an MBA from Harvard Business School and B.S. Electrical Engineering Computer Science, UC Berkeley. He is an active member of HBS Alumni Angels (aka Harvard Alumni Angels).

Ali Rizvi

Ali Rizvi LinkedIn


Founder & CEO - TrueRev ( Cloud-based Subscription Management software (and more) for small and medium sized businesses. Sales order management, milestone billing schedules, guided revenue recognition, sales commission calculations, and financial metrics, all tied together in one cloud based solution!

Nearly two decades of experience as a finance and accounting executive at numerous early stage venture-backed technology companies.

Marcia Dawood

Marcia Dawood LinkedIn

Marcia Dawood was a Managing Director in two angel investment groups, BlueTree Allied Angels and Golden Seeds. For BlueTree, she is also the Chairman of the Education Committee and served on the deal flow and screening committees as well as actively leads due diligence projects. Marcia has experience evaluating and mentoring startup companies and investment opportunities She supports women led, impact as well as tech/life sciences and overall fun companies and is passionate about education as well as investment.

Marcia has taken an active role in serving as the syndication lead between BlueTree and Golden Seeds bringing the two groups together to collaborate and optimize deal flow and due diligence information.

Marcia also serves on the Board of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), an organization that represents over 12,000 accredited investor members, 220 angel groups and accredited platforms that have invested in well over 10,000 entrepreneurial companies.

Marcia is currently General Partner, MINDSHIFT Capital. She co-founded Enova Funds I and II at BlueTree Capital and is part of the investment committee of Next Wave Impact Fund I. She is also a member of Golden Seeds. Her position as board member/membership chair of the Angel Capital Association gives her a vast global network of early stage deal flow.

Rachel Star

Rachel Star LinkedIn

Rachel’s passion for business lies at the intersection of products and people. She’s spent her career working with consumer businesses — most recently on the Corporate Strategy team at Nordstrom. Before that, she received an “education” in business as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., with a focus on consumer brands, retailers, supply chain, and manufacturing.

Rachel delights in working with entrepreneurs and hearing about new businesses. Before moving to San Francisco, she was an active volunteer with Ventures, a Seattle-based organization that helps low-income entrepreneurs build their businesses. She was also a part of the team that launched SparkTruck, a non-profit organization that brought design-thinking curriculum to students across the country via a mobile classroom.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Rachel holds a B.S. degree in Engineering. She double majored in Manufacturing and Design, Psychology. As president of Consultants Advising Student Enterprises, she helped student groups and local businesses expand their reach and impact. She is a frequent speaker on design thinking /human-centered design and has given talks at TED events, the Aspen Institute and Autodesk University.

Rachel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place that has given her a deep appreciation for the entrepreneurial journey. Given her interests in the consumer space and her prior work experiences, it should come as no surprise that Rachel is an avid online shopper and loves discovering new brands and products.

Neeraj Bhardwaj

Neeraj Bhardwaj LinkedIn

Neeraj Bhardwaj is the Co-founder and President of Loto Labs, creators of the ultimate induction vaporizer. Neeraj successfully took Loto Labs from a crowdfunded idea to a ventured backed organization with patented technology and consumer products.

Prior to starting Loto Labs, Neeraj worked throughout Silicon Valley for several semiconductor companies, leading Business Developement organizations. Outside of work you can find him on the ice, playing goalie for various hockey leagues. He received his MBA from Santa Clara University and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University.

Craig Lang

Craig Lang LinkedIn

DLA Piper

Craig Lang is a partner whose practice focuses on representing venture capital investors, corporate venture investors, and emerging growth companies through the corporate life cycle.

In his twenty years practicing law in Silicon Valley, Craig has worked with a wide variety of companies from startup companies to larger, public companies.

Prior to joining DLA Piper as a partner, Craig worked as general counsel at Oak Investment Partners, a large venture capital firm, structuring and closing hundreds of venture financings. Prior to Oak, Craig spent a number of years practicing corporate law at another leading Silicon Valley law firm where his focus included venture capital investments, public offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and emerging growth company representation.

Nancy Hayes

After serving as a senior executive in a Fortune 5 corporation, CEO of 2 non-profit organizations, dean of a large college of business and CFO of a state university, Nancy Hayes became an entrepreneur and then an investor. She consults on leadership, career and organizational effectiveness, with a special emphasis on coaching women executives. She is an active angel investor and advisor to women entrepreneurs.

Nancy left the IBM Corporation as a senior executive to bring her leadership and management skills to the nonprofit social services sector. She became CEO of the STARBRIGHT Foundation, an innovative national nonprofit chaired by Steven Spielberg and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf which developed technology and media-based solutions to help seriously ill children deal with the psycho-social aspects of their illness. Later, she was CEO/President of WISE Senior Services, a nonprofit tackling the issues of isolated low income seniors and fighting elder abuse and financial fraud against the elderly.

Nancy has also served for 6 years as dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University and then was CFO and Chief Administrative Officer of SF State for 2 years.

In 2013, she co-founded MoolaHoop, a unique rewards-based crowdfunding platform for women-owned small businesses. Nancy has been an active angel investor since 2014 with a portfolio of 22 women-led companies and was Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an angel group focused on women entrepreneurs, for over 3 years. She meets regularly with entrepreneurs and provides advice, connecting them to resources and making introductions. She also serves as a management consultant to corporations, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions and as an executive coach.

Angelika Blendstrup

With a Ph.D. from Stanford and a Master's from UC Berkeley plus an Executive Program at Singularity University, Angelika gives workshops on the investor pitch and SV communications in 5 languages in Silicon Valley; to the delight of the participants, the workshops are in a real garage at our entrepreneur house, Startup Embassy.

For 20 years, she has guided international entrepreneurs to find their "American voice" to understand the US way of thinking & present themselves and their pitch clearly, in a way that resonates here.

As a Venture Partner at SV Latam Fund, she scouts out startups internationally in: AI, robotics, biotech and more. She has worked with Spanish, Brazilian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian entrepreneurs and discovered they're very similar: full of passion & eager to change the world. Angelika’s passion is working with a startup from the 1st version of the investor pitch to seeing the CEO present a final pitch deck that will blow investors' socks off and motivate them to invest. She also mentors at @ 500 Startups, Singularity University Ventures, StartSe, Brazil Innovator & SiliconHouse.

Angelika is fluent in Portuguese, French, Spanish, German and English, and actually often teaches workshops in these languages.

Evan R. Youngstrom

Evan R. Youngstrom concentrates on venture financings, mergers and acquisitions, blockchain technologies and general corporate law. His experience ranges from advising startup companies on formation and venture financings to representing public companies in offerings and SEC compliance. Evan has worked on numerous venture financings and mergers and acquisitions. Evan also advises clients on compliance matters related to initial coin offerings (ICOs), token generation events, and similar blockchain-enabled means for raising capital. His clients include entrepreneurs, investors, venture-backed companies and public companies.

Guy Kaplinsky

Guy Kaplinsky LinkedIn

Guy Kaplinsky is a successful serial entrepreneur, with in-depth knowledge and expertise in technology-related projects and international business. Guy began his career at Nissho Iwai Corporation as an executive at their Tel-Aviv Liaison Office. After NIC ceased operations in Israel in 2001, Guy established his first startup with Maki Kaplinsky, a dynamic Japanese female entrepreneur. This global company facilitated government-related projects in over 15 countries. The second start-up, IQP Corporation, was an early innovator in the Internet of Things and concluded as a multi-million dollar M&A deal with GE Digital in 2017.

His current startup, NFT Inc., is co-founded flying car with Maki and focuses on developing autonomous commuter transportation solutions that operate in the airspace above cities (3rd dimension). The first offering will be a fully electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle that drives like a car on the road and can also take off vertically to fly like a plane.

Safa Rashtchy

My passion is to find and help entrepreneurs who are determined to change the world. I am the General Partner at Think + Ventures, where we focus on driven entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve big problems.

I have been an investor in/advisor for some of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley, including AngelList, Bina Technologies, Open Gov, Payjoy, Adrise, and many more.

I have 20 years of experience in the investment world, on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, and have published numerous research reports, especially in the areas of consumer-based platforms, advertising, and search. Two of my key reports, The Golden Search Report (2003), and the User Revolution (2007), accurately predicted massive growth in then-nascent industries that were not yet followed by investors.

Nitin Serro

Nitin Serro is Chief Operations Officer for Lumina Networks, an open source-based software-defined networking company. In this role, Mr. Serro was instrumental in the company’s spin-off from Brocade and the solidification of funding from Verizon, AT&T and Rahi Systems. Under his management, Lumina Networks was named “2018 Startup of the Year” by Layer123, “Company to Watch” by Forbes, and “Top 10 SDN Solution Provider” by Enterprise Networking.

Prior to his role at Lumina Networks, for ten years Mr. Serro was CEO of Serro, an NFV/SDN System design company. As the strategic lead of Serro, the company consistently achieved year-over-year growth supporting network design for some of the world’s most innovative companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wish.

Nitin managed the Juniper Networks’ systems engineering teams responsible for the design and management of the world’s largest network. Previous experience in design at Reliance Infocomm, has helped Nitin lead teams which regularly deliver high performance, transformational solutions to the market.

He has received his Master of Science, Computer Networking from the University of Southern California.

Steve Schenkel

Steve co-founded DN Capital in June 2000 and is currently Managing Partner based in the Sand Hill Road office, running DN Capital’s US operations. Steve Schlenker began his career in venture capital and private equity in 1990. His investment experience has been in software and software related businesses. His sectors of focus include enterprise software, and to a lesser extent business on-line marketplaces and fintech. Amongst his select investments are Apsalar, Auto1, Datanomic (acquired by Oracle), Endeca (acquired by Oracle), Familybuilder (acquired by Intelius), Geckoboard, Lagan/Kana (acquired by Verint), Ombud, Peak, Shiphawk, RecargaPay, Remitly, Parallel Wireless and RobinSystems.

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