Monday, December 6, 2010

Audio: Convergence Forum West

Last Friday, we held the second Convergence Forum West event at the Hotel Vitale on the San Francisco waterfront. We were joined by an impressive bunch of participants and speakers from the worlds of biotech, medical devices, venture capital, pharma, and e-healthcare.

Just wanted to share some audio from a few of the sessions, all in MP3 format so you can download them and listen on your device of choice. Just click the title of each session to listen.

- Funding & Advancing Truly Innovative Medicines: Surmounting the Challenges

Paul Hastings, CEO, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
David Perry, CEO, Anacor Pharmaceuticals
Bryan Roberts PhD, Partner, Venrock


John Mendlein PhD, Executive Chairman, Fate Therapeutics and aTyr

- What Does It Mean for Drug Developers and the Health Care System When Patients Start Networking Online?

James Heywood, Co-Founder, PatientsLikeMe

Steven Dickman, CEO, CBT Advisors

Speaker: Nathaniel David, Venture Partner, Arch Venture Partners; Co-Founder, Sapphire Energy, Kilimanjaro Energy, Achaogen, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals

David Ewing Duncan, Director, Center for Life Science Policy, UC/Berkeley; Author, "Experimental Man"

- Fireside Chat: The Implications of Next-Wave Innovation in Sequencing and Computation

Iya Khalil PhD, Co-Founder, Gene Network Sciences
Eric Schadt PhD, CSO, Pacific Biosciences


David Ewing Duncan, Director, Center for Life Science Policy, UC/Berkeley; Author, "Experimental Man"

- Opportunities and Challenges in Diagnostics: Implications for Health and Healthcare Innovations

Bhairavi Parikh PhD, CEO, Cellscape Corporation
Una Ryan PhD, CEO, Diagnostics for All
Sal Salamone PhD, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Saladax Biomedical, Inc.
Mickey Urdea PhD
, CEO and Chairman, Tethys Bioscience, Inc.


Stacy Feld, Director, Physic Ventures

Here's Luke Timmerman's Xconomy write-up of the day's first panel. And here are the Twitter messages related to Convergence Forum West.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Audio from Future Forward 10

Just wanted to share the audio from four of our sessions at Future Forward 10, held last week at the Wellesley College Club.

- Rich Miner of Google Ventures and Emily Green of The Yankee Group talk about "Opportunities in a World of Anywhere Connectivity." (Miner and Green are pictured here.) Moderated by Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners. [ MP3 ]

- Bob Davis of Highland Capital Partners interviews CSN Stores co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine about building a successful post-dot-com e-commerce company (with no venture funding.) [ MP3 ]

- "Changes in the World of Seed-Stage Investing." Performable founder David Cancel talks with Rob Go of NextView Ventures, Roy Rodenstein of Hacker Angels, David Frankel of Founder Collective, and Jo Tango of Kepha Partners. [ MP3 ]

- "Teens on Technology: What They Use and How They Use It," moderated by Nabeel Hyatt of Zynga Boston, with a mix of high school and college students. (Pictured above.) [ MP3 ]

- Christopher Meyer of Monitor Group interviews Stephen Wolfram, CEO of Wolfram Research and Author of "A New Kind of Science." [ MP3 ]

You can get a sense for what else happened at the event from the event's Twitter stream.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Future Forward: The Complete List of Demo Companies

Here's the list of all of the New England companies that have presented demos at Future Forward over its first decade...


- Actuality Systems
- SpeechWorks (acquired by ScanSoft)
- Ambient Devices
- iRobot (IPO)


- Ember Corp
- E Ink (acquired by Prime View Int'l)
- Segway LLC


- ThingMagic (acquired by Trimble)
- Mok3 (now EveryScape)
- Z Corp. (acquired by Contex)
- Holosonics


- Konarka Technologies
- PanGo Networks (acquired by InnerWireless)
- Serendipity (MIT project)
- Color Kinetics (IPO, acquired by Philips)
- Accentus


- Gather
- ECI Biotech
- Nantero
- Sensicast Systems


- Calenova
- Thinking Phones
- Adozu
- LocaModa


- Vertica
- Skyhook Wireless
- Vlingo
- Radiospire
- AirPrint Networks


- Terrafugia
- OnLatte
- Canditto
- Siftables
- FluidVoice


- Hangout Industries
- Robonica
- Oneforty
- MooBella
- Zeo


- Recorded Future
- Affectiva
- DPL Health Games
- Osmopure
- EqualApp

Friday, October 22, 2010

Future Forward 10: Sponsored Passes for Students

In recognition of the 10th year of Future Forward, Microsoft partnered with us to underwrite ten passes so that students may attend this year's program. Every year, we've made room for students to be part of Future Forward — but this is the largest group we've had thus far.

Students were asked:

Do you see yourself changing the world with new technology, impacting society with your ideas and making the world a better place?

From many responses, the ten students selected to participate at this year's program are:

    - Myles Leighton, Harvard College
    - Steven Zhang, Olin School of Engineering
    - Mi Li, Northeastern University
    - Yi Nan Wang, Northeastern University
    - Evan Morikawa, Olin School of Engineering
    - Tim Chae, Babson College
    - Eric Santagada, Northeastern University
    - Greg Skoot, Northeastern University
    - Qi Lu, Northeastern University
    - Praful Mathur, Northeastern University

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your ideas for the 10th edition of Future Forward

Hard to believe we are in the final stages of planning the 2010 Future Forward gathering... which was first held in Woodstock, Vermont in October 2001.

Our speakers back then included inventor Dean Kamen... iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner, whose company had not yet gone public... NH governor Jeanne Shaheen, now a senator from the Granite State... VT governor Howard Dean, before he ran for President... an executive from Groove Networks, before Microsoft acquired it... Michael Phillips of SpeechWorks, before the company was acquired by ScanSoft (now Nuance), and before Phillips went off to start Vlingo... and Todd Dagres of Battery Ventures, before he launched Spark Capital. (In the photo is Greiner, getting ready to toss one of iRobot's Packbots down the stairway of the swanky Woodstock Inn, to demonstrate its durability.)

We're looking for your help in filling out the agenda for the 2010 event, taking place November 4th at the Wellesley College Club, in a few ways:

    - With the Future Forward GameChanger campaign, you can nominate a company to demo as part of the conference's famed Demo Session.

    - We're looking for "normal" (IE, not especially techie) high school and college students to talk about how they use technologies like mobile phones, TV, laptops, iPods, videogames, etc.

    - We're looking for entrepreneurs or executives who can talk about the strategic use of data: what technologies are they developing or using that can help them extract useful intelligence from a sea of information?

    - We're looking for the next great robotics business hatching in New England (or a technology being developed in a lab).

You could either post a comment here, or e-mail scott at future forward dot com. For the GameChanger nominations, use this link.

(Since the event is designed especially for founders, investors, senior tech execs, and researchers, and is limited in size, we have devised this pretty simple process to request an invitation to Future Forward.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How do start-ups get big? Join us for the Momentum Summit @ MIT, June 23rd

For about a year, we've been thinking about how we might bring together the founders and CEOs of the Boston-area companies that have been most successful over the past decade at going from the start-up stage to national prominence.

That led us to create the Momentum Summit, taking place Wednesday, June 23rd at MIT's Sloan School of Management. The speaker list includes founders, CEOs, and CMOs from Zipcar, Akamai, VistaPrint, TripAdvisor, Constant Contact, and Retail Convergence (the company that runs SmartBargains and Rue La La, and was acquired last year for $350 million.) They'll be sharing the strategies that were most effective in helping their fledgling companies gain momentum. Interviewing them will be well-known local investors and entrepreneurs like Antonio Rodriguez from Matrix Partners, David Cancel from Performable, and Laura Fitton from Oneforty.

The "mainstage" sessions in the morning will be followed by a series of smaller lunch discussions and workshops on topics like working with VCs; building a strong technical team; scaling up a sales force; and getting new customers through search engine optimization.

The event is next Wednesday, June 23rd at MIT's Sloan School. The complete schedule is here.

Thanks to MIT's Sloan School of Management and Invest Northern Ireland for their sponsorship of the event, and our event partners: Cambridge Innovation Center, Mass High Tech, Mass TLC, and MITX.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two opportunities for entrepreneurs at the 2010 Nantucket Conference

For entrepreneurs already registered for the 2010 Nantucket Conference (or planning to attend), there are two great opportunities to get advice and feedback, and participate in the event in a new way.

1. We are looking for two entrepreneurs/CEOs who would like to participate in our Thursday afternoon session on "Design as a Strategic Asset," led by Harry West and Ed Milano of Continuum, the West Newton design consultancy that has worked with clients like Procter & Gamble, One Laptop Per Child, Sprint, Targus, and BMW. Harry and Ed will research your company in advance of the event, and offer some constructive feedback and ideas about the design of your product, service, or Web site as part of their session.

2. Similarly, Dharmesh Shah is looking for two Nantucket participants who'd like to get a "social media check-up" as part of his Friday afternoon workshop. Dharmesh is the co-founder of HubSpot, publisher of the blog OnStartups, and co-author of the 2009 book "Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs." Dharmesh will offer some friendly, useful pointers on how you can elevate your own profile (and that of your company) on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

How to be considered for the spots? You'll need to be registered for Nantucket (or plan to register if you are selected — and there are currently fewer than a dozen slots left.*) Then, e-mail scott - at - nantucketconference - dot -com; indicate which session you'd like to be part of (it's OK to nominate yourself for both); and share a few links related to the topic. You'll be notified by Wednesday, April 21st if you're selected.

See you on the island!

(*Founders, CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, VCs, angel investors, and tech execs make up the Nantucket Conference audience... if you are not currently receiving invites to the event, just request an invitation here. The only service providers who attend are the event's wonderful sponsors.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nantucket 2010: Speakers So Far

Here's the working list of people who'll be part of the 2010 Nantucket Conference on Entrepreneurship & Innovation. (Still accepting suggestions - see this post for details.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nantucket 2010: Your ideas?

We usually build most of the agenda for the Nantucket Conference in January and early February, leaving a few slots open for ideas that occur to us closer to the event (or speakers that prove tough to nail down.)

Here are three themes we're going to focus on for the 11th edition.

- Growing great companies. Hiring superstars, managing product development, low-friction sales models, fund-raising: what strategies work best to turn small companies into big companies? What problems emerge when you grow too fast, or your success suddenly awakens a giant competitor? We especially like CEOs who can serve as role models on these issues and share the straight scoop.

- Reports from afar. What's happening in other innovative parts of the world, whether China, India, Brazil, Israel or beyond? How are companies there setting up presences in New England or collaborating with companies here? What can we learn from these innovation clusters?

- Understanding consumers. Developing products for 'em, marketing to 'em, serving 'em, listening to 'em.

Who'd be great as a speaker to help explore those themes?

As always, we're open to other ideas (either post a comment or e-mail me at scott - at - nantucketconference dot com.) We especially like to create panels and fireside chats around emerging technology trends (last year, energy innovation) and companies everyone is talking about (last year, Skype.)

(As background, here's a post about how we select speakers for the conference.)