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Entrepreneurship Program

Exposing IGERT fellows to the opportunities presented by entrepreneurship is an important part of the program. We will accomplish this through a lecture series beginning Fall 2010.

Wednesday, November 17
David Albert and Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock
Columbia alumni and entrepreneurs

"From Columbia to Silicon Valley and back"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Friday, November 12
Steve Blank
Serial entrepreneur, educator, startup thought leader

"Why Accountants Don't Run Startups"

10:00 AM, Davis Auditorium
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract
Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steve Blank’s fast-selling book, a “must read” among entrepreneurs, investors, and established companies alike, is widely read and annotated throughout Silicon Valley. It details Steve’s Customer Development process: a rigorous methodology he developed to bring a “scientific method” approach to the typically chaotic, seemingly disorganized startup process and heighten startup’s chances for success. How? “Get out of the building,” says Blank, and absorb as much customer feedback as possible early in the product development process. Then use the feedback to morph an early version of the product via Agile development, while iterating features, channel, pricing, and much more—all before scaling up the startup in almost any way. Steve’s book, "The Four Steps…" is considered the central text for the “Lean Startup” approach, a set of processes used by entrepreneurs to develop products and markets by combining Customer Development and Agile Development. Netscape founder and serial entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen called Blank, “one of the most strategic thinkers you will find on the topic of starting high-tech companies.” Steve will introduce the Customer Development process, along with a variety of case histories and anecdotes depicting successes, failures, and “how to’s” for startup success. Almost every technology startup makes exactly the same mistake: they dedicate all their resources to building out their product in the belief that the sales team will then hit the road and start selling the day it launches. This “old world” Product Development model almost always fails startups and their investors because customer input needs to occur much earlier. As a serial entrepreneur, Steve Blank was a founder or participant in eight Silicon Valley startups since 1978—among them Zilog, MIPS, and E.piphany. Today, Blank teaches entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the Columbia University/Berkeley Joint Executive MBA program.

Wednesday, November 3
Prof. Tony Jebara
Dept of Computer Science, Columbia University

"Learning Networks of People and Places from Location and Communication Data"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract
Networks and graphs have become essential for understanding the online world with applications ranging from the Web to FaceBook. I will discuss how Sense is building such networks in the offline real world by using mobile location and communication data. By gathering long-term high frequency location data from millions of mobile devices it becomes possible to track movement trends in real-time in cities, learn networks of real places and learn real social networks of people. For example, we can visualize the network of places in a city showing the similarity between different locations and how active they are right now. Another graph is the network of users showing how similar person X is to person Y by comparing their movement histories and how often they colocated. These networks reveal interesting trends in behavior and organizes people into "Lifestyle" tribes that are more relevant than traditional demographics.

Wednesday, October 13
Michael Lefenfeld
CEO and President of SiGNa Chemistry

"Entrepreneurial Venture: From Undergraduate to SiGNa Chemistry Inc."

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Tuesday, October 5
Erik Novik
Founder of Risktail

"Becoming an Entrepreneurship: The Joys of Starting a Financial Technology Business in New York"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract
Eric will discuss the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur in general and his experience with Risktail in particular. He will cover the details and mechanics of starting a business, building a team, building a product, getting customer feedback, importance of mentoring, and the pros and cons of outside funding. Eric will discuss the state of financial technology and some of the trends that he is seeing there. Finally, he will provide a list of resources that he finds helpful as he continues building the product and the company.

Tuesday, September 28
Ann Miura-Ko
Co-founder and Partner, FLOODGATE
"Entrepreneurship as a Career"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract
Engineering students today are being pulled in multiple directions as a war for their talent ensues. Management consulting, financial engineering, academia, large corporations, and entrepreneurship are all clamoring for the best and brightest students with great quantitative backgrounds. As someone who has touched on many of these different career paths, I will be talking about the fundamental reasons to consider entrepreneurship as a career and why this is important today.

Wednesday, September 22
Dr. Dan Abraham
Director, Columbia Technology Ventures
"Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract
Academic Institutions are superb in generating promising early-stage inventions. However promising, they are often over-valued and under-capitalized on their way to commercial application. Columbia Technology Ventures is a leading organization in commercializing technology across the board and we would like to share some insight with you. Here we will review some of the basics of technology commercialization and explore how these map onto a coherent strategy for success -- technology assessment and roadmaps, market potential, and commercial plan. Ideally, our technology license forms the basis for a both-win partnership, an important component in our open innovation ecosystem.

Wednesday, September 15
Chris Dixon
CEO and co-founder of Hunch
"Funding your start-up"

5:30 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract

Chris Dixon will discuss what it's like to work at a start-up, how to start a company, the NYC tech scene, as well as specifics concerning the start-ups he has co-founded and invested in. Chris has an extensive entrepreneurial background including working at a large venture capital firm (www.bvp.com) and the co-founding and heading the company SiteAdvisor (www.siteadvisor) through its acquisition by McAfee. He is currently the CEO and co-founder of Hunch (www.hunch.com), and also the co-founder of the early-stage start-up investment firm Founder Collective (www.foundercollective.com). His investments include about 30 companies including Skype and Foursquare. He blogs at www.cdixon.org


Tuesday, September 14
InSITE
"Entrepreneurship in NYC"

5:00 PM, Interschool Lab
Schapiro Research Building

Abstract

InSITE is a select group New York's most talented graduate students, dedicated to entrepreneurship, technology and venture capital. Traditionally, InSITE has recruited from Columbia and NYU's Law and Business Schools. This year, however, InSITE is opening applications to any graduate student. Applications to become a Fellow are due September 22 at 5 PM. The InSITE program is a four-semester fellowship where fellows have the opportunity to advise New York entrepreneurs in the development of their businesses, support venture investors, and gain exposure to the entrepreneurial community. The core programming involves working in teams of 4 or 5 operating a single start-up over the course of the semester. The work culminates in a presentation to the VC partners and affiliates.


Organizational support by

ADI ACM SIAM