The entrepreneurial and business communities are thriving in Utah, due in part to the two research universities spinning out technologies that have high potential to move toward commercialization.
SESSIONS @ The Leonardo provides a casual atmosphere for career-business and entrepreneurial minded people to learn from a group of diverse specialists.
SESSIONS @ The Leonardo is a monthly discussion series that covers venture capital, entrepreneurial and business topics. Bryce Roberts, cofounder and managing director of OATV, a seed stage investment firm headquartered in San Francisco, hosts the conversations with national and global experts, uncovering the secrets of their success and the inspirations behind their disruptive and game changing ideas.
February’s SESSIONS discussion will be held on Wednesday, February 19 from 6-8 p.m. The conversation will focus on Ann Miura-Ko’s success as a co-founder of Floodgate, a venture capital firm focused on investments in technology companies in Silicon Valley. She is also a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Stanford University where she obtained her doctorate degree, which focused on mathematical modeling of computer security.
In addition to fundraising, Floodgate helps companies discover, refine, evolve and master core elements of their businesses to enable the company to “open the floodgates” to market disruption and dominance. Miura-Ko’s investment interests include innovations in e-commerce, security and big data.
Examples of the several successful companies Floodgate has invested in include: Twitter, the social networking and micro-blogging site; Gowalla, a location-based discovery and sharing app which was acquired by Facebook; ModCloth, an online store for indie, retro and vintage clothing and Solarwinds, an IT management software.
Roberts chose Miura-Ko to participate in the February conversation not only because of her success as a venture capitalist, but because he believes she can connect with the Utah community in a way that would be relatable.
“Women entrepreneurs don’t get enough air play,” said Roberts. “I wanted to bring in someone they could relate to that’s successful. She’s also a mom to three kids, and doing a lot of things that many women in Utah are trying to do. They will see through her eyes opportunities that are out there, or things they may not have recognized.”
Roberts began the SESSIONS series after moving back to Salt Lake City from San Francisco. The impetus for creating the discussion series spurred from his own experience as a budding venture capitalist in Utah.
“I was a venture capitalist in Salt Lake prior to starting OATV, and I really benefitted from getting exposed to interesting people, big thinkers that had a different perspective,” said Roberts. “When I moved back to Salt Lake I wanted local founders who are interested in technology or entrepreneurship to get exposure to the kinds of people that helped shape my thinking.”