SVCE Events - Spring 2021
When: April 8, 2021
Topic: Business Plan Prep Workshop: Addressing Founders' Dilemmas
Speakers: Steve Bennet - Founder, Managing Director, Startup CFO, Angel Investor, and SJSU Adjunct Professor
Time: 4:30-5:30 pm
Steve Bennet is the founder and managing director of Bodega Partners and is an active participant in the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the past 20 years, he has been CFO, investor, and/or board member of over 50 technology start-ups, primarily in the software, Internet, and mobile sectors. Steve has a passion for both entrepreneurship and education. He has taught entrepreneurial finance since 1995 and is currently adjunct faculty at San Jose State University, teaching Entrepreneurship Lab (ELAB) and Startup Founders & Funders.
When: March 17, 2021
Topic: The Road to Shark Tank
Speakers: SJSU Alumni Alex Arkhangelskiy, CEO & Co-Founder, Brake Free Technologies; Matthew Olivieri, CEO & Founder, Adsemble; and Geno Giovanni, Account Executive, Podcast Co-Host and Producer at AdSemble
Time: 4:30-5:45 pm
Alex Arkhangelskiy was born in Minsk, Belarus and lived there through the fall of the Soviet Union. He migrated with his family to Silicon Valley, California in 1997 to pursue the American Dream. Alex couldn’t speak English at first, but a year later most people couldn’t tell he wasn’t American. Alex married his high school sweetheart and had his first child at the young age of 23. While working full time in retail sales and going to school part time he focused on being the best dad he could be. Alex completed his degree in Business (with honors) from San Jose State University. In his last semester, he took a Business Plan class that changed his life. His professor (Professor Anu Basu) saw how much dedication he brought to class and the business plan competition and referred him to intern for an experienced entrepreneur, Dave Hadden. After a year of working together on various projects, they co-founded Brake Free Technologies together. Brake Free Technologies launched Brake Free on IndieGoGo in March of 2017 and successfully raised $260,000 from 2,100 backers in over 40+ countries. The company fulfilled all crowdfunding pre-orders and began sales in March of 2020. Alex and his co-founder, Henry Li (also an SJSU grad), aired on ABC’s Shark Tank (season 12 episode 8). In their first year of sales they reached nearly a half a million dollars in sales. Alex’s personal hobbies include playing hockey, snowboarding, riding motorcycles and skating.
Geno Giovanni is co-host and Producer of The AdHero Podcast as well as an Account Executive at AdSemble, Inc. where he works with Enterprise clients executing large scale digital outdoor advertising campaigns. Geno studied at SJSU and was a longtime resident DJ at KSJS radio station.
Matthew Olivieri is co-host of The AdHero Podcast as well as the Founder & CEO of AdSemble, Inc. a self-service platform for digital billboard advertising where you can launch your very own BILLBOARD for dollars per day. Matthew holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from SJSU with a minor in Communications Studies.
When: February 22, 2021
Topic: Overcoming Bias in Venture Pitching
Speakers: Manan Mehta, Founding Partner, Unshackled Ventures, and Larissa Russell, CEO & Co-founder, Pod Foods.
Time: 6-7:15 pm
View Presentation Here
*This session is held in conjunction with The Richard and Sandi Conniff Leaders in Business Ethics Speakers Series*
Manan Mehta is a Founding Partner of Unshackled Ventures, a fund for immigrant-founded companies. Prior to Unshackled Ventures, Manan ran marketing for ed-tech startup Kno (acq. by Intel 2013) that raised over $90M of funding from top VCs including a16z and First Round Capital. Before Kno, Manan was an Investment Banker with $3B in transactions, including the $1.9B acquisition of Skype. Manan is a 1st generation American and received a double major at UCLA.
Larissa Russell is the CEO and cofounder of Pod Foods, a full-service b2b marketplace connecting grocery retailers and brands. We are disrupting the $200bil+ industry of wholesale grocery distribution by enabling intelligent retail with logistics, visibility and data throughout the grocery supply chain. Russell and her cofounder Fiona Lee experienced the challenges of wholesale distribution first hand when they started a cookie company called Green Pea Cookie, which produced cookies out of peas. They were named Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Retail and eCommerce in 2020.
Monisha Varadan wears multiple hats. She works full time at Google, building partnerships for products like Chrome, News and Search. She is a Founding Partner of Zephyr Ventures, which invests in growth businesses. She is also a lecturer and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, where she completed her MBA. She has co-authored articles, including one on bias within the VC industry published in Harvard Business Review.