Necessity: when disruption meets recession
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Necessity: when disruption meets recession
About the speakers
- Nino MarakovicCEO & Partner at Sapphire VenturesNino is the CEO, Partner and co-Founder of Sapphire Ventures. In his 25 years of experience in investing and operating, Nino has backed more than 100 private companies and venture capital funds. Before Sapphire Ventures, Nino was a partner with Draper Fisher Jurvetson and IVF Ventures. Prior to venture capital, Nino worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Robertson Stephens. He has a bachelor’s in economics and psychology from Williams College and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Nino was born in Croatia and has also lived in Austria, Italy, and the San Francisco Bay Area before recently settling in Austin, Texas.
- Brian SmigaCo-Founding Partner at Alpha PartnersBrian Smiga is the co-founding partner at Alpha Venture Partners, an innovative late-stage venture fund that invests growth capital in category-leading technology companies sourced from a network of 400+ early stage venture firms. Brian also serves as an advisor to Pritzker Group Venture Capital, a twenty-year old venture firm that’s invested in 200+ technology companies. Prior to Alpha Venture Partners, Brian was the CEO and founder of Preclick, (sold to Smilebox), where he developed popular photo software licensed worldwide by HP, 3M, Sandisk, Walmart, Costco, CVS, and Walgreens. Prior to Preclick, Mr. Smiga was CEO at 3Path, (sold to Cadmus), an Intel and Goldman-Sachs backed early “Dropbox”, and the SVP of Product & Marketing at 1ClickCharge, an early “Paypal”, where his leadership resulted in a profitable exit to CMGi. In the 1990s, Mr. Smiga began his career as a developer at Booz & Co, and in Silicon Valley, was cofounder and President of Portfolio Software and Actioneer, where he co-authored five collaboration software patents and licensed award-winning software to Apple, IBM, Lotus, Microsoft, AOL, 3Com, Acco, and Mastercard. Brian received a BA from Swarthmore College, and graduated first with a Masters of Philosophy from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. Brian is founder of TEDxAsburyPark.
- Mika SalmiManaging Partner at LakestarMika is Lakestar’s Managing Partner and sources early stage deals in the media and consumer sectors. He is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor who has built or brought to market globally-recognised brands, talent and products. A Finnish and US dual national, Mika focuses on investments in the geographies where he has the strongest networks – the Nordics, Israel, and the US. With extensive operational experience, he also shapes and develops Lakestar’s growing organization. Before Lakestar, Mika was a senior advisor to The Raine Group, a global investment and advisory firm focused on digital media, technology and sports industries. At Raine he focused on sourcing and assessing venture capital investments. Prior to this, Mika was the CEO of a rapid-growth start-up called CreativeLive, a real-time video platform targeting the continuing education market. Mika has also worked for the past 15 years in a dealsourcing role, focused on angel-stage investments, for Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. He has founded several successful businesses, including Atom Entertainment, which was sold to the media giant Viacom for USD200 million. After the sale, he became President of Viacom. Mika has an MBA from Insead, the prestigious international business school. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Insead.
- Eric Martineau-FortinFounder & Managing Partner at White Star CapitalEric is the Founder and Managing Partner of White Star Capital, an international multi-stage technology investment platform that backs exceptional founders building global businesses. Prior to founding White Star Capital in 2007 Eric established a transatlantic mergers and acquisitions advisory firm in the media and technology space in New York and Paris.
- Harley MillerManaging Partner & CEO at Left Lane CapitalAt Left Lane, CEO Harley Miller has a strong investment focus on consumer subscription and software businesses, marketplace models, and fintech. Operationally, he focuses on fund leadership and strategy, as well as fundraising. Harley currently holds a director seat at GoStudent, M1 Finance, Bilt, Masterworks, Jackpocket, Choco, and many more Left Lane companies. After graduating from the Wharton School in 2011, Harley joined Insight and focused on sourcing and conducting due diligence on Internet and software deals. While at Insight, he sourced and/or held board roles on 36 companies. Harley currently continues to hold a director seat at EquipmentShare and an observer seat at Blablacar. In 2017, he received the Forbes 30 Under 30 Award in Venture Capital.