Ann Badillo, Head of Corporate Development

Ann is a leading business strategist and acceleration coach to Silicon Valley executives, entrepreneurs and corporations for more than 25 years. Ann’s expertise and passion lies within helping all leaders understand new innovation design and leadership frameworks for the 21st century. Her clients are innovators from Apple, Cisco, Google, Pinterest, SGI, Skype, Stanford University, Pfizer, Conceptus, Girls for a Change, and the U.S. Department of Energy. She is a graduate of University of California, Davis and studied the complexity in the earth. Ann lives in the heart of Silicon Valley where she and her husband raised their two daughters in Palo Alto.

Neeraj Sonalkar, PhD, Advisor


Neeraj Sonalkar is a research associate at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, and a co-director of VentureStudio in Ahmedabad, India. He is interested in discovering if the process of innovating can be practiced at will. Neeraj has found that a number of people, from corporate executives and entrepreneurs to leaders in developing countries, want to innovate towards a prosperous future, but they rarely are successful despite their good intentions. Why is innovation so elusive? What theories and methods can we develop to practice innovation successfully in different contexts? 

Neeraj and his team at the Center for Design Research are involved in answering these questions by studying how people behave when engaged in innovation activities. Drawing on behavioral metrics and providing real-time feedback, Neeraj aims to understand and regulate the dynamic process of innovation.

Neeraj has a PhD in engineering design from Stanford University. He has prior experience working in product development and software services.

Christina Wu, Director of Marketing


Christina is the Director of Marketing of T2 Venture Creation.  She also serves as the Editor-in-Chief for T2’s Rainforest Revolution Newsletter, a weekly newsletter that profiles the global growth of innovation ecosystems. 

Christina’s passion is at the intersection of business and creative expression.  Prior to T2, she worked as a marketing strategist for small businesses and non-profits.  She helped her clients create multi-faceted marketing plans and produce long-term brand strategies.  She has experience in developing channel strategies, pricing optimization, product positioning, and benchmarking. She also produced and coordinated public and private events, including performing arts concerts, banquets, VIP receptions, pageants, weddings, fashion shows, community and political events from 20 to 1,300 attendees.

Christina was a publicist at Davidson & Choy Publicity, a leading performing arts and entertainment public relations firm in Los Angeles, where she increased client media coverage through media planning, advertising, and public relations. 

Christina worked in Business Development for Lifetime Television, where she assisted senior management in growing distribution for Lifetime’s three cable channels: Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network and Lifetime Real Women.  Christina helped facilitate strategic alliances for her company through data analysis, contract administration, and coordination of stakeholder engagement.

Christina’s marketing and sales career started from The Wall Street Journal and public radio. She brought on board new clients and increased existing advertising accounts.  She also developed strategic partnerships and cross-promotional marketing for her clients. 

Christina received her MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in business administration.

She is fluent in spoken and written Chinese Mandarin, Taiwanese, Fukienese, and some Cantonese

In her spare time, Christina enjoys spending time with her family, reading, volunteering at her sons’ schools, and dancing.  She is an amateur dancer and has performed in almost 400 dance performances, including lyrical, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and Chinese classical dance.

Cecilia Moreno, Program Manager


Cecilia Moreno is the Program Manager at T2 Venture Capital. She focuses on the Rainforest Architects program, supporting the design, organizing, and implementation of activities for building innovation ecosystems and fostering economic growth and entrepreneurship globally. Cecilia has an extensive professional background in running high caliber programs, including in social justice, human rights, peacekeeping, and economic development. Prior to joining T2VC, Cecilia worked at Wellspring Advisors, LLC, a highly regarded philanthropic/foundation advisory firm in New York. Her role involved the coordination of a large international grant-making portfolio in four thematic areas: human rights in the global economy, disability, human rights defenders, and accountability. She also provided support in the implementation of program, and conducted in-depth research on potential areas of investment on global economy issues, such as economic development, economic and environmental rights, etc. This included work in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland, UK, Uganda, etc. Prior to moving to the United States, Cecilia worked for 5 years at the State Human Rights Commission in México -her home country- where she analyzed qualitative and quantitative information to develop courses of action to promote human rights in the state. Cecilia has held a number of positions with international organizations in New York including Human Rights Watch, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and the United Nations. Cecilia holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Valle de México, and a MA in Politics and Government/International Relations from New York University. A native Spanish speaker, Cecilia is fluent in English, and speaks Portuguese.

Leo Spiegel, Advisor


Leo Spiegel is a Managing Partner at Mission Ventures, a Southern California venture capital firm that invests in early stage IT companies. Prior to joining Mission Ventures, Leo Spiegel was President of Digital Island, Inc., a leading provider of global e-business network and content delivery services. Leo joined Digital Island as a result of a merger with Sandpiper Networks, Inc., the world's first content delivery service provider for the Internet, where he was the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. In 2000, Leo won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Prior to his leadership of Sandpiper Networks, Leo served as Senior Vice President and CTO of Donnelley Enterprise Solutions Incorporated, an information management firm specializing in systems integration, outsourcing and software development. Leo was the co-founder, EVP and CTO of LANSystems, a network utilities software developer and international systems integration firm, which was sold to Intel Corporation and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company.

Leo is a Director of Alpine Data Labs, Eveo,, MaestroDev, RotoHog, Slacker and Transaction Wireless. Leo is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego with a BA in Management Sciences. Leo is a member of the Dean's Advisory Council at the Rady School of Management at UCSD.

Mark Newberg, Advisor


Mark Newberg is Managing Director of Impact Strategies for 5 Stone Green Capital, an emerging green real estate firm.  At 5 Stone, Mark leads the firm’s “layered impact” strategy, incorporating impact principles into each project, in ways that support bottom-line financial returns while producing tangible external benefits.  He also served as Chair of the Design Committee for the Inaugural Global Innovation Summit, a gathering of global thought leaders organized by T2 Venture Capital.  Mark was previously a Senior Policy Advisor at the US Small Business Administration, where he helped lead impact investing policy efforts and the Startup America: Reducing Barriers series as part of his high-growth entrepreneurship and innovation portfolio.  

Prior to his time at SBA, Mark was a post-Katrina Advisor to the New Orleans City Council, focusing on big picture policy issues in the recovery.  Currently based in Washington, DC, he has written occasional opinion pieces for various outlets, including the recent Spectrum of Impact in America, and advises several high-growth, high-impact startups.  Mark holds a BA from Tulane University, a JD from Tulane Law School, and was a Visiting Student at Harvard Law School.

Janet Crawford, Co-Creator of Rainforest Architects and Advisor


Janet Crawford, M.A., has over 15 years of experience working with executives in Fortune 500 companies and high potential start-ups.

As Principal of Cascadance, Janet primes leaders and organizations for productivity, innovation and collaboration in the 21st Century. Her approach combines traditional leadership development and coaching with cutting-edge insights from neuroscience.

Janet is expert at identifying the key changes in leadership behavior and corporate culture that lead to cascading positive movement throughout organizations. Her vision is a world where innovation, engagement, health, caring and accountability are common denominators in business.

A pioneer in the application of neuroscience research findings to leadership and organization culture, Janet Crawford has consulted in the Hi-tech, Bio-tech/ Pharmaceutical, Financial Services, Education, and Non-profit sectors. Her work enables clients to:

  • Cultivate mindsets that make strategic thinking the organizational norm
  • Design gatherings that bring forth the best possible thinking of the organization
  • Build time management practices to clear distractions and enable focus on the work that matters
  • Deepen emotional literacy and understand the role of emotion in influence and decision-making
  • Champion the health practices which support optimal brain function and well-being, and,
  • Enhance their leadership presence by leveraging the non-verbal language of the brain

A polished public speaker, Janet has presented extensively on neuroscience-informed leadership and its relevance for generating corporate cultures designed to adeptly respond to modern business challenges. Known for her engaging style, she possesses a rare ability to translate complex scientific ideas into accessible, thought-provoking and immediately useful practices.

Her client list includes Adobe Systems, Abbott Vascular, Amyris Technologies, BioMarin, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Yahoo! Inc., Oracle Corporation, Flextronics, National Semiconductor, Network Appliance, Ricoh Silicon Valley, BD Biosciences, Hewlett Packard, Scios Inc. (J&J subsidiary), Sun Microsystems, THX, Wells Fargo, Rheem Manufacturing, Virgin America and Stanford University.

Prior to embarking on her current career, Janet spent a decade as an environmental scientist and leader in technical environments. She holds a Masters from Stanford University and a BA from UC Berkeley, as well as Master Practitioner Certification in Neuro-linguistic Programming. She is former adjunct faculty at the JFK University Graduate School of Psychology.

Jason Steiner, Associate


Jason Steiner, PhD is an Associate with T2 Venture Capital and works with both T2’s consulting and venture arms.  As a consultant, Jason is engaged with the research and development of policy content and recommendations on the evolution of innovative economic ecosystems.  Concurrently, he is involved with the assessment of early stage investment opportunities with emphasis in the life sciences.

Prior to joining T2VC, Jason has been actively engaged for nearly a decade in both the entrepreneurial and research communities of San Diego.  As a doctoral student at the University of California at San Diego, specializing in applications of nanotechnology to biology, Jason served as a core member in the development of the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge, a grass-roots entrepreneurial development program that provides entrepreneurial training to aspiring student entrepreneurs, connects them with members of the San Diego community, and seed funds several student-led ventures. Ultimately becoming CEO of the organization, Jason was responsible for managing a team of 17, independently raising and operating a budget in excess of $120,000 and serving as a liaison between the student body at UCSD and private industry.  The Entrepreneur Challenge has grown to become one of the largest and most successful programs at UCSD and has incubated and seed funded dozens of student-led San Diego startups through its development and hosting of the premiere business plan competition at the university.   After completing his academic road, Jason has continued his leadership in the San Diego entrepreneurial community both with T2VC and as an analyst with the Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment network in the US, focusing on life science due diligence. 

Jason holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biomedical Engineering from UC San Diego, and a PhD in Materials Science from the same.  He was the recipient of the prestigious Jacobs School of Engineering Scholarship, a full four-year scholarship awarded by invitation only for academic and leadership excellence to approximately ten students per year and funded directly by Irwin Jacobs, the founder of Qualcomm.  Additionally, Jason was a UC Regents Scholar, a National Merit Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from his programs.  He is a published author, both academic and journalistic and has spent nearly two full years independently travelling internationally.  He has been involved in photojournalism projects in India, taught English in China, and hitchhiked over 3,000 miles across Europe and Asia.     

Ade Mabogunje, Ph.D., Co-Creator of Rainforest Architects and Advisor

Ade Mabogunje.jpg

Ade Mabogunje is a senior research scientist in the School of Engineering at Stanford University and is part of Stanford’s Center for Design Research. He studies the engineering design process with a view to developing performance metrics for creative multi-disciplinary design teams in innovation ecosystem cultures. He is currently investigating ways by which principles and practices from psychology, science, art and finance can be turned into useful design theories to guide the building of sustainable and scalable ventures in less industrialized economies.

Ade builds things such as mechatronics systems and human design teams, and studies how they are conceived and built. He is interested in the different ways and the similar conditions in which ants, spiders, and human designers are motivated to build artifacts and adapt to their environment. He has focused on the development and research of innovation ecosystems in regions such as India, Africa, and South America where the rate of economic growth is either unsustainable or misaligned with the needs of the population.

Ade received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Eliot Peper, EiR & Director of Business Development


Eliot is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) and Director of Business Development at T2 Venture Capital, a seed stage venture fund focused on commercializing the most promising opportunities coming out of government and university research. He focuses on supporting portfolio companies, scouting and incubating new opportunities and advising governments on capital formation and innovation policy.

Before joining T2VC, Eliot was the co-founder and CEO of Insight Access. Insight Access advises clean technology companies, ranging from advanced energy storage and off-grid wind to utility-scale solar, on expansion into and engagement with Latin American markets. Insight Access works with a variety of clients ranging from distributed biomass and solar power generation to assess the policy and market environments for new technologies by analyzing factors like political risk, IP protection, siting requirements, incentive programs, tax benefits, market structure, tariffs, permits and investment rules. While at Insight Access, Eliot spearheaded a project to electrify an off-grid fishing village in Baja California with solar energy systems. He also advised entrepreneurs in a variety of clean technology sectors including biofuels, gasification, energy storage, bioplastics, waste management, solar, wind, smart grid, energy efficiency and environmental monitoring.

Eliot formerly led business development efforts for adaptiveARC, a high-technology startup with innovative plasma arc gasification technology that cleanly and inexpensively converts waste into energy. Eliot developed a technical background in waste to energy technology, patenting strategy and international energy markets. He co-authored a proprietary report on plasma arc technology with a team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.He researched biomass and waste-to-energy policy and market environments, provided critical operational support and developed and managed multimillion dollar sales contracts for clients in Japan, Turkey and the United States. 

Eliot also incubated MyMedicalForum, a health IT startup that provides physicians with a secure mobile platform to communicate with peers, while enabling instant access to medical information, news and medical education resources in an easy-to-use format. He has advised South Pacific island nations on fishery policy and economics and has lived and worked in Asia where he studied at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP), the world's top ranked Mandarin training center. 

Eliot is a Phi Beta Kappa and graduated as a Regents Scholar, summa cum laude from the University of California, Santa Barbara with with BA in Global Studies. He holds a Masters of Pacific International Affairs from the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at the University of California, San Diego. While at IR/PS he was the first environmental policy researcher at the new lab on International Law and Regulation. He participated in and contributed to the binational white paper for the U.S.-Mexico Cross Border Electricity Stakeholder Forum held at the Institute of the Americas with top level energy executives and government leaders. He also led a student team to the semifinals of the Cleantech Open Business Competition, the regionals of the Walmart Better Living Business Plan Competition and won the Grand Prize of the California Clean Innovation Conference's Fast Pitch competition.

Alfred Watkins, Executive Chairman, Global Innovation Summit


Alfred Watkins is currently the Executive Chairman of the Global Innovation Summit sponsored by T2VC ( which will convene in Silicon Valley on July 16-18, 2012 and an STI policy advisor to a number of international organizations and emerging market governments.  

Prior to assuming these positions on September 1, 2011, he worked for more than 23 years in various positions at the World Bank and served for more than six years as the World Bank’s Science and Technology Program Coordinator and head of the World Bank’s Science, Technology and Innovation Global Expert Team.  In those capacities he was responsible for designing, developing and helping to implement the World Bank’s global STI capacity building programs and for helping to maintain the World Bank’s STI capacity building dialogue with G-8 governments, bilateral donors, foundations, NGOs, and various multilateral and UN agencies. 

Under his leadership, in December 2009 the World Bank convened a Global Forum on STI Capacity Building Partnerships for Sustainable Development and subsequently prepared an Action Plan (available at that discussed how the ideas discussed at the Forum could be converted into specific policies and programs that could be financed and implemented by the World Bank, in collaboration with other development partners. In February 2007, he organized the World Bank’s first Global Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Capacity Building for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction.  (Presentations from both Global Forums as well as Proceedings from the February 2007 Global Forum are available online at In February 2005, he organized a High Level Expert Seminar in Moscow, Russia that was co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Russia and the President of the World Bank. 

In addition to these broader corporate functions, Mr. Watkins helped to design and organize World Bank STI capacity building programs in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Mr. Watkins also led the World Bank team that designed and implemented an innovative World Bank non-commercial risk guarantee package for the Sea Launch Commercial Space Launch project in Russia and Ukraine.  

Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Watkins was an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and served as an economic advisor to several Members of Congress.  

His recent Science and Technology publications include:

Moving Up the Value Chain in Malaysia’s Medical Device and Solar Industries (with Philip Schellekens, Travis Bradford and Mario Gobo). Technical Assistance report prepared for the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office. (July 2011).

Global Forum Action Plan: STI Capacity Building Partnerships for Sustainable Development (with Joshua Mandell).  (World Bank, 2010) (available at

Science, Technology and Innovation:  Capacity Building for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction (with Michael Ehst).  Procedings of the World Bank Global Forum on STI Capacity Building (World Bank, 2008) (available at  HYPERLINK "" )

Building Science, Technology and Innovation Capacity in Rwanda:  Developing Practical Solutions to Practical Problems (with Anubha Verma).  (World Bank, 2008) (available at

Creating a 21st Century National Innovation System for a 21st Century Latvian Economy (with Natalia Agapitova), Policy Research Working Paper No. 3457, November 2004 

From Knowledge to Wealth: Transforming Russian Science and Technology for a Modern Knowlege Economy, Policy Research Working Paper No. 2974, February 2003

Alistair M. Brett, International Technology Commercialization Advisor


Alistair M. Brettis a Technology Commercialization Advisor to T2 Venture Capital. Alistair has over 25 years of international consulting experience in USA, UK, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Latvia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Costa Rica. Alistair specializes in helping countries commercialize science and technology from universities and research institutes and developing support mechanisms for technology commercialization. 

Since 2002 Alistair has been a science, technology, innovation consultant to the World Bank Group where he has advised on and assessed technology development and commercialization strategies – with a focus always on practical implementation. He has developed policy recommendations and implementation plans for funding of technology development, foreign patenting strategies, conducting technology audits, creating regional technology transfer centers, incubators and science and technology parks, working with foreign companies, creating educational programs, improving university-industry relations, and business project planning and management. Alistair was previously a senior consultant to Oxford Innovation Ltd, UK, and was Director of the Technology Transfer program at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (USA). He also served on the Advisory Board of the (US) Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer for several years. 

Alistair holds a B.Sc. (1st Class Honors) in Physics from the University of London, and a Ph.D. in Physics, from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), and Drexel University (USA).

A few selected projects in which Alistair has worked as a team member include: World Bank project on in Vietnam to provide assistance in the transition of government research institutes to largely market-driven, self-financed, and independent status. World Bank projects supporting technology commercialization in Kazakhstan including the creation of specialized R&D centers, grants for support of R&D and a commercialization strategy. World Bank survey of mentoring and commercialization support programs such as venture acceleration networks developed for the Russian Venture Corporation.

In the early 90’s Alistair was also Co-Project Director with Fenix Technology International in developing the Moscow International Business and Technology Incubator. This incubator-without-walls was the first of its kind in Russia designed to help scientists from research institutes and universities, and individual entrepreneurs, create new firms or commercialize research. He was also the co-developer, Center for Technology Commercialization and Faculty for Innovative Technology Business, Academy of National Economy under the Government of the Russian Federation and Project Manager, Program Advisor: Russian Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degree programs in Technology Management and Commercialization. This first academic program of its kind in Russia has been running for over fifteen years. In Ukraine he was the training consultant, Business Incubator Development Program in, Kiev and Kharkov, supported by USAID.  As Technology Commercialization consultant for AEA Technology, UK, he worked on the European Union EuropeAid program supporting technology commercialization within the Russian Academy of Science, and helped create commercialization centers at 14 locations across Russia. 

Victor W. Hwang, CEO, Co-Founder and Managing Director


Follow Victor on:

Victor W. Hwang is CEO, co-founder and Managing Director of T2 Venture Creation, a Silicon Valley firm that builds startup companies and designs the ecosystems that foster entrepreneurial innovation. T2VC mentors and invests in innovative companies with breakthrough technologies. But unlike any other firm of its kind, T2VC also leverages the practical know-how of company-building to design innovation ecosystems around the world. This expertise includes capital formation, innovation policy, and entrepreneurial development for partners such as the World Bank, USAID, and numerous governments and corporations.

Victor is Executive Director of the Global Innovation Summit, a conference on building innovation ecosystems that attracts delegates from nearly 50 countries.  Victor is past President of Larta Institute, a leading organization commercializing technology from key government agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Victor is co-founder of Liquidity Corporation, a water purification company with breakthrough technology for households worldwide. He was Chief Strategy Officer of Veatros, a video search company, where he led the company's acquisition by DivX. He is the Chief Strategy Officer of Blue Planet Strategies, a startup with technology that enhances copper mining yields. Victor is a Kauffman Fellow, a network of leaders in the venture capital industry. He has mentored hundreds of startup companies over the years. 

Victor is primary co-author of the book The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Regenwald, 2012), which explains how companies, communities, and countries can foster systemic innovation at large scale.  The book was awarded the "Book of the Year" Gold Medal by ForeWord Reviews in Business & Economics. The book has been praised as "an insightful, forward-thinking assessment of what makes Silicon Valley tick" (Kirkus Reviews) and "a detailed analysis of the power of environment on startup success" (Forbes).  Victor is author of the follow-up book, The Rainforest Blueprint: How to Design Your Own Silicon Valley (Regenwald, 2013), a concise, full-color, practical guide on catalyzing innovation ecosystems. Victor is also a contributing columnist to Forbes magazine, where he authors the blog Riffs from the Rainforest. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur.

Previously, Victor was a corporate attorney in technology matters with Irell & Manella and the international firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt. Victor practiced in a variety of legal areas, including negotiating venture capital investments, public and private equity and debt, and multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions. Victor has also counseled on a range of new technology issues, including software development, telecommunications, multimedia, intellectual property, and the Internet.

Victor graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. with Honors, studying Government plus additional studies in Computer Science, Computer Architecture, and Operating Systems Design. He graduated from the Law School of the University of Chicago with a J.D. He was appointed as a Law Clerk in the General Counsel’s office of the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1997 and served in national politics from 1995 to 1997. 

Victor serves on the International Science and Commercialization Board of the Republic of Kazakhstan.  Victor was appointed to the California Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology. Victor was awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a program for emerging trans-Atlantic leaders. Victor has reviewed grant investments in startups for the National Science Foundation and the State of California. He has testified on technology policy for both the California Senate and Assembly. His opinions have been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He served on the Steering Committee of the International Banking and Finance Committee of the American Bar Association. He is the co-author of “Selected Developments in Federal Securities Law and California Corporate Law,” Business Law Section of the State Bar of California; Hollywood Unstrung (Entertainment in a Wireless Age); Sand Dollar Report (An Analysis of Venture Investing); and numerous other publications.

Why Innovation Is Like A Rainforest: Victor Hwang at TEDxUniversityofNevada

What is our approach?

Greg Horowitt, Co-Founder and Managing Director


Founding Partner & Managing Director, T2 Venture Capital

Kauffman Fellow

Co-Founder, Global CONNECT, University of California, San Diego  

Greg is the co-founder and Managing Director of T2 Venture Capital, a seed and early stage venture fund and advisory services firm focused on high impact innovation in the technology and healthcare sectors. He has lead T2’s involvement in portfolio companies; Somark Innovations, Biomatrica, Independa, GroundMetrics, and AutoPoint Software (sold to SRS Solutions). 

He is also the co-author of the bestselling book, ‘the Rainforest: the Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley’ which examines the dynamics and drivers of innovation ecosystems; drawn from hands-on experience and insights gathered while architecting the innovation ecosystems of more than a dozen countries around the world.  He is a co-founder of the Global Innovation Summit, co-founder of the Rainforest Architects Program, and a co-developer of the Rainforest Index.  Greg is a Kauffman Fellow, a member of a select program to groom leaders of the venture capital industry.  He is an adviser, speaker, and consultant to development organizations including the World Bank, US State Department, OECD, USAID, Aspen Institute, and the National Academies of Science in addition to his work advising governments around the world on topics of economic development, venture capital formation, and innovation policy.  He is currently engaged in designing unique, breakthrough models for measuring the health of innovation systems based on dynamic flows of talent, capital, and knowledge.  

Mr. Horowitt is also the co-founder of Global CONNECT, a think tank based at the University of California, San Diego, focused on the development and growth of innovation clusters worldwide.   Under his leadership, Global CONNECT has grown to encompass one of the world’s largest networks of innovation hubs including more than 40 programs in 20 countries, all focused on accelerating global technology commercialization, and the Global CONNECT Summit, the annual gathering of best practice innovation organizations from around the world.  In addition, he is the principal architect of several key innovative business management, leadership development, and entrepreneurship mentorship programs still in use today around the world, including Global Bridge and the Rainforest Architects Program.  Mr. Horowitt’s many media references include the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Forbes, Fortune, New Scientist, and Entrepreneur Magazine. 

Greg was formerly the interim Managing Director of CONNECT, an organization which is generally credited with San Diego’s success as a technology leader and which helped launch over 300 companies that raised over $600 million in early-stage funding and achieved over $12 billion in market capitalization. Greg has personally advised and mentored more than 200 companies.

Prior to CONNECT, Greg’s life was as an entrepreneur and investor, having been involved with a number of Silicon Valley startups and venture capital, including serving as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.  Prior to that, he was the President and CEO of the Praetorian Group, a venture-backed software and online media company, and for nearly 20 years before that, he was an executive with a Berkshire Hathaway operating company. 

Greg currently serves as a board member of CONNECT and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.  He serves as an adviser to the InvestChile (CORFO) and Working Capital (Italy) venture capital investment addition to being an international mentor for the IBM Global Entrepreneur (SmartCamp) program.   He is also an adviser to the UCSD Rady School of Management Venture Fund program and serves on their high tech investment committee.     

He has been a reviewer for the NSF and DOE SBIR programs and served as an adviser and mentor to the University of California’s Discovery Fellows Program; and Senior Adviser to the Larta Institute.  In addition, he previously served as Chairman of Project Inform, one of the nation’s leading HIV treatment information and advocacy organizations. 

Greg is a Regents Scholar who holds a degree with high honors in Biochemistry and minors in Economics and Music Performance from the University of California, San Diego.

Larta Institute, Special Limited Partner


Larta Institute is one of the nation’s leading organizations in technology commercialization. Larta has established unique contractual relationships with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to work directly with early-stage companies spinning out of those institutions and to assist their commercial development. Larta manages Network T2, a consortium that involves over 28 universities and research institutions to help those entities transfer new technologies from the research laboratory to the commercial marketplace. Larta manages global programs, in partnership with Global CONNECT, to connect startup companies from a network of 23 countries to markets in the U.S.

Larta Institute has worked with hundreds of partners over the years, including:


Rohit Shukla, Advisor


Rohit K. Shukla is the chief executive officer of Larta Institute.

In 1993, Shukla was deeply involved in the creation of a well-known technology program in the State of California, which established the regional technology alliances (RTA’s), the California Technology Partnership (or CalTIP) and a federal-State partnership program to facilitate funding for both high-profile and grass roots projects. Shukla was selected to personally direct the Los Angeles chapter of the RTAs (Larta). The program operated successfully under State funding from 1994 through 2003 as the State’s principal agent on innovation in the State’s largest region. Under Shukla’s leadership, Larta has become recognized worldwide as a convener and facilitator, and as an active “incubator without walls.” Larta is the prince[al commercialization agent of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has assisted other federal agencies including, NIST-ATP and DARPA.

Since the early 1990’s Shukla has produced a range of research reports. He was the co-author of “Beyond Consolidation” (on the redeployment of defense and aerospace assets in California, and the changing economy that followed the period of downsizing), the well-received “Hollywood Unstrung” reports on the impact of digital technologies on the entertainment industry and its implications for the economy of entertainment, the equally well-known Sand Dollar Reports (on investment and innovation), the nation’s first Nanotechnology Yellow Pages and Report, the Technology Innovation Index, which mapped innovation indicators in Southern California, the Federal Technology Funding Guide, now in its 6th year, and many reports on such sectors as bioinformatics, semiconductors, wireless technology and medical devices, as well as knowledge-based issues such as technology transfer and commercialization.

Shukla also established and annual Venture Forum, focused on providing “guided entrepreneurship” assistance to companies seeking private investment capital. Reflecting the organization’s attention and focus on technology transfer to the marketplace from the rich ground of research in California, Shukla was the force behind the creation of Network T2, the largest consortium of universities and research institutions in the country, which serves as a conduit for collaborative projects, a training ground for spin-offs from universities, and a calling card to global industry and academic players.

Prior to founding Larta, Shukla served, from 1991-94, as director of aerospace and high technology business at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. He oversaw an ambitious program funded by the federal Economic Development Administration, the first federally-funded ‘defense adjustment’ program in the country.

Shukla has worked in high technology industry since 1983, first as an entrepreneur and founder of his own small company providing database and communications solutions and devices, and later, from 1989-1991 as the executive director of The Presidents’ Roundtable, a mentor group of CEOs from defense and aerospace companies throughout the U.S., based in Los Angeles. That group included such leading figures as Peter Drucker, Bill Perry (who later became Secretary of Defense) and Mal Currie (then CEO of Hughes Aircraft Company, who later became co-chair of Project California).

In April, 1999, he was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the “Tech Coast 10 To Watch.” He has also been named to the “Who’s Who of High Technology” by the Los Angeles Business Journal, been inducted into the International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs and has received numerous awards and citations. He has served on the boards of several institutions including the Integrated Media Systems Center at the University of Southern California, the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum, EC2, The Annenberg Incubator Project at the University of Southern California, the Digital Coast Roundtable and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).

In October 1997 Shukla was appointed by then Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to both the Board of Information Technology Commissioners and a special blue ribbon task force on communications infrastructure for the City of Los Angeles. He co-authored the report for the City’s adoption of a streamlined telecommunications policy. He is widely quoted for his views in the media, has been a frequent guest on KWHY-TV, the Investment Channel, has been featured on such shows as the Lehrer News Hour, and in such news publications as the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired magazine, CIO magazine, Forbes and Silicon India. He speaks frequently before private and public audiences in the U.S. and overseas, and has been a frequent guest of regional and national governments in Scandinavia, Western Europe, the Far East and all over the United States.

Shukla holds a Masters in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and a Masters in Communications Arts from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. He is a U.S. citizen and has been a resident of Los Angeles since 1979. 

Arama Kukutai, Advisor


Arama Kukutai joined Finistere in March 2005 as a Managing Director, from a successful career in agribusiness, investing and international trade. Prior to joining Finistere, he served as Regional Director - North America for the New Zealand government's Trade Development agency in North America establishing multiple pathways for New Zealand businesses to access this key market.

Mr. Kukutai has had an active career in investment, both in commercial banking at Westpac Banking Corporation, and as a Director of PKW Incorporation, a successful $300M agribusiness and diversified investment entity involved in agriculture, aquaculture and property development with activities in New Zealand, Asia and Australia. He served as Chairman of PKW Farms, a large pastoral Dairy agribusiness in New Zealand. Mr. Kukutai serves on the boards of Hawaii BioEnergy, LLC. , Somark Innovations, Inc. and Tiller Cohen Farms, LP.

He is also Chairman of the Larta Institute’s advisory board for the USDA Commercialization program for SBIR grantee companies – see more at He has lived and worked internationally for much of his career and brings a strong agricultural business focus to Finistere Venture's activities. Mr. Kukutai is responsible for agricultural technology and green energy portfolio investments and is a member of Finistere’s Investment Committee.

Brad Jones, Advisor


Brad Jones is a Founding Partner of Redpoint Ventures. Prior to founding Redpoint, Brad was a general partner with Brentwood Venture Capital, a firm he joined in 1981.

Brad currently focuses on technology opportunities located in Southern California. Brad has managed successful investments in biotechnology, communications, Internet commerce, internet infrastructure, medical devices, semiconductors, software, and wireless. He has served on the board of ten public companies funded by Brentwood and Redpoint, and currently is a board member of and a number of private companies.

Brad received the Los Angeles Venture Association's first Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was honored with the Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award by the Ernst &Young Entrepreneur of the Year program.

Brad received an A.B. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, and an A.M. in Physics from Harvard University. Brad also holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller scholar, and a J.D. from the Stanford Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Matt Harris, Advisor


Matt Harris is the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm with over $175M under management. 

Harris began his career as a consultant at Bain & Company, Boston. In 1995, he signed on as an associate with Bain Capital. At Bain Capital, Harris’ most notable transactions included the $1.1 billion purchase and subsequent sale of a credit-reporting agency, and the $90 million purchase of a medical products distributor.

Harris left Bain Capital in 1997 to become the founding Managing Director of The Berkshires Capital Investors, a venture capital fund associated with Williams College. Under Harris’ leadership, BCI’s first fund of $5 million invested in 12 companies, with eight successful exits to date. The BCI organization, now a Village Ventures affiliate, has gone on to raise an additional $60 million.

Harris graduated from Williams College in 1994, and now lives in New York, NY and Williamstown, MA. He is active in the business community of Williamstown and Berkshire County, and is involved in many civic organizations. He has served as Chair of Mass Competitive Council for Berkshire County, an economic development initiative sponsored by the governor of Massachusetts, and serves as a Board Member of the John Adams Innovation Institute and a member of the Renewable Energy Industry Support Advisory Board.

Harris is a member of the NYC Seed Advisory Board, President of the Board of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and was a founding Board Member and Treasurer of Camp Starfish, a camp for troubled and disadvantaged youth outside Boston, MA. He also sits on numerous corporate boards, including Bluetarp Financial, Swift Financial, Vico Software, OnDeck Capital, TxVia, Inc. and iSend.

Nina Fedoroff, Advisor


Nina V. Fedoroff is the former science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  She is currently serving as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ms. Fedoroff, a geneticist and molecular biologist, is a pioneering researcher in the fields of plant genetics, plant responses to environmental stress, and genetically modified crops. She is an Evan Pugh Professor of the Pennsylvania State University; in 2003, she became a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute.