SVASE, the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs, is a membership based non-profit organization, for technology and life science entrepreneurs.
SVASE was founded in 1995 by a group of entrepreneurs including Ed Ipser, Ed Van Deman, and Mark Addison, to provide insights into the business aspects of entrepreneurship, which they had identified as usually being more of an influence on the success of a startup, that the underlying technology.
Membership in SVASE grew significantly during the dot-com boom of the late 90’s, when anyone with an idea wanted to learn how to draw up a business plan on a napkin, so they could raise million of dollars in venture funding, and go public within 18 months, by running this past venture capitalists over breakfast at Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside, CA. This all came to a grinding halt in early 2001, but SVASE continues to provide support for cash strapped entrepreneurs, with programs providing insights from the concept through to product launch and the B round of funding.
Successful entrepreneurs and VCs regularly speak at and attended SVASE events, including Jonathan Abrams (Friendster, Socializr), Guy Kawasaki (Apple, Garage Technology Ventures, Truemors), Eric Benhamou (Palm, Cypress Semiconductors), James Hong (Hot or Not), Seth Sternberg (Meebo), Ray Lane (Oracle, Sequoia Ventures), Jeff Fairman (Juvaris Bio Therapeutics), and many, many more.
SVASE is supported by contributions from over 60 sponsors, including many well known companies in fields ranging from computer operating systems and applications, semiconductors, internet services, venture capital, and legal and financial advice.
Originally organized by Edward A. Ipser, Jr., PhD (www.ipser.com) as the Bay Area Association of Entrepreneurial Software Engineers, the first meeting was held at Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant in 1995 attended by 12 local entrepreneurs. Ed Ipser was soon joined by Sandra Allison (then Sandra Huie) and together they recruited Ginny Nile, Edward Van Deman (www.finnav.com), Mark Addison (www.rocketscience.com), Bob Jacobson, and Paul O’Rourke to form the original executive team and board of the organization. The organization was quickly renamed the Silicon Valley Association of Software Entrepreneurs (SVASE) and early meetings featured Silicon Valley luminaries such as venture capitalist Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Ventures (www.humwin.com) and Peter Ziebelman of Palo Alto Venture Partners (www.pavp.com). The first corporate sponsor was Microsoft Corporation (www.microsoft.com).
One of the most active early advisors to SVASE was Joe Becker, a highly respected Silicon Valley executive and angel investor and a past member of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. He recognized the potential of the organization and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors until 2002.
In 1997 the Board sought to obtain the support of recognized leaders in the entrepreneurial community and formed an Advisory Board. Members of the first Advisory Board included: Joe Becker, Dolphin Ventures (www.dolphinventures.com); Tom Byers, Professor, Stanford University; (www.stanford.edu); Mark Gorenberg, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (www.humwin.com); Sandy Herz, SD Forum (www.sdforum.org) then called the Center for Software Development; Frederick M. Hoar, Miller Shandwick Technologies West and Co-Founder of the Band of Angels; Michael J. McCabe, CPA, McCabe & Totah (www.mccabetotah.com); and Nicholas P. Petredis, Attorney at Law.
Membership in SVASE grew significantly during the dot-com boom of the late 90’s, when anyone with an idea wanted to learn how to draw up a business plan on a napkin, so they could raise millions of dollars in venture funding, and go public within 18 months, by meeting with venture capitalists over breakfast at Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside, CA. This all came to a grinding halt in early 2001, but SVASE continues to provide support for cash strapped entrepreneurs, with programs providing insights from the concept through to product launch and the B round of funding. In 1998 Ed Ipser turned over the presidency to Dave McClure (www.500hats.com) who was in turn was succeeded by Nick Hall in 2000.
In May of 1999 the Board held a strategic planning retreat at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove. Dr. Linda Ford (www.fordbusinessconsulting.com), served as a facilitator at this event. One of many issues discussed was the type of entrepreneur the organization would address. Many members made the argument that while software had been driving force of entrepreneurship in the past, it was quickly becoming only a part of where new entrepreneurs were looking for new ideas. It as important to look beyond software. Soon thereafter, the organization was renamed Silicon Valley Association of Start-Up Entrepreneurs.
Early corporate sponsors were: Microsoft Developers Program (http://msdn.microsoft.com/svdevcenter/); Woodside Fund (http://www.woodsidefund.com); HiTech Law (http://www.hitech-law.com/); Onset Ventures (http://www.onset.com); and Silicon Valley Bank (http://www.svb.com/).
In 2001 the Board of Directors included Mark Addison of Rocket Science (www.rocketscience.com), Joe Becker (Chairman) of Dolphin Ventures (www.dolphinventures.com); John Gale of Taligo, LLC (www.taligo.com), and others. This Board hired Laura Roden (www.vcprive.com) as Executive Director and President of the organization. As the first full-time professional manager for SVASE, Laura brought a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm of the mission of the organization. She pursued a strategy summarized by the tagline: Expand Your Circle of Influence and was responsible for amazing growth in the number of members and visibility of SVASE. The organization could easily claim to be the fastest growing organization focused on entrepreneurs and probably the fastest growing professional organization in Silicon Valley.
In 2005 was named President and changed the direction of the organization as summarized by a new tagline: Empowering Entrepreneurs to Realize Their Visions. With his extensive experience as an entrepreneur and director of an incubator, Chris brought a renewed commitment to assist individuals who are starting new high tech companies. The quality of the programs and the reputation of the organization have continued to grow.
The Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE) is managed almost entirely by a large group of dedicated volunteers organized by program under volunteer managers. We always welcome new volunteers to help us serve our community's goals
President & CEO, Chris Gill
Marketing & Finance Manager, Laura Weigant
Event Manager & Membership Coordinator , Liz Caldwell
Executive Management Team
Affiliates, Laura Weigant
BIGs (Business Interface Groups), Dan Sharoni
East Bay Serie, Dana Shultz, Kevin Matsushita, Christina Ellwood
First Impressions, Chad Salinas
Forum, Jim Connor, Mark Addison, Ram Sriram
International, Esther Nguyen
Main Event, Laura Weigant, Liz Caldwell
Marketing & PR, Laura Weigant
Membership, Chris Gill
Online Marketing, OuterJoin Inc.
Startup-U, Anne Donker, Lowry Fenton
VC Breakfast Club, Jai Kumar
Volunteers at Events, Mike Harris
Board of Directors
Steve Bengston, PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com)
Jim Chapman, Chairman, Nixon Peabody
Stephane DuPont, National Venture Capital Association (www.nvca.org)
Chris Gill, SVASE
Jeff Grabow, Ernst & Young (www.ey.com)
Michele Klein, Applied Materials (www.amat.com)
Ed Lambert, Bridge Bank (www.bridgebank.com)
Laura Pickering, Network Appliance, Inc. (www.netapp.com)
Philip Wickham, Copan Venture Capital
Mark Addison, Rocket Science(www.rocketscience.com)
Joe Becker. Dolphin Ventures (www.dolphinventures.com)
Ken Brenner, Bridge Bank (www.bridgebank.com)
Richard J. Elkus, Jr., KLA-Tencor
Rick Fezell, Ernst & Young LLP (www.ey.com)
John Gale, Taligo LLC (www.taligo.com)
Kelly Hudson, Rich’s Business Guides
Mark Jensen, Deloitt & Touche
Bill Keating, Executive Consultant
Alfred Kenrick, Silicon Valley Bank (www.siliconvalleybank.com)
Casey McGlynn, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
John Metz, Credit Suisse First Boston
Sally Pera, Peraconnect
Anand Ramanathan, WebEx Communications
Laura Roden, VC Prive (www.vcprive.com)
Denise Ryan, Blumarble
Steve Stephenson, Sand Hill Angels
Ben Templin, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Francisco Terrizzano, Bank of Walnut Creek
Rosemary Remacle, Sevin Rosen Funds
Ed Van Deman, Financial Navigator (www.finnav.com)
Sun Jen Yung, DB Alex Brown
Jonathan Abrams, Socializr
Joe Davison, Technalysis
Murali Devarakonda, Ridestation
Larisa Genin, PuppyFinder.com
Nat Goldhaber, Claremont Creek Ventures
Charles Hsu, Pappas Ventures
Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures
Robert LoPresto, Ruscher Loscavio LoPresto
Sachin Maheshwari, Opus Capital
Larry Marcus, Walden VC
Susan Mason, Onset Ventures
John Occhipinti, Woodside Fund
Bill Reichert, Garage Technology Ventures
Andrew Roberts, Ephox
Heidi Roizen, Mobius Ventures
Carol Sands, The Angels Forum LLC
John Steuart, Claremont Creek Ventures
Pankaj Sukla, Trex Global
Blair Swedeen, Partenza
Sriram Viswanathan, Intel Capital
Ron Weissman, Apax Partners
As of November, 2007 SVASE numbers over 10,000 Associate Members, over 4,000 Corporate Members, and almost 800 Individual Members (798 to be exact).