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Destination Silicon Valley Industry Leaders and CEOs

   
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Naeem Zafar

Destination Silicon Valley Program Director

Naeem is a faculty member at the University of California Berkeley, Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University. He has taught entrepreneurship and New Venture Finance since 2005. As a serial entrepreneur he co-founded and served as the CEO of several companies including Bitzer Mobile, that was acquired by Oracle in November 2013. He is currently the CEO of TeleSense, an Industrial IoT company. Naeem has published several cases in Harvard Business School publishing and has authored five books. He has an Sc.B. degree from Brown University

   

   
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Dr. Parimal Kopardekar (PK)

Director, NASA Aeronautics Research Institute

He holds a doctorate and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and bachelor’s degree in production engineering. He serves as the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aerospace Operations. He also serves as an adjunct faculty and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to operations management and supply chain management.

   

   
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Rick Rasmussen

Managing Director, Concordia Ventures

A Silicon Valley native with entrepreneurial, executive, government, and academic experience Rick focuses on startups and growth stage companies. He works extensively with governments and economic development agencies looking to connect with Silicon Valley. He is an active member of the Sand Hill Angels investment group. Rick earned an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a dual MBA degree from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Columbia’s Graduate School of Business in New York City with honors. He currently lectures on entrepreneurship at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University.

   

   
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Jay Ruparel

Co-Founder/CEO of VoicePlug | Co-Founder/Director Azure Knowledge

Jay Ruparel, EY Entrepreneur of the Year and mentor/advisor to startups, and chair/faculty for several startup programs is a serial entrepreneur with experience in building and scaling global businesses in technology-driven enterprises, building and driving innovation, and creating products and platforms. He specializes in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, digital transformation, data analytics, consumer insights, market research, virtual reality, and entrepreneurship,

   

   
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R. Paul Singh

Founder and CEO of five startups

Among his startups, Veraz went public and Espresso Logic, CyLAN, and Internetware was acquired. He is now the CEO of Startup Strategies where he works as a mentor to startup CEOs regarding various business and go-to-market issues. Paul has co-authored three books on internet-related topics. He has taught various classes at TiE Silicon Valley and IEEE besides being a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley, CMU, UCSF and Univ. of Rochester. Mr. Singh holds a BSEE from Delhi University, India and an MBA from St. John’s University, NY.

   

   
Alina Adams, Serial Entrepreneur

Alina Adams

Serial Entrepreneur

Alina has founded high-tech companies across multiple industries. With advanced degrees in both engineering and business, she has an emphasis on new technologies in the biotech, hardware and IoT space. She works with companies, investor groups, accelerators, and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond to build a supportive ecosystem for innovation and value creation. Alina is a member of several global organizations that help entrepreneurs, assisting startups with business development strategy, fundraising, and growth strategy.

   

   
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Arun Rao

Product Leader at Meta's largest applied machine learning team, serving 3 billion people

Arun supports teams of project managers and engineers applying state-of-the-art machine learning to user problems, creating platforms. He deals with regulatory and policy issues, and interfaces with cross-functional teams in UX, infrastructure, legal, etc. In parallel, Arun serves as an adjunct professor at UCLA Anderson on advanced product development. As an expert in using machine learning to create new products or optimize existing ones, he specializes in leading cross-disciplinary teams to solve problems in recommender systems, search, and investing.

   

   
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Joel Barbier

Director of Customer Zero at Cisco

Joel is a digital transformation and operations executive with broad experience in creating a strategic change agenda for enterprises and public sector organizations. He focuses on assessing the financial impact of digital technologies and driving change transformation programs. Practical experience in quote-to-cash business processes in sales and finance. He has a background in corporate finance including financial planning and analysis, controlling, accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and modeling.


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