Corporate Venture Disruption – Innovate or Die

Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Silicon Valley Bank
Kellogg Auditorium
3005 Tasman Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054



As the pace of disruption accelerates, the innovation strategy for a large corporation will shape the long term future of a business. Corporate venture continues to grow with more than 28% of venture investments coming from Corporations in Q3 2016 and nearly half Fortune 500 companies investing in accelerators or incubators.

Please join ACG Silicon Valley as our panelists discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the corporation. Are there multiple ways to innovate? How will corporate innovation change in the next 5-10 years? Who are the key players and what are they doing differently?


Our Distinguished Panel


Dr. George Ugras

Managing Director
IBM Ventures

Dr. Ugras leads IBM Ventures, whose mission is to engage with innovators globally to enable entrepreneurial activity that is relevant to IBM. His focus is on strategic relationships that drive innovation and maximize growth tied to IBM’s strategic imperatives, including: cloud, analytics/cognitive computing, mobile, social and cybersecurity.

Dr. Ugras joined IBM in 2016 from ACM, an early stage venture fund, where he was General Partner managing investments across big data infrastructure, cloud computing and analytics. He has founded and run start-ups during his career and served as advisor and director to a number of venture-backed companies. He is the founder of a life science company – CyteGen. Dr. Ugras started his investment career at Apax Partners, a global investment firm where he invested in early stage technology companies. Prior to Apax Dr. Ugras was with McKinsey & Co. in New York advising Fortune 500 companies on growth strategy.

Dr. Ugras has lectured on Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon, UCLA and Stanford, as well as advising faculty on technology spin-offs at various other universities. He also provided oversight on the Space Electronics Group at CalTech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Ugras holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Fairleigh Dickinson and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Yale. He was a research fellow at CalTech in Physics.


Rami Branitzky

Managing Director
Sapphire Ventures, LLC

Rami leads Sapphire Ventures’ market development efforts, where his team of business development and marketing professionals works closely with portfolio companies to provide strategic support across a range of topics, including go-to-market, business development and other functional areas.

Rami has nearly 20 years of experience in tech in a variety of roles. Most recently, he was CEO of Numenta, an innovator in machine learning. Previously, he served as managing director of SAP Labs North America, where he led its revitalization by focusing on innovation and integration with Silicon Valley’s rich culture of entrepreneurship. Rami also served as a senior vice president at SAP SE, where he led the software partnerships and business development organization, and held field and product leadership positions at TopTier Software, which was acquired by SAP for $400 million in 2001.

Rami currently serves as a board member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and as a director of the Churchill Club. He holds a BA from Hofstra University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and an MBA in information systems and finance from New York University Stern School of Business. Rami also served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Infantry Communications and Electronics branch, where he was awarded the Meritorious Service Award.


Rashmi Gopinath

Microsoft Ventures

Rashmi Gopinath is an Investing Partner with Microsoft Ventures in the Bay Area and leads enterprise software and datacenter investments. Her current investments include Paxata, Tactile, and CloudLanes.

Previously, Rashmi was an Investment Director at Intel Capital focused on investing in cloud, infrastructure, and big data companies. Her investments at Intel Capital included MongoDB, Basis Science (acquired by Intel), Maginatics (acquired by EMC), Apperian, among others. She also led global business development for high-growth startups such as Couchbase and BlueData. Prior to that, she held business development and product development positions at GE and Oracle.


Erik Ross

Associate Vice President of Nationwide Ventures
Nationwide Insurance

Erik’s background is primarily technology startups and large financial institutions. Prior to leading the venture capital group at Nationwide, he led the disruptive innovation group focused on developing and incubating novel concepts with the potential to disrupt the financial services ecosystem.

Prior to joining Nationwide, Erik worked in the public sector as North Carolina’s first Chief Digital Officer and has held several strategy and executive roles at tech startups and Fortune 500 companies. He was also an Executive-in Residence at the MIT Media Lab for three years. He has 40 issued patents and over 100 pending, but more importantly he likes to relate nearly any situation to an episode of Seinfeld, or some 80s/90s comedy.


Our Distinguished Moderator


Tracy Isacke

Managing Director
Corporate Relationship Management
Silicon Valley Bank

Tracy Isacke joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2014 and leads the company’s Corporate Relationship Management Group, which was established in 2009 to build connections between investment groups at some of the world’s largest companies and emerging technology and life science startups.

As head of the group, Tracy is responsible for Silicon Valley Bank’s relationships with corporate venture funds, corporate development teams and innovation groups at Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining SVB, Tracy was EVP New Business Ventures at Telefónica Digital where she identified investment opportunities in Silicon Valley, Israel and Europe with potential to accelerate Telefónica’s business. She also drove an international Global Partner team to deliver unique partnerships and Direct-to-Bill opportunities for Telefónica across 25 operating businesses in Europe and Latin America.

Tracy joined Telefónica in 2006 initially as Head of Enterprise Sales in the UK and then leading the acquisition of Jajah in Mountain View. She set up and grew the office in Silicon Valley and led the acquisition of San Francisco based TokBox, as well as several investments on behalf of Telefónica including Boku, and Box and key partnerships including Evernote, Pinterest and Rhapsody.

Tracy started her career at Xerox, rising to be one of the first female members of the UK Board. She then spent four years getting a taste of what life is like in an early stage company, working in a venture capital-backed start-up that went on to achieve a successful exit.