At Silicon Foundry, it’s our job to stay connected with top founders, investors, and experts across industries. The TL;DR series distills top-of-mind interests, intel and ideas gleaned from our conversations with these thought leaders.

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Edny Inui trained as a behavioral neuroscientist with a PhD from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She serves as an early-stage investor at Portfolia and focuses on life sciences business development at Pacific Inui Consulting.

  • COVID has accelerated interest in biotech, but that’s not necessarily the full picture. M&A activity, which drives the value of early-stage assets, slowed early in the pandemic’s virtual environment, resulting in a lower number of transactions and value per deal. Recent deals (e.g., …

By Elsa Givan and Liz Keen, Silicon Foundry

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2020 is an inflection point for tackling critical global challenges. There are two options: go it together, or go it alone. From our perspective, the answer is clear — collaboration is the new competitive advantage, particularly at the intersection of public and private.

Journey to a tipping point

Our world today has been shaped by billions of micro and macro decisions. Some of those decisions, like the pursuit of moonshot ideas in the twentieth century — from putting a man on the moon to accelerating polio vaccine trials — set a precedent for generational innovation. …


Q&A with Carey Ransom, Founder & President of Operate

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Carey Ransom is the Founder and President of Operate, a venture studio that invests in and helps founders build high-growth software companies. After 20 years of starting, leading and growing multiple companies, Carey and his team now partner with founders to produce winning companies through their studio in Southern California. With a combination of collaboration, coaching, community and capital, Operate helps founders focus on the key things that matter and in their areas of genius, while supplementing the team in the other areas of need. …


Q&A with Silicon Foundry’s Analyst

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Alexia Fite is an analyst at Silicon Foundry, where she works with Delta, Deutsche Telekom, Estee Lauder, UPS, and Whirlpool. She holds a BA in Computer Science & Psychology from Yale University and spent a year and a half working at a New Haven-based family office. In her free time, she loves playing tennis and refining her newly acquired quarantine skill: making bubble tea.

Tell us about your career path — what are the key experiences that led you to Silicon Foundry?

As a junior in college, I was fortunate to work part-time at a family office. Before my internship, I didn’t even know what venture capital was. I had an amazing mentor and boss, however, and in my year and a half at Pritzker Vlock Family Office, I got a crash course in sourcing, evaluating and supporting startups. The experience inspired me to pursue VC-related opportunities post-graduation. When I learned about Silicon Foundry, it felt like the perfect fit because of the firm’s positioning at the nexus of startup, venture and corporate ecosystems. …


Silicon Foundry’s expanding network of Corporate Members are driving transformation at some of the world’s most respected global brands — from leaders in mobility, mining and telecom, to beauty, retail, energy, financial services and beyond.

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Dave Dowsett is the Global Head of Emerging Technology, AI, Scenario Planning and Intentional Innovation at Invesco, a firm that manages over $1T in assets for clients across 25 countries and is comprised of over 8000 global employees. In this role, he leads the development and execution of the emerging technology products and fintech engagements.

In addition to his role at Invesco, Dave also sits on the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship and Innovation Advisory Board, serves as a board member for the startup KeyPlease, and he mentors startups through Engage, a venture fund and accelerator program that has invested in over 46 startups in and around Georgia.


Q&A with Silicon Foundry’s Principal

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Chris Cusack is a Principal at Silicon Foundry. Previously, he was a seed-stage investor at Village Capital, which invested in 100 startups in mobility, financial services, healthcare, education, and agriculture. Prior to that, Chris worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers to launch new initiatives related to startup engagement and local economic development.

Tell us about your career path — what are the key experiences that led you to Silicon Foundry?

Prior to Silicon Foundry, I spent my career working at the nexus of policy, emerging tech and economic development, where I was largely focused on a couple of core themes and…


Rainforests, Rendanheyi & Corporate Resiliency

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By Elsa Givan & Steve Gotz, Silicon Foundry

Finding “Just Right”

Innovation suffers from a Goldilocks problem. Small startups have passionate teams, responsive decision-making structures and are easily adaptable to changing market conditions. As they succeed, though — in large part due to these advantages — they begin to face scaling challenges. The larger a company becomes, the less nimble, reactive and culturally distinct it is, which creates consequences for innovation.

These realities aren’t unique to any one corporation; rather, they represent the inherent tradeoffs between scale and agility that develop with early growth. So how does a company find the right balance? Is there a way to achieve commercial growth while also deliberately cultivating the advantages of a startup? …


Q&A with Scott Kirsner, CEO & Co-Founder of Innovation Leader

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Scott Kirsner is CEO and Co-Founder of Innovation Leader, a Boston-based media and events company that focuses on helping innovators in large companies deliver results. Scott has spent two decades as a business journalist and contributing editor at the Boston Globe, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Variety, The New York Times, BusinessWeek and other publications. Scott is the author of several books on innovation and technology, including a highly-acclaimed collaboration with George Lucas, “Inventing the Movies,” which explores the challenge of bringing new ideas to a century-old, change-resistant industry: Hollywood.

What compelled you to create Innovation Leader, and what do you hope your audience takes away from this rich resource?


Q&A with Najla Al-Midfa, CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center

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Najla Al-Midfa is Chief Executive Officer of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), a government-supported entity that launched in January 2016 with a mandate to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sharjah and support entrepreneurs as they build and grow innovative startups that contribute positively to the region’s economy. Since its launch in 2016, Sheraa has graduated over 100 startups that have raised over $85M in investments, created over 1000 jobs and generated over $60M in cumulative revenue.

Prior to Sheraa, Najla was a Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, where she led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing. She has also held roles at McKinsey and Company’s New York office, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell.


Silicon Foundry’s expanding network of Corporate Members are driving transformation at some of the world’s most respected global brands — from leaders in mobility, mining and telecom, to beauty, retail, energy, financial services and beyond.

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Trevor Pawl is Chief Mobility Officer at the State of Michigan. He leads Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, an office that sits inside the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Governor’s Office. He has been with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for nearly eight years, leading the Michigan Pure Michigan Business Connect program, PlanetM and the Michigan International Trade program, among other things.

Your career in Michigan state government spans over seven years — can you walk us through the progression of roles and experiences that led you to where you are now?

About

Silicon Foundry

Silicon Foundry is an innovation advisory platform that builds bridges between leading multi-national corporations and global startup ecosystems.

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