Brunch with Experts

Brunch with Experts is an exclusive event for the Tech Innovation Forum attendees that will take place on May 11, 2023. By attending Brunch with Experts, you can expand your network, ask questions, and gain valuable knowledge and advice from some of the most influential leaders in the industry.

Brunch with Experts for registered
attendees only!

Brunch with Experts is a unique opportunity for valuable networking that provides attendees with direct access to leaders and experts in the tech innovation community. Participants can engage in one-on-one conversations with C-level executives, entrepreneurs, and experts in their field, and gain insights into their experiences, strategies, and successes. Each expert will have two (2) 45-minute sessions, and registered guests can sign up for two sessions on a first-come, first-served basis! Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to connect with some of the most influential and knowledgeable experts in the industry.

Thursday, May 11th | 12:30 – 2:00 PM

Session 1: 12:30 – 1:15 PM

Session 2: 1:15 – 2:00 PM

Registered attendees will receive a link to reserve a spot for a BWE table!

Becoming a Data Driven Organization

Organizations have vast amounts of data available to them, but making sense of that data is not always easy. How can you use leading edge technologies to harness data and enhance operations? How do you translate data into actionable information?

Artificial Intelligence: The Hottest Topic in Intellectual Property

It was said in the 2010’s that “software is eating the world.” In the 2020’s, it is AI’s turn to feast. AI has worked its way into many areas of modern life, from voice-enabled assistants on our phones and in our homes, to distillation of massive amounts of data into intelligible patterns, to design of hard goods like golf clubs. With the rise of generative AI systems like ChatGPT, artificial intelligence is no longer limited to analyzing data and making more informed decisions. AI can now create written content sophisticated enough to pass graduate-level written exams, generate ideas, and (some would argue) create art. This Brunch with Experts will cover AI and its evolving relationship to intellectual property, including how innovations in AI can be protected, and whether ideas and content generated by AI can be protected with AI as an inventor or author.

Ravi Bodla

Director, RSM US LLP

Ravi Bodla is a Director in RSM’s Digital and Data Services practice and is the National Industrials and Manufacturing Data Analytics Leader. Ravi has more than twenty years of experience helping organizations develop technology and data based solutions to solve business problems, enable better decision making and to drive meaningful business transformation. In his current role, Ravi delivers strategy, advice, and consultation regarding business intelligence and enterprise data strategies, serves as both a solution and enterprise architect, assists and oversees engagement teams, and is responsible for ensuring outcomes delivered by the firm adhere to client expectations.

Jeremy Carney

Partner, Knobbe Martens Olson and Bear

Jeremy Carney is a partner in the Orange County office of Knobbe Martens Olson and Bear, one of largest law firms in the country focused exclusively on intellectual property and technology law. Jeremy represents innovative companies of all sizes, from start-ups to household names, in intellectual property matters worldwide. He focuses on IP matters in a variety of high-tech fields, including: artificial intelligence and machine learning, speech recognition and natural language understanding, cryptography, high performance computing and cloud computing systems, medical devices, and business methods. During his decade of hands-on experience working in the computer technology field prior to the law, Jeremy developed software systems for a wide range of industries and technical platforms. As a result, he functions as an industry insider with no learning curve.

Marketing 101 for Start-Ups in 2023

From AI to the OG of PR, we’ll discuss marketing news (not trends) for this year, how to embrace it, become bespoke about your targeted choices and what to really spend some time on. Content is still king (or queen in my world) yet the “influencers” we’ve been told to listen to aren’t really the ones that will authentically start to change purchasing behavior. Marketing is changing with many new buzzwords yet good ‘ol fashioned relationship building and trust are still the epitome of building a business. 

Creating a Differentiated and Relevant Brand For Your Tech Startup

Technology startups have big ideas, big technologies, and small budgets. On top of that, you are operating in a world of established giants with brand equity, name recognition and entrenched market positions. This session will focus on how early-stage technology companies can break through the barriers to define a clear and differentiated value proposition and create awareness and connection with customers that matter.

Georgette Pascale

Founder, G.

Known as “The Connector,” Georgette Pascale has over 25 years of experience in PR, marketing and communications, including healthcare, e-commerce, music, and technology. In 2005 she launched Pascāle, a virtual communications and social marketing media agency. Last year, Pascāle expanded its capabilities and was acquired by kindred spirit and highly respected leader PRECISIONeffect. Georgette proudly assumed the title of executive vice president, PR & Social. Fast forward to October 2022 and entrepreneurship consumed her mind again so she introduced a brand-new company, entitled ‘G.’ (your personal business ally), focused on assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses in any industry accomplish their short-term goals via her authentic and effective style. She also started a community for parents of teenagers called ‘MiddleMeets’. Georgette holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology (where she has also taught).

Clay Wilemon

CEO, 4L Data Intelligence

Clay Wilemon serves as CEO and Chairman at 4L Data Intelligence™. The company is using the power of its patented Integr8 AI™ technology for good by helping healthcare payers and providers, governments and insurers reduce billions of dollars in out-of-control costs, increase automation and elevate service quality by improving data, provider, payment and decision integrity. He is the former founder and CEO of DevicePharm, a strategic marketing firm that helped define and launch over 500 healthcare and technology brands in the United States and around the world. DevicePharm was acquired by a private equity firm. In addition, Clay has been an active investor, co-founder and director in healthcare technology, information technology and artificial intelligence companies and has been awarded patents for medical device and artificial technology technologies. He is also a partner in Visionary Ventures. Clay is a longstanding member of the Board of Directors at Octane. Clay holds a BA degree from Vanderbilt University.

Improving Your Presentation Assets and Increasing Your Chances at Funding!

Take your startup to the next level! Join two LaunchPad SBDC Accelerator experts and discover how to enhance your presentation assets and boost your funding prospects.

Joseph Wyno

Director, LaunchPad SBDC

Joseph Wyno has over 25 years of experience in the founder/startup ecosystem, both domestically and internationally, and previously served as senior advisor for Octane’s LaunchPad SBDC Accelerator. As an accomplished multi-award-winning business development consultant, he has been instrumental in helping LaunchPad SBDC clients raise $230M of capital over two years by developing teams that precisely address their business needs and capital objectives.

Shaun Sanders

Assistant Director, LaunchPad SBDC

Shaun Sanders has more than 20 years of experience in the startup world helping hundreds of startups commercialize their technology and raise more than $400M in capital. He serves as the Senior Associate Director of Octane LaunchPad SBDC’s Accelerator and has mentored startups at Y Combinator, Techstars, Plug and Play, and Evo Nexus. Shaun is an Adjunct Professor of Law at USC Gould School of Law teaching business entrepreneurship law to masters-level students.

Be a part of Octane’s Marketing Leaders Master Class Peer Group

Marketing is one of the most critical functions in a company. In addition, the marketing profession is going through profound changes which will accelerate in the near future due to Chat GPT and other recent AI advances. We’ll discuss some of these professional challenges during our lunch and what the Octane Marketing Leaders Peer Group is doing to prepare and master them (from both a leadership and technical mastery perspective). Please come join us and share your thoughts and ideas!

Using a Moneyball Approach to Evaluate Startups: Maximizing Investment Potential

Innovation Ecosystems are catching up to Corporate America realizing that AI/ML can be applied to large data sets to make predictions. Let’s discuss the “art of the possbile” of how AI/ML can accelerate innovation ecosystems.

Kip Knight

Chair, Octane Marketing Leaders Peer Group

Kip Knight is Operating Partner at Thomvest Ventures (an SFO-based $500M evergreen fund) specializing in Fintech, MarTech and Cyber. He is founder/CEO of CMO Coaches, which coaches current and aspiring marketing leaders. He spent 10 years in brand management at P&G and another 10 in PepsiCo’s international restaurant division in a variety of marketing and management roles, including GM of North Latin America, as well as head of marketing for KFC International. Kip also served as Chief Marketing Officer for Taco Bell. Kip was VP of marketing at eBay NA and eBay Canada. He was the first head of international marketing as well as Regional VP for eBay International for Latin America, Australia, and Taiwan. Kip served as president of H&R Block U.S. and was head of their international and ex-pat businesses. Kip is founder of USMCC (US Marketing Communication College) which has trained hundreds of diplomats at the US State Department on how to create effective communication strategies and programs. He’s a published author of two leadership books and earned his B.S. degree from LSU in marketing and his MBA from the University of Cincinnati. Kip is a Certified Advanced Executive Coach (ACPEC).

Dave Beck

General Manager, Haystax

David is an Intrapreneur and has managed teams of 600 people and a P&L of $200M. His last role was as an AI Solutions Leader where he had to out-innovate Google, Apple, Verizon and Disney. He was 1 of 600 leaders chosen for an Accelerator program. He has industry experiences in SW, medtech and consumer products. and functional experience in finance, sales operations and systems implementations.

Climate Tech and the Energy Transition

Join Neal and Scott to discuss the latest technology innovation and investment trends in energy (renewables, batteries, micro grids, built environment, etc.), water (reuse, contamination (PFAS), irrigation, etc.), transportation (EV and hydrogen infrastructure, biofuels, EV charging tech, vehicle to grid, OEM trends, etc.) and the growing ESG tech stack. Regardless of the macroeconomic situation, the climate tech drivers remain, and early-stage investment opportunities have never looked better.

Neal Rickner

Managing Partner, Elevation Ventures

Neal Rickner is the Managing Partner of Elevation Ventures. Elevation Ventures is an early stage climate tech venture fund. Previously, Neal spent a decade at Google and Google[x] leading teams and developing energy projects. Prior to working in tech, Neal served 12 years on active duty in the US Marine Corps as an F/A-18 pilot and forward air controller.

Scott Kitcher

President & CEO, Sustain SoCal

Scott has over 30 years of financial services experience in investment banking, investment management, private equity, venture capital, and consulting. Just over 15 years ago, he began focusing on clean technologies, their impacts on sustainability, and sustainability initiatives. Today, he is President & CEO at Sustain SoCal, Principal at EcoFin Consulting, LLC, and serves on various corporate, non-profit, and academic boards and committees in various roles almost all related to cleantech and sustainability.

Start-Up Valuation

Join for a discussion on startup valuation to delve into the intricacies of determining the value of a startup and the factors that influence its assessment in today’s dynamic business landscape. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, investor, or industry professional, this discussion promises to equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complex world of startup valuation successfully. 

Mike Hill

Managing Director, Octane Capital Markets

Michael is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor with a deep passion for helping startup technology and medical technology companies advance their business models. He has co-founded, grown, and created liquidity for investors at two startup software companies and a professional services business which he ran for 25 years. Prior to leading his own ventures, he worked for Merrill Lynch, Xerox, and Orco Block Company. He also worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted at California State University, Fullerton where his teams helped the owners of small businesses secure more than $100 million in funding solutions.

Jeff Wallace

Co-Founder, Silicon Valley in Your Product

Jeff is a long-time Bay Area resident who works with global startup ecosystems, including governments, corporations & startup accelerators/entrepreneurs, to help catalyze startup environments & create a bridge to Silicon Valley. For many years, he has dedicated himself to serving the needs of companies, both locally and abroad, in their understanding of how to best deploy emerging technologies and create an environment for innovation and disruption.

Optimizing Your Maturity and Growth Leveraging Sound Risk Management and Tax Planning Strategies

Join Carl to discuss risk management principles, internal controls, and IT tools to support company growth, maturity, and compliance. He will also go into depth and discuss tax planning strategies to support company growth, maturity, and compliance.

Carl Grifka

Director, RSM US LLP

Carl Grifka is a risk advisory Director for RSM.  Carl has a unique background encompassing finance, SOX compliance, eGRC tools, and IT risk experience. Prior to joining RSM, Carl was the CFO for a leading technology solutions provider, a board director, and as a lead auditor for a Fortune 100 automotive manufacturer. 

Kenneth Murwanto

Senior Manager, International Tax



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