Cambridge MBA Silicon Valley Trek 2011 – Day 2

After the meetings with Reply! and Zynga on the first day we set out on a packed schedule that would take us from a SV “old” giant to amazing start-ups and into the world of Venture Capital on Day 2.

We started out in the morning with a meeting at the Intel HQ in Santa Clara where we discussed how Intel thinks about large trends like mobile and SmartTV, but also got an insight into why entrepreneurial minded MBAs find Intel a great place to fulfill their passion of creating new products and are still able to “change the world.” We were hosted by Wilfried Martis, himself an MBA and General Manager of Retail Consumer Electornics Products in the Digital Home Group of Intel.

On from Intel we visited VisualOn. With 75 employees they are quite a large company already and are a provider of an “integrated multimedia software application suite supporting all the essential functions for video/movie/mobileTV and other things”. Their core product is an innovative, low-power consuming decoder for multimedia applications. VisualOn’s technology solution has allowed them to be profitable very early on and build a strong customer base among large players like HTC.

From VisualOn we turned to the world of Venture Capital. We visited Sand Hill Road, the “Wall Street of Venture Capital”, and met with Vivek Mehra at August Capital. Vivek gave us first hand insights on how venture capital is currently operating in Silicon Valley, how they at AC structure their deal flow and he provided us with tips on what it takes to build a successful company (having himself built a company that sold for 2 billion before he joined August Capital). Three of us took the opportunity to pitch our very own business ideas and got invaluable feedback!

The last SV meeting for the day took us to a company that has one of the largest user bases in the world – ShareThis. Their free plugin for websites allows sharing content on multiple platforms like Facebook and accumulates a large amount of information that ShareThis can use for targeted online marketing. Ben Slutter, VP of Revenue and Media Operations and brother of our fellow MBA Cambridge classmate Andrew, gave us a first hand insight on how ShareThis monetized its distribution network and information from hundreds of millions of users and why it is just extremely exciting to work only a mile away from the likes of Facebook.

We finished a busy day with a meetup with Stanford and Berkeley MBAs in Palo Alto having some well deserved fun.The MBA networking event brought together MBAs from Haas School of Business at Berkeley and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford to meet the Cambridge MBAs. We met at the iconic Old Pro in Palo Alto.

The event brought MBA’s interested in technology and entrepreneurship looking to collaborate. The CJBS tradition. We had over 30 people RSVP for the event.  However, word began to spread and we ended up with a very mixed crowd. In addition to MBAs, we had lawyers who are interested in helping companies with the legal aspects in a startup and a partner at a family run VC firm looking for some interesting companies to invest in. We also had some Vanderbilt MBAs working in Silicon Valley requesting to attend.

The conversations were stimulating and really provided a platform to connect with the MBA community in northern California. Also, it was great fun!!!

Stay tuned for the next post detailing our third day in the most entrepreneurial region of the world!

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