The NetForum: Year in Review: Governance Crisis Fuels General Discontent and Rise of Blockchain

Dear Friends & Colleagues, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year. During 2017, The NetForum held meetings to discuss many of the pivotal issues of the day, from Ethical Scandals in Startups to The Blockchain Revolution to the Algorithm Takeover of our Lives.  Over 250 of you joined the discussions in person, and several thousand read the Key Learnings that synthesized each discussion. My New Year’s blog usually draws heavily upon the NetForum discussions and attempts to reveal the big themes that will follow us from the past year to the next.  It was easy…

Key Learnings: ICO & Crypto Market Regulation (12/20/17)

The NetForum held its final meeting of 2017 on December 20th to discuss ICOs and Crypto market regulation. The NetForum convened against the backdrop of a peak in the value of Bitcoin, a media frenzy not seen since the advent of the DotCom era, and pronouncements by the SEC accompanied by fresh enforcement actions against ICO schemes.  Our featured guests were David Brill and Demetrios Boutris, representing the point of views of Blockchain innovators and regulators, respectively.  Also partaking in the discussion were Crypto and Blockchain investors, Blockchain technology innovators, and securities law and regulation experts. Here’s what emerged from our discussion. It’s the…

Key Learnings: The Blockchain Revolution in Context, at AllianceBernstein with ConsenSys

On November 2nd, Lisa Ellis, Senior Research Analyst, covering payments, processors, and IT services, at AllianceBernstein, and Andreas Wallendahl, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development at ConsenSys, the leading Blockchain Venture Studio, were the featured guests at the third NetForum peer-to-peer discussion on Blockchain and ICOs, joined by 25 professionals from PE & VC funds, Family Offices, and startups.  Thanks to Mark Schlossberg, Principal and Financial Advisor at Bernstein, for hosting this NetForum event.   This discussion was so thought provoking that for this Key Learnings I deviated from the usual practice of summarizing the discussion and engaged in further…

Key Learnings: Digital Transformation @Adweek with Accenture Interactive

  On October 17, 2017, at Adweek in NYC, the NetForum gathered 33 digital executives – including 15 CEOs/GMs and 10 CMOs/CROs – to deep dive into why Digital Transformation is such a hot topic today.  Most of the NetForum participants spoke up to share with the group opportunities and challenges they face in their jobs.  Our special guests were Michael Lawless, Chief Experience Officer, Accenture Interactive’s Digital Transformation practice, and Jim Cooper, Editorial Director of Adweek.   A.  In short: Digital Transformation is top of mind — top leadership is really committed to doing something big. But it’s not…

Key Learnings: VC-Backed Companies’ Ethical Scandals

July 23, 2017   VC-Backed Companies’ Ethical Scandals   Who Cares, Why They’re Happening, What to Do About It?   Key Learnings Recent scandals involving Startup CEOs have generated lots of attention in the media, and among the leading commentators on the Startup ecosystem. The heightened scrutiny may be due to the jarring disconnect between the “good guys” self-image of startups and the egregious conduct of some.  It could also be due to the fact that egregious behavior is more common than anyone ever suspected. Startups are structurally prone to HR disasters. They are often led by natural Type A…

Key Learnings: Algorithm Regulation featuring Esther Dyson

I am pleased to share the Key Learnings of the NetForum on Algorithm Regulation featuring Esther Dyson held on February 28, 2017. This is a broad subject, and an explosive one too — I am telling you right now that this will become a very hot potato for the tech industry. No, it probably already is but one largely hidden from view and handled discreetly in the halls of government in the US, China, Russia, India and the EU. Fundamentally, the issue I dared raise is as follows: It is a given that our lives are migrating to digital environments owned and controlled by private entities —…

Key Learnings: Equity, Debt & Everything in Between

I am pleased to bring you the January 2017 NetForum Key Learnings.  The NetForum meeting was hosted by John Hempill, Esq., partner at Sheppard Mullin & Richter on January 31, 2017. With the tech market booming, capital has poured in and there is a plethora of doors to knock on for tech companies seeking capital.  This is true at the low-end, the mid-market and the pre-IPO stages.  In fact, it is my observation, as someone who has raised capital for my own startups and for many tech clients over the last 20+ years, that there is a dizzying array of…

Key Learnings: Blockchain Disruption @Accenture

July 17, 2016 Dear Friends, I am pleased to share with you the key learnings that emerged from another very interesting and energetic discussion at our the latest NetForum — our second on the topic of the Blockchain.  As usual, we mixed leading edge startups and established corporations to attack a topic from all angles.  It took me a lot longer than usual to pen this report (was busy on my day job!) so thanks for your patience. Our participants hailed from Accenture (represented by our host, Abhishek Gutgutia), First Data, Fujitsu, RWE, Warner Brothers, Wipro, Salesforce.com, as well as…

INVITATION: NetForum@Silicon Valley@Accenture: The Blockchain Unchained!

Dear Friends and Colleagues, After 3 years in NYC and 6 months in London, The NetForum has finally landed in Silicon Valley!  We will be holding a NetForum breakfast event on May 25, 2016 hosted by Jitendra Kavathekar, MD of Open Innovation at Accenture in San Jose, featuring James Slazas, CFO of ConsenSys, a venture production studio building decentralized applications focused primarily on Ethereum, a leading Blockchain platform. The objective of this discussion is to get a better understanding of where Blockchain applications are in fact gaining traction.  This event is for anyone who has a viewpoint on the subject or experience to…

INVITATION: NetForum on The New Crowdfunding Rules @Sheppard Mullin

Dear Friends & Colleagues, Congress and the SEC have made it easier for small companies to raise money and for their investors to sell their illiquid stock ushering a new era of private company financing. Will it change the life of your company? This is the topic of the next NetForum, hosted by John Hempill, Esq. at Shepard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, on January 21, 2016, 8am – 10am, 30 Rockefeller Center. New Crowdfunding rules are opening more broadly the market for small company financing.  Will Crowdfunding now become mainstream?  Have you tried Crowdfunding for your company? Why/Why not? Private…