Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop

Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop

This annual, week-long Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop (SVEW) exposes a select group of 25 students to technology entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership and continues to build an entrepreneurial community at UIUC. The educational trek, which takes place during Winter Break, features interaction with corporate leaders, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurial alumni in various stages of a startup life cycle that share lessons learned about entrepreneurship. 

Students must be full-time University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students for the full academic year. TEC reserves the right to accept applications after the deadline should all available spaces not fill by that time.

The workshop is primarily funded by The Grainger College of Engineering and generous donors. Students are expected to pay only a small portion of the cost of the trip. Historically, the fee for students has ranged from $200-$600. In select cases, the student fee may be waived completely. Lodging, most meals, and airfare are arranged by TEC. In some instances, alternate arrangements may be made in the case of students departing from locations other than Chicago.

We strongly encourage all interested students to apply for the Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop regardless of whether cost is an issue. Need-based financial aid is available to cover part or all of the student fee.

Talks & visits have included:

  • Tom Siebel | C3 AI
  • Esther Rasche | Carta
  • Max Levchin | Affirm
  • Sundari Mitra | Intel Corporation
  • Shawn Carolan | Menlo Ventures
  • Marcin Kleczynski | Malwarebytes
  • KR Sridhar | Bloom Energy
  • Ravi Thakkar | Impossible Foods
  • Melonee Wise | Fetch Robotics
  • Google, Tesla, and many more

Impact

  • 275+ students have participated since the first workshop in 2009
  • 100+ alumni have participated in this unique engagement opportunity
  • Students who attended previous workshops are now hosting current students at companies in Silicon Valley as alumni

January 2023 Speaker Lineup

Kelly Berger, a UIUC alum (Electrical Engineering 1995), has co-founded several companies including Tiny Prints, which was acquired by Shutterfly in 2011 for $333 million. He is also the co-founder of Level Up, a MasterClass and mobile training app to disseminate proprietary methods and techniques taught to professional athletes, Olympians, CEOs, entrepreneurs, financial executives, physicians, attorneys, and other professionals for over 20 years—via video content combined with a mobile app to practice, implement and build a lifelong habit for great accountability, self-confidence and ultimately success, health, and happiness.

Shawn Carolan, a UIUC alum, is a Partner at Menlo Ventures. As an early-stage investor, Shawn focuses on companies that serve the “utilitarian consumer”—the individual seeking better, faster, and cheaper ways to move through life. Because basic human needs are persistent, he looks at how people are spending their money and time to assess the value and utility of a product or service. This approach inspired Shawn to invest early in Roku, Uber, and Chime, long before they became household names. 



Roger Dickey, a UIUC alum, is the co-founder and CEO of Made Renovation, a company that streamlines the bathroom renovation process. Roger is a serial entrepreneur & active angel investor based in San Francisco. He entered the games industry in 2007 with a Facebook app startup, launching 19 apps with the largest generating 300M+ page views per month. After an acquisition by Zynga, Roger went on to found Mafia Wars (100M users), FishVille (35M users), and 5 other titles in his 3 years there. After leaving Zynga, Roger launched Gigster, a marketplace for software development services, which was acquired by Ionic in May 2021. 



Jawed Karim, a UIUC alum (Computer Science), is co-founder of YouTube and the first person to upload a video to the site. In 2008, he launched YVentures, which has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Palantir, Reddit, and Eventbrite.




Marcin Kleczynski, a UIUC alum (Computer Science 2012), is CEO and co-founder of Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company specializing in simple, intuitive cyberprotection for both consumer and businesses. While attending the University of Illinois, Marcin operated Malwarebytes from his dorm room. Marcin believes everyone deserves the right to be safe online, and stands behind the belief by continuing to offer a free consumer product. As CEO, Marcin has overseen the phenomenal growth of Malwarebytes from a one-man band to a company with over 800 employees and offices across the globe. Today he continues to lead the strategic expansion of the business and guide the long-term vision for the research and development teams. Marcin is recognized as a foremost authority on cyberthreats, receiving numerous awards including the Silicon Valley’s 40 Under 40, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Forbes 30 Under 30.

Samir Mitra, a UIUC alum (Electrical Engineering 1988), is the founder and CEO of Reya Health. Reya Health is a digital healthcare software company currently in stealth mode.





Sundari Mitra, a UIUC alum (Electrical Engineering 1987), is a two-time CEO, entrepreneur and seasoned technology executive. She is currently Chief Incubation Officer, Corporate Vice President, and General Manager of the Emerging Growth and Incubation Group at Intel where she leads a 5000-person team focused on developing best-in-class IP. As Founder and CEO of NetSpeed, she built a global company that transformed SoC design for the world’s leading semiconductor companies before a successful exit. She has a demonstrated track record of leading transformative strategies and building great engineering and go-to-market teams in both large and small companies and brings her experience in vision, strategy, technology and market development to the companies and leadership teams she works with. Sundari is also a role model and champion of improving diversity and inclusion in the work-place and actively mentors diverse CEOs, executives & entrepreneurs to help them achieve business and career growth.

Martin Neumann, a UIUC alum (Nuclear Engineering 2007) is Chief Operations Officer at View, Inc. View is the leader in smart building technologies that transform buildings to improve human health and experience, reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and generate additional revenue for building owners. View Smart Windows use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust in response to the sun, increasing access to natural light and outdoor views while eliminating the need for blinds and minimizing heat and glare. Every View installation includes a cloud-connected smart building platform that can easily be extended to reimagine the occupant experience. View is installed and designed into more than 90 million square feet of buildings including offices, hospitals, airports, educational facilities, hotels, and multi-family residences.

Prashant Shah, a UIUC alum, is the Managing Director of TiE LaunchPad, an accelerator for enterprise startups. Prashant specializes in helping startups reach their potential, and has been an early stage venture investor since 2001. Prior to entering the venture capital field, he spent many years defining and launching high tech products, working at enCommerce, Cypress Semiconductor, and AT&T.




Tom Siebel, a UIUC alum (BA in History, MS in Computer Science, and an honorary doctorate in Engineering), is the founder and CEO of C3 AI. C3 AI is a leading Enterprise AI software provider. Tom Siebel also co-founded Siebel Systems which was acquired by Oracle in 2006. A visionary thinker, a tech titan, and a committed philanthropist, he has donated funds to the University of Illinois to build the Siebel Center for Computer Science, the Siebel Center for Design, and has created two endowed full professorships.


Tom Sun, a UIUC alum (Electrical Engineering 2010), is CEO and founder of AmpUp. AmpUp is the leading electric vehicle (EV) charging operating system that enables drivers, hosts, and fleets to charge stress-free. Our technology makes it easy for businesses and property owners to manage multiple charge stations and locations in one platform. We enable our customers to achieve their electrification goals faster and easier than they imagined possible. With headquarters in Cupertino, CA, AmpUp’s network and software solutions have been deployed for customers across North America and Europe. Key customers include JLL, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Citizens Bank, Hilton Garden Inn, and Holiday Inn. 

Ravi Thakkar, a UIUC alum (Electrical and Computer Engineering 2007), is Senior Vice President of Product and Commercialization at Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods is transforming the global food system by creating better ways to make meat, dairy and fish without using animals. At Impossible, Ravi and his team are responsible for bringing products from concept to launch. This includes product strategy, global product management, development and commercialization, program management, insights, pricing and business management, and launch management. He has contributed to Impossible’s prolific growth by creating the product organization from the ground up that has delivered over 50 products across 4 continents.

Nitesh Trikka is Chief Product Officer at View, Inc. View is the leader in smart building technologies that transform buildings to improve human health and experience, reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and generate additional revenue for building owners. View Smart Windows use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust in response to the sun, increasing access to natural light and outdoor views while eliminating the need for blinds and minimizing heat and glare. Every View installation includes a cloud-connected smart building platform that can easily be extended to reimagine the occupant experience. View is installed and designed into more than 90 million square feet of buildings including offices, hospitals, airports, educational facilities, hotels, and multi-family residences.

 

 

2013 Workshop