Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop

Silicon Valley Virtual Entrepreneurship Workshop

APPLICATION DEADLINE | Monday, December 6 at 11:59pm
MEET & GREET (In Person)
| Thursday, Dec. 9, 1:00-3:00pm
| Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday, January 11-13


Hear from and network with entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and venture capitalists as they share their startup experience and answer your questions!

Here are some topics that may be covered during the Silicon Valley Workshop:

  • Finding your why or your passion
  • How do you find the right problem to solve? 
  • Idea Validation: How do you know you have a good idea?  
  • How to talk to your customer? Customer discovery?
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion in entrepreneurship  
  • Scaling a startup
  • Funding 101   
  • Running lean 
  • Marketing 101
  • The biggest barriers to startup success
  • How to pitch to a Venture Capitalist
  • Leadership Skills

Speaker Lineup

OPENING SPEAKER | Marcin Kleczynski | Finding Your Why

Marcin Kleczynski, a UIUC alum, is CEO and co-founder of Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company specializing in simple, intuitive cyberprotection for both consumer and businesses. 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.

Prashant Shah | How to Pitch to a VC

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.

Shawn Carolan | Venture Capital 101

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. 

Check back as we finalize and post more speakers to the schedule!

About the In-Person Workshop

The Technology Entrepreneur Center and The Grainger College of Engineering annually sends a select group of students to Silicon Valley during winter break for a week long technology entrepreneurship workshop that includes visits to startups and leading technology companies.

The Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop exposes students to technology entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership, and continues to build an entrepreneurial community at Illinois. Students return to campus inspired and ready to bring back the skills and knowledge they learned to the Illinois community.

The trip features corporate leaders, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs in various stages of a startup lifecycle. Students also have opportunities to network with prominent entrepreneurial Illinois alumni and develop career boosting skills that will help make them stand out among the crowd.

We invite you to watch some of our past videos to get an idea of who our speakers may be. Past speakers include Max Levchin, Jeremy Stoppelman, Tom Siebel, and Sundari Mitra with visits to companies like Tesla, Yelp, a16z, Twitter, LinkedIn, Bloom Energy, and many more.  

For more information contact Stephanie Larson at

Students must be full-time University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students for the full academic year, Fall 2021-Spring 2022. TEC reserves the right to accept applications after the deadline should all available spaces not fill by that time.


2013 Workshop