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Indiana University Bloomington


The Velocity Conference

Velocity Conference Logo

The graduate-level Velocity Conference, dedicated to the acceleration of entrepreneurial careers, has become a tradition within the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Founded in 2000 by Jack M. Gill, PhD, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business organizes this annual event in partnership with another university. Members of the Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy at Kelley, along with a selected host school, meet CEOs from high-potential businesses and the venture capitalists that fund them. Students hear candid stories of those who have “been there and done that."

Conference experiences have included closing the NASDAQ Stock Market in 2006; touring Warner Brothers Studios in 2007; a tour of NASA headquarters with an overview of innovations in space in 2008; and a tour of Silicon Valley including the Computer History Museum in 2009.

Velocity Conferece
2009: MBA Velocity Conference attendees in Silicon Valley. Speakers included Saeed Amidi, founder of Plug & Play Tech Center, and SunPower’s Dick Swanson, the “father of solar in the U.S.”2009: Tom Anderson, CEO of PENSCO Trust Co., a self-directed IRA.2009: Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of ATDynamics, aerodynamic innovators to the freight industry.2009: Ginsu Yoon, vice president of corporate development for Linden Lab, maker of Second Life.2009: Andy Beckstoffer (left), of Beckstoffer Vineyards.2009: Jerry Engel, director of the Lester Center at the University of California, Berkeley.The 2008 Velocity Conference, hosted by Rice University, took students to Houston, Texas. Here, the Kelley faction is at NASA. Sixty students represented four schools at the conference.2008: Participants included Brad Burke (left), director of Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship; Nicholas Seet (right), founder and CEO of Auditude, Rick and Dick Johnson of Johnson Ventures; representatives of Physicians Capital Group; the Center for New Ventures & Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M; the Department of Entrepreneruship & Emerging Enterprises at Syracuse; Rod Canion, cofounder of Compaq, and Michael Holthouse, founder of Paranet (purchased by Sprint).The Kelley group at the 2007 Velocity Conference at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.2007: Torin Pavia, founder of Arbitech, an alternative computer product distributor.2007: Dr. K (left) interviews Jim Pearson, founder of Suros Surgical Systems.Joe Kaplan, founder of Innovative Merchant Solutions, a leader in bankcard processing.  Slideshow: Velocity Conferece

The Velocity Conference reaffirms the entrepreneurial commitment of MBA students in attendance. It underscores the role of entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation in the contemporary business environment. Aspiring entrepreneurs can network, exchange ideas with peers at top-tier MBA programs, and visit diverse geographic hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity.

Velocity attendees begin to understand how entrepreneurship affects the daily lives of each guest speaker, including:

  • How business, technology, product, and market interrelate
  • How each speaker became an entrepreneur or venture capitalist
  • The realities of the working life of an entrepreneur and what success brings
  • How each entrepreneur balances his or her business ventures with personal and family life

Past notable speakers have included:

  • Jennifer Gill Roberts, founder of Maven Venture Partners and Vive
  • Nicholas Seet, founder of Auditude
  • Joe Kaplan, founder of Innovative Merchant Solutions
  • Torin Pavia, CEO of Arbitech
  • Scott Kucirek, cofounder of ZipRealty
  • Rod Canion, founder of Compaq Computer
  • Scott Jones, founder of Cha Cha and a voicemail innovator
  • Gary J. Anderson, MD, partner in TL Ventures
  • Tom Weldon, founder of the Innovation Factory
  • Bernard Harris, MD, astronaut and partner with Vesalius Ventures
  • Jim Pearson, former CEO of Suros Surgical and current CEO of NICO Corporation
  • Dick Johnson, CEO of Johnson Ventures
  • Rick Johnson, CEO of Indiana Limestone
  • Ron Dollens, former CEO of Guidant Corporation
  • Jason Gill and many others

The conference has been hosted at:

  • University of California, Berkeley, 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Rice University, 2008
  • University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business), Los Angeles, 2007
  • Syracuse University (Whitman School of Management), New York City, 2006
  • Boston University, 2005
  • Rice University, 2004
  • University of California, Berkeley, 2003
  • Boston University, 2002
  • University of Texas at Austin, 2001
  • Stanford University, 2000