This special graduate-level conference is dedicated to the acceleration of entrepreneurial careers and has become a valuable tradition within the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at IU. Founded by Jack M. Gill, PhD, the Velocity Conference is an annual event organized by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley for the purpose of “Accelerating Entrepreneurial Careers." Each year, members of the Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy from IU’s Kelley School of Business join with selected graduate students from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering and also Biotechnology to delve into a deep immersion into the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem. Students tour the Valley and hear candid stories of those who have “been there and done it.” The first Velocity Conference was held in 2000 at Stanford University, however, it was decided that the University of California, Berkeley would be the best permanent partner for this event. So, the tradition has been developed over the years to be based in Berkeley.
Entrepreneurial thinking has permeated the entire world in the 21st century and this Velocity Conference, with the premier speakers who have graciously committed their time to share their stories and experiences stands as a unique opportunity for students to learn firsthand from the absolute best in entrepreneurship today. Past notable speakers have included: Rod Canion, founder of Compaq Computers; Scott Jones, founder of Voice Mail; Gary Rogers, CEO of Dreyer's Ice Cream; Ken Schwarz, CFO of Sungevity; Nicholas Seet, founder of Auditude; Andrew Smith, CEO of ATD Dynamics; John Dudeck, CEO of Guardian Equity Growth; Jim Pearson, CEO of NICO Corporation; Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank; Greg Oslan, CEO of Narus; Sanjay Subhedar of Storm Ventures; John Shoemaker of Sun Microsystems; Dr. Larry Blatt, founder of Alios BioPharma; Paul Truex, CEO of Anthera; Dr. Greg Ayers, CEO of Ayers Medical Consulting; Rudy Rickner of GoogleX; and many others. The Velocity Conference attempts to reveal the business and personal stories behind each entrepreneur through their presentations and close up networking time.
Aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators have the opportunity to network, exchange exciting ideas with peers at a top tier school, and to visit diverse hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity in Silicon Valley. Memorable experiences have included: tours of Silicon Valley including the Computer History Museum, Google, eBay, Cisco, Plug and Play Tech Center, Fogarty Institute for Innovation, Dell SonicWall, Extreme Networks, GoogleX, and numerous emerging companies. The Velocity Conference reaffirms the entrepreneurship commitment of the graduate students in attendance. It underscores the premiere role of entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation in the contemporary business environment.