The Blue Room

Our salons unfold in the Blue Room, a unique space set as a café-style venue for up to 50. We host salons on subjects related to innovation, creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship—covering a range of topics, including design innovation, emerging markets, the changing nature of relationships, healthcare, corporate venturing, and innovation in corporate M&A.

Our hosts—nationally recognized experts and journalists—introduce our resources, who give talks or interviews for 15-20 minutes, followed with discussion and interaction with participants.

2017 Salons

Our 2017 salons are in the works. Check back later for updates!

2016 Salons

Innovation in Corporate M&A

Presented by Paul Hastings

Tuesday, March 8, 7:30am – 8:30am
Blue Room

Panelists
Jacopo Lenzi, Business Development and Strategy, Global Innovation Center, Samsung Electronics
Villi Iltchev, SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development, Box
Chris Hecht, VP Corporate Development, Salesforce.com
Albert Lee, Principal, Corporate Development, Google

Host
David Hernand, Partner, Corporate Development, Paul Hastings

Summary
How has corporate M&A activity evolved over the past decade? What are corporate investors looking for in target companies, and what are the challenges and opportunities of being acquired in today’s environment? Our distinguished panel of senior executives at leading technology firms will explore current developments in the investment landscape. Learn about the outlook for M&A activity and evolving corporate perspectives on “Buy vs. Build”.

Innovation and Disruption in Fintech

Presented by Avant

Tuesday, March 8, 9:00am – 9:30am
Blue Room

Panelists
Al Goldstein, CEO, Avant
Hans Morris, Managing Partner, Nyca Partners
Oskar Miel, Managing Partner and Fund Advisor, The Rakuten FinTech Fund
Srinivasu (Vasu) MN, CEO, BillDesk

Summary
PayPal changed commerce and banking, and unlocked a whole new category of liquidity, by empowering private individuals to move money on their own. Now, the next generation of FinTech innovators are disrupting both mature and emerging markets. From mobile phone transfers to online bill-pay, the market for facilitating the easy flow of capital is massive. Get a global perspective on changes in payment systems, lending models, and investment platforms from leaders at international firms.

Opportunities in Emerging Markets

Presented by March Capital Partners

Tuesday, March 8, 10:30am – 11:00am
Blue Room

Panelists
Tengku Azmil, Executive Director of Investments, Khazanah Nasional Berhad
Mike Redding, Managing Director, Strategic Technology Innovation, Accenture
Vinay Sanghi, Founder, CarTrade

Host
Sumant Mandal, Managing Director, March Capital Partners

Summary
Emerging markets present unique opportunities and risks. Higher levels of population and economic growth can create levers for strategic investments. At the same time, questions about public-private relationships, shifting political dynamics, developing infrastructure, and variations in consumer habits must be considered. Learn how experts on global investment navigate this complex landscape filled with both opportunities and concerns.

Fireside Chat: Paul Daughtery

Presented by Accenture

Wednesday, March 8, 11:15am – 11:45am
Blue Room

Speaker
Paul Daugherty, CTO, Accenture

Host
Quentin Hardy, Deputy Tech Editor, New York Times

Summary
Please join us for a special fireside chat with Paul Daugherty.

Balancing Privacy and Identity

Presented by TeleSign

Tuesday, March 8, 1:30pm – 2:00pm
Blue Room

Panelists
Steve Shillingford, Advisor, Signal Peak Ventures
John Taysom, Chairman, Blinkbox Music
Steve Jillings, CEO, Telesign

Host
Quentin Hardy, Deputy Tech Editor, New York Times

Summary
The delicate balance between state interests and individuals’ rights to privacy has taken center stage as a legal showdown between Apple and the U.S. government unfolds. Google and Verizon, among others, have faced public scrutiny over their approaches to privacy challenges. The ethical quandaries facing leaders in businesses and government organizations will only grow more complex. Join us for a conversation with industry leaders who are both navigating and shaping this new territory.

The Importance of Design

Tuesday, March 8, 2:00pm – 2:30pm
Blue Room

Speaker
Qingyun Ma, Dean of the School of Architecture, University of Southern California

Host
Quentin Hardy, Deputy Tech Editor, New York Times

Summary
Join designer and educator Qingyun Ma to learn about the importance of design. Early in his career, Ma was recognized as China’s premier architect, having garnered worldwide recognition for his unique approach to modern buildings and urban communities. At 42, Ma accepted his current position as Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California. Ma is a successful entrepreneur, China’s top wine maker, and world-renowned architect. Gain insights on the essence and importance of design informed by Ma’s unique depth and breadth of experience.

Dating: The Female Entrepreneurs’ Perspective

Tuesday, March 8, 4:00pm – 4:30pm
Blue Room

Panelists
Amanda Bradford, Founder and CEO, The League
Arum Kang, CEO, Coffee Meets Bagel

Host
Cristina Alesci, Correspondent, CNN and CNN Money

Summary
Today, an estimated one in five marriages begins online. A market once dominated by titans eHarmony and Match.com has experienced the meteoric rise of disruptive sites. Now, a new generation of online innovators led by female founders who say they have better approaches is emerging, to attracting and matching the right users. Our panelists, the CEO’s of two such popular— and provocative—new dating sites, will share their thoughts on trends in consumer behavior and market growth.

The Evolution from Cloud Storage to Personal Clouds of Connected Content

Presented by LiveStuff, Inc.

Tuesday, March 8, 4:30pm – 5:00pm
Blue Room

Speaker
Wayne Reuvers, Chief Strategy Officer, LiveStuff

Summary
Cloud Storage companies have focused on putting the antiquated model of folders and files into “the cloud”, which does not fit with how people actually organize the information that is linked to the important things in their lives.

Personal Clouds allow consumers to create clouds of content, connected to a growing, structured repository of “stuff”: Products, Businesses, People, Places, Plants, Animals, Art, Music, Food, Entertainment, Sports, etc. Clouds can be public, private or collaborative. The early adopters of this new model are using Personal Clouds in ways never imagined.

Thousands of other examples continue to be created every month, and the Connected Content repository is on track to overtake Wikipedia by August this year.

Innovation in Corporate Venture

Presented by Gibson Dunn

Wednesday, March 9, 7:30am – 8:30am
Blue Room

Panelists
Scott English, Managing Director, Hearst Ventures
Vibhor Rastogi, Director, Intel Capital
Michael Scissons, Head of eCommerce, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Jeffrey Black, Director, Verizon Ventures

Host
Brad Weirick, Partner, Gibson Dunn

Summary
Learn from leaders at established corporations that are investing to bring outside innovation in. With healthy balance sheets and low borrowing costs, corporations will continue to play an increasingly significant role in venture financing. Find out what industry titans seek—and avoid—when considering strategic investments.

Sales 101: Building an Effective Sales Organization

Tuesday, March 8, 9:00am – 9:30am
Blue Room

Speaker
Stephen Cloobeck, Founder, Diamond Resorts

Host
Jim Armstrong, Partner, March Capital Partners

Summary
A high-performing sales team is difficult to build, imitate, or rehabilitate. As Peter Drucker put it, “Culture will eat strategy for breakfast any day.” Join us for a discussion with recognized expert and entrepreneur, Stephen Cloobeck, for a discussion about his secrets for building an effective sales organization within Diamond Resorts. The lessons he shares are applicable for leaders in companies from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms.

The New Transparency: Health Care Reform Everyone Can Believe In

Wednesday, March 9, 11:00am – 11:30am
Blue Room

Panelists
Leslie Michelson, Chairman and CEO, Private Health Management

Host
Cristina Alesci, Correspondent, CNN and CNNMoney

Summary
Leslie D. Michelson is the Chairman and CEO of Private Health Management and author of the recent New York Times best-seller The Patient’s Playbook: How To Save Your Life and The Lives of Those You Love. Though the Affordable Care Act made health insurance reform top of mind, Leslie will explain what true heath care reform will look like, highlighting the major companies and entrepreneurs who are already making multi-billion dollar investments to transform this space. He will explain how the $3 trillion health care sector is ripe for big data disruption, which will empower patients, providers, and payors to make better decisions.

2015 Salons

What Matters Most for Startup Success

Panelists
Bill Gross, CEO and Founder, IdeaLab

Summary
What separates billion-dollar companies from countless startups that fail to take off? Bill Gross undertook a study of more than 200 companies to determine which factors correlate most with a company’s success. Learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what matters most when you’re growing a business.

Back Office in the Cloud

Panelists
David Barrett, CEO, Expensify
René Lacerte, CEO, Bill.com
Matt Mickiewicz, CEO, Hired
Joshua Reeves, CEO, ZenPayroll
Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Matrix Partners

Summary
A new crop of cloud-based companies is bringing the back-office into the 21st century with software that is elegantly designed, consumer-inspired and easy-to-use. Hear from the CEOs of companies that are giving every business access to the high-quality, sophisticated tools once reserved for Big Business with deep pockets.

Building the Relationships You Need for Your Next 25 Years of Success

Presented by Relationship Science

Panelists
Keith Ferrazzi, Founder & CEO, FerrazziGreenlight
Neal Goldman, Founder & CEO, Relationship Science

Summary
Recruit top talent. Enter new markets. Secure investors. Increase revenue. Manage remote teams. Manage close teams. Gain competitive intelligence. Pacify crises.

What do these have in common? Relationships.

Across every aspect of your business, relationships matter, and can indeed be the savior of the day. The problem is, organizations continue to underutilize this asset, missing out on major opportunities to impact growth.

In this inaugural roundtable, Keith Ferrazzi #1 NY Times Bestselling author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back and Chairman and Founder of Ferrazzi Greenlight, Inc., and Neal Goldman, Founder and CEO of Relationship Science, the relationship capital platform, will look at the new social contract we need in our professional and personal lives. They will hear your questions and stories and share their knowledge and expertise on how to build the meaningful, long-lasting relationships you need professionally and personally. Trust us, these guys know what they’re talking about.

The Future of “Reality”

Panelists
Paul Debevec, Chief Visual Officer, USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Summary
How have virtual reality technologies changed the fabric of modern media production, and how will virtual and augmented reality technologies reshape our world in the coming years? Learn more about the changing face of “reality” with Paul Debevec, who’s research underpins some of the most impressive digital graphics feats of Hollywood.

Plugs, Passion and Propulsion: The Modern EV Love Story

Presented by Audi

Panelists
Chelsea Sexton, Veteran in Electric Transportation
Wayne Killen, General Manager of Product Strategy and Launch, Audi

Summary
At Audi we are readying the launch of the all-new A3 e-tron here in the States. As always we considered our story with a dynamic new product. It was mid-February at our HQ outside of DC. We kicked around words like luxury, performance, mainstream and, yes, dynamic, swirling around our entrance on to the EV landscape and our bright future aspirations.

Then on Valentine’s Day it hit us! Audi would be hitting the scene just as the ideas of passion, plugins and incredible propulsion were starting to define the EV conversation.

A theme was born — Plugs, Passion, Propulsion. A true breakthrough moment, a point of no return for e-mobility in American consciousness.

We decided these are the ideas that will drive us in the years ahead. So my apologies to those of you who might have hoped this would be an expose on how Audi earned a central role in 50 Shades of Gray!

Liquidity and IPOs

Presented by Liquidnet

Panelists
Karey Barker, Managing Director, Cross Creek Advisors
Mike Jung, Founder and Managing Director, Founders Circle Capital
Cheryl Knopp, Head of Equity Transactions Desk, Liquidnet
Tim Morgan, Head of Liquidity Solutions, Liquidnet

Summary
During the last few years, it has become increasingly clear that a significant amount of alpha generation is actually happening prior to an IPO. It seems that more investors are looking to take advantage of these opportunities. From an institutional standpoint, traditional long-only asset managers are looking to participate in late-stage companies. Meanwhile, market structure and regulatory proposals are having and will have an impact on private companies and the position in the economic ecosystem.

This panel will strive to answer three questions:

1. How is the enhanced focus on private company investing changing the financial markets and the role of the different participants (buy side, sell side, VCs, etc.) in those markets?

2. How is what’s happening on Wall Street—from a regulatory, economic, and market structure standpoint—impacting the growth of private companies and the need for late-stage, pre-IPO investments/liquidity?

3. What key things should a private company CEO/CFO consider before taking a late-stage, private investment? Before allowing its investors/employees to get liquidity pre-IPO