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Bridge 2014
High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran:
Opportunities and Challenges

September 6, 2014
Berkeley Wheeler Auditorium

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About the Event

For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore and elucidate the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country's ongoing economic development. The conference is predicated on the notion that the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation is the indispensable key to sustainable growth.

In compliance with sanctions and corresponding laws, conference participants will educate each other on the issues impacting high tech entrepreneurship in Iran, the extent to which prevailing conditions in the country deviate from the “Silicon Valley model,” and the steps that should be taken to reduce this gap.

Some of the issues that will be explored in the conference include the status of civilian research and development spending, startup growth, protection of intellectual property rights, laws and regulations governing bankruptcy, attraction of venture capital, cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurs' failure, existence of innovation clusters, ease of starting businesses, and the availability and accessibility of mentors and role models.  Special attention will also be given to how Tehran can thrive by becoming a regional entrepreneurial hotspot, and the role that the city’s diverse and cosmopolitan nature can play in fostering creative tensions and intellectual exchanges that are paramount for unleashing innovation.


University of California at Berkeley has long been a major hub for education and intellectual exchanges among various cultures and is the major sponsor of Bridge 2014. The beautiful Wheeler Auditorium, which can accommodate over 700 participants, is the venue for the event on September 6, 2014.

Early Bird tickets are available here till August 18th.

Bridge 2014 is also planned to be streamed live online for thousands around the world.
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Tentative Agenda: Berkeley Wheeler Auditorium, September 6, 2014

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8:30 AM - 9:00 AMRegistration
9:00 AM - 9:30 AMOpening Remarks: Robert Price, Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Berkeley (Confirmed)
9:30 AM - 10:00 AMFirst Keynote: Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook (Invited)
10:00 AM - 10:30 AMSecond Keynote: 'A Lifetime of High-Tech Entrepreneurship: Lessons Learned', Kamran Elahian, Chairman and co-founder, Global Catalyst Partners (Confirmed)
10:30 AM - 11:00 AMThird Keynote: Anousheh Ansari, Co-founder and Chairwoman, Prodea Systems (Confirmed)
11:00 AM - 11:30 AMBreak
11:30 AM - 12:45 PMFirst Panel: Rising Stars: Challenges in the Rearview Mirror
Babak Parviz, , Amazon (Confirmed)
Dave McClure, Founding Partner, 500 Startups (Invited)
Fereydoun Ghassemzadeh, CEO, Afranet (Confirmed)
Mahmoud Nazzari, Founder & President, System Group Company (Confirmed)
Nazanin Danshvar, Founder, (Confirmed)
Shahab Javanmardi, CEO, Fanap Co. (Confirmed)
Moderator: Payman Arabshahi, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington (Confirmed)
12:45 PM - 2:00 PMLunch
2:00 PM - 2:30 PMForth Keynote: Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab (Invited)
2:30 PM - 3:00 PMFifth Keynote: Yahya Tabesh, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology (Confirmed)
3:00 PM - 3:30 PMSixth Keynote: Massih Tayebi, CEO and Co-founder, Ubiqomm (Confirmed)
3:30 PM - 4:00 PMBreak
4:00 PM - 5:15 PMSecond Panel: Ecosystem for Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Ali Morteza Birang, Co-Founder, Pardis Tech Park (Confirmed)
Chris Fabian, Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director, UNICEF (Confirmed)
Kheirollah Hadidi, Professor, Urmia University (Invited)
Pejman Nozad, Founding Managing Partner, Pejman Mar Ventures (Confirmed)
Reza Karami, CEO, Golsoft (Confirmed)
Robert Shahrokh Babayi, Managing Partner, Vector IP Law Group (Confirmed)
Saeed Amidi, CEO, Partner, Plug and Play Tech Center, Venture (Confirmed)
Sharokh Sheibani, Co-Founder and Director, Micro Moj Company (Confirmed)
Moderator: Tony Perkins, Founder and Editor, AlwaysOn (Invited)
5:15PM - 6:30PMThird Panel: Mentorship: A Pillar of Entrepreneurship
Ali Fotowat, Professor, Sharif University (Confirmed)
Amin Saberi, Associate Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford (Confirmed)
AnnaLee Saxenian, Dean, Berkeley School of Information (Invited)
Carol Sands, Founder and Managing Member, The Angels' Forum (Confirmed)
Daniel Epstein, CEO, Unreasonable Group (Confirmed)
Mohsen Malayeri, EVP, Iran Entrepreneurship Association (IEA) (Confirmed)
Nasser Ali Saadat, CEO, Neda Rayaneh (Confirmed)
Moderator: Amir Zarkesh, Co-founder and EVP, iCelero (Confirmed)
6:30PM - 7:00PMClosing Remarks: Dariush Zahedi, Director, Berkeley Program on Entrepreneurship and Development in the Middle East (Confirmed)


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