Exploring the Autonomous Future with Dr. Howard Morgan/First Round Capital, Tom Ryden/MassRobotics and Eric Daimler/Obama Administration
Howard Morgan/Co-Founder of First Round Capital
Despite having retired in 2017, Howard played a key role in building First Round from the ground up.
Howard was Professor of Decision Sciences at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Computer Science at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 through 1985. At U Penn, Howard became the 50th computer on the Arpanet.
He has been a Visiting Professor at the California Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School. During his academic career he served as an editor of Communications of the ACM, Management Science, Transactions on Office Information Systems and Transactions on Database Systems. His research on user interface technology, and on optimization of computer networks led to his bringing the ARPAnet to Philadelphia in 1974. As a result of this early participation in the internet, he advised many corporate and government agencies on the uses of electronic and voice mail, implementing it throughout the Wharton School in the mid 1970s.
Since 1989, he has been President of the Arca Group, Inc., nurturing early stage companies and taking them from seed stage through initial public offerings. He also serves as a Director of Idealab, where he was a founding investor in 1996. Dr. Morgan has served on a number of public company Boards, including Franklin Electronic Publishers and Internet Brands, Inc. He is also Chairman or a member of the board of numerous private companies including: Axial, Augury, MemSQL, Kentik and such nonprofits as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and Math For America. He served as CEO of Kentek and Franklin during various turnover or transitional periods. In 1997, he was named Delaware Valley Entrepreneur of the Year. Howard is a respected author and a frequent speaker at major industry conferences.
He received a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University in 1968, and a B.S. in physics from City College of the City University of New York in 1965.
Tom Ryden/Executive Director of Mass Robotics
MassRobotics is the collective work of a group of Boston-area engineers, rocket scientists, and entrepreneurs. With a shared vision to create an innovation hub and startup cluster focused on the needs of the robotics community, MassRobotics was born. MassRobotics’ mission is to help create and scale the next generation of successful robotics and connected device companies by providing entrepreneurs and innovative robotics/automation startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test, and commercialize their products and solutions.
Previously, Tom was co-founder and Chief Operations Office of VGo Communications which was acquired by Veneca Robotics. Prior to starting VGo, Tom was Director of Government/Industrial Sales & Marketing at iRobot Corporation from 2003 until 2007. Under his leadership annual revenue from its government and industrial products increased from $8M to +$80M, helping position the iRobot to go public in 2005. From 2000 through 2002 Tom filled operational, program management and business development roles in iRobot’s Military Systems division, including successfully executing the development of key iRobot products.
Prior to iRobot, Tom was President and Co-founder of Exeter Analytical, Inc, a manufacturer of analytical instrumentation. Under his leadership Exeter expanded rapidly, securing large contracts with US Government and major pharmaceutical companies. Before founding Exeter Analytical, Tom worked for Teledyne Leeman Labs where he served in numerous roles including Director of Customer Support and Controller. Before to Leeman, Tom was a program manager at Lotus Development Corp.
Tom has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Bentley College, Waltham, MA.
Eric Daimler/White House Presidential Innovation Fellow
Dr. Daimler's has most recently served in the AI & Robotics workstreams during the Obama White House. He has a rare combination of experiences in policy, venture investing, academia and entrepreneurship around the US and Internationally. Beginning his career as a developer at the Software Engineering Institute, he has also been an Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Software Engineering at Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science where he launched the Entrepreneurship program as one of the early backers and operational executives of Carnegie Mellon's Silicon Valley Campus. He also founded the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association and co-founded the Computer Science College's Alumni Advisory Board. For Merrill Lynch, and later Morgan Stanley, Mr. Daimler worked on complex financial transactions for companies such as Cisco and Netscape, and for sovereign countries such as Colombia and Lebanon. He worked as the first non-founder executive in a NEA/KPCB (Vinod Khosla)-backed storage software and systems company developing dynamically scalable storage. In addition, he has founded or co-founded six companies. Mr. Daimler's track record in research, investing, and consulting has tended toward complex issues, especially around the concepts of influence networks in product and service adoption, modeling socio-economic systems in cyber security, and the degree of predictability in implementing public policy. He has studied at the University of Washington-Seattle, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon, from which he earned his PhD in Computer Science.