PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 6, 2012) - VC Taskforce™, today announced that Kiva CEO Matt Flannery, Asset Management Founder "Pitch" Johnson and Draper Fisher Jurvetson MD Steve Jurvetson will be keynote speakers at the 4th Annual Innovation Catalyst Awards Event to be held Oct. 30, 2012. This year's event will honor three generations of the Draper family.
Each year, VC Taskforce honors an individual or group in the venture capital community for distinguished work in innovation and entrepreneurship. VC Taskforce announced in April that the Draper family will receive the 2012 award.
Matt Flannery, CEO and co-founder of Kiva will be the special guest speaker and will talk about the Draper family, the Draper Richards Foundation (the first major donor to Kiva) and the special work being done by the Kiva organization. Kiva, founded in 2004, connects donors with low-income entrepreneurs around the world. The company has partnerships across the globe and hundreds of millions in dollars loaned to entrepreneurs. Flannery, an industry visionary, was named to Fortune's "Top 40 under 40" list in 2009, and was chosen for The Economist's "No Boundaries" Innovation Award in 2011.
Franklin "Pitch" Johnson, founder of Asset Management Company, will take the stage to offer recollections of the Draper Family. Johnson has known all three generations of the family, including the late General William Draper Jr., who formed the first venture capital firm on the West Coast in Palo Alto in 1959. "Pitch" is a pioneer in Silicon Valley venture capital and co-founded Draper and Johnson Investment Company in 1962. Three years later, he founded Asset Management Company, which invested in biotech companies such as Amgen, Hybritech, IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Applied Biosystems.
Steve Jurvetson, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, will talk about "Silicon Valley, Venture Capital and the Future." Jurvetson was honored as "The Valley's Sharpest VC" on the cover of Business 2.0, named by Forbes as one of "Tech's Best Venture Investors," and chosen by both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner as one of "the ten people expected to have the greatest impact on the Bay Area in the early part of the 21st century." He and his partners led early investments in Baidu, Hotmail, Skype and several companies that have since gone public, and he currently serves on the boards of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.
In addition to the keynote presentations, Emcee Ellice Papp, senior vice president for investments at UBS Financial Services, Inc., will host honorees Bill and Timothy Draper in a fireside chat at the VC Taskforce awards dinner.
Over three generations, the Draper family has invested in hundreds of start-up companies, many of which have become household names, such as Activision, Hotmail and Skype. General William Draper Jr.'s son, Bill, left his father's firm to co-found Draper and Johnson Investment Company and later to found Sutter Hill Ventures. He has also founded several companies over the years. Bill's son, Timothy, founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
The VC Taskforce established the Innovation Catalyst Award in 2009 to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by visionary leaders in the investment community. The 2011 honoree was Reid Hoffman, a partner at Greylock Partners and co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn. In 2010, Richard Kramlich, chairman and co-founder of New Enterprise Associates and one of the venture community's financial architects, was honored. The 2009 honoree was Franklin "Pitch" Johnson.
About VC Taskforce
"Enhancing collaboration in the venture community," VC Taskforce™ provides forums for real-time information exchange and dialogue through a series of networking events, panels, workshops and roundtable meetings conducted by business and industry experts that assist venture capitalists, institutional investors and venture-backed company executives in managing their businesses for maximum success. Visionary thinking, uncensored questions and opinionated discussions around pressing issues that face members are the hallmark of the events. Today, more than 14,000 members and participants have been actively involved in VC Taskforce.