Vator Splash Oakland

Wed - Thu, April 22-23 | Kaiser Center | Oakland, CA


Vator Splash is Vator's premier startup event and competition, which has been held in Oakland, Los Angeles, London and New York since 2010. Splash Oakland is unique in that it is a two-day conference, including a workshop day for entrepreneurs to learn how to start and build a company, for investors to sharpen their game and some special track sessions dedicated to women in tech and closing the diversity gap.

Previous Keynotes

As seen in...

About Splash

The premier entrepreneurship conference.



Marco Zappacosta

Co-founder & CEO, Thumbtack

Adam Goldenberg

Co-Founder, TechStyle Fashion Group

Libby Schaaf

Mayor, City of Oakland

Josh Elman

Partner, Greylock

Benjamin Ling

Investment Partner, Khosla Ventures

Freada Kapor Klein

Co-Founder, Kapor Center

Gil Penchina

Angel Investor

Nilka Thomas

Manager - Global Diversity and Talent Inclusion, Google

Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder & CEO, Vator

Sharon Wienbar

Partner, ScaleVenture Partners

Noah Doyle

Managing Director, Javelin Venture Partners

Tianxiang Zhuo

Managing Partner, Karlin Ventures

Dave Samuel

Founder, Freestyle Capital

Tod Francis

Managing Director, Shasta Ventures

Mike Walsh

General Partner, Structure Capital

Ariel Poler

Angel Investor

Adam Smith

Venture Partner, Bowery Capital

Maha Ibrahim

General Partner, Canaan Partners

Paige Craig

VC, Arena Ventures

Cindy Padnos

Founding Managing Director,
Illuminate Ventures

Cory Johnson

Anchor and editor, Bloomberg

Semil Shah

General Partner, Haystack

Lyle Fong

Serial Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Ezra Roizen

Founder, advsr

Jonathon Triest

Managing Partner, Ludlow Ventures

Erik Moore

Founder & Managing Partner, Base Ventures

Naveen Jain

Co-Founder & CMO, Immunity Project

Tikhon Bernstam

Angel Investor

Emily Kirsch

CEO, SfunCube

Evie Nagy

Staff Writer, Fast Company

William Acevedo

Attorney, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP

Karen Balderama

Attorney, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP

Brock Boddie

General Manager, Huge Inc.

Kimberly Bryant

Founder, Black Girls CODE

Francois Chadwick

National Tax Leader - Emerging Growth Practice, KPMG

Nick Cohen

Co-Founder, Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Rani Croager

Co-Founder, Uptima Business Bootcamp

Brian Dixon

Principal, Kapor Capital

Renee DiResta

Vice President of Business Development, Haven

Kelly Dubisar

Design Director, Senior Associate, Gensler

Bart Garrett

Founder & Pastor, Christ Church

Alastair Goldfisher

Editor, Venture Capital Journal and peHUB

Lisa Lee

Senior Diversity Manager, Pandora

Jose D. Lopez

Co-Founder, DevLabs

Emily Melton

Partner, DFJ

Conor Moore

National Co-Leader, KPMG Venture Practice

Bill Neville

Business Development Manager, The Entrust Group

Stephanie Palmeri

Principal, SoftTech VC

Joel Pool

CEO, The Port Workspaces

Marisa Raya

Economic Development, City of Oakland

Alex Roizen

Managing Director, Vator Investment Club

Ian Ross

Founder & CEO OppSites; Principal at City Design Collective

Slava Rubin

Founder & CEO,

Jim Scheinman

Founder & Managing Director, Maven Ventures

Anthony Shell

Principal, Avison Young

Wes Selke

Managing Director, Better Ventures

Daniel Stein

Founder & CEO, EVB

Laurence (Lo) Toney

Partner, Catalyst Fund (Comcast Ventures); Mentor, Mucker Labs

Vinitha Watson

Founder & Executive Director, Zoo Labs

Karen Wertman

Executive Producer, Vator


Richard Chen

Angel Investor

Jai Choi

Founder & Managing Partner, Tekton Ventures

Erin Flynn

Managing Director, Vator Investment Club

Katherine Noesen

Tech Exec/Entrepreneur

Tom Patterson

Chairman and Founder, Tinker

Matthew Chagan

Vice President of Corporate Development, Opera Software

Kristina Omari

Angel Investor

Phil Sanderson

Managing Director, IDG Ventures

​ Jules Walker

Director, KPMG


8:30am,,9:25am,, Registration, Caffeine! Time to say Hello!

9:30am,,9:40am,, Opening Remarks,, Emcee: Alex Roizen (Adviser, Ackrell Capital), Libby Schaaf (Mayor of the City of Oakland), Bambi Francisco (Founder & CEO, Vator)

9:40am,,10:05am,, Session 1: What's it like to be a Unicorn? ,, Adam Goldenberg (Founder & CEO, JustFab) and Bambi Francisco (Founder & CEO, Vator)

10:10am,,10:30am,, Session 2: Unicorns & Super-Sized A rounds, Do you need these to run and build a successful startup? ,, Moderator: Alastair Goldfisher (VCJ and peHUB) - Panelists: Ben Ling (Khosla Ventures), Tod Francis (Shasta Ventures), Emily Melton (Partner, DFJ)

10:30am,,10:40am,, Break(10 min) - See Startup Showcase Alley,,

10:40am,,11:20am,, Session 3: Global Splash Competition Presentations - First 4 Finalists ,, Emcee: Naveen Jain (CMO & Co-Founder, Immunity Project and Managing Partner, Vator Investment Club); Judges: Erik Moore (Base Ventures), Paige Craig (Angel Investor), Maha Ibrahim (Canaan Partners), Noah Doyle (Javelin Venture Partners)

11:25am,,11:45am,, Session 4: Meet the Active Angels - How do you get them to listen and can they be instrumental in landing your Series A?,, Moderator: Semil Shah (General Partner, Haystack); Panelists: Jonathon Triest (Ludlow Ventures), Tikhon Bernstam (Angel investor), Renee DiResta (Vice President of Business Development, Haven)

11:50am,,12:30pm,, Session 5: Global Splash Competition Presentations - Second 4 Finalists,, Emcee: Naveen Jain (CMO & Co-Founder, Immunity Project and Managing Partner, Vator Investment Club); Judges: Mike Walsh (Structure Capital), Tianxiang Zhuo (Karlin Ventures), Dave Samuel (Freestyle VC), Adam Smith (Bowery Capital)

12:30pm,,1:45pm,, Break-Lunch (1 hr 15 mins) - Hosted by Parelius, (Judges' deliberate),,

1:45pm,,2:10pm,, Session 6: How Venture Capital is Being Turned on its Head,, Cory Johnson ( Bloomberg TV) and Josh Elman (Greylock)

2:15pm,,2:35pm,, Session 7: Accelerator Nation - How Accelerators are Evolving and Changing the Local Ecosystem ,, Moderator: Marisa Raya (Economic Development, City of Oakland); Panelists: Vinitha Watson (Executive Director, Zoo Labs), Rani Croager (Founder, Uptima Bootcamp), Emily Kirsch (CEO, Co-Founder, SfunCube, Jose Lopez (Co-founder, DevLabs)

2:35pm,,2:50pm,, Break (15 mins),,

2:50pm,,3:50pm,, Session 8: When will Tech Look Like America? - The US has a racially and ethnically diverse population and there are more women than men. Yet the tech world doesn't mirror this. Hear and participate in a thoughtful discussion from leaders in the tech industry who are making inroads into achieving diversity - women, minorities - in tech startups, boardrooms, and venture firms.,, Moderator: Evie Nagy (Staff Writer, Fast Company) Panelists: Freada Kapor Klein (Co-Founder, Kapor Center), Libby Schaaf (Mayor, City of Oakland), Kimberly Bryant (Founder, Black Girls Code), Nilka Thomas (Manager - Global Diversity and Talent Inclusion, Google), Lisa Lee (Senior Diversity Manager, Pandora)

3:55pm,,4:25pm,, Session 9: Lessons Learned - Getting the Marketplace flywheel going,, Slava Rubin (Founder & CEO, Indiegogo)

4:30pm,,5:00pm,, Session 10: Building the One-Stop Local Services Empire,, Marco Zappacosta (Co-Founder & CEO, Thumbtack) and Bambi Francisco (Founder & CEO, Vator)

5:00pm,,5:15pm,, Announce Splash and People's Choice Winner,, Ian Ross (Founder & CEO, OppSites and winner of Splash Oakland 2014) and Bambi Francisco to present the award to winners

5:30pm,,7:00pm,, Happy Hour After Party on the Kaiser Roof Garden Artisan food, beer, wine, great networking and a lake view sunset. (Open to registered Splash attendees.)


,, ,, Track 1 - Lessons for Entrepreneurs

1:15pm,,1:35pm,, Session 1: How to think about risk; How to know what risks to take and when to continue taking that risk or to stop. ,, Bambi Francisco (Founder & CEO, Vator)

1:40 pm,,2:05pm,, Session 2: Uncommon ideas for the common good: Explore how your uncommon idea serves the common good; An entrepreneur imagines, creates, and innovates around an extraordinary idea. Learn how that idea can have a social impact from the start.,, Bart Garrett (Founder, Pastor, Christ Church)

2:10pm,,2:40pm,, Session 3: The virtues of bootstrapping,,Lyle Fong (Founder, Lithium Technologies & Hobo Labs)

2:40pm,,3:00pm,,Break (20 minutes)

3:05pm,,3:45pm,, Session 4: What great entrepreneurs have in common,, Ariel Poler (Angel Investor)

3:50pm,,4:30pm,, Session 5: How and when to scale,,Sharon Wienbar (Partner, Scale Venture Partners)

4:35pm,,5:15pm,, Session 6: Consumer Unicorns: The Art of Building Billion Dollar Startups,,Jim Scheinman (Founder, Maven Ventures)

,, ,, Track 2 - Investing Insights: Whether you are a venture partner, angel investor or thinking about becoming one, you'll walk away with keen insight and solid information provided by some of the best in the business

1:15pm,,1:55pm,, Session 1: Lessons learned at a growing VC firm - The seed investment landscape has become extremly competitive over the last few years. How do you differentitate yourself from the pack and what pitfalls should you avoid? ,,Stephanie Palmeri (Investor, SoftTech VC)

2pm,,2:40pm,, Session 2: Impact investing - How big returns can come from double bottom-line investing and how you can have the most impact,, Brian Dixon (Principal, Kapor Capital), Wes Selke (Co-founder, Better Ventures)

2:40pm,,3:00pm,,Break (20min),,

3:05pm,,3:45pm ,, Session 3: The rise of MicroVCs and why they outperform larger funds,,Cindy Padnos (Director, Illuminate Ventures),,

3:50pm,,4:30pm ,, Session 4: How to invest small chunks into syndicates,,Gil Penchina (Super Angel)

4:35pm,,4:50pm,, Session 5: How to use your IRA to invest in startups,,Bill Neville (Business Development Manager, The Entrust Group)

4:55pm,,5:15pm,, Session 6: Investing in startup winners: Introducing the Vator Investment Club,,Ezra Roizen (Vator, Chairman)

,, ,, Track 3 - Startup Toolkit - Building blocks for success,,

1:15pm,,1:55pm ,, Session 1: Diversify your founding team to optimize success,,Laurence "Lo" Toney (Partner, Catalyst Fund; Comcast Ventures; Mentor, Mucker Labs)

2 pm,,2:40pm ,, Session 2: Workspace Matters - Next to funding your business, managing the cost of real estate and locating your team in the right space is the biggest hurdle. Learn how creative workspaces and smart thinking about where to grow your business will bottomline.,, Joel Pool (CEO, Port Workspaces), Anthony Shell (VP, Avison Young); Kelly Dubisar (Senior Associate, Gensler), Karen Wertman (Executive Producer, Vator)

2:40pm,,3:00pm ,,Break (20 min),,

3:05pm,,3:45pm,, Session 3: By the Numbers - Fundraising, accounting and the path to profitability. How to make sure your financial house is in order from the start.,,Conor Moore (National Co-Leader, KPMG Venture Practice); Francois Chadwick (National Tax Leader, Emerging Growth Practice, KPMG)

3:50pm,,4:30pm,, Session 4: Creatives conquering Oakland - what the hottest agencies here can teach you about making brave creative choices for your own business.,,Daniel Stein (Founder & CEO, Evolution Bureau); Nick Cohen (Founding Partner, Mad Dogs and Englishmen); Brock Boddie (General Manager, Huge Inc.), Karen Wertman (Executive Producer, Vator)

4:35pm,,5:15pm,, Session 5: Legal - What to think about now to keep your legal house in order. ,,William Acevedo (Attorney, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP); Karen Balderama, (Attorney, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP)

,, ,, All Tracks

5:15,,7:00,,Post Breakout Happy Hour Sponsored by Port Workspaces - Networking - Celebrate the afternoon with craft beer, wine & snacks

Day 2 - Thursday April 23 - Kaiser Center Theatre

Day 1 ​ Breakout Sessions - Wednesday, April 22 - Port Workspaces at the Kaiser Center

Vator Partners

Reach hundreds of influencers within the entrepreneurship community.


Reach hundreds of influencers in the high-tech entrepreneur community.

  • Be in front of entrepreneurs leading innovation, disrupting industries and redefining the economy.
  • Be in front of emerging startups while they’re young.
  • Get exposure online well before the event during the online competition as more than 100 startups compete for the top 10 spots.
  • Get online across the competition and event pages, in newsletters and emails, and at the event through banners, tables, etc.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, email

Partners that have attended Vator Splash events

The Venue

Kaiser Center

300 Lakeside Dr., Oakland, CA 94612

Getting there




VATOR SPLASH EVENT volunteers. Day of.

Click here to volunteer.

EVENT volunteers. Day of.

  • Speaker Hosts
  • Finalists Hosts
  • Stage Hands
  • Ushers
  • Sponsor and Demo Host
  • Stage Manager
  • Social Media


  1. Team call meeting 10 days to 2 weeks prior
  2. Day-before-event meeting at venue (1 hour) to prep, or as early as 6:00 am, day of event
  3. Arrival at event
  4. Venue visit (1 month prior – for Usher Lead, Stage Manager, Speaker Host)

PRE-PRODUCTION volunteers. Up to 5 months prior.

  • Startup Scout Master
  • Startup & Finalist Host
  • Director of Investor Relations
  • Accelerator Partner Relations
  • Media Partner Relations
  • Social Media
  • Press Relations


Be able to start several months prior to the event. Must have solid writing, communication skills.

For those interested in working with startups.

Details about pre-production roles:

Startup Scout Master, Startup Finalist Host: This person loves to work with startups and would love to learn more about them. Your job will be to identify promising startups, interact with them and help prep finalists to get on stage. This job is great for someone who wants to work at a startup or invest in them.

Director of Investor Relations, Accelerator Partner Relations: This person wants to interact with venture capitalists and angel investors and corporate investors – in short – investors. You will engage with them around 5 to 6 weeks prior to the event. Your job is to get to know them and their investments and to help them to evaluate the startups in the finalist competition. The Accelerator Partner Relations person will communicate with accelerators to engage their startups in the event and competition.

Social Media and Press: This person(s) is proficient at putting press releases together and posting social media updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Vator. This person has excellent writing skills and is fluent in English. This person has comfort and familiarity with social networks. This person must spend at least 20 minutes daily posting for Vator one month prior to the event about the event speakers, relevant news and throughout the day of event. Press person should work on at least one press release.

Also contact: (with any questions) or