Vator Splash Oakland

Wed - Thu, April 22-23, 2015 | Kaiser Center, Oakland, CA


Vator speakers bring experience to the stage, sharing lessons, failures and advice on how to build lasting companies, what it means to be a leader and to innovate.

Marco Zappacosta

Co-founder & CEO, Thumbtack

Adam Goldenberg

CEO, JustFab

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 and 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

Angel Investor

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

Digital Media Investment Banker, Ackrell Capital

Jonathon Triest

Managing Partner, Ludlow Ventures

Erik Moore

Founder and Managing Partner, Base Ventures

Naveen Jain

CMO & Co-Founder, Immunity Project

Tikhon Bernstam

Angel Investor

Emily Kirsch

CEO, SfunCube

Evie Nagy

Staff Writer, Fast Company

William Acevedo

Attorney, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean

Kimberly Bryant

Founder, Black Girls CODE

Rani Croager

Co-Founder, Uptima Business Bootcamp

Brian Dixon

Principal, Kapor Capital

Bart Garrett

Founder, Pastor, Christ Church

Alastair Goldfisher

Venture Capital Editor, VCJ and peHUB

Jed Katz

Managing Director, Javelin Venture Partners

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

Adviser, Ackrell Capital

Ian Ross

Founder & CEO OppSites; Principal at City Design Collective

Slava Rubin

Founder & CEO,

Phil Sanderson

Managing Director, IDG Ventures

Jim Scheinman

Founder & Managing Director, Maven Ventures

Daniel Stein

Founder & CEO, EVB

Vinitha Watson

Founder & Executive Director, Zoo Labs

Sarah Wood

Co-Founder & COO, Unruly


Richard Chen

Angel Investor

Erin Flynn

Investment Banker, Ackrell Capital

Tom Patterson

Chairman and Founder, Tinker

Matthew Chagan

Vice President of Corporate Development, Opera Software

Kristina Omari

Angel Investor

Jai Choi

Founder & Managing Partner, Tekton Ventures


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

9:30am,,9:45am,, Opening Remarks,, Emcee: Alex Roizen (Investor Relations, Vator Investment Club); 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)

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: Keynote - 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 Bernsta (Angel investor)

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) (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)

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 (Fast Company) Panelists: Freada Kapor Klein (Co-Founder, Kapor Center), Libby Schaaf (City of Oakland), Kimberly Bryant (Black Girls Code, Nilka Thomas (Google)

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

4:30pm,,5:00pm,, Session 9: Building the one-stop local services empire,, Marco Zappacosta (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 2015) and Bambi Francisco to present the award to winners

5:15pm,,6:30pm,, After-party Cocktails on the roof garden terrace Network and enjoy craft beer, wine and artisan food from local vendors.


,, ,, 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 from years of investing failures and successes,,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)

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. Learn how one of the most successful social impact investment firms help companies succeed by developing diverse founding teams,,Kapor Capital

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 (Founding Partner, Port Workspaces), Anthony Shell (VP, Avison Young)

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

3:05pm,,3:45pm ,, Session 3: By the Numbers - Accounting, fundraising and the path to profitability. How to make sure your financial house is in order from the start. ,,

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, EVB (Evolution Bureau))

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

,, ,, All Tracks

5:15,,6:00,,Post Breakout Happy Hour - 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

About Splash

The premier entrepreneurship conference.



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

Splash is one of the best startup competitions and educational events, attracting super smart thought leaders in the tech industry. It's an event that inspires. This is an event for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to innovate, raise money, and scale a company. It's also a place for new investors to learn about angel investing and established ones to sharpen their game.

As seen in...

The Venue

Kaiser Center

300 Lakeside Dr., Oakland, CA 94612

Getting there




Vator alumni have raised $400M-plus in follow-on capital. Here are a few:

We had no idea of the power of Vator Splash until we found the event packed with representatives from many of the region's most renowned investment groups, journalists, elected officials, and professionals from tech and related fields. After OppSites was awarded first prize, our schedule rapidly filled with meetings with top venture capital investors, interviews with local media, and offers of support from business development professionals.

Ian Ross

Founder & CEO OppSites; Principal at City Design Collective

The Vator community and its Splash event provided the perfect launch pad to generate exposure for our company. Winning Vator Splash 2013 SF gave us the exposure, quality venture capital meetings and network effect every startup needs to initiate and complete a successful round. The very next quarter, we raised a $4M Series A. Thanks Vator!

Lisa Maki

CEO, PokitDok

The event provides results: a significant number of investors, advisors and business development opportunities arose after we won Vator Splash in front of a crowd of more than 200. Furthermore, one of the judges - Dave McClure - ended up investing in our company. Finally, VatorSplash was a great momentum-builder for us as we were getting ready to fundraise. The victory provided social proof to prospective investors and increased our chances of successfully attracting investment. We went on to raise $1M from a great group of angel investors!

Gagan Biyani

Co-founder, Udemy

The VatorSplash events have been a fantastic opportunity to see great start-ups, connect with other investors, and hear from industry visionaries. Javelin has proudly sponsored the event for many years, and plans to keep actively supporting it for many more."

Jed Katz

Managing Director, Javelin Venture Partners won Vator Splash LA in June 2012. The competition allowed us an opportunity to meet and pitch against some of the great Los Angeles startups and further foster our entrepreneurial community. There was such a positive energy with so many great minds providing insightful feedback throughout the night. Two paws up, Vator!

Aaron Hirschhorn

Founder & CEO at DogVacay

Vator Splash gives you a lot more than a fabulous evening of networking; it gives you access to an entire community of active investors and inspiring entrepreneurs that are making it happen. The event generated significant exposure for our online travel dashboard venture. Weeks after presenting we raised $100K from an investor who saw the online video of our Vator pitch.

Andres Fabris

Founder and CEO at Traxo

Vator's competition platform made it simple to judge contestants by accessing video, PPT, ratings, executive summaries all in one place. It's the most efficient solution to judging competitions and it makes the process of judging a lot more fun! And the Vator Splash competition makes it easy and efficient to review a large number of early-stage startups that I would not otherwise have been exposed to

Jeremy Liew

Venture Capitalist


Please see the articles from 2014 Vator Splash Oakland below. We will publish 2015 articles after the event.



EVENT volunteers. We are looking for Ushers and Host for specific roles:

  1. Speaker Hosts
  2. Startup Finalist Host
  3. Mic Manager
  4. Ushers
  5. Sponsor Host
  6. Demo Host
  7. Stage Manager

Trainee Opportunities:

We are looking for energetic dynamic personalities who are passionate about the venture capital community and have one or more of the following skills:

  • PR
  • Writing
  • Communications
  • Finance, venture capital

We are also looking for:

Vator Investor Relations Trainee: This person loves startups and venture capital and would like an opportunity to learn more about how the startup ecosystem works, mainly from an investor standpoint. You will be in charge of interacting with angel investors and venture capitalists and learning more about what these investors look for in an investment. This job also helps you evaluate investors, based on their past investments. We're looking for someone who can commit six months (or until the end of the school year) for a five hours a week. This person can also come to any Vator event for free.

Learn more: contact Mitos at or

Vator Splash Social Media Trainee: Do you want the opportunity to beef up your resume with experience learning how to use best practices to build a large, influential social community? Would you like an excellent reference to take to your next job? We need a social media trainee to help promote Vator Splash Events. These one and two day events have been held in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York and London. You will be responsible for helping manage and engage our growing social community on a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.

Learn more: contact

Apply here.

Requirements for Social Media trainees:

  1. Excellent written communication skills and fluent English language speaker.
  2. Comfort and familiarity with social networks and experience using them in a business context. (It's not enough to have 400 Facebook friends.)
  3. Ability to aggregate quality content to post and share. Available to spend at least 20 - 30 minutes daily (on average), focused on social marketing for Vator.
  4. A passion for marketing and excitement about growing a large, engaged community.
  5. Ability to work independently (after brief training) and with minimal supervision.
  6. Entering college senior or older, required.