Next Generation Search: the hope, the hype & the chutzpah




Event Description:

A new crop of startups are hoping to stake their claim in the lucrative search landscape by refining and improving search capabilities. In the past two years more than 30 search engine companies have been funded, reflecting a renewed optimism that Google isn't the final word in search. Search-engine companies such as Vivisimo, Powerset, Hakia, MCN (Mobile Content Networks), ChaCha, Riya and Snap are moving forward with the idea that fortunes can be made -- even if only a small portion of Google's vast revenue streams can be diverted away from the ubiquitous 800-pound gorilla.

We have put together a group of hot new search companies along with their audacious and innovative leaders. Powerset, which has been touted recently in the NY Times, will be debuting soon with it's proprietary natural language search capabilities; Riya has launched a new product,, to tap into using visual search technology in the promising arena of online shopping; and MCN (Mobile Content Networks) has launched the industry's first real-time mobile search solution. Join moderator Mike Sigal, CEO of the Guidewire Group, Christine Herron, Director of Omidyar Network, and our panelists as we explore the challenges and opportunities for next generation search.


Barney Pell Click to Google Barney Pell
CEO and Co-founder

Barney Pell, Ph.D. (CEO) For over 15 years Barney Pell (Ph.D. Computer science, Cambridge University 1993) has pursued groundbreaking technical and commercial innovation in A.I. and Natural Language understanding at research institutions including NASA, SRI, Stanford University and Cambridge University. In startup companies, Dr. Pell was Chief Strategist and VP of Business Development at (acquired by Red Herring in March, 2000) and later had the same role at Whizbang! Labs. Just prior to Powerset, Pell was an Entrepeneur in Residence at Mayfield, one of the top VC firms in Silicon Valley.


Mike Sigal Click to Google Mike Sigal
CEO and Co-founder
The Guidewire Group

Mike Sigal is Co-founder and CEO of Guidewire Group. Mike brings to Guidewire Group a 20-year record of building innovative technology-based businesses for existing and emerging global companies. Previously, he ran a strategic advisory and interim management consulting firm, with clients such as the Daily Mail General Trust, Fresher Information Corp, IDG, Office Depot, Pacific Bell, Philips Electronics, Synoptics and the U.S. Postal Service.
He has lived and worked in Europe, providing marketing and business development services to technology companies as they developed their trans-Atlantic strategies. As director of DASAR, producer of the annual European Technology Roundtable Exposition (ETRE) conferences, Mike built communities which fostered relationships among technology industry executives and investors.
An entrepreneur at heart, Mike has founded a number of technology ventures, including FM Waves and WiFinder. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.


Christine Herron Click to Google Christine Herron
Omidyar Network

Christine Herron is a director at Omidyar Network, where she invests in both participatory content and communications infrastructure. Prior to Omidyar Network, Christine held operational roles with Mission Research, NetObjects, and Microsoft, and co-founded both Cycle Partners and Mercury2. Christine started as an investor with Geocapital Partners, where she funded early Internet and network infrastructure businesses such as Netcom and AXON Networks. Her current board participation includes Backfence, Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD), Common Sense Media, Digg, Nickel Tour Productions, and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Christine was ranked among the Top 20 Women in Technology in 2000 by AltaVista and holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University.

Phyllis Reuther Click to Google Phyllis Reuther
MCN (Mobile Content Networks)

Phyllis has fifteen years of industry experience, including seven years as a Carnegie Mellon University computational linguistics researcher and four years with Documentum leading their enterprise search architecture and strategy activities.

Munjal Shah Click to Google Munjal Shah
CEO and Co-founder

When CEO and Co-Founder, Munjal Shah, took a look at his 38,015 and growing digital photo collection, he saw the need for a tool to help him find the photos he wanted. He also believed that there were many others out there who had the same need. With his prior experience as the CEO and Co-Founder of the successful eBay seller auction management service, Andale he knew nothing was impossible and set out to put together a team to make it happen.

Munjal has an MS in Computer Science from Stanford, a BS from UCSD and was nominated one of the top 10 "Up and Comers" in Business week in 2001. He has previously worked for Baan, IBM and Blaxxun, and co-founded Round Zero, a Web 1.0 networking forum for early stage entrepreneurs.

Munjal is also one of those guys that everybody instantly likes. He's not only a nice guy with great ideas and passion, but he can also blog like a pro. Part of this is due to the fact that he has a passion for life and doesn't believe in limitations.

© Copyright MIT Enterprise Forum Bay Area, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Alumni Development Software