Venture Startup & Financing SIG: Startups and Corporate Partners-How to Get it Right the First Time



  • There has been much made about how large corporations are now working with startups, providing capital, market entry and other assistance to help build successful businesses. But the Valley is also littered with startups which failed despite help from a corporate partner.

    Join us for an evening discussion with IBM Ventures which has built a track record of success working with many startup companies-from Streetline to OnFarm, to the latest winners of their annual SmartCamp Global competition. You will learn about IBM’s perspective on working with startups as well as how some of IBM’s largest clients approach working with startups as well. We will also be joined by a senior executive of one of the startups which IBM has successfully partnered (and bought).

    We will discuss a range of subjects including:

    • How to make a partnership work
    • At what stage should a startup be looking for a corporate partner
    • What does the corporate partner need to do to ensure success, what about the startup
    • What typically goes wrong-what do you do when it does not work
    • How does a startup keep long term options open (financing, channels, acquirers) while still working with a corporate partner



    Wendy Lung, IBM Venture Capital Group

    Wendy Lung is Director, Corporate Strategy, in IBM’s Venture Capital Group. In this role, she collaborates with the venture community to drive early insights into IBM’s strategy development, expand the ecosystems for IBM’s platforms, and build strong partner foundations in emerging markets.

    Lung’s experience with the venture and entrepreneurial community spans over a decade. In 2000, she built IBM’s Net Generation business in Asia, focused on internet startups and service providers. Her focus now is on building relationships worldwide with VCs and their portfolio companies, with emphasis on growth markets and mobile/wireless technologies.

    During her 20+ years in the industry, Lung also led marketing for IBM’s telecommunications industry worldwide and for IBM’s retail and wholesale distribution industries in North America. She started her career in sales in the small and medium business (SMB) market.

    Jawahar Malhotra, VP Engineering Tealeaf

    Jawahar is VP Engineering for Tealeaf and came to IBM as part of the acquisition of Tealeaf. Prior to Tealeaf Jawahar was at Yahoo where he led development and operations of a group of consumer facing portals (,,, etc) and a number of internal Platforms (PaaS including personalization, user-generated-content, ratings and reviews, etc.). Jawahar has an interest in technologies that can extract information from combinations of potentially large data sets. In real-world applications of technologies known now as big data.

    Dr. Alastair Hood, CEO Verdafero

    Dr. Alastair Hood started his career at Renishaw PLC, a high-tech metrology company in the UK before moving to HP / Agilent Technologies just at the spin-out of Agilent from HP during the dot com boom. At Agilent Alastair was a Product Manager for their Optical Transceiver Division where he managed a $30M+ fibre optic transceiver product line starting in the UK and then later here in San Jose.

    Following the dot com crash Alastair returned to the UK and started a nanotech startup called Nanosight with his old university professor. The technology was an offshoot from Alastair PH.D. work a few years earlier and was capable of visualizing and accurately measuring nano-particles down to 10nm in suspension using laser light scattering techniques. Following increased sales and several rounds of VC and angel funding, Alastair moved back to the US to help set up the West Coast sales team in the Bay Area. He sat on the Nanosight's company board for a number of years, Nanosight was finally bought by the 800lb gorilla in the nano-particle sizing market Malvern Instruments, in 2013.

    Since 2007 Alastair has been consulting in energy efficiency and sustainability and in 2009 co-founded Verdafero as a consulting and software company to help businesses lower their carbon footprint and save money through resource efficiency. Verdafero's SaaS software platform brings immediate visibility and cost saving opportunities to organizations with multiple facilities and utilities.

    Verdafero has been a Global Entrepreneur Partner of IBM since 2012.

    Jonathan Baer, Managing Partner of Threshold Ventures and Co-chair of the SVForum Startup and Venture Finance group

    Jon is a recovering venture capitalist who has worked with early stage companies for more than 3 decades. He was also the founder and CEO of two venture backed companies, one a spin out from SRI International. Jon now spends his time teaching, mentoring and advising early stage companies around the world. In the past two years he has worked with companies from Silicon Valley, S. Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Northern Ireland, Venezuela, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, Tunisia, Norway, and elsewhere. He believes that startups require tough love and need to focus on money, metrics and milestones. He thinks that powerpoint can be your best friend or worst enemy when telling a story. He teaches CEO’s to say less (yes, because less is more).


    6:30 - 7:00 pm  Registration and Networking

    7:00 - 8:30 pm Presentation