Marketing SIG: Surviving the Storm – Smart use of your limited marketing budget





    Title:  Surviving the Storm – Smart use of your limited marketing budget in tough times

    Marketing budget always tends to be a frequent target for companies’ budget cuts during a downturn. A common (mis)conception is that cutting marketing budget will not likely hurt today’s sales. Amidst the doom-and-gloom, some gutsy marketers are spending wisely into the teeth of the recession. There is data supporting that some of the most successful marketing campaigns survived during economically stressful years, and came out ahead in the long run.

    SDForum Marketing SIG is delighted to partner with Vator.TV for the December meeting. We have assembled a panel of entrepreneurs and investors -- who have refused to let the economy distract their marketing plans, or the determination to support a product launch -- for a roundtable to share their views and experiences, and the strength to view this time as an opportunity, as well as how to get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars. We are also pleased to have Benjamin Wan, as the moderator for the panel.



    Moderator: Benjamin Wan

     Benjamin Wan, Venture Capitalist, Sycamore Ventures  Benjamin Wan has held diverse leadership roles at leading companies with  over 14 years of industry experience in marketing, business development,  venture investing, technology management, and management consulting.
     Currently, he serves as Vice President of Marketing for Hit Profile.
     Previously, he ran business development for Permuto. He was also a venture  capitalist with Sycamore Ventures, a mid-stage venture capital firm managing  over $500 million. Prior to joining Sycamore, he worked at Accenture  (Andersen Consulting), Excite@Home, Microsoft (WebTV), and a couple of  Internet startups (seeUthere, More) as well as ran his own startup Alloquy  Systems. He graduated with a Masters degree from Stanford University and a  Bachelors degree from University of Illinois, majoring in Mathematics and  Computer Science.


     Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, Senior Associate, Sierra Ventures

     Sharam worked at Appian Corporation, a business process management software  startup in the DC-metro area. He combined business development with  leadership on major consulting and product development business process  management engagements. He managed the first entreprise-wide tracking system  for the Department of Homeland Security, concurrently managed the software  development lifecycle for three different pieces of software, delivered  training seminars for new employees, and authored white papers, best  practices documents, and technical notes on Web Services.He also did a stint  in Mergers and Acquisitions at JP Morgan. Sharam graduated with honors with  a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard  University.

     Sharam was born in Syracuse, NY, played NCAA Division I ice hockey, and is  fluent in Farsi.

     Kedric Van de Carr, VP Marketing & Business Development,

     Kedric joined Vator in late January 2008.  Kedric has focused on  monetization strategy and expanding's social network offerings.
    Prior to Kedric co-founded a dietary supplement company in college  which had operations in both South Africa and the United States.  One month  after graduating from college, Kedric took the company public on the OTCBB  stock market.  Kedric graduated from NYU Stern School of Business with a  double major in Marketing and Finance.

     Ranjith Kumaran, Founder and CTO (

     Ranjith Kumaran is the founder and Chief Technology Officer for YouSendIt,  the trusted global leader in digital content delivery. In this role, he  manages the Customer Service, IT, and Ops teams to guarantee optimum  customer service, and efficiency in the IT and Ops departments.Prior to  YouSendIt, Kumaran held marketing positions at Verisity Design, a key  provider of verification process automation (VPA) solutions, where he  managed product marketing for the software tools of Access Systems.

     Previously, he was the director of sales engineering at Celoxica, a leading  provider of C-based design and behavioral synthesis tools, where he built  the company's sales applications and established its engineering  team.Kumaran also was a software systems engineer at Red Hat, one of the  largest and most recognized companies dedicated to open-source software and  the largest distributor of the GNU/Linux operating system.Kumaran received a  bachelor of engineering degree in computer engineering from McGill  University and is an active member of TiE Silicon Valley.

     Chris Tolles: CEO (

     Chris came to Topix from Spoke Software, a business social networking  company, where he was a co-founder and VP of marketing. Before Spoke, Chris  was a Director of Marketing at AOL/Netscape for AOL Music, Netscape Search  and Directory Products. Chris was a co-founder and VP of Marketing at  NewHoo, and led the sale of the company to Netscape. After the acquisition,  NewHoo was relaunched as the Open Directory Project at Netscape and became  the world's largest human edited directory of the web, and is still used by  companies like Google, Alexa and AOL. Previous to NewHoo, Chris held a  variety of sales, marketing and management positions at Sun Microsystems.

     Chris graduated from the University of California at San Diego with degrees  in Computer Science and Economics, where he was awarded the Michael J. Addison award for his senior thesis about the online information industry.




    Event Logistics


    DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP
    2000 University Ave.(University Circle)
    East Palo Alto, CA 94303
    Tel: 650.833.2000
    Note: These are the tall buildings on the corner of University Avenue and Woodland Avenue on the west side of Hwy. 101. They are in the University Circle complex.



    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration / Networking / Refreshments
    7:00 - 7:15 p.m. Announcements and Introductions
    7:15 - 8:30 p.m. Presentation and Discussion
    8:30 - 8:45 p.m. Wrap-up / Networking



    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members
    No charge for SDForum members
    No registration required

    For more information about the SIG