SVForum: Rejuvenating One Of Silicon Valley's Oldest Organizations
I recently met with Adiba Barney, the new head of Silicon Valley Forum (SVForum), a 30 year old association that is probably best known for its annual Visionary Awards, and by its former name, SDForum (Software Developer Forum).
The new organization is the result of a merger with the Silicon Valley Academy of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE) in January 2012. It holds more than 200 events every year focused on entrepreneurs and developers.
Adiba Barney, a Swedish national and a branding expert on innovation centers, was appointed CEO early this year. Here are some notes from our conversation:
- Barney arrived in early 2011 as part of a Swedish initiative showcasing Swedish innovation. She helped establish innovation centers in Sweden and promote them globally. She decided to stay in Silicon Valley and ran "Silicon Valley Vikings" a networking organization.
- SVForum has many new initiatives. One of these is a "World Cup" startup competition May 20. [Launch: Silicon Valley 2014 - The World Cup Tech Challenge | SVForum] It pits 30 startups against each other in five tech categories: enterprise, next generation technologies, digital media, educational technology, and health.
- The Visionary Awards are coming up in early June and this time it is an evening event, a type of "Oscars" for Silicon Valley. Usually it is a garden party at someone's mansion in Woodside.
- This year's Visionary Award winners: Tim Draper, founding partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Jessica Jackley a co-founder of Kiva; Tim O'Reilly, founder of tech press publisher O'Reilly Media; and educator Tina Seelig, a professor at Stanford university.
- SVForum is also building a large online community to try and make available the lessons of Silicon Valley to a global audience. It's more than a "bridge" to Silicon Valley.
- There are also plans for a series of smaller events, salons for entrepreneurs and investors.
- We spoke about how the culture of Silicon Valley is so much more welcoming than European culture. There is often much suspicion from Europeans towards entrepreneurs.
- SVForum has a lot of plans but Barney is one of just five full time people — she and her team will be very busy.
SVForum has been the hub of the Silicon Valley software community since the Software Entrepreneurs Forum (SEF) was founded in 1983. Started as a volunteer group of software entrepreneurs and developers who wanted to help each other and advance the software industry, the organization grew to more than 1000 members, meeting regularly for monthly dinners and special interest groups...