With two decades of experience in the NFL as an All-Pro, Super Bowl Champion kicker with teams like the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens, Matt Stover personifies leadership, character and teamwork. Today, as a sought after speaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist and investor, Matt will share the guiding principles that contributed to his impressive football career and his winning endeavors off the field since his retirement in 2009.
Justine Ezarik is an American YouTube personality, host, actress, and model. She is best known as iJustine, with over a billion views across her YouTube channels since 2006. She gained attention as a lifecaster who communicated directly with her millions of viewers on her Justin.tv channel, ijustine.tv. She acquired notability in roles variously described as a "lifecasting star", a "new media star", or one of the Web's most popular lifecasters. She currently posts videos on her main channel iJustine.
Ezarik became known for her "300-page iPhone bill", which followed the first month of service after the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007. The viral video of her review earned her international attention. She has ranked among the top 1000 Twitter users in the world with over 1.9 million followers. Ezarik has starred on the YouTube comedy series The Annoying Orange, as Orange's love interest Passion Fruit. In 2016, she was an advisor to Arnold Schwarzenegger on the reality competition series The New Celebrity Apprentice. Her television acting credits include guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Vampire Diaries. Justine appears as a main character on the first season of the YouTube Red show "Escape the Night" as the gambler.
CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)
Joe facilitates a company’s expansion by developing and implementing high-impact marketing and sales strategies that deliver a return on investment. With 20 years of experience, he understands how marketing and sales impacts different divisions and personnel within a company.
This understanding enables him to identify and utilize all the resources that are available within a company to improve brand recognition and generate organic growth. He is a member of Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association and is an advocate for Western PA’s investment and entrepreneurial community.
Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship
Carnegie Mellon University
Dubbed "[Pittsburgh's] startup whisperer" by Inc. Magazine, I have "been there, done that" with a broad spectrum of companies & technologies. I work with companies on growth & funding strategies as well as CEO coaching. I also assist companies & organizations with launching & growing investment programs for early stage businesses.
During my career I have invested in hundreds of companies through several investment entities including The Pittsburgh Seed Fund, Future Fund, and Innovation Works' Innovation Investment Fund.
I’ve participated in creating Pittsburgh's technology-based entrepreneurial community since 1984, a time when people didn't know how to spell "entrepreneur". I have been instrumental in creating, strengthening, and growing the regional entrepreneurial culture. I've been actively involved with Carnegie Mellon University & the University of Pittsburgh as their technology commercialization capabilities have matured.
Having been engaged with thousands of companies in a variety of roles, I count over 400 first-time fundings of companies that went on to raise over $3 billion of follow on funding & led to more than 60 acquisitions & a few IPOs. I estimate that the companies I've worked with have created more than 10,000 jobs.
Previously, I was Innovation Works' Vice President of Entrepreneurial Services, the internal group that assisted early stage companies' efforts to commercialize and market new technologies and generally provided business assistance to promising start-up companies. The Team also managed IW's Innovation Investment Fund that invested in about 20 new companies per year, as well as appropriate follow on investments in existing portfolio companies. During my tenure, IW grew to be ranked as a top 5 Angel/Seed investor in the United States by PitchBook, the premier record keeper of VC data. IW ranked #1 in several quarters.
I have served as an Adjunct Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon's Swartz Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship since 1987.
I received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. I was also a finalist in the E&Y Supporter of Entrepreneurship category. I was chosen as the first recipient of the Gerald E. McGinnis Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, as well.
I hold a B.S.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University, an MBA in General Management from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate School of Management and pursued post-graduate studies in marketing at the Harvard Business School.
Executive Director of the Center for Machine Learning & Health
Carnegie Mellon University
Joe Marks is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Machine Learning & Health at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Joe has been involved with invention and innovation for over 30 years in multiple contexts (academic, corporate, entrepreneurial) and multiple industries (defense, computers, electrical equipment, media & entertainment, marketing, healthcare).
He holds an AB in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science, both from Harvard University. His areas of expertise include AI, human-computer interaction, and computer graphics. He has published extensively in the academic literature, and managed over $100M in corporate and academic R&D spend at Mitsubishi Electric, Disney, and CMU. He has co-founded two start-ups.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Robert W. McDonald is a partner at Taft Stettinius and Hollister who has garnered a reputation as a trusted advisor to clients of varying sizes and industries. He counsels companies on matters ranging from day-to-day corporate matters, financing, mergers and acquisitions, and securities work. Rob represents venture funds, research institutions, high-growth emerging companies, and sports franchises. Rob also is the co-founder of the Brandery, a global top-10 business accelerator whose participant companies have raised over $150mm and experienced significant exits.
In addition, Rob co-manages Vine Street Ventures, an early stage micro-venture capital fund that invests in mobile and web based technology companies. Rob received his bachelor's degree from Duke University, J.D. from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, and MBA from Kellogg School of Management. He has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2016 and as an Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Star honoree every year since 2017. Rob is the Chair Elect of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
BlueTree Allied Angels/Capital Group
Catherine Mott is the founder of BlueTree Capital Group, BlueTree Allied Angels, and the BlueTree Venture Fund located in Pittsburgh, PA. As of December 2018, the BT entities have invested $50+ million in several startup companies. Ms. Mott is the past Chairman of the Angel Capital Association (ACA) and the Angel Resource Institute. Ms. Mott is a member of the ACA Public Policy Committee; she also just completed a third term as one of 21 individuals selected for the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies.
Catherine is a regulator contributor to the Smart Business Magazine (Pittsburgh edition), plus she has been quoted or featured in many professional industry publications as one of the few women who represent the industry of venture capital – The New York Times, Wall St Journal, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Tribune Review, the Erie Times, PA KeyNotes, The Angel Journal, TEQ, Pop City, The Scientist.
University of Pittsburgh - Innovation Institute
Jessica Sinclair is currently the Director of PantherlabWorks at the Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence, a program to prepare both early stage and established companies to innovate and commercialize. Jessica has over 15 years of experience in program management, research and development, and proposal development. Jessica started her career at Agentase (now FLIR), a small Pittsburgh-based biotechnology company which originally spun out of the University of Pittsburgh, where she led diverse teams in creating innovative products. To date, her collaborative efforts have resulted in research and development funding awards totaling nearly $75 MM as well as product contracts in excess of $50 MM.
Jessica’s strengths lie in strategic planning for technology development through team building and management, communication of complex technical concepts for broad understanding, and in new product development from early-stage proof-of-concept through fielded products. Jessica also has significant experience with all facets of small business technology development, including proposal and funding capture, government relationship management, and commercial transition of SBIR-funded products.
Osage Venture Partners
Sean joined Osage Venture Partners in 2011, and as Principal helps to lead OVP’s efforts to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs and support them as they grow leading businesses. Sean serves as a board member of BookKeeping Express, Brazen, Connected2Fiber, ExecOnline, and TimelinePI. He is also a board observer at Galactic Fog, indico, Noodle Partners, Phone2Action, RackWare, RiskLens, and Sidecar. Sean holds several leadership positions in and has been a speaker for organizations supporting the venture ecosystem, including the Philadelphia Alliance of Capital and Technology (PACT) and the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) in the Washington DC / Northern Virginia area.
Sean joined OVP after interning with the firm while pursuing his MBA. Prior to business school, Sean spent five years as a strategy consultant at the Monitor Group in London and Boston where he served as a senior case team leader and member of Monitor’s marketing strategy group, m2c. At Monitor, Sean focused on integrating marketing strategy and organizational design to enable his clients to achieve sustainable growth by better understanding their customers and developing innovative products and solutions to meet their needs.
Sean completed his MBA, with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Economics. Sean currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board for Community Partnership School, a pre-K to fifth grade independent school in Northeast Philadelphia that serves low-wealth, low-income students from the surrounding neighborhoods. He is also a member of the investment committee for Wharton Impact Investing Partners, a student-run impact investing organization at Wharton. Sean lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Tracy, and their two children.
Ziegler Link-Age Fund
John Hopper currently serves as the Managing Director of Link Age Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Link Age focused on making investments in companies providing products, services and technology to the aging marketplace. John was also the Founder and Partner of Silverstone Advisors –Blackbird Capital Group, LLC (“Silverstone”). Silverstone is a boutique investment banking firm providing merger and acquisition services, including valuation, due diligence, capital raising, buy side engagements and sell side engagements.
Prior to the founding of Silverstone, he was the Chief Executive Officer of a regional network servicing company, and held numerous executive positions in the financial services industry with Fifth Third Bank, AmSouth Bank and Mellon Bank. John holds a J.D. degree from The Ohio State University College of Law and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Hopper received his B.A. from Mount Union College.
The Robotics Hub
Chris Moehle is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur who focuses on driving innovative technology development as the head of The Robotics Hub venture funds. Emphasizing an product design oriented, value-added approach, Chris rapidly identifies and invests in companies that are capable of driving disruptive change that benefits society. Active on the boards of multiple portfolio companies, Moehle spends a significant amount of time after investment helping companies reach their full ambition. This can be everything from high level strategy and product design assistance to making sales calls and operational plans.
Chris has spent a huge amount of his professional time advocating for and encouraging the responsible deployment of advanced technologies, dating back to previous positions at Carnegie Mellon, the National Robotics Engineering Center, PWC's Public Sector Advisory, and the University of Virginia.
Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund
Pat is the President of Open Prairie. His expertise is in complex regulated industries, with special strength in turnaround management, investor relations and accountability standards and performance. Prior to joining Open Prairie, he was Managing Director of the SWMF Life Science Fund, and was a three-time chief executive officer in the biologics industry; Vice President of Commercial Operations for Genesis Therapeutics; Executive Vice President of Sequitor Medical Technologies; and Executive in Residence of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. Pat holds a BA from Athenaeum of Ohio.
Dinsmore & Shohl
Erin is an experienced transactional attorney and focuses on providing legal counsel to privately held businesses at all stages of the business life cycle. Her focused approach to growth and exit planning includes providing business owners with assistance to grow and protect their business while engineering an optimal exit. She is pleased to engage with her clients as both a lawyer and a trusted business adviser.
She also serves as outside general counsel to entrepreneurs, private businesses, and private equity-backed portfolio companies, and is committed to partnering with her clients through an integrated understanding of each client’s industry, business operations, and strategic goals. She assists clients in various industries, including manufacturing, distribution, health care, technology solutions and staffing, software development, professional services, emerging technologies, real estate development and retail, on matters spanning from corporate governance, to commercial contracts, growth initiatives, and business succession planning.
Her proactive approach to helping clients protect, grow and engineer an optimal exit includes strategizing and documenting business continuity plans for business owners. Erin’s vast experience in successfully completing a variety of transitional changes in ownership through mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, private equity, reorganizations, and generational transfers affords her the ability to best serve her clients. She is vice chair of the firm’s Business, Acquisitions and Securities practice group, and sits on the Opinion and Audit Letter Review Committee.
Ohio Innovation Fund
A graduate of The Ohio State University and University of Michigan, Bill Baumel returned to the Midwest in 2016 and is partnering with bold, disruptive entrepreneurs, working together to build high-growth companies in the Heartland. Before launching the Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF: ohioinnovationfund.com), Bill was a venture capitalist in a Silicon Valley for nearly 20 years, earning a spot on the Venture 100 based on his investments' exits.
He specialized in deals involving software, big data, cyber security and med tech companies, which have resulted in four public companies, nine acquisitions between $100 and $800 million from companies including Medtronic, Dell, SAP, Intuit and Stryker, and private autonomous-driving and augmented/virtual reality companies of unicorn status.
OIF has been featured in prominent media such as CNN, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. OIF's companies' partner with Facebook, Microsoft, SAP, Sanofi, Dell, and Citi among others, and their customers include a majority of the Fortune 500 and leading university medical centers. When he isn't in the trenches with his companies, Bill coaches his six sons' football, basketball and baseball teams.
Michael Kopelman is a General Partner with Edison Partners, a growth equity firm that invests in rapidly growing technology companies. Since its founding in 1986, Edison has invested in over 200 companies and completed over 160 exits, including 13 IPOs. Michael leads Edison's Financial Technology segment, serves on the firm’s investment committee and leads the firm’s exit management process.
Michael began his career as an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston where he advised clients on numerous M&A and financing transactions. In 1999, Michael left CSFB to launch E*OFFERING, a venture-backed online investment bank affiliated with E*TRADE. He launched several new online products, including the first web-based roadshow for retail investors. E*OFFERING was acquired by SoundView Technology Group, where he remained to lead the firm's internet & e-commerce investment banking franchise.
Michael serves as Director of Bento for Business, provider of expense management solutions, GAN Integrity, a compliance management software company; iqMedia, a TV analytics company; Scivantage, a provider of wealth management/tax solutions for financial institutions; and TrialScope, a software solution for management of clinical trials. He previously served on Board of TrueCommerce (acquired by HighJump), Uptivity (acquired by InContact), RewardsNOW (acquired by Augeo) and Sonicbids (acquired by BackStage).
Michael serves on the investment advisory committee for Ben Franklin Technology Partners an early stage economic development program in Philadelphia and is a Board Member of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. Philadelphia Business Journal identified Michael as one of forty individuals under the age of forty who have made the biggest impact on the Philadelphia region.
Michael is past President of Wharton Private Equity Partners, the private equity organization serving over 2,000 Wharton alumni. He regularly guest lectures seminars on entrepreneurship and venture capital at The Wharton School.
He holds a BA in Economics, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA, with honors, from The Wharton School. He resides in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife and two children.
Chief Operating Officer
Andrew Dubois is the Head of Strategy and Operations at Tulco Labs where he is responsible for ensuring that business operations are effective, efficient, and targeted for impact. Prior to joining Tulco Labs, Prior to Tulco Labs, Andrew held numerous executive roles at UBS AG. Most recently Andrew was the Chief Operating Officer for the Chief Technology Office organization. Prior to this, Andrew was the Chief of Staff to the Group Chief Technology Officer where Andrew worked closely with the Head of IT Research and Development to advance UBS’s innovation agenda and partnership with the venture capital and private equity community.
Andrew has also served as the Head of Technology Business Development, the Head of Architecture Governance, and served in a leadership capacity within the firm’s Technology organization as well as its Corporate Development division. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and serves on the CMU School of Computer Science Alumni Advisory Board.
Chief Executive Officer
Mark is CEO RoadBotics, an AI platform for assessing roads and roadways infrastructure. He was Executive Chairman of kWantix, a quant hedge fund, CEO of kWantera, a GE Ventures-backed energy trading company and CEO of Think Through Learning, a venture-backed online tutoring company and US Managing Director of ANGLE Technology, PLC, a UK-based venture capital firm and consultancy.
Earlier in his career, Mark was the Director of Government Relations for Texas Instruments and held policy positions as a Senior Policy Analyst in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Administration of George H. W. Bush. He was also staff assistant to late U.S. Senator John Heinz was a management consultant with Booz Allen.
Mark is on the Advisory Board of MIR Ventures in Palo Alto and has a dual appointment as an Adjunct Professor in both Heinz College and the School of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He has lectured at Princeton University and Dartmouth College and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland. Mark holds a BA and MBA from the University of Dayton, an MS in Technology Management from The American University and a PhD in Public Policy the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Tom M. Mitchell is the E. Fredkin University Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. His research involves machine learning approaches to natural language understanding, and uses brain imaging to study how the human brain understands language. Mitchell is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow and Past President of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
He is interested in societal impacts of computer science, recently co-chaired a U.S. National Academies study on “Information Technology, Automation, and the Workforce,” and has recently testified to several Congressional forums on the impacts of AI on society.
Ivan Ruzic, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President
Ivan Ruzic’s 30+ year career in the information technology industry has included virtually every senior executive role from technical to management. His resume spans marquee companies such as BEA systems, Novell and Borland as well as several startups including his own. Not only is his international operational experience extensive, he’s been involved mergers and acquisitions throughout the US, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Ivan joined Corum Group, the world’s leading mid-market information technology M&A firm, with a specific focus on utilizing his extensive operational background to educate and help prospective sellers maximize the value of their technology companies. Just prior to Corum, Ivan worked on the application of machine learning to natural language processing for the purpose of predicting human behavior. A sought-after speaker on technology trends and their impact on business and the economy, he is also the moderator of the World Financial Symposium’s “Spotlight” series on Artificial Intelligence and Corum’s lead on AI-Enablement.
Recent M&A engagements have included artificial intelligence and machine learning, analytics, EdTech, Compliance and Anti-money Laundering, consumer privacy, digital asset management, IoT and more. Ivan holds a Ph.D. from Monash University, Australia.
Eric P. Xing is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Founder, CEO, and Chief Scientist of Petuum Inc., a 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer company that builds standardized artificial intelligence development platform and operating system for broad and general industrial AI applications. He completed his undergraduate study at Tsinghua University, and holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the State University of New Jersey, and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. His main research interests are the development of machine learning and statistical methodology, and large-scale computational system and architectures, for solving problems involving automated learning, reasoning, and decision-making in high-dimensional, multimodal, and dynamic possible worlds in artificial, biological, and social systems. Prof.
Xing currently serves or has served the following roles: associate editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA), Annals of Applied Statistics (AOAS), IEEE Journal of Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) and the PLoS Journal of Computational Biology; action editor of the Machine Learning Journal (MLJ) and Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR); member of the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Science and Technology (ISAT) advisory group. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Computer Science, the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the IBM Open Collaborative Research Faculty Award, as well as several best paper awards.
Prof Xing is a board member of the International Machine Learning Society; he has served as the Program Chair (2014) and General Chair (2019) of the International Conference of Machine Learning (ICML); he is also the Associate Department Head of the Machine Learning Department, founding director of the Center for Machine Learning and Health at Carnegie Mellon University; he is a Fellow of the Association of Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and an IEEE Fellow. According to csrankings.org, Professor Xing currently ranks as the #1 computer science (CS) professor worldwide, whose papers (in the most selective CS conferences of all disciplines) collectively have the highest (weighted) acceptance among all computer scientists in the US and global universities during 2008-2018.
Venture Capitalist, Professor, and Author
Sean Ammirati joined Birchmere Ventures as a Partner in 2012. Birchmere focuses on seed-stage SaaS and marketplace startup investments. The firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh with a second office in San Francisco. Prior to joining Birchmere, Sean spent 12 years founding, building and selling businesses in the software and media industries. He was Chief Operating Officer of ReadWriteWeb acquired by the private-equity rollup SAY Media to strengthen its technology channel. Prior to that, Sean was the co-founder and CEO of mSpoke, which was LinkedIn's first acquisition. His first startup was Peak Strategy, which was acquired by Morgan Stanley.
Sean is an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and Heinz College. He is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Carnegie Mellon Corporate Startup Lab. With the Corporate Startup Lab, Sean has conducted research and developed tools to help companies better adapt and integrate entrepreneurial best practices into their own innovation processes. The frameworks and tools have helped innovators become more successful entrepreneurs and helped leaders better encourage entrepreneurship and manage their innovation portfolios. The two CSL Co-Founders (Sean and Matt Crespi) also developed and teach a unique project course on corporate entrepreneurship, in which diverse teams of graduate students partner with large companies to test and develop real startup ideas brought by the corporations.
He recently completed his first book The Science of Growth, which was released by St Martin's Press in April 2016 and was subsequently translated and published in Korean and Mandarin.
Priscilla J. Beal
Global Head, Digital Health Engagement
In her current role as Americas Head of Digital Health Partnerships for Bayer, Priscilla applies her passion for helping people live happier, healthier lives to identifying, establishing and growing digital health partnerships with startups, entrepreneurs, VCs and the innovation ecosystem at-large. Her passion and contributions to Digital Health were recently recognized by CB Insights, who named Priscilla one of “15 Smart People in Healthcare” (Nov 2018). In addition to helping Bayer Consumer and Pharmaceutical Health divisions deliver new products, solutions and experiences to the patient/consumer, Priscilla is dedicated to the development of team members and colleagues. She joined Bayer in 2014 and quickly earned increasing responsibility in the organization’s Innovation initiatives. Prior to Bayer, she spent 10 years managing the digital projects and strategies of several Marketing Agencies’ clients, where her focus was on customer centricity and delighting people with usable, engaging and beautiful digital experiences.
Priscilla’s appreciation for experience and penchant for the visual stems from her Master of Arts in Art History, earned at Richmond American University in London (2003) and Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California at Santa Barbara (2000). Through her personal and professional experiences—as an educator, parent, innovator, woman, strategist, life-long student—Priscilla enables opportunities to exchange ideas, (re)imagine products and technologies, and inspire employees and partners to innovate, both in the office and without. Every day. She practices what she preaches at home, cooking, reading, pining away for the last season of Game of Thrones and raising her three children, CJ (13), Rory (8) and Molly (6) with her Husband, John Leuch.
Head Innovation Management NAFTA
Currie is an ex-Navy SEAL and serial entrepreneur. Currently he is Head of Innovation Management for Covestro LLC. He has started 5 companies in medical devices, services, and development. Prior to joining Covestro he co-founded with his wife a real estate development company that is developing a mile and a half of the riverfront in Pittsburgh. Currie has broad experience with different technologies, from molecular imaging to artificial intelligence. Before entering the private sector Currie did five tours as a Navy SEAL. He has a degree in Naval Architecture from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Virginia.
Vice President of Translational Programs
I joined the ITTC team in July 2017 to help UPMC build a team that invests in and commercializes innovative translational science, hoping to leverage my diverse background in science and business. Following training as a veterinary surgeon in Germany, I completed a PhD in Human Cardiovascular Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
After a short stint running a research lab at the Royal Veterinary College in London, I spent the last nine years as a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting in Boston, working with hundreds of life science companies to develop and commercialize groundbreaking diagnostics and therapeutics that address critical unmet needs in human health and disease.
My work at L.E.K. included leading a string of projects helping researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia develop a business plan and spin out a gene therapy startup focused on curing inherited blindness. Today, that startup is Spark Therapeutics, which has the first approved gene therapy in the U.S. for reinstating vision in children with RPE65 mutations. The company is listed on NASDAQ with a valuation of $2 billion.