x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Invention to Venture

This event occurred on
April 8, 2011
9:00am - 5:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
New York, NY
United States

TEDxColumbiaEngineeringSchool - Columbia University’s independently organized TEDx event – will bring to light ideas worth spreading. A day filled with presentations by some of the foremost minds will seek to spark conversation, thought and productive exchange among bright intellectuals who participate. From organic chemistry to economics, and from engineering to entertainment, the talks will highlight areas that are at the frontiers of innovation today.

Set to be held at the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research of Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus in Manhattan, this pilot edition of TEDx at Columbia University hopes to establish channels of communication between students and professors, between prospective entrepreneurs and veterans. Its theme, Invention to Venture, is ideally suited to introduce to fresh undergraduate and graduate students people who have succeeded in converting their ideas and inventions into successful ventures and enterprises.

On the eighth of April this year, prepare to have your mind blown by impressive success stories that will be told, valuable experience that will be shared, and inspiring messages that will be delivered at TEDxColumbiaEngineeringSchool.

Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Center
Columbia University
New York, NY, 10027
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Columbia­Engineering­School events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

David S. Rose

David S. Rose, is an Inc. 500 CEO and serial entrepreneur himself, who has been described by Crain’s New York Business as “the father of angel investing in New York”, and by Red Herring Magazine as the “patriarch of Silicon Alley”. David is well known in the technology community for his mentoring of high-potential entrepreneurs, and is a regular speaker at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU and Pace business schools. As the founder and Chairman of New York Angels, one of the world’s most active and professional angel investment groups, he has led first round investments in a wide range of exciting, high growth companies.

Dan Porter

Dan Porter is CEO of OMGPOP, the best a place to hang out, play free online multiplayer games, chat and make friends. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Virgin USA. Prior to Virgin USA, Porter was Vice President, Business Development, for BeMusic (part of DirectGroup Bertelsmann) which comprised the world’s largest music club, The BMG Music Service, and one of the leading US online music retailers, CDnow. Previously, Porter was the President of Speedle, a venture funded company focusing on universal authentication technology. Prior to that, he was the President and COO of Ticketweb, the first company to develop internet-enabled ticketing transaction technology and the first to sell event tickets online. Porter led the sale of TicketWeb to Ticketmaster.

Bernd Schmitt

Professor Schmitt researches, teaches, and advises corporations on creative strategy, branding, and customer experience management. Schmitt's books include Big Think Strategy, Customer Experience Management, and Experiential Marketing, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. He teaches the course Managing Brands, Identity and Experiences, and won an award for innovation in the classroom for the course Corporate Creativity. He has also taught several other courses including Market Innovation, Consumer Behavior, Advertising Management, Nonprofit Marketing, Luxury Goods Marketing as well as the Marketing core course. He has held visiting appointments in China, Germany, Poland, South Korea, and Singapore. Schmitt's research focuses on language in consumer behavior, experiential marketing, brand management and international business. His research has been published in leading marketing and psychology journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Ronald Breslow

Ronald C. D. Breslow is an American chemist. He is currently University Professor at Columbia University, where he is based in the Department of Chemistry and affiliated with the Departments of Biological Sciences and Pharmacology; he has also been on the faculty of its Department of Chemical Engineering. He has taught at Columbia since 1956 and is a former chair of the university's chemistry department.He is interested in the design and synthesis of new molecules with interesting properties, and the study of these properties. Among Breslow's former Ph.D. students is Robert Grubbs, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005. Breslow has received many honors and awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1991, the Welch Award, the Arthur C. Cope Award, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences, the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry and the Priestley Medal. In recognition of his classroom skills, Columbia has awarded him both its Mark Van Doren Award and its Great Teacher Award. He is also a foreign member of the Royal Society and an honorary member of many other scientific bodies around the world.

Nina Tandon

Nina, a native New-Yorker, is a 2011 TED Fellow and Fulbright Alum. She is an electrical and biomedical engineer at Columbia University's Lab for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, and adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union, teaching a "Bioelectricity" class. She spent her early career in telecom (Avaya Labs), transitioning to biomedical engineering via a Fulbright in Italy (working on an electronic odor detector). She completed her PhD under Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at MIT and Columbia, researching cardiac tissue engineering. After consulting at McKinsey from 2008-10, she's resumed her research on electrical stimulation for broader tissue engineering applications. In her spare time, she practices yoga, running, metalsmithing, playing with puppies, baking and exploring.

Mitchell Joachim

Mitchell Joachim is a leader in ecological design and urbanism. He is a Co-Founder at Planetary ONE and Terreform ONE. He earned a Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MAUD Harvard University, M.Arch. Columbia University, and BPS SUNY at Buffalo with Honors. Mitchell is an Associate Professor at NYU and previously was the Frank Gehry Chair at University of Toronto. Earlier, he was faculty at Columbia, Syracuse, Washington, and Parsons. He was formerly an architect at Gehry Partners, and Pei Cobb Freed. He has been awarded fellowships at TED2010, Moshe Safdie Assoc., and Martin Society for Sustainability at MIT. He won the History Channel and Infiniti Excellence Award for City of the Future, and Time Magazine Best Invention of 2007, Compacted Car w/ MIT Smart Cities. His project, Fab Tree Hab, has been exhibited at MoMA and widely published. He was chosen by Wired magazine for "The 2008 Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To". Rolling Stone magazine honored Mitchell in "The 100 People Who Are Changing America". In 2009 he was interviewed on the Colbert Report. Popular Science magazine has featured his work as a visionary for “The Future of the Environment” in 2010.

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, where she directs the Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering. She also directs the Stem Cell Imaging Core and co-directs the NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center and the Columbia’s Craniofacial Regeneration Center. She has developed and taught several classes at the SEAS, including Senior Design, Stem Cell Seminar and Biological Transport and Rate Processes. The focus of her research is on engineering functional human tissues using stem cells, biomaterials and bioreactors, for application in regenerative medicine, stem cell research, and study of tissue development and disease. She published 2 books, 50 book chapters, and 230 peer-reviewed articles cited over 8,200 times and 40 patents, and gave 220 invited lectures. In 2002, she was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2007, she gave the Director’s lecture at the NIH, as the first woman engineer to receive this distinction. In 2008, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame “for developing biological substitutes to restore, maintain or improve tissue function”. In 2010, she received the Clemson Award of the Biomaterials Society “for significant contributions to the literature on biomaterials”.

Ron Gonen

Ron is the Co-Founder of RecycleBank. During his tenure as CEO from 2004-2010, RecycleBank grew from an idea to a company with contracts with over 100 cities and a service that rewards millions of people for their positive green actions across North America and the UK. RecycleBank has been recognized by a number of leading business and environmental organizations including the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer, the United Nations Environment Programme as a Champion of the Earth, The Pennsylvania Environment Council with the Philadelphia Sustainability Award, The Social Venture Network with their Innovation Award and the Wall Street Journal as one of the top 10 Venture Backed Clean Tech Companies of 2010. Ron is currently a member of RecycleBank's Board of Directors. Prior to RecycleBank, Ron was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. He was a co-recipient of Deloitte Consulting's National Impact Award for the development of a consulting unit that provided pro bono service to NGO's. Ron is a frequent guest speaker on the role of business and the environment at universities, conferences and companies. He is a past member of the World Economic Forum's Council on Sustainable Consumption and is currently a Henry Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute. Ron was a recipient of the 2010 University Medal of Excellence from Columbia University which is awarded annually to an alumnus under the age of 45 for outstanding achievement in scholarship, public service and professional life. Ron is a Founding Partner of Linhardt Design Studio, a jewelry company that designs and manufactures fine jewelry with a focus on high design merged with sustainable principles.

Matt Berg

Matt Berg is a technology practitioner and researcher in the Modi Research Group at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and serves as the ICT Director for the Millennium Villages Project. Matt was born and grew in up Africa and is a respected thinker in the mobile-for-development space and helped create ChildCount+, a child and maternal mobile health platform. Matt was a Pop!Tech 2010 Social Innovation Fellow and was named to the 2010 Time 100 List of Most Influential People for his technology work in Africa.

Adnan A. Durrani

Mr. Durrani is also President of Condor Ventures, Inc., a venture firm devoted to strategic investing in natural food companies. Most recently, he was also a Venture Partner of Blue Chip Venture Co., with $600 million in managed funds, and has been an investment professional for 26 years. Mr. Durrani is a serial entrepreneur. Currently, he is the founder, CEO and Chief Halal Officer of American Halal Co., a socially conscious food brand with a mission to promote interfaith dialogue, understanding, and harmony between Muslims, Jews, Christians, and all faiths. He serves on the Board, and is Finance Chairman of Social Venture Network, where he has been a pioneer in establishing quantitative proof that socially conscious and economically just business models can yield exponential triple bottom line profits for consumer product companies. Mr. Durrani is regarded as a pioneer in the values and socially conscious-based business world. He was the founder of Vermont Pure Holdings, the second largest bottled water company in the Northeast and the parent company of Crystal Rock Water Co. Mr. Durrani was also a financial partner of Stonyfield Farms Inc, the leading organic yogurt brand whose private sale he led to Dannone, SA in 2003 . He was also a principal of Delicious Brands, Inc., a struggling regional brand whose growth he led, with the financial backing of Carl Icahn, through a strategic roll up strategy to become the fifth largest cookie brand in U.S.Mr. Durrani received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1981. He has been recognized as one of the entrepreneurs and venture investors who engineered "20 Ideas That Changed the Way The World Does Business".

Sree Sreenivasan

Prof. Sree Sreenivasan is the Dean of Student Affairs, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism & contributing editor, He is a tech evangelist and skeptic (he can explain how he's both) specializing in explaining technology to non-techies. He is a professor and dean of students affairs at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches in the digital media program, including media entrepreneurship. A former TV technology reporter on WABC and WNBC, he is now a contributing editor at, a Manhattan-news startup he helped launch in 2009 with Joe Ricketts (the founder of Ameritrade and whose family just bought the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field). In 2009, he was named one of AdAge's 25 media people to follow on Twitter and in 2010 was named one of 20 journalists to follow by the Society of Professional Journalists and one of's 35 most influential people in social media. You can find him on Twitter at and on Facebook at and on the Web at

Jonathan Knee

Jonathan Knee is a Senior Managing Director at Evercore Partners and an Adjunct Professor and Director of the Media Program at Columbia Business School where he teaches Media Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Management of Media. He also co-teaches a Business Journalism seminar at the Columbia Journalism School with James Stewart. Before joining Evercore in 2003, Knee was a Managing Director and Co-head of Morgan Stanley’s Media Group and was previously Publishing Sector Head in the Communications, Media and Entertainment Group at Goldman Sachs. Prior to becoming an investment banker, he was Director of International Affairs at United Airlines and served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Northwestern University. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Atlantic. He is also the author of The Accidental Investment Banker: Inside the Decade that Transformed Wall Street (Oxford: 2006) and co-author of The Curse of The Mogul: What’s Wrong With the World’s Leading Media Companies? (Portfolio: 2009).

Vijay Modi

After receiving his PhD from Cornell University in 1984, Professor Modi pursued Post-doctorate research at MIT 1984-1986. Modi has taught at Columbia since the mid-1980s. His expertise is in the fields of Energy sources and conversion, heat/mass transfer and fluid mechanics. His current areas of research interest are related to: energy infrastructure, CO2 sequestration, fuel cells, distributed sensing/control of flow and heat transfer. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers, and served as the principal or co-principal of a number of research grants from government and industry.

David Lifson

David Lifson is the co-founder and CEO of Postling, a social marketing platform for small businesses. Postling is used by over 16,000 businesses worldwide to manage all of their social media accounts in one place. In 2010, Postling raised $700,000 from angel investors like David Rose, Dave McClure, David Cohen, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Peter Lehrman. Prior to Postling, David ran the Product team for Etsy, the online marketplace used by millions of people to buy and sell handmade goods. Before joining Etsy, David was a software developer and product manager at, where he worked on Community and Personalization features like “Because you bought this book, Amazon recommends…”. David graduated from Cornell University in 2005 with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science.

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States

G Ramachandra

New York, NY, United States
  • Armaan Mirza
  • Angel Say
  • Logan Donovan
    Head of Insights & On-Stage Host
  • Kay Lodge
    Head of Publicity and Catering
  • Akshay Shah
    Head of Marketing and Outreach