The Alchemist Series: How to spot a disruptive business idea

The Harvard Club is inviting HBSA members to join this event.

The Alchemist Series: A Six Part Speaker Series to accelerate the transformation of hackers into entrepreneurs: "How to spot a disruptive business idea"

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A great business idea is a starting point for every outstanding company. We are going to give pinpointers on opportunity recognition and discuss the common elements of disruptive business ideas that lead to stellar startups. Please join us for the first chapter of The Alchemist Series where we provide a toolkit to become the founder of the next startup that everybody is talking about. Our panelists are Trip Adler (CEO and Co-Founder, Scribd, Inc.), Loic Le Meur (CEO and Founder, Seesmic), David McIntosh (CEO and Founder, Redux), Ben Keighran (CEO and Co-Founder, Chomp). The panel is moderated by Ravi Belani (Startup advisor and investor).


Wednesday, Sep 22nd, 2010 at 6:00pm


6:00pm 7:00pm: Cocktails and Networking
7:00pm 8:30pm: Panel
8:30pm 9:00pm: Networking


250 Brannan #100, San Francisco, 94107


$20 HBSA/NC members & Ivy League, Stanford, MIT and UC Berkeley alums with Computer Science and Engineering degrees
$45 Non-members

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Trip Adler is the CEO and co-founder of Scribd, the largest social publishing and reading site in the world with more than 50 million readers each month. Adler graduated from Harvard in 2006 and along with co-founders Jared Friedman, CTO, and Tikon Bernstam, COO, started Scribd with the simple observation that even with the proliferation of blogs and other self-publishing tools, there was no easy way for average people to publish to a readership of millions. Scribd is changing the way people discover, share and sell original writings and documents on the Web. Its innovative document reader technology enables anyone to easily upload Microsoft Office documents, Google Docs, PDFs and other document types and share on or embed on thousands of other websites. Scribd is backed by Charles River Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Paul Graham's Y Combinator, the Kinsey Hills Group and several prominent angel investors.

Loic Le Meur is the founder and CEO of the popular Twitter and Facebook application Seesmic. Seesmic makes it easy to reply to your friends and share text, links, photos and videos all in one screen. Available on the web, desktop and mobile.

Loic also founded and hosts the #1 tech event in Europe,, with his wife Geraldine. LeWeb gathers together 2500 entrepreneurs from 50 countries in December every year. Prior to Seesmic and LeWeb, Loic started several other businesses such as Six Apart Europe, RapidSite, a web hosting service (acquired by France Telecom in 1999) as well as B2L, an interactive agency in 1999 (acquired by BBDO).

Business Week named Loic one of the 25 most influential people on the web, and he advises the World Economic Forum as well as covers the Annual Summit every year in Davos. Originally from the South of France, Loic lives in San Francisco, California and has three boys.

Loic has been blogging since 2003 at and can be also found online at and

David McIntosh is the founder and CEO of Redux, a crowd sourced video discovery company that taps into users' friends and people that share their interests to deliver a uniquely addictive and personalized entertainment experience. David previously worked as an engineer at iLike and Prosper, and while at Propser built most of the site's loan performance visualizations. BusinessWeek named Mr. McIntosh one of the top 25 US Entrepreneurs under 25 in 2007.

Ben Keighran is the CEO & Co-Founder of Chomp, a mobile app discovery service ( Chomp for iPhone was launched in January 2010 & since launch has had significant user traction. He is also currently serving as an advisor to Clixtr and was previously the lead advisor for mobile products at social search company, Aardvark, up until it was acquired by Google in early 2010.

In 2006, Ben previously launched Bluepulse, a mobile social messaging application. Bluepulse was one of the most downloaded mobile java applications ever, reaching almost 2mm downloads per month at its peak. At Bluepulse, Ben raised $6.5mm to build the company and after growing the business to a point where users were exchanging 300mm messages per month, he was nominated by BusinessWeek as one of America’s Top Entrepreneurs under the age of 25.


Ravi Belani is a startup advisor and investor in 10 startups, and a former Associate at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. At DFJ, Ravi led the firm’s investments in Komli and Pubmatic. Prior board directorships include TinyPictures (acquired by Shutterfly, NASDAQ: SFLY) and Personiva (acquired by Glam Media). Ravi brought experiences with new ventures and established firms to his role. Prior to Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Ravi worked in product management at software startup Zaplet (acquired by MetricStream). Ravi has also worked in product management at enterprise software company Extensity (IPOd then acquired by GEAC) as a Mayfield Fellow. As a management consultant at McKinsey and Company's San Francisco office, Ravi worked with Fortune 500 hi tech and biotech companies on a range of strategic issues, including market attractiveness assessments, pricing, channel strategy, and new product development processes. He has also worked at Medtronic on wireless communication technologies for remote patient monitoring and in equity research at Bridgewater Associates.

Ravi is a Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi graduate of Stanford University, holding a BS with Distinction and MS in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management. Ravi also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. As a Board Fellow at Harvard, Ravi served the Global Board of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs). Ravi is also a graduate of the Kauffman Fellows Program.

The Alchemist Series

The Alchemist Series is targeted at young alums of Harvard and other Ivy League / Ivy League caliber universities with Computer Science and Engineering backgrounds.

The events are panel-driven discussions exploring significant milestones in the trajectory of the development of a business. The intent is to provide a toolkit to accelerate the progress over the six sessions.

The events will be held in the evenings on the 4th Wednesday of the months of September, November, January, March, May, and July from 2010– 2011. The venue host is Kicklabs in the SOMA district of San Francisco.

Click here to register

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