Future of Tech

Both the content and the approach of this “Future of Tech” event will be revolutionary. The 21st-century world around us is constantly changing, and most often technology is the catalyst for that change. Each of the speakers will be discussing the following (specific to their industry):

  • Worst case dystopian view of tech's impact on the future.

  • How to mitigate this risk and be a part of the solution.

  • Best case utopian view of tech's impact on the future.

  • How to focus on this possibility and create that reality.

Both positively and negatively technology and our discovery, invention, and application of it are impacting the future. At this event, five world-class technologists will discuss how innovation in their respective areas of expertise (AI, IoT, VR, AR, IP, Voice, etc.) are on track to fundamentally change everything.

We hope you can join us for the agenda below::

  • 6:00pm | Pre-event networking with beverages and light snacks as well as Hoverboard demos for attendees.

  • 6:45pm | Ian Utile (event moderator) begins the evening.

  • 7:00pm | Michael Clifford discusses the future of education.

  • 7:15pm | Laura Slezinger discusses the future of IP / law.

  • 7:30pm | Robert Bigler discusses the future of mobility.

  • 7:45pm | Liza Wood Nebel discusses the future of AI.

  • 8:00pm | Justin Dillon discusses the future of people.

  • 8:15pm | Post-event networking with beverages and light snacks as well as continued Hoverboard demos.

  • 9:00pm | Event ends.

NOTE: Media team running the event will be streaming live on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter*. The live streaming emcee (Justis Earle) will be interviewing event attendees as well as interacting with the digital audience in real time. By registering for this event, you understand this permission signifies that audio, photographic and/or video recordings of you may be electronically displayed via the Internet.

Fireside Chat Topics & Featured Speakers:

Event Moderator: Ian Utile

Partner / Investor @ Kukui100XRModarriHANSNAP

Inspired vision and strategic risk lead to uncommon success. One of the companies that Ian co-founded (Kukui Corporation) is a great example of this because their revenue has grown every quarter for the last six years, while maintaining profitability, in order to thrive without investors. The Inc. 500 list recently ranked Kukui as the #1 fastest growing private company in San Jose (#76 in the US). Ian's ancestors have raised their families in the San Francisco Bay Area since his forefather, Lieutenant Moraga, founded San Jose in 1777. This heritage motivates Ian to create a legacy. His favorite quote is from Abraham Lincoln, "The best way to predict your future is to create it."

Future of Education Michael Clifford

Catalyst of WozU, BethelTech, Bridgepoint, GCU, and JWMI.

Michael K. Clifford has been an entrepreneur since his first paper route at age 13 and believes one’s failures are more valuable than success. As a "Venture Catalyst", Clifford works with successful CEO's who want to buy operating companies, families who desire to invest alongside high-quality private equity firms, business owners who want to sell their businesses or inject growth capital, regionally accredited higher education leaders that desire to expand access plus get surplus cash-flow, and charities desirous of monetization strategies/relationships to augment donations. Michael created two companies that were back-to-back IPOs in Higher Education (LOPE & BPI), the best performing IPO's in 2008/9 respectively.

Future of IP / Law: Laura Slezinger

IP Attorney and Founding Partner at Venture Gained Legal

Laura Slezinger has a passion for the intersection of law, technology, and the creative, entrepreneurial spirit. As an advertising, intellectual property, and internet law attorney, she has counseled dynamic and growing companies on a wide range of intellectual property and internet related issues, including branding and trademark strategy, social media, licensing & development, marketing & advertising, and a range of transactional corporate needs. •Laura regularly embeds within startup and tech companies as in-house counsel to provide cross-functional, marketing & advertising legal support, including supporting the product development, operations, engineering, and marketing teams. Laura advises operations, product and engineering teams throughout the product development lifecycle, from initial idea to launch, on a broad range of compliance issues including cutting edge and first impression legal issues.

Future of Mobility: Robert Bigler 

Inventor of Hoverboard and Smart Motor

Robert Bigler is a Serial Entrepreneur with a passion for automation and electric vehicles. After graduating from SJSU, Robert co-founded Animatics Corporation. He invented, patented and commercialized the industry’s first fully integrated servo systems called the "SmartMotor". Animatics grew to the point of having offices in Japan, California, NY, the UK, and Germany. With more than 130 worldwide distributors they sold their components into thousands of demanding applications, from undersea robots to experiments in the Space Station. After growing his first company to be a global force among multi-billion-dollar competitors, Robert sold it and created an incubator with headquarters in Mountain View, CA (the same city Robert was born in). Robert’s team is completely focused on building a revolutionary mobility device called the Hoverboard.

Future of AI / Marketing: Liza Wood Nebel

Partner, COO

Liza is a marketing innovator who harnessed her 15 years of digital marketing expertise to co-found Blackbelt in 2015. Liza’s passion is solving major brand problems using innovative and data-driven marketing for both disruptive and disrupted companies. Liza has been instrumental in driving revenue and company growth, securing strategic partnerships and is a published thought leader in the marketing innovation space. Over the course of her career, Liza has worked alongside leading companies, such as Time Warner, AT&T, Visa, IBM, Barclays, American Express and Chevron.

Future of People: Justin Dillon

Founder of MIAFW and Slavery Footprint.

A recording artist turned filmmaker, nonprofit founder tackling modern-day slavery, and CEO helping change the paradigm for responsible trade in the global economy, Justin Dillion is a solutionist who has proven that everyday people with a dream and the resolve to see it through can be remarkable change agents in the world. He is the Founder and CEO of Made in a Free World, one of the most influential nonprofits fighting slavery, and to build award-winning platforms that have been widely recognized as disrupters to the $XXB business of human trafficking. Justin has served as an advisor on issues of social justice to the United Nations, the U.S. State Department the White House, the Fortune 500 and more. Justin’s inspiring approach to ushering sustained change has led him to the world’s most influential venues, boardrooms, and academic institutions. He is also the author of A Selfish Plan to Change the World.

Live Streaming Emcee: Justis Earle

Video emcee @ TumblrKickstarterMashable

Above the Storm Frontman | HANSNAP Inventor


Founders is a merger, acquisition & strategic advisory firm serving middle-market companies. Founders’ focus is on software, internet, digital media, industrial technology, healthcare, energy tech companies located nationwide, as well as companies based in the Southeast across a variety of industries. Founders’ skilled professionals, proven expertise, and process-based solutions help companies access growth capital, make acquisitions, and/or prepare for and execute liquidity events to achieve specific financial goals.


Ghost Hand Productions (GHP) is a complete, full-service production company. Here are a few examples of how their clients trust them:

  • Showtime and FOX trust them to capture that live dramatic moment in the ring, the cage, or behind the scenes.

  • CrossFit trusts them to get them their multi-camera package, support gear and all tech personnel necessary for broadcasting live on ESPN3.

  • Fortune 50 companies trust them to interview their CEO's when they have only a single take.

  • Major League Baseball trusts them to capture the moments that happen only once, such as the World Series or record-setting moments like Barry Bonds 756th home run.

GHP is uniquely positioned in the Bay Area with all of the top of the line equipment at our fingertips as well as a deep well of seasoned and talented crew and the ability to execute in the corporate and commercial sphere.

* Please be advised the event will be live streamed and there will be a video team capturing the event. By registering for the event, you are agreeing & granting permission to the rights of your image, likeness, and sound of voice as recorded on audio or videotape without payment or any other consideration.  You understand that your image may be edited, copied, exhibited, published or distributed and waive the right to inspect or approve the finished product wherein your likeness appears. Additionally, you waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising or related to the use of your image or recording.  You also understand that this material may be used in diverse educational settings within an unrestricted geographic area.