In spring of 2015, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Silicon Valley. During his visit, Prime Minister Abe promised to send a delegation of Japanese entrepreneurs to visit Silicon Valley. On January 19, 2017 Intertrust was honored to host a delegation selected by Mr. Abe at our Silicon Valley headquarters. The delegation’s visit was organized by Intertrust’s investor and partner, the Japanese/US venture capital firm WiL (World Innovation Lab).
To start things off, Intertrust’s CEO Talal Shamoon talked about Intertrust’s entrepreneurial story, from its start as a visionary founder’s original ideas to enable trusted transactions in the then emerging distributed computing environment to Shamoon’s approach in taking this vision into today’s big data driven business environment.
Caption: Other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs give their insight. From left to right: Jose Cong, Co-founder & CEO, Plause, Rainer Sternfeld, CEO & Founder, Planet OS, and Gene Wang, CEO & Co-founder, People Power
Following Shamoon was a panel of experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who also gave their insights. Joining us was Jose Cong, the co-founder and CEO of the human resources startup Plause, and the former head of talent at Nest Labs, Rainer Sternfeld, CEO and founder of the big data infrastructure for energy startup Planet OS, and Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of the smart home services enablement startup People Power, and also a highly accomplished serial entrepreneur.
The discussion was driven by questions from the Japanese entrepreneurs. There was a lot of interest in how the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs overcame the inevitable rough patches each startup goes through. Sternfeld, who comes from Estonia, talked about how his small country’s history, a success story in itself, helped give him courage to persevere. Wang brought up how his commitment from his friends and family to the company gives him strength. Cong mentioned that his faith in the company’s mission helped him overcome adversity. However, Shamoon reminded the gathered entrepreneurs that knowing when to exit is a skill they will need to learn as well.
At Intertrust, we hope that our Japanese entrepreneur friends learned something of use. As Shamoon noted, “I hope that they all act on their dreams and do good things. Innovation is disruptive and it all starts with smart stubborn people who choose not to follow the conventional path.”