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Café X: Universities, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital in Computing:  A View from the World of Data

Café X: Universities, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital in Computing: A View from the World of Data

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Gerald Hatch Centre Room 324, McMaster University

Event Contact:

Terry Milson

Ishwar Puri, Dean, Engineering invites students, faculty and staff to attend Café X. Café X will be open for business for one hour, starting with a presentation, followed by questions and answers. Refreshments will be available at the start and conclusion of the event.


Joseph M. Hellerstein
Jim Gray Professor of Computer Science
EECS Computer Science Division
University California, Berkeley, California

Research universities and venture capital are both powerful drivers of innovation in modern computing—especially in software and online services. In recent years, fluidity between these worlds has been increasing, as more students and faculty get involved in launching or advising startup companies. There are many models for how this can work. I will share my perspective as a data management researcher at Berkeley, including my experience founding and growing Trifacta—a venture-backed company that started with our academic papers and eventually defined a new market category called Data Preparation.

 This is intended to be an open-ended discussion. Topics could include (but are not limited to!) transitioning research ideas to viable products, intellectual property concerns, pitching ideas to VCs, managing incentives on campus (for faculty, students, and administration), aligning the incentives of universities and venture firms, open vs. closed source, the relevance of lessons from the SF Bay Area to other regions, and the role of technical innovation in startup success.


Joseph M. Hellerstein is the Jim Gray Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work focuses on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. He is an ACM Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and the recipient of three ACM-SIGMOD "Test of Time" awards for his research. Fortune Magazine has included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology, and MIT's Technology Review magazine included his work on their TR10 list of the 10 technologies "most likely to change our world".

Hellerstein is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Trifacta, a software vendor providing intelligent interactive solutions to the messy problem of wrangling data. He serves on the technical advisory boards of a number of computing and Internet companies including Dell EMC, SurveyMonkey, Captricity, and Datometry, and previously served as the Director of Intel Research, Berkeley.