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Disruptive Innovations: Making Competition Irrelevant

The concept of disruptive innovation has captured the attention of entrepreneurs and investors. But what does it mean? How can startups employ the concept to standout in the marketplace?

Tune in to the next TechConnect “Disruptive Innovations: Making Competition Irrelevant” to learn:

  • How to create a new market space for your idea
  • Ways to differentiate yourself from established organizations
  • Insights into the customer discovery process

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The panel of experts include:

Shintaro Kaido, Director, Start-up Services, Drexel Ventures

Duygu Oktem, Founder of DO Consultancy LLC

Hemai Parthasarathy, Scientific Director, Thiel Foundation Breakout Labs

Eli Velasquez, Executive Director, Lubbock Angel Network

About the Panelists

Shintaro Kaido is a Kauffman Fellow and Director, Drexel Ventures at Drexel University. In this role, Shintaro works closely with Drexel faculty, student and alumni startups on customer acquisition, product validation and revenue model development – the three critical components in developing early stage startups. In November 2015, Shintaro launched a $10 million early stage venture fund to invest in Drexel startups. Prior to Drexel, Shintaro made seed and Series A investments for i2E, a venture development organization (VDO) recognized by name in the 2015 White House report "A Strategy for American Innovation" for its successful investment model. Shintaro is also a co-founder of Synercon Technologies, a venture-backed startup that provides digital forensics tools to analyze traffic accidents involving heavy trucks. Synercon's products are currently used by state highway patrols in Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Oregon, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

Duygu Oktem began her career with the Ministry of Public Works. She went on to work for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) where she worked at EU Framework Programs National Coordination Office as the National Contact Point of technology projects. In 2009 she joined Turk Telekom Group as R&D Manager, where she was responsible for commercialization of R&D projects as well as joint EU projects. At Turk Telekom, she established a startup accelerator; she designed and led the entire program, PILOTT, which became Turkey’s first corporate-run accelerator. Duygu founded her own company in Silicon Valley where she is helping corporations to innovate and startups to scale. Duygu has been chosen as one of the most influential people in Turkey’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by Startups Watch, and is a mentor/judge at many national and international programs.

Hemai Parthasarathy is the Scientific Director of the Thiel Foundation and its program to support early-stage, radical science-based companies, Breakout Labs ( She is responsible for establishing the scientific priorities of the program, evaluating submitted proposals, and advising portfolio companies. Previously, Hemai served as the North American Editor for Nature and was a founding editor of PLOS, the open-access publisher of PLOS ONE. As a consultant, she has advised research institutes, non-profits, and biotechnology companies on the development and communication of their scientific portfolios. She holds a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Biophysics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Eli Velasquez is the Director of Venture Development within the Office of Research Commercialization at Texas Tech University. He also serves as Managing Director of the SBIR/STTR Center, NSF I-Corps Nationally Certified Instructor, and Executive Director of the Lubbock Angel Network. Previously, he served as Director of the Greater West Texas Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC) where he implemented innovation initiatives that significantly advanced the entrepreneurial ecosystem in West Texas. The initiatives generated a $6M+ return in grants, follow-on funding, and sponsorships. Prior to that, Mr. Velasquez served as Executive Director of Innovate El Paso. Through his tenure, he helped six organizations access $9.5M from the Emerging Technology Fund, co-founded El Paso's first technology business incubator, recruited El Paso's first full-fledged patent firm, and launched one of only three applied entrepreneurship programs for women in Texas.