When I first heard about the Connect Council, I was intrigued. I knew Rudina Seseri and Glasswing Ventures, and knew they didn’t have a reputation for doing things half way. When I heard about the mission of the Connect Council and the people involved, I was more than intrigued, I was impressed. What follows is a quick Q&A with Rudina about the council.
What is the Connect Council?
It is the first of three advisory councils to support and extend Glasswing Ventures’ investment strategy. Collectively, these councils bring together 40 renowned entrepreneurs and technologists, AI visionaries, and world-leading executives to exclusively advise and support the firm and its portfolio companies. The Connect Council is a critical part of the Glasswing Ventures’ DNA, extending our strength in providing AI expertise and advice exponentially amplifying the firm’s and our portfolio companies’ competitive edge. The Connect Council is comprised of two working groups: the AI & Academic Group, and the Business Leadership Group. Today, we are announcing the AI & Academic Group.
Who is on it?
A group of extraordinary individuals who have been lending their support to us since the founding of Glasswing over 18 months ago – we are grateful to them and very happy to announce that the members of the Glasswing’s Connect Council – the AI & Academic Group include:
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor at MIT and Oxford University and winner of the ACM A.M. Turing Prize
- Dr. Brad Berens, Chief Strategy Officer at the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and Principal at Big Digital Idea Consulting
- Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, Founder and Chief Scientist of Jibo, Inc.
- Dr. Thomas R. Eisenmann, Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, Faculty Co-Chair of the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship
- Dr. Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, MIT Professor and Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program Director
- Dr. Manuela Veloso, Herbert A. Simon University Professor and Head of Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University
- Dr. Peter Weinstock, Executive Director and Anesthesia Endowed Chair of the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program and Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School
Why did you start it?
We started the Councils as we know that they can bring tremendous scale to the firm as we help harness the positive potential of AI across industries and markets. Because the Connect Council is a collaborative and vibrant body composed of the most influential thought leaders and innovators in academia and AI technology today — our team, our founders and portfolio companies, gain access to a brilliant collective of luminaries at the forefront of AI and innovation, who are committed to fueling its success and growth. These visionaries have extensive experience across AI, academia, startups and Fortune 500 companies. They are the catalysts in extending our reach, supporting our portfolio companies and advising us, and helping Glasswing become a cornerstone of the AI ecosystem. They also play a pivotal role in helping bring AI to its full potential in the broader ecosystem and society at large.
What do you hope to accomplish with it?
Our council members are a resource for candid views and discussions about new technology trends, opportunities and talent in AI – they aren’t just big names and faces on a website. We won’t agree all of the time — and that’s exactly what we hope for. In fact, it’s beautiful when we brainstorm together, as that is when the best outcomes emerge. Our portfolio startups, and many more in the ecosystem, will be able to benefit first-hand from these brainstorms and the brilliance and experience of our advisors.
We have a symbiotic relationship with our advisory council members. They enhance the value we add to founders and companies, well beyond smart capital. At the same time, through their affiliation with Glasswing, they are part of a platform that is developing and shaping the next generation of AI leaders and technology companies. It is because of this mutually beneficial dynamic that our advisors work with us on an exclusive basis.
How will you know if it is working? Any metrics you are tracking?
Our Connect Council members are catalysts in extending our reach, supporting our portfolio companies and advising us, and helping Glasswing become a cornerstone of the AI ecosystem. They also play a pivotal role in helping bring AI to its full potential in the broader ecosystem and society at large. Being as exclusive and engaged as they are, their inbounds — whether it is bringing in a unique deal flow or helping with diligence or key talent are part of the tremendous value they bring to us.
Is AI really as big as the hype suggests?
Artificial Intelligence has been at the forefront of tech innovation for some time, but 2017 has been the year in which it has truly taken center stage. In a world of pervasive connectivity, AI is essential to harnessing the power of data. Companies have to create an AI advantage to survive — Google, Facebook, Amazon and countless startups know this and are betting their businesses on it – in fact, startups are becoming major value creators.
AI is already changing many aspects of our daily lives both at home and at work. However, this is just the start. AI is steadily and pervasively redefining our relationship with technology, enhancing human capacity and, fundamentally, how we live. It is big – and it’s going to be bigger than we imagined it.
Rudina Seseri is founder and managing partner at Glasswing Ventures. With over 15 years of investing and transactional experience, Rudina has led technology investments and acquisitions in startup companies in the fields of robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), SaaS marketing technologies and digital media. Rudina’s portfolio investments include Talla, Celtra, CrowdTwist, Jibo and SocialFlow. Rudina has been appointed by the Dean of the Harvard Business School (HBS) for a fourth consecutive year to serve as Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the Business School and as Executive-In-Residence for Harvard University’s innovation-Lab. She is also a Member of the Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College. Rudina also serves as Advisor for L’Oreal USA Women in Digital, as Director on the Board of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX) and on the Board of Overseers for Boston Children’s Hospital. She has been named a 2017 Boston Business Journal Power 50: Newsmaker, a 2014 Women to Watch honoree by Mass High Tech and a 2011 Boston Business Journal 40-under-40 honoree for her professional accomplishments and community involvement. She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Economics and International Relations and with an MBA from the Harvard Business School (HBS). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Epsilon honor societies.