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Do you want to be an Entrepreneur? The UMass Amherst Mentoring Program can help!

04 Feb
Wednesday, 02/04/2015 11:00am to 12:00pm

Steve Willis
UMass Amherst Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Computer Science Building, CS 151

Faculty Host: Lori A. Clarke

If you have ever thought you might want to be an entrepreneur, start your own business, get rich, and know the thrill of seeing your ideas enrich the lives of others, then this talk is for you.  The transfer of research technology into commercial enterprise is fraught with pitfalls. Each project has different strengths and weaknesses.  Some may require expertise that the founders just don't have, and some may require timing that can't be accommodated by an accelerator or incubator program.  An experienced mentor can help.  The UMass Amherst mentoring program connects entrepreneurs with private sector volunteer mentors that have a wide range of experience and skills, ranging from marketing, development, legal support, financing, operations, manufacturing and contract negotiation. The program benefits faculty, staff, students, alumni and the mentors themselves. Existing mentoring programs such the Venture Mentoring Service at MIT and Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield have helped launched a variety of projects ranging from molten salt reactors, carbon fiber kayaks, cancer protein analysis, wind towers, artisanal jams, category theory and a wide variety of mobile applications and websites.  Come here Steve Willis explain what the UMass Amherst Mentoring Program is all about, and what it can do for you!


Steve Willis is currently the Entrepreneur -In-Residence at the UMass-Amherst Campus. He received his BS in BDIC/Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts in 1978. At BTU Engineering, he developed protocols allowing clusters of microprocessor based diffusion furnaces to communicate. From 1982 to 1986, he worked as a developer at Interlan, one of the original Ethernet controller companies, developing commercial implementations of the XNS and TCP/IP protocols.  In 1986, he co-founded Wellfleet Communications, an early Internet router company, where he ran software development for Wellfleet's high performance, multi-protocol routers. In 1989 he started Wellfleet's Advanced Engineering Group that developed new networking standards and technology, such as the silicon based forwarding engine, for the next generation of Wellfleet technology. Wellfleet went public in 1991 and merged with Synoptics to create Bay Networks in 1994. In 1997, he co-founded Argon Networks, a maker of high performance SONET based Internet core switch/routers, which was purchased by Siemens in 1991. In 2001, he joined Datapower, a company focused on innovative XML processing and data transformation, as the VP of Advanced Technology. In 2009, he co-founded Overlook Networks, a venture addressing new networking technology in the data center. His most current project is in the area of optical packet switching.  Steve has contributed to the standardization of network management, BGP, IS-IS, ATM, Point-to-Point protocols, QOS and traffic management. He recently co-authored "Cryptographic Rule Based Trading" in the 2012 Journal of Financial Cryptography and Data Security.  He is a member of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, a co-founder of Venture Valley Mentors, an advisor to Solano Labs, Philo, Bandgap Engineering and other startups in the Boston area. He holds multiple patents in the field of computer networking.

Reception and Refreshments: 3:30PM in the Atrium