October 13, 2016

Innovation Talk: Verizon Ventures’ Annual Startup Day

In late September, Verizon Ventures invited Verizon employees to Startup Day 2016 at Verizon’s Basking Ridge headquarters to meet with and learn from some 25 portfolio companies in the Verizon investment ecosystem. The day was jam packed with engaging panel discussions, interactive demos and strategic business development meetings.

At Verizon Ventures, we focus on investing in companies that demonstrate the promise of advancing the connected society of today and the network that powers it. Startup Day was a great opportunity to not only to showcase this amazing talent and innovation within our portfolio, but to also connect innovation with opportunity. One of the many benefits in working with Verizon Ventures is the strategic connections we enable and the domain expertise we provide to help accelerate businesses.


The panel sessions, many of which were standing room only, brought about insightful discussion and debate on topics that touch every part of Verizon’s businesses. Startup Day is one of the vehicles we use to give portfolio companies an opportunity to share their message and vision with the larger Verizon ecosystem. By pairing portfolio companies on panels with Verizon executives, we aim to both support and encourage their growth throughout the company through high-level exposure. The discussions held during the panels keep Verizon immersed in innovation and tuned to industry trends as well.

The first panel of the morning was focused on real world applications for IoT with panelists from PrecisionHawk (Tyler Collins), Bug Labs (Peter Semmelhack), Filament (Eric Jennings), Uncharted Play (Jessica Matthews) and moderated by Verizon’s Internet of Things VP Mark Bartolomeo. In the session, we learned about where IoT opportunities lie, what the future holds, unique issues around IoT in developing countries and security implications. We also learned about the drone/UAV space and how important a good wireless network will be needed in the future.


The second panel, onhow the connected car will capitalize on driver and vehicle behavior, was moderated by Verizon’s global product and new business development executive for IoT Mike Toto, with panelists from Urgent.ly (Chris Spanos), Driversiti (Sascha Simon) and HopSkip Drive (JoAnna McFarland). The most interesting part of the discussion was learning about autonomous cars vs. connected cars, how government regulation impacts autonomous cars and who the customer of connected cars actually is.

Another great panel that took place in the afternoon was around entrepreneurship and what it takes to found a successful startup. Verizon Venture’s very own Dave Famolari moderated the discussion with participants from Kumu Networks (David Cutrer), Ringly (Christina d'Avignon) and Chris Spanos (Urgent.ly). Because Verizon fosters the innovative spirit amongst employees, it was interesting to learn about what’s it like to start a company and how that can directly apply to our every day jobs at a large company. Although the best quote was from David who said, “I work 80 hours a week so I don’t have to work 40!”


Other panels discussed the future of media and content as well as enterprise data and its unique applications.

If you’d like to learn more about any of our portfolio companies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


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A special thank you to all of the portfolio companies who participated in Startup Day, including:

AdTheorent: Predictive ad targeting network

Antengo: Location-based mobile classified ad listings marketplace

Benbria: Mobile customer feedback and engagement tool

Bug Labs: A suite of tools enabling developers to build innovative IoT applications

CENX: Interconnects service providers’ Ethernet networks globally

Cloudbees: Provides continuous delivery solutions powered by Jenkins

Driversiti: Smartphone-based telematics including crash detection

Filament: IoT sensor platform using mesh networking

Hop Skip Drive: A ridesharing platform for kids, created by moms

Kiip: Mobile ad delivery platform for inserting achievement point rewards into mobile games

Kinvey: Mobile Backend as a Service

Kumu Networks: Technology to eliminate transmission interference

MapD: GPU-based big data analysis & visualization platform

MiTu: Lifestyle programming targeting the millennial Latino audience in English and Spanish

Payfone: Payment authentication, anti-fraud, billing

PrecisionHawk: Drone remote sensing and data analysis platform

Q-Sensei: Enterprise search using indexing algorithms

Qualia: Intent-based social advertising platform

Ringly: Creates smart jewelry and accessories

Spoon University: Crowdsourced food network for millennials

Sunshine: Next-gen weather network built entirely on mobile

Urgent.ly: On-demand roadside assistance application

Veniam: City-scale vehicular mesh networks


Related Posts from Verizon Ventures: 

Saying Hello to Innovation at Verizon Ventures’ Startup Day

Verizon Ventures’ Newest Portfolio PrecisionHawk Accelerates the Use of Drones for Commercial Applications

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ed Ruth Interviews Eric Jennings, CEO of Filament

Tags: innovation , investing , Startup Day