The next wave of technology entrepreneurs: The rise of women’s startups

June 19, 2019 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Knobbe Martens
12790 El Camino Real #100 San Diego CA 92130
Karen Winston
Women are founding startups now more than ever before.  There was a 68% increase in women launching businesses in the US between 1997 and 2014.  That is two-times the rate of business owned by men.  Further, the likelihood of startups with women executives to receive venture funding is three-times what is was just 15 years ago.  In fact, if all 10 million women business owners in the US formed a country, it’s GDP would rank fifth globally.
San Diego is one of America’s best cities for startups.  In fact, it’s rated fourth according to the 2017 Kaufmann Index of Startup Activity.  But what makes it a great place for Women’s Start-ups?  Learn about San Diego’s rich ecosystem from the women at the heart of our entrepreneurial movement:

Allison Long Petine,  Founding Partner, Ad Astra Ventures

Dina Moskowitz, CEO & Founder, SaaSMAX Corp.

Arlene Harris, President & Co-Founder of Dyna LLC

Cathy Pucher, Executive Director, SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad

Jean Center, Founder & CEO, Center Group Consulting

Kara Bortone, Head of JLABS @ San Diego

Dina Moskowitz, CEO & Founder, SaaSMAX Corp.

Moskowitz is recognized as one of the IT Channel’s top influencers and innovators.  Dina Moskowitz has been leading and/or consulting to cloud-based, SaaS and other technology companies throughout her career.  As Founder and CEO of SaaSMAX (including SaaSMAX Marketplace & the PartnerOptimizer business intelligence solution), she has received many awards and recognition: she was recently ranked #20 out of more than 2800 Channel Executives; awarded the 2017 Cloud Girls Rising Trailblazer Award; is regularly recognized annually by UBM Tech Channel’s CRN as one of the Top Women in the Channel; and more.  Dina also serves on the Cloud Software Assocation’s board of directors, the SaaS industry’s trade association for partnership success.   Prior to SaaSMAX, Moskowitz was CEO and founder of Critical Digital Data Solutions Inc., which developed cloud-based data storage solutions.  Dina is a big advocate of women in SaaS and the IT Channel: she’s a member of CloudGirls; CompTIA’s Association of Women in Tech (AWIT); Alliance of Women in the Channel; a regular judge and/or mentor for San Diego Women’s Hackathon and CodeGirls and other San Diego start-up organizations; and a member of HeraHub since their inception.  Dina highly recommends the 2019-released book “How to be a Woman in Technology (While Focusing on What Matters Most) by Cheryl O’Donogue, MS.

Arlene Harris, President & Co-Founder of Dyna LLC

Arlene Harris has more than 4 decades of experience as an innovator, entrepreneur, board member, and investor in a number of successful companies in wireless related businesses. Most recently, through her incubator Dyna, Harris has fired up Wrethink, a new broadband solution for families launching later this year and Wrethinking, the Foundation, to support privacy through the Me2B Alliance and help fund female technology founders.

In her previous work, she founded GreatCall and launched its Jitterbug offering in 2006 in partnership with Samsung to create a simple and personalized cell phone experience. With almost a million customers, GreatCall was sold to a private equity company in 2017 and is now the foundation of retailer Best Buy’s consumer health offering.

In 1994, Harris founded SOS Wireless Communication that became GreatCall in 2006. In 1986, she started Subscriber Computing (now Verisign) and invented the first management systems to support prepaid cellular service and the first niche cellular offering founding Cellular Pay Phone, Inc. In 1983, Harris joined partners and founded billing and CRM market leader Cellular Business Systems, Inc. (now Netcracker).  Before CBSI, Harris helped lead her family’s Los Angeles-based wireless business, ICS (now USA Mobility). In addition to providing early mobile telephone service and becoming the world’s largest paging system, ICS was developer of LifePage, the world’s first health related application of wireless technology for consumers.

Harris holds several issued patents. She received the PCIA Foundation’s Year 2000 distinguished Chairman’s award and is a Fellow in the Radio Club of America. She has served on several committees of the FCC, TIA, and PCIA. In 2007, Harris became the first female inductee into the Wireless Hall of Fame, has since been inducted into the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame, honored with a Stevie, Athena, and Girl Scouts Cool Woman awards and recently received the UCSD Gordon Engineering Leadership Award. Harris lives with her husband and business partner, renowned wireless pioneer Marty Cooper, in Del Mar, Ca.

Allison Long Petine,  Founding Partner, Ad Astra Ventures

Allison Long Pettine is a Founding Partner of Ad Astra Ventures, an early-stage venture fund and accelerator that helps founders change the way they see themselves and the world in order to successfully fund, grow, and scale companies. Allison is also President of Crescent Ridge Partners, a venture fund that provides seed capital to early stage startups. She actively invests in entrepreneurs developing disruptive technologies across all multiple to build successful and sustainable companies. Prior to founding Crescent Ridge Partners, Allison was Vice President at Viscogliosi Brothers, a New-York based venture capital company focused on cutting-edge orthopedic medical device technologies. She was previously part of the founding team and Director of Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Paradigm Spine, a startup that developed non-fusion spinal implants to treat degenerative and deformity spinal disorders. Allison holds a B.S; B.A, Management Science; Psychology from UC San Diego and an M.B.A from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Cathy Pucher, Executive Director, SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad

Cathy works with aspiring entrepreneurs at SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad. Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad helps SDSU students, faculty and staff launch a start-up from their early stage ideas. Up to Forty teams and over 100 students from all across the campus work concurrently to bring their idea to life while  receiving mentoring, pro bono legal guidance, prototyping services, business acumen, and access to early stage funding in 24/7 co-working space on campus. Since opening its doors eight years ago, one in ten or 25 student led teams have launched their business and collectively raised $15M in early stage funding. She recently launched the Aztec Cooperative Fund, ZIP Launchpad initiative, committed to building an ecosystem on campus by providing funding for ZIP Launchpad teams to contract paid help from other SDSU students while providing the contracted students with paid experience and a “bite” of entrepreneurship.

She helped create EvoNexus and served as their first Executive Director. EvoNexus is an incubator dedicated to simulating the growth of new high technology companies in San Diego. EvoNexus has raised over $1.6 B since opening in Oct 2009. She brings 20+ years of experience in the high tech industry and has worked for
established and start up technology companies.

Kara Bortone PhD., Head of JLABS @ San Diego

As Head of JLABS in San Diego, Kara is responsible for external engagement, innovation sourcing, company onboarding, portfolio management, operational excellence, educational programming and P&L. She catalyzes and supports the translation of science and technology into valuable solutions for patients and consumers across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer healthcare sectors.

Kara joined Janssen R&D through Prescience International, where she was Director of Corporate Ventures, primarily focusing on the JLABS project. She has over ten years of experience in the European and the U.S. biotech sector. Before joining Prescience, Kara led the scientific communications and marketing for Belgian-based Galapagos NV at a period when the company grew from 60 to over 800 employees and completed its initial public offering on Euronext.

Kara holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Texas.

MODERATOR:  Jean Center, Founder & CEO, Center Group Consulting

Jean Center established the Center Group in 1998 with a mission to bring innovative approaches to the field of human capital management. From organizational development to individual performance programs, the Center Group has led the way for scores of successful initiatives.  An accomplished management consultant with over 25 years of distinguished experience, Jean maintains a hands-on involvement in every engagement to ensure the best results for our clients’ talent management programs. She also draws upon a team of highly respected associates for their specialized expertise.


Special thanks to WITI San Diego for their support with this program.


5:30: Registration, Networking, food and drinks
6:30: Presentation
7:30: Audience Q & A
8:00: Program Concludes, Networking, Coffee & Dessert until 8:30

MITEF Members and MITEF Sponsors: Free
Non-members: $65
MIT Alums:  $50
​​On-Site: $75

NOTE:  Online Registration ends at 11AM, the day of the event.  NO REFUNDS after June 17, 2019

PAYPAL is our payment processor and accepts ALL MAJOR Credit Cards.

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