AN ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY. AN ADVISORY NETWORK. AN EDUCATIONAL HUB.
Founded in 2001 by a group of Pakistani American entrepreneurs and corporate executives, OPEN Silicon Valley, or Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, is a non-profit dedicated to providing educational programs, career coaching, business mentoring and networking opportunities for our members in the Bay Area. OPEN provides a gateway to successful and advantageous relationships through the accessibility to influential members in our community.
Our mission is to promote entrepreneurship and professional growth by connecting professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders in the community of Silicon Valley through workshops, events and mentoring opportunities. Our key goals for our members are:
- Facilitate and encourage entrepreneurship.
- Promote and provide growth opportunities within the greater community.
- Provide mentorship to enterprising individuals through a variety of programs designed to challenge and empower them.
- Develop ongoing events through which local professionals can meet and establish relationships amongst themselves and with other influential individuals.
- Recognize the accomplishments of Pakistani American entrepreneurs and professionals.
- Networking opportunities for professional and personal growth.
I came to OPEN with an idea, and since then have raised $20 million for my startup
We at OPEN-SV want to thank our Charter Member Raghib Hussain, EVP of Marvell, ex co-founder of Cavium Networks, for hosting an OPEN-SV Ask-Me-Anything Mentorship event early morning today in Cupertino, CA. Raghib heard from and advised eight OPENSV members during this interactive and insightful session. While outside it was misty, Raghib tried to clear up fog for many inside. He fielded questions from corporate professionals and startup entrepreneurs about the latest macro tech trends, finding co-founders, how to assess commitment to startup idea, venture vs passion vs altruism, building a startup team, the difference between core and critical-mass team of a startup, differentiating between money and “valuable money" for seed, and which VCs in the valley may take a look at their idea (depending on the sector). Raghib also shared thoughts on extending startup off-shore, but also on what to keep near VCs. We had a great time shifting thru diverse ideas with each team getting attention from the seasoned host. The next Ask-Me-Anything event with Haseeb Budhani, CEO and co-founder of Rafay Systems, and ex co-founder of Soha, will be held in Jan 2020 in the valley.
We are thankful to Umair Khan and Moment Ventures for a great hands-on learning session on startups and entrepreneurship. Umair Khan hosted 10 OPEN-Silicon Valley members this morning at his Moment Ventures office in Palo Alto. Umair advised attendees on finding co-founders, first customer acquisition, go-to-market strategies, (narrow down) market segment, customer feedback, business plan, and dealing with startup stress in personal life. We learned about the Desirable, the Feasible, and the Viable of solution. He later also reviewed pitch-to-VC slides of a startup team. Books and case studies recommended or mentioned by Umair: -'The Startup Playbook' by Sam Altman of Y-Combinator -Disney Guestology -Google - simple search box vs portal -quickbook - customer feedback -Pinterest - Ben Silbermann's unusual customer feedback methods -Zareen's - catering business to three bayarea restaurants -NetSuite to Oracle acquisition
We at OPEN-SV want to thank our Charter Member Safwan Shah, for hosting Ask-Me-Anything Mentorship event. Safwan is the founder and CEO of PayActiv, a Public Benefit Corporation, Certified by B Corp. Prior to PayActiv, Safwan founded Infonox, which was acquired by TSYS (now Global Payments). It was a great learning and discussion with Safwan. His book, It's About Time, as his life philosophy, is about doing good while still doing profitable business. PayActiv is helping workers at participating factories and businesses avoid small but recurring fees and expenses that can aggregate to significant amount over period of time. Safwan discussed and advised attendee aspiring-entrepreneurs and corporate professionals on various topics related to startups, bootstrapping, funding options, small business, inner self & drive, ethics, moral compass, emerging tech trends, etc.
We thank Mahmood Panjwani and Artiman Ventures for hosting an OPEN-SV Ask-Me-Anything Mentorship event yesterday at Artiman Ventures, Palo Alto, CA. He hosted and advised OPENSV members during this valuable, deeply interactive and insightful session. Mahmood discussed at length his six questions to entrepreneurs before fully committing to startup:
- What is the Problem?
- What is the Product?
- Who is the Customer?
- What is the UVP - Unique Value Proposition?
- What is the Business Model?
- What is the “Total Available Market?"
- 'Crossing the Chasm’ book by Geoffrey Moore
An engaging morning session was conducted by OPEN-Silicon Valley, focused on the recent advances in AI, particularly in healthcare. Saad Godil, the Chief Architect of Hippocraticai and Charter Member of the OPEN-Silicon Valley chapter, served as our guide during this session. We gained insights into Saad's professional path and the founders' meeting that led to the establishment of Hippocraticai. Participants hailed from a range of diverse fields, with several of them working on their own startups, eager to understand how to integrate AI into their businesses. The session elucidated the application of AI across various industries and how companies can develop their own models utilizing existing apps and software packages. The informative session spanned nearly two hours, followed by a social mixer with the host and other attendees. It was indeed a Saturday morning well spent in fruitful discussion.
- OPENSV members and guests were invited to attend the mentorship even with Shehram Jamal, Sr Director Product Management AI Application Software (Gen AI) at NVIDIA, and OPENSV Executive Member. Shehram first talked about his career journey leading to his current Nvidia AI/ML Product Management role. After engineering work experience, he completed his MBA from Duke. He recognized the importance of automation to handle repetitive tasks with precision from his analysis of logs from cellular networks. Shehram then gave attendees an overview of how Artificial Intelligence evolved from other older variants such as Neural Networks starting with the mentioning of 1951 Marvin Minsky and Dean Edmunds's SNARC (Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator), the rise of Nvidia and AlexNet win in 2012. We learned about the diffs between GPU vs CPU, and how GPUs outperform CPUs in the computation of tasks. Shehram gave examples of how much of GPUs infra will be needed and the cost to develop, for example, the Google search engine and even full existing intelligence. Shehram mentioned important computational and AI technical papers, models, events and transformers. Shehram mentioned the milestone of AlexNet, a fast GPU implementation of a CNN, won an image recognition contest in 2012. He answered questions on what other fields, products and companies may best utilize GPUs to take advantage of AI/ML. He briefly discussed various aspects of LLM (Large Language Models), NLP (Natural Language Processing), BERT (Bi-Directional Relational Transformers), corporate bots, and of course ChatGPT in the world going forward. In response to questions on how to get started in AI/ML, Shehram advised to just ask ChatGPT or Bard to layout a detailed learning plan. Detailed questions will get finer results. A good plan should include some basic courses on Python, certification trainings, code practice websites, leading to learning how to develop own LLM for specific purpose or field. A good project to shine will be to create an AI chatbot using AI and NLP for own company/group that provides a useful knowledge base. The event lasted almost 2 1/2 hour including a brief mixer at the end. We thanked Shehram for his time, knowledge and great insights into the world of AI/ML.
OPEN has played a much larger role... It has created a lot of inspiration, a lot of guidance and a Mentor-ship network that has benefited everyone including myself
OPENSV hosted a Mentor’s Breakfast event with Omair Farooqui, Charter Member of OPENSV and an attorney with Palo Alto Legal Group. In this highly interactive session, Omair gave a brief overview of the following:
- Intellectual Property (Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Copyrights, NDAs)
- Business Contracts/Litigation
- Employment Law (Wage and Hour)
- Employment agreement
Omair fielded questions from attendees on hypothetical business situations where they may need to protect their IP with patents, Trademarks, Copyright, business contracts, NDAs and from existing employment agreements. He outlined the approximate costs, timelines, and benefits of selecting one or more of the above to safeguard against litigation and use of their IP.
Omair described what options small companies may have and how to select courts as ‘legal venue’ for business contracts with customers and suppliers. With many questions and concerns around patents, he laid out the process and purpose, how to file provisional and utility patents, and when to file state or federal patents considering the territory. He covered who needs to be identified in patent assignment to avoid future claims on IP by those who contributed to any work. One question dealt with what needs to be modified in an existing product to file and claim own new patent. Omair also highlighted several available options for own protection when disclosing IP to others.
Some attendees brought up how to proceed with personal aspirations and development esp when the domain of private work coincides with the existing employment. Omair described how an employee may have to revisit employment agreements and seek permission for outside-work activities to avoid legal issues if successful. On the other hand, to business owners, Omair gave a cautionary outlook regarding independent contractors(“gig worker”) esp due to new California’s AB5 labor laws.
There was also some discussion on programs created under the GNU software license and what may need to be shared/distributed under the GPL agreement.
Overall, this was a great learning experience on business and legal issues in such a short time. We thanked Omair Farooqui for his time, knowledge and sharing thoughts with us. He can be contacted at Palo Alto Legal Group, P.C. in Palo Alto, CA for further specific advice and counsel for personal and business matters.
OPEN brings people together and creates a platform to exchange ideas.
What's unique about OPEN is that it inspires you to pursue your passion
I volunteered for four years and attended several events and made great connections.