Keynote Speakers

Michelle Zatlyn

Co-founder & Head of User Experience, CloudFare

Michelle Zatlyn is co-founder and head of user experience for CloudFlare, a web performance and security company that was selected by the Wall Street Journal as the Most Innovative Internet Technology Company for two successive years and named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

Ms. Zatlyn was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, one of the Top 15 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc. magazine, and a “40 Under 40” leader by San Francisco Business Times. Last year Ms. Zatlyn was also featured as one of 2015’s “Women Who Rule Silicon Valley” in the July, 2015 issue of ELLE Magazine.

Magdalena Yesil

Founder of Broadway Angels

Magdalena is a founder of Broadway Angels and the founding board member and first investor of Salesforce. She served on the board of Salesforce from inception to post IPO. Magdalena has been active in Silicon Valley for three decades. Most recently, she spent eight years as a general partner at the venture capital firm US Venture Partners (USVP), making investments in a broad spectrum of technology startups. She has been an early investor in over 30 companies including theRealReal, PicsArt, Zuora, Socialcast (acquired by VMWare), Catch (acquired by Apple), Freshplum (acquired by TellApart and Twitter), Dotomi (acquired by ValueClick), 3Ware (acquired by AMCC), WebAction, Valicert (IPO), 128Technology, Securify (acquired by Kroll), iEscrow (acquired by eBay), and many others. Prior to her investing career, Magdalena was a serial entrepreneur, founding two successful electronic commerce companies, CyberCash and MarketPay.

Farnaz Azmoodeh

Engineering Director at Snapchat

Farnaz is an Engineering Director at Snapchat where she builds scalable advertising solutions. Prior to her time at Snapchat, Farnaz was a senior engineering manager at Google building a suite of advertising products ranging from text, image and video classification to brand effectiveness. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Sharif University of Technology before starting her graduate studies in Computer Science at USC (University of Southern California).

The Judges

Adeo Ressi

Adeo Ressi is CEO of the Founder Institute, an idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program with chapters in over 120 cities worldwide. The Institute’s mission is to Globalize Silicon Valley and help create 1 million new jobs.
Mr. Ressi has also pioneered a number of advances in the field of venture capital and fundraising. He developed “convertible equity” along with Yokum Taku, Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which is a financing vehicle that provides all of the flexibility of convertible debt without hindering a company with loans. It is estimated that as much as 50% of early stage angel deals use this structure.

Debra Chrapaty

Debra Chrapaty is 35 year technology industry veteran with an extensive background having served as the Chief Technology Officer for the National Basketball Association and the President and COO for E*TRADE Technologies.

Debra is currently the COO for Declara, a transformational start up company that uniquely combines search, social and analytics to create personalized knowledge transfer and corporate innovation.

Donna Wells

DonnaWells  is CEO of Mindflash Technologies, a company on a mission to make employee and customer training radically simpler and actually measurable. Since product launch in 2010, the cloud-based Mindflash platform for online training has rapidly grown to market leadership, driven by five-star ease of use and its simple-yet-powerful feature set. Over 1,000 customers include Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, McDonalds, Airbnb, the Four Seasons Hotels and Uber.

Elisa Jagerson

Elisa Jagerson is the CEO and owner of Speck Design, which she grew from a leading industrial design and mechanical engineering firm into an innovation and design organization that redefined innovation to drive tangible value creation. She led Speck Design’s consolidation of world-class design companies – in experience design, strategy, UX, and communication design– and integrated them with the firm’s proven methodologies and dynamic, highly collaborative environment.

Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis is a serial entrepreneur and blogger. His first company was part of the dot-com era in New York, and his second venture, Weblogs, Inc., a publishing company that he co-founded together with Brian Alvey, capitalized on the growth of blogs before being sold to AOL.  As well as being an angel investor in various technology startups, Calacanis also keynotes industry conferences worldwide.

Kira Makagon

Kira Makagon is the EVP RingCentral, the business communications platform.  She leading product strategy, product management, research & development, IT and operations teams spread across four continents.

She was recently honored as one of the 2015 Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times and 2015 Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, as well as part of the 2015 Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards.


Mara Segal

Mara Segal is currently a Director of Product at Samsung, focused on consumer IoT experiences. Previously she was founder/CEO of StickiBoard (acquired by Samsung). Prior to StickiBoard, Mara was founder/CEO of U*tique (acquired by AVTC). Before becoming an entrepreneur she was a global brand strategist and qualitative researcher for major brands (Pepsi, Unilever, Yahoo!). She received her BA in Architecture with Honors from Yale University.

Meera Bhatia

VP Product Management at Stella and Dot, Merra has made her career in building great technology products for consumers and businesses.  Meera was drawn to Stella & Dot because of the opportunity to help build a company empowering women to live bold and joyful lives.

Through her role, she will be enabling Stella & Dot’s Stylists and Customers with market leading technology solutions. Meera received her BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


Melanie Arens

Melanie Arensis is Vice President and Head of Physical Channels Design for Wells Fargo’s ATM and Branch Strategies Group. She has been at Wells Fargo for more than a decade.

Melanie co-created the user-centered design (UCD) process for the Digital Channels Group. She has worked on hundreds of projects while at Wells Fargo, many of them large, complex, and cross-organizational initiatives.

Kristina Shen

Kristina Shen  joined Bessemer in 2013 and is a Vice President in the Menlo Park, CA office and focuses on investments cloud computing, mobile and consumer sectors. Kristina currently serves on the boards of Glint and SpeakEasy, and serves as a board observer on DoubleDutch, Gainsight,  Instructure, RainforestQAServiceTitan and Vidyard. She is also involved with investments inAdaptive Insights, Clearcare and Twilio.

Before joining Bessemer, Kristina worked in the finance world as an investor at JMI Equity, and investment banker at both Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.

Ziv Gillant

Ziv Gillant is a seasoned entrepreneur with expertise in business development, marketing, and sales – focused on early stage start-ups and ranging to established companies with a deep understanding of consumer, photo, cloud and retail markets.

Co-founded Eyefi (acquired by Ricoh / Pentax), ran business development, lead partnerships, and managed sales on a global scale, in 48 countries.
Co-founded Forq, and developed a highly successful, and extremely cost effective marketing initiatives, to grow Forq’s user base at the absolute lowest cost, bringing in highly targeted and engaged MAU’s and DAU’s.

Priya Rajan

Priya is currently the Director of Early Stage Banking at Silicon Valley Bank, exclusively focused on the innovation sector and engages with founders as they start their journey to build a company. She enjoys the early stage ecosystem and mentoring entrepreneurs as they dream, build and inspire to disrupt the status quo.

Prior to joining SVB, she held financial management roles at various institutions including Charles Schwab. She has an MBA from Cornell University and a California CPA. She also serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bay Area, an organization truly close to her heart.

Emcee Kym Mcnicholas

Kym is an EMMY AWARD-WINNING Anchor/Reporter/Producer and Entrepreneur with 17 years of on-camera experience on national television and online. She helped to revolutionize the world of online video journalism as a pioneer of digital video content post boom and beyond.

Current Work:

Host of Tech2 Show on KPIX Channel 5 (CBS)

Co-host of Sony Entertainment Television’s Andaaz TV entrepreneur show

Executive Director, Extreme Tech Challenge

Founder & CEO of Kymerview

The Finalists

Girls in Tech, our partners, and the AMPLIFY team, would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to the Top 10 finalists of the Girls in Tech AMPLIFY Women’s Pitch Night competition! They have beaten 139 other startups — an amazing achievement!

1. AdmitSee, Stephanie Shyu

2. Dot Laboratories, Heather B

3. FINDMINE, Michelle Bacharach

4. Give InKind, Laura Malcolm

5. Indian Moms Connect, Preethi Chandrasekar

6. Pace Match, Becky Jaimes

7. Penta Medical, Alexa Roeper

8. ResultCare, Mima Geere

9. Stilla, Elin Elkehag

10. Vidcode, Leandra Tejedor


They’ve earned a place on the AMPLIFY stage on November 16 at Galvanize in San Francisco, to a crowd of more than 250 top entrepreneurs, investors, technology executives and press!