Confirmed Speakers & Panelists Include:

  • Dr. Raj Bhakta

    Co-Founder and CEO Funxion

    Cohort Five fellow Raj Bhakta and his Funxion co-founder Hasan Shahariar started their journey in the field of smart textiles in Jesse Jur’s research group at the North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where they both earned their doctorates in fiber and polymer science. They further honed the startup’s vision while conducting research at the NSF-funded Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) self-powered wearables research center. Bhakta and Jur went through the NSF I-Corps program in Los Angeles, CA in Fall 2016 where they discovered the biggest pain point facing market adoption of smart textiles was the lack of a high-throughput, automated manufacturing process.

    With a background in physics and philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin, Bhakta came into the textiles world seeing a huge white-space opportunity to innovate a material that sits on our human bodies 90 percent of our lifetime as a second skin. He met Shahariar and they quickly became friends sharing a mutual vision to push the boundaries of smart textiles manufacturing and create a platform for realizing a paradigm shift in the trillion-dollar textiles and fashion industries and create a better quality of life for humanity.

  • Stacey Burr

    Product Management Google, Inc

    Product Management at Google

  • Michael Corbett

    General Manager WEEL Technologies

    Michael has been working in the design and manufacturing of Wearable Electronics for the past 16 years. First as President of FITRIGHT Industrial and now as Co-Founder and General Manager of WEEL Technologies, Michael and his team in Taiwan, The Philippines and China have become leaders in the design and manufacturing of Wearable Electronics products for the Outdoor, Sports and Healthcare markets.

    Michael graduated from Wichita State University with two BA degrees and was awarded a MA degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He currently splits his time between his home in Greensboro, North Carolina and the WEEL factory in Shenzhen, China.

  • Michelle Farrington

    Director, Energy Harvesting and Wireless Charging Strategy Analog Devices

    Michelle Farrington is responsible for the Energy Harvesting and Wireless Charging strategy at Analog Devices, focusing on providing system level power solutions for IoT sensors and Wearables.  Michelle is also leading the development of sensor and actuator systems for smart textile applications.  She has a BSEE and an MBA from Northeastern University and an MSEE from the University of Virginia. 

  • Pankaj Kedia

    Sr. Director & GM, Smart Wearables Segment Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

    Pankaj Kedia is Senior Director & Business Unit Lead for the Smart Wearables Segment at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. In this role, Pankaj is responsible for leading Qualcomm’s efforts to establish and grow its presence across the wearables segments including smart eyewear, smart watches, kid/elderly watches, smart bands, smart headsets, smart clothing, and wearable accessories. Under Pankaj’s leadership, Qualcomm has enabled its customers to ship 100+ products in 30+ countries over the last 3 years. Pankaj joined Qualcomm in late 2013 in a new business development role and has led its efforts to incubate the wearables segment at the company.

    Previously, Pankaj was the director of business development and innovation at Intel Corporation where he was responsible for winning, nurturing, and launching mobility products and technologies. Pankaj launched the Intel Atom processor and led the company’s early efforts to establish its presence and momentum in the tablet, mobile Internet device, and smartphone categories. Earlier at Intel, Pankaj played an instrumental role in accelerating the deployment of Notebook PCs in the industry by defining and implementing the company’s product/marketing strategies and launching a range of products including Centrino, Pentium 4 and Pentium III processors. Pankaj joined Intel in 1996 and held a series of executive advisory, strategy, marketing, planning, ecosystem, and business development roles across the company. He holds one of the early/defining patents around implementing low power sub-systems in mobile devices.

    Prior to Intel, Pankaj was in the management consulting industry for five years leading projects in strategy, management, and information technology. Pankaj is an avid TED follower and has spoken at multiple TEDx events about the impact of mobile technologies around the world. He is frequently sought after as a speaker at industry events in the area of mobile, wearable, wireless, and Internet, and has been extensively quoted in mainstream publications.

    Pankaj holds a Master of Business Administration from Wharton, a Master of Science from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science from the Indian Institute of Technology.

  • Dan Ledger

    Founder Path Collaborative

    Dan Ledger is founder and principal at Path Collaborative, an advisory and research firm working at the broader intersection of wearable technology, connected health, IoT and machine intelligence.  Path Collaborative is a network of industry experts who help OEMs and service providers in the wearable technology space with product strategy, partnerships, go-to-market planning, and technology differentiation. 

    Prior to forming Path Collaborative, Dan was a principal at Endeavour Partners where he led a great deal of work and research on wearable technology. He has advised numerous startups, larger service providers, and OEMs on product definition, service design, ecosystem strategy, and go- to-market planning within this space. Dan has appeared on NPR, Bloomberg and CNN talking about the future of wearable technology. His research in wearable technology has been covered by GigaOm, The Guardian, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, TechRepublic, and CBS. Dan has multiple engineering degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters degree from MIT.

  • Rachel Licht, Ph.D., P.E.

    Managing Engineer Exponent

    A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Licht’s expertise is in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis and physical chemistry. She is particularly interested in how intrinsic chemical properties impact material performance. Dr. Licht applies her knowledge to a range of engineering issues in the areas of chemical reaction kinetics and solid material characterization, particularly as they apply to the evaluation of lithium-ion batteries.

  • Clay Maranville

    Technical Leader, Emerging Technologies, Research & Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company

    Clay Maranville is an experienced technical program manager with 20 years of experience leading complex vehicle-systems research projects with demonstrated technical skills in multiple disciplines, including advanced materials & systems, mechanical design, and computational analysis. Broad expertise in a wide range of fields including automotive, aerospace, energy, and biotechnology.

    Specialties: Advanced adaptive & electronic materials, applications for nanotechnology, multi-physics modeling, mechanical & mechatronic design, thermodynamics & heat transfer, refrigerant systems, human thermophysiology, adaptive controls, program management, leadership of technical teams. 

  • Tom Martin

    Professor Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Virginia Tech

    Tom Martin is a professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he is the co-director of the Virginia Tech E-textiles Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

    His current research includes electronic textiles, location-based applications, and interdisciplinary design teams for pervasive computing. Martin is vice-chair of the IEEE Technical Committee for Wearable Information Systems and has published more than 50 refereed technical articles. In 2006 he was invited to the White House to receive the NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his research in e-textile-based wearable computing.

  • Julie Mason

    Regional Outreach Officer U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Silicon Valley)

    As a Regional Outreach Officer at the West Coast Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in San Jose, Julie Mason manages outreach and education programs for inventors, entrepreneurs, startups, intellectual property practitioners, K-12 STEM education students and teachers, and numerous other communities within the West Coast region which includes California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii.

    Previously, Ms. Mason served as assistant director and co-founder of IE LEADS, a grant program that provided graduate education and professional development for library staff in Southern California. She was also the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) representative at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Before her tenure at UCR, Ms. Mason was a client service specialist for the Intellectual Property (IP) Division of Dialog Information Services, and also worked as a chemical information specialist at Monsanto Research Headquarters.

  • Madison Maxey

    Founder & Technical Lead LOOMIA

    Madison Maxey is passionate about materials and creative technology. She focuses on bringing flexible, robust circuitry (e-textiles) to scale as Founder and Technical Lead at LOOMIA (previously The Crated). Throughout the course of her work at LOOMIA, she has developed e-textiles prototypes and workshops for companies like North Face, Google, PVH, Flextronics, Adidas and Corning.

  • Susanne Nejder√•s

    Director The Smart Textiles Institute, Sweden

    Susanne Nejderas is Director of the Smart Textiles Institute, Sweden and Vinnova Wallenberg Fellow at Nordic Innovation House, Palo Alto, USA. She has extensive experience within the textile and fashion industry, both within the smart and sustainable segment but also in relation to other businesses such as the automotive industry. Her international work has brought with it a strong grasp of innovative business strategies and product development in order to achieve targets. Nejderas has held several leading positions in the industry as well as in academia including her degree in M.Sc. in Textile and Polymeric Materials at Chalmers University of Technology and The Swedish School of Textiles.

    The Smart Textiles Institute is one of the leading international players in the next generation of smart fabrics, wearable health care and sustainable textiles and fashion. The academic institute (part of Science Park Boras, Sweden) brings together strategic partnerships across academia, business and policy-makers with over 450 research- and company project since the start in 2006. With both national and international partnerships, Smart Textiles is an established player on the international arena with Silicon Valley as example.

  • Remington Scott

    Technical Associate The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC)

    Remington Scott, is a Technical Associate for The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) as well as a graduate student at North Carolina State University. My research involves the study of electronic textiles and how different fabrication techniques affect their performance and durability after exposing them to standard and accelerated laundering and drying procedures. As a Technical Associate, I have been involved with AATCC’s e-textile research committee to develop test methods for evaluating the resistance of e-textiles and developing new methods for e-textile products.  

  • Sam Shames

    Co-Founder Embr Labs

    Sam Shames is the co-founder of Embr Labs. Sam co-founded Embr while studying at MIT and has been full-time with the company since completing his degree in materials science and engineering in 2014. As a co-founder, he has been involved in all aspects of the business from research and development, to engineering and manufacturing, and marketing and sales.

  • Steve Statler

    Senior VP Wiliot

    Steve Statler is the author of Beacon Technologies, the presenter of the Mister Beacon podcast and a Senior VP at Wiliot where he is responsible for consulting, marketing and business development.  Wiliot is a fabless semiconductor company connecting people and products with battery-free Bluetooth tags powered by harvesting energy from radio waves. 
    Prior to Wiliot his consulting company specialized in Bluetooth beacon technology, training and advising manufacturers, venue owners, VCs, as well as makers of beacon software and hardware.  Previously he was the Senior Director for Strategy and Solutions Management at Qualcomm’s Retail Solutions Division, helping to incubate Gimbal, one of the leading Bluetooth beacons in the market

  • Sharlene Sternberg, MBA

    Marketing Manager Sensoria Health Inc.

    Sharlene has over 12+ years of strategic, product and marketing communications experience.  She excels at multi-tasking, handling priorities in ever-changing and evolving environments and managing multiple projects with a strong reputation for driving better than expected results.  She is a creative thinker, strategic problem-solver and effective communicator.  Sharlene willingly accepts new challenges and fosters cross-functional collaboration with a positive, can-do, will-do attitude.  She holds an MBA from Texas Christian University and is a former undergraduate and graduate adjunct marketing professor at Western International University.

  • Charla Triplett

    Founder and President Catalyze

    Charla Triplett is the Founder and President of Catalyze, a Consulting Collective, bringing together expertise in Research, Design and Strategy with a focus on Medical Device and Digital Health. Charla is passionate about building relationships and bringing together the right people to tackle big problems. She is a results-oriented leader with demonstrated strength in new business development, strategy and building programs. Her science and engineering background, combined with her business acumen and experience, allow her to tailor solutions to a diverse set of clients.

    For over 20 years, Charla has worked with entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, marketing and business teams, inside companies (large and small), nonprofits, and universities. Most recently, she worked as a product development strategist for a design firm and in business development for an interactive digital marketing agency. Prior to these Business Development roles, Charla spent over 15 years of her career focused on connecting industry and academia in the area of Biomedical Engineering, including founding and running a non-profit with this mission and working with over 60 Universities nationwide.

    She has actively served on the OSU College of Engineering board for Chem, Bio and Environmental Engineering for the past 10 years and is a supporter of the OSU College of Business Advancing Women in Leadership program.  She holds an M.S. in Bioengineering from Oregon State University, a B.S. in Microbiology from Washington State University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Arizona State University.

  • Simge Uzun

    Graduate Researcher Drexel University and HP Inc.

    Simge Uzun is a Graduate Researcher at Drexel University, where she is currently working in collaboration with HP Inc. on the development of printed electronics for smart textile applications.

  • Venk Varadan

    Co-Founder and CEO Nanowear

    Venk is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nanowear, a New York-based connected-self technology platform for non-invasive diagnostics and chronic disease management built on first-of-its-kind cloth-based nanosensors. The Company was founded in September 2014 and received its first FDA 510(k) Class II clearance in December 2016 for SimplECG, an undergarment capturing and transmitting multi-channel ECG, heart rate and respiratory rate continuously via an iOS mobile application and HIPAA-compliant web portal. Nanowear’s first product launch, SimpleSense, is an undergarment for Congestive Heart Failure monitoring and management

    Before Nanowear, Venk Varadan spent ~7 years in Technology Investment Banking, focusing exclusively on venture-backed software and communications technology in which he successfully advised growth companies in over $3bn USD worth of transactions at UBS Investment Bank, Citadel Investment Group and Wells Fargo Securities in New York. Prior to his Wall Street career, Venk spent ~ 3 years in sales and marketing at Eli Lilly and Sanofi Aventis Pharmaceuticals in New York.

    Venk received his Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University in Finance & Entrepreneurship and his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Duke University.

  • Steven Webster

    CEO Asensei

    Steven Webster has spent the past 20 years at the forefront of the fusion of technology and design, having held a variety of leadership roles at Adobe and Microsoft.   A 4th degree black belt, Steven is also one of the most successful sports coaches in British university sport.  Moving to California in 2009 after the sale of his company to Adobe, he most recently left Microsoft in 2014 to combine his passion for sport coaching with his deep expertise in technology.  He is now the CEO of asensei, a disruptive sports technology company that brings together technologies such as smart apparel with integrated sensors, motion capture and posture recognition, with machine learning and data science in the creation of an artificial intelligence personal coach.