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Founders Panel: How to get the most out of your virtual accelerator

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Ken Carnesi
DNSFilter, CEO

A deep-rooted problem solver with a background in technology and finance, Ken Carnesi (34) serves as Founder and CEO of DNSFilter, an internet security provider that uses artificial intelligence to protect enterprise organizations and their users from online threats. His dissatisfaction with previously available internet security options for clients under his ISP, led him to recognize the need that then became DNSFilter.

In 2007, while attending Boston College Ken started Anaptyx, a wireless internet service provider that he successfully grew into a multi-million-dollar organization that got him named in EMPACT’s 2009 and 2010 “30 under 30” initiative. In 2018, through DNSFilter, Ken then earned entrance and successfully graduated the prestigious Techstars Accelerator program, which he considers to be one of the most transformative experiences of his life.

Today, DNSFilter provides security services for nearly 8,000 organizations, including several Fortune 500 enterprises and operates the fastest and most extensive DNS content filtering network in the world.

When he’s not working, Ken can be found on the track— racing cars and motorcycles. He has attended BMW M School, California Superbike School and placed 2nd in the SCCA SCR championship in 2016. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends, fishing, gourmet cooking, reading, and traveling.

Whether he’s serving current customers or looking towards the future, Ken remains passionate about emerging technology and markets as well as venture capital opportunities.

Marcus Bullock
Flikshop, Founder/CEO

Marcus Bullock is an entrepreneur, justice reform advocate, and TED speaker. Following his 2004 release from prison, he launched a construction business that grew to employ other returning citizens. Bullock is also founder and CEO of Flikshop, Inc., a software company that builds tools to help incarcerated people stay connected to their families and build community. The Flikshop mobile app enables families and non-profit organizations to send personalized postcards to any person in any cell in the US, with the mission of using social connections to decrease recidivism. He also founded the Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches returning citizens life skills and entrepreneurship via computer coding and software development. As Forbes writes, “Will Flikshop, the Instagram for prisons, solve all of [the mass incarceration] issues? No. But Flikshop typifies the sort of work that needs support to scale to address these issues from many angels.” Bullock is an inaugural cohort member of Techstars Anywhere 2018 and John Legend’s Unlocked Futures business accelerators. He is also a member of the Justice Policy Institute’s board of directors and serves as an advisor to the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. Married with two children, Bullock’s story has received coverage from Forbes, CNN, Washington Post, Black Enterprise, and NPR.

Ryan Kuder
Techstars, Managing Director

Ryan is Managing Director at Techstars, the global startup ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs succeed. He currently runs Techstars’ only virtual accelerator, Techstars Anywhere. Previously he launched and ran both the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars, in San Diego, and the Virgin Media Accelerator, powered by Techstars, in London. With Techstars, Ryan has invested in over 40 promising early stage technology startups and mentored many more. As a 20+ year tech veteran, including stints as founder of several startups, and an executive at many more, Ryan has spent the majority of his career building startups from the ground up and has experienced all stages of the entrepreneurship lifecycle from two co-founders with a dream to multi-hundred million dollar exits. Prior to joining Techstars, Ryan was VP of Marketing for San Diego based ecoATM, makers of the robotic phone recycling kiosk, which was acquired by Outerwall. Ryan was also a founder at Neighborsville, Hi.Im, and Give2Schools, which all crashed and burned spectacularly. He previously held marketing and product roles at Yahoo, eBay, and Vodafone. He graduated from Georgetown University and is a Fellow in the Aspen Institute Business and Society program. Born and raised in Encinitas, CA, he now lives in Carlsbad, CA with his wife, three kids, a cat and a puggle and is a fan of craft beer, fish tacos, and the San Diego Padres.

Yemi Adewunmi
Civic Eagle, Chief Product Officer and Cofounder

Chief Product Officer and Cofounder of Civic Eagle, Yemi has over 10 years of experience at the intersection of product design, public policy and strategic innovation. She's worked with startups, nonprofits, universities, small business owners, and corporations to develop strong brand identities and build user-focused digital experiences (UI/UX). In her role as CPO, Yemi manages product development, branding and marketing for Civic Eagle. She uses her experience as a former policy analyst at the New York State Legislature to guide her design approach to building Civic Eagle's legislative intelligence software. She holds BA in Politics & Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters of Public Administration from the University at Albany, and is a self-taught visual and product designer.

Founders who have participated in the Techstars Anywhere mentorship driven virtual accelerator program share what they learned and provide tips on how you can get the most out of whatever accelerator program you attend. Learn how to work with mentors, the importance of great updates, and how to keep getting value from your accelerator even after your program is over.