CoolTech Club VC panel : Pros and cons of Skolkovo project: Panel Discussion with Mark Iwanowski,Eric Buatois and John China


August 19,2010


A very constructive discussion on what needs to be done to achieve the success of Skolkovo Project as well as what is definitely not going to work. We have three great panelists for this discussion: Mark Iwanowski, Partner, Trident Capital,Eric Buatois, Managing Director,Sofinnova Ventures and John China, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank, who were with us on a VC Trip to Russia in May ( Also Mark has just recently returned from a special meeting of the Presidential Committee on Modernization in Moscow chaired by President Medvedev. We invite you to participate in the discussion: your ideas and practical and productive suggestions are most welcome.


Mark Iwanowski, Partner,Trident Capital

Mark Iwanowski joined Trident Capital in 2005 as a Venture Partner and will be a Managing Director in Fund VII focusing primarily on CleanTech and Business Process Outsourcing. Mark has twenty-five years of experience successfully leading multiple global businesses in the high tech industry for both commercial and government customers. Mark was most recently Senior Vice President Global IT for Oracle Corporation. Prior to Oracle, Mark managed a Systems Integration, ASP and Outsourcing business for SAIC.

Mark was previously President of the R&D Division of Quantum Magnetics, an industry leader in explosive and illegal drug detection technology. Mark has also held executive positions with Raytheon and Honeywell.

Eric Buatois, Managing Director,Sofinnova Ventures

Eric Buatois joined Sofinnova Ventures as General Partner in 2001 to drive global technology investments based on his more than 20 years of international experience in the wireless industry. Prior to Sofinnova Ventures, Eric held several positions in general management and executive operations at Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson and Texas Instruments. Eric's career began in 1983 at Texas Instruments, where he defined and guided the DSP product line's introduction into the European market. His efforts led to the successful Europe-wide deployment of TI's DSP line. Eric served as COO of Ericsson Hewlett-Packard Telecommunications, a global joint venture specializing in network management and billing systems for wireless service providers. Eric was the executive in charge of HP's Communications Industry Business Unit before joining Sofinnova Ventures.

At Sofinnova Ventures, Eric specializes in software and semiconductor investments in the wireless area. Eric currently serves as Chairman of the Board for UPEK and Crocus Technologies, and as a director for VoluBill, Catalyst Mobile, Laszlo Systems, and HelloSoft.

John China, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank 

John China is head of SVB Capital’s Venture Capital Group and oversees the company’s Venture Capital Relationship Management, Entrepreneurial Services Group, and Private Client Services practices.

In this role, John manages the company’s network of relationships with venture capital and private equity firms and their partners, in addition to supporting emerging technology and life science companies, by engaging founders and CEOs with programming and networking events to add value during their development stages.

John also co-manages SVB Financial Group’s investment committee for Limited Partner investments in emerging managers.

Prior to joining SVB Capital, John worked for more than 14 years at Silicon Valley Bank, the commercial banking subsidiary of SVB Financial Group, where he held several leadership roles.

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