The XTC Advisory Council is thrilled to announce the addition of 5 more members

With just 1 WEEK LEFT until FINAL submission, the Extreme Tech Challenge is heating up with new entries flooding in every day – and so we’ve added more superstar advisors to create more value for your experience. The XTC Advisory Council welcomes seasoned investors Cyan Banister, Scott Banister, Shervin Pishevar, Veronica Serra, and IBM Watson Executive John Wolpert.

So without further ado, let’s meet the newest stars on the advisory committee!

Shervin Pishevar, Managing Director of Sherpa Ventures

Shervin is a Managing Director at Sherpa Ventures, which he founded with Scott Stanford in March 2013 and is a Strategic Advisor and Board Observer at Uber Technologies. Named “Bill Gates’ Worst Nightmare” by the Financial Times, Shervin is a visionary technology entrepreneur, angel investor, published researcher, start up advisor, incubation expert and startup visa activist.  Shervin has raised over $50m in venture funding for his start ups and invested in over 100 startups. The companies he has founded have Shervinreached an aggregate of 100 million plus.

Shervin was previously a Managing Director at Menlo Ventures, a venture capital fund with over $4 billion under management ( where he is now a Venture Advisor and has worked on investments in a number of smash success startups including Uber and Tumblr. Shervin also helped launch the Menlo Talent Fund, Menlo’s new $20m seed fund that has invested in over 35 seed stage companies including Parse which sold to Facebook in 2013.  In addition to his business ventures Shervin places an incredible emphasis on giving back and is one of 10 members of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, serves as an Entrepreneurial Ambassador on several State Department delegations and at the President’s Summit on Entrepreneurship; in addition to the numerous charities he supports.


Veronica Serra, Partner Pacific Investments

VeronicaVeronica Allende Serra is a Founding Partner of Pacific Investments with an MBA from Harvard, a law degree from the University of Sao Paolo, and a background of over 15 years in private equity and a variety of investment sectors. She brings an international edge to the Extreme Tech Challenge, fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

In addition to her partner status at Pacific Investments, she is the Managing Director of IRR Latin America and former Partner and Head of Latin American Investments of International Real Returns LLC. Despite her busy investment business, Veronica serves on a number of boards including participation as a Director and Chairman of groups she supports.


John Wolpert, IBM Executive & Innovator

John is an experienced executive who has built innovative organizations at the government, Fortune 100, and startup levels. As the leader of IBM’s Extreme Blue incubator lab in Austin, Texas, John ran one of the most patented labs in the company.  Prior to Extreme Blue, he ran the celebrated alphaWorks team, which pioneered early sharing of IBM Research technology. John is Johnresponsible for the awesome XTC prizing from IBM Watson that will allow up to 3 XTC participants to leverage Watson’s supercomputer technology!

Interest in John’s approach to intention-based collaborative innovation, first published in Harvard Business Review, led to the creation of IXC, a non-profit consortium of industry, university and government research labs in the US, Australia and the UK. IXC explored the use of multi-party fiduciaries acting as intermediaries to find opportunities for joint development.  John spent five years overseas leading these and other “open innovation” initiatives.Returning to the US in 2008, John worked with retailer Best Buy to create a corporate incubator for entrepreneurial talent, called UpStart™ where he  turned the project into a smash success that led to commercialization and venture capital rounds. Today,  UpStart™ Mobile is one of three major brands in its category.


Scott and Cyan Banister, Entrepreneurs & Investors

Scott and Cyan are a husband and wife entrepreneur and investor duo best known Cyan and Scott Banister of Zivityfor founding social networking site Zivity and investing in industry success stories.

Cyan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Zivity, a prolific angel investor with her husband Scott (Read about him below), board member, advisor and also a contributing writer for TechCrunch and Women2.0. Cyan co-founded the controversial website, which is a subscription based social networking site for creators and fans of beautiful and tasteful glamour photography. She currently serves on the board of directors for Mimoco, best known for their MIMOBOT line of designer USB storage devices. Cyan has held many leadership roles throughout her career, from leading technical operations teams in an enterprise software company to helping women master technology as CTO of a nonprofit organization.

Scott is known for his work as an early advisor of PayPal (…where he also co-invented email payments). He is also an investor of SpaceX, Uber, Facebook and Zappos. Scott co-founded Cisco IronPort Systems LLC in 2000 and served as its Chief Technology Officer. He is a former employee of Microsoft and Vice President of Ideas / Manager of idealab, where he contributed numerous innovations, including the unique bid-for-placement search engine model that powers Overture. Scott is a serial entrepreneur, co-founding several other ventures and companies such as Zivity, ListBot and Topsy Labs Inc.  He is an active investor and board member for many startups where he also plays advisory roles.

Are you as excited as we are for our new Advisory Council members? Join in the conversation! @ExTechChallenge