Team Led by Dr. Riad Hartani, we have gone through various iterations of jump-starting and growing technology startups over the years, witnessing a lot of the challenges on the way up, or down...learning from both successes and failures...as well as advising some of the leading technology giants in the world...primarily in the Silicon Valley area, but also in hubs around the world (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Seoul, Taipei, Paris, Barcelona, Singapore, etc.). Building on these experiences, and contributing to the growth of technology ecosystems is the next task at hand.
Approach Building advanced technology businesses is the ultimate risk reward exercise...in terms of what to do, when to do, with who to do, how to do, when to pivot, when to persevere, when to exit...and many more....We aim at working with entrepreneurs, policy makers and technology corporations to answer some of these challenges...in its own unique way: hands-on, selective engineering and business involvement, bridge to funding and ecosystem plug-in.
Dr. Riad Hartani has spent the last two decades contributing to the development of Internet, Mobile and Artificial Intelligence technologies, mostly out of the Silicon Valley as a hub, building multiple leading technology startups, advising on strategic investments and rolling out innovative technologies all over the world. He led many industry firsts in the areas of Internet infrastructure design, cloud architectures, Space Internet Technologies and Artificial Intelligence. He is well versed in the technology startups, innovation and investment eco-systems globally. He has lived, worked and travelled in very diverse regions of the world, gaining a broad understanding of cross-cultural technology management and technology ecosystems development. Most recently, he jumpstarted “Padovani Ventures”, a multi-disciplinary advanced technology initiative. He co-founded a global technology and investments advisory firm, “Xona Partners” (Silicon Valley, Singapore, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong), with a novel startup incubation and spin-in model as a way to foster disruptive technology innovation. He co-founded “iValley.co”, a technology startup co-creation studio in the Silicon Valley with a Blockchain, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence (AI) focus. He has been in the leadership team of various Silicon Valley technology startups, including: Wichorus, Inc. as head of Global Systems Engineering (acquired by Tellabs for over $165 Millions), Anagran, Inc. as Head of Technology (acquired by Saisei, raised over $50 Millions in venture capital) and Caspian, Inc. as Chief Architect (acquired by Sable Networks, raised over $300 Millions in venture capital). Focus has been on the development of Internet infrastructure, Web Scale cloud platforms and AI applications. He worked closely with lead Silicon Valley Venture Capital firms, contributing to raising significant venture capital funding, in the ventures he was involved with, leading to various successful acquisitions. He lead and contributed to advanced research teams in prestigious R&D labs in the USA (University California at Berkeley), Canada (National Research Council), France (Scientific National Research Center), South Korea (Telecommunications Research Institute) and Japan (Hitachi Central Research Labs & AI Labs). He advised some of the top 10 technology companies on their business and investment strategies in the USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, among others. He engineered many industry firsts, including: AI based autonomous subway control systems (France), AI based facial expressions recognition (Japan), ultra-low latency stock exchange data center design (Hong Kong) and 4G mobile networks rollouts (USA). Riad’s Ph. D. thesis was one of the first Machine Learning dissertation combining Neural Networks (numerical AI) and Fuzzy Systems (symbolic AI) with successful industrial applications. He has been a founding member of various technology ventures, on the advisory board of various startups in over 15 countries, been on the judging committee of global investment and technology awards events over 20 times, published/presented over 200 research, industry and Internet standards papers, lectured at over 10 lead global universities and R&D labs, advised various government and regulators on technology matters, performed investment due diligence to some of the top 10 private equity firms and has been on the advisory boards of several startups accelerators around the globe. He is on the advisory board of various Smart Cities related initiatives (e.g. Omega, a NASA spin-off, Algiers, Barcelona, etc.) and an Angel Investor (Member of the Angel Capital Association). He holds two Engineering degrees and a Master degree (applied mathematics, systems and computer engineering, from Ecole Polytechnique, Algeria and Ecole des Mines, France) with the highest distinctions. He earned a Doctorate in Computer Science (AI) with highest honors from the University of Paris, was a doctoral and post-doctoral fellow at University of California at Berkeley - all awarded by age 25. Later on, completed the Executive Education in Business at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Riad won various prestigious academic and industry awards, including the best Engineering and best Ph. D. thesis distinctions, along with various inventions/patents. Riad was born and grew up in Algiers (Beb El Oued Neighborhood). He lived and lead R&D teams in about 8 countries across North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, China, South East Asia and the Far East, conducted business and deployed technology solutions in well over 50 countries and travelled to over 100 countries/regions on 6 continents, gaining a valuable understanding of diversity across cultures and societies.
Le Dr. Riad Hartani a contribué durant les deux dernières décennies au développement de l’internet, des communications mobiles et des technologies de l’intelligence artificielle principalement dans la Silicon Valley, comme point d’attache. Il a conçu et mis en œuvre plusieurs startups en technologies. Il a conseillé et managé les stratégies d’investissement de certains des plus grands acteurs industriels. Il a dirigé plusieurs entreprises dans le domaine de l’infrastructure internet, l’architecture des clouds, technologies Espace-Internet et l’intelligence artificielle. Il s’investit particulièrement dans la conception de stratégies d’innovation en technologies avancées. Il a vécu, travaillé et voyagé dans de nombreuses régions du monde pour mieux comprendre et maîtriser les influences des différentes cultures sur le management des technologies et le développement des écosystèmes technologiques. Il a récemment mis en place un nouveau projet de haute technologie multidisciplinaire “Padovani Ventures". Il a été le co-fondateur d’un cabinet de conseil et d’investissement en technologies “Xona Partners” (Silicon Valley, Singapore, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong), adossé à un modèle d’incubation et de création de startups pour booster les technologies innovantes. Il a co-fondé “iValley.co”, un studio de co-création de startups dans la Silicon Valley ciblant les technologies ''Blockchain'', ''Internet of Things'' et ''Artificial Intelligence (AI)''. Il a été pionnier dans de nombreuses stratups dans la Silicon Valley comprenant entre autres : Wichorus, Inc. en tant que ''Head of Global Systems Engineering'' (acquise par Tellabs, pour plus de $165 Millions), Anagran, Inc. en tant que ''Head of Technology'' (acquise par Saisei, levé plus de $50 Million en investissement capital risque) et Caspian, Inc. en tant que ''Chief Architect'' (acquise par Sable Networks, levé plus de $300 Millions en investissement capital risque). Il a fortement travaillé avec les sociétés de Capital-Risque les plus actives dans la Silicon Valley. Il a aussi dirigé plusieurs projets dans de prestigieuses équipes de recherche, incluant – AI Research labs aux USA (University of California, at Berkeley), Canada (National Research Council), France (National Scientific Research Center), Corée du Sud (Information Technology Research Institute) et Japon (Hitachi Central Research Labs & AI Labs). Il a conçu plusieurs dispositifs industriels innovants comprenant : Système autonome de contrôle automatique des Métros autonomes par l’intelligence artificielle (France), Reconnaissance des expressions faciales par l’intelligence artificielle (Japon), Conception de réseaux pour ''Data Centers'' à très faible latence (Hong Kong) et les premiers réseaux mobiles 4G (USA). Il a été membre fondateur de plusieurs startups en technologies, ainsi que membre du conseil d’orientation de nombreuses startups à travers plus de 15 pays, a participé plus de 20 fois à de prestigieux jurys d’investissement en technologies, a publié et présenté plus de 200 travaux académiques/industriels dans le domaine des technologies de l’information et a animé des workshops dans plus de 10 universités et laboratoires de recherches avancées dans le monde. Il a conseillé plusieurs gouvernements sur leurs choix technologiques, conseillé une partie des 10 plus grandes firmes mondiales d’investissement en technologies, et une partie des 10 plus grands acteurs industriels dans le monde sur leur feuille de route technologique, et cela aux USA, Japon, Corée du Sud, Taiwan et Chine, tout comme il a participé au conseil scientifique de plusieurs accélérateurs de startups. Il est membre du conseil scientifique de plusieurs villes intelligentes ''Smart Cities" et d’initiatives similaires (e.g. Omega, un spin-off de la NASA, Alger, Barcelone, etc.) et est un "Angel Investor" (Membre de Angel Capital Association). Il a obtenu deux diplômes d'Ingénieur et un master (mathématiques appliquées, systèmes et génie informatique, à l’Ecole Nationale Polytechnique, Algérie et à l’Ecole des Mines, France). Il a décroché un doctorat en informatique (Intelligence artificielle) avec les distinctions les plus prestigieuses à l’université de Paris et a finalisé ses études doctorales et post doctorales à l’université de Californie à Berkeley, ayant tout complété à l’âge de 25 ans. Il a ensuite poursuivi sa formation en business à Stanford Graduate School of Business en Californie. Il est né et a grandi à Alger (Quartier de Beb El Oued). Il a vécu et travaillé dans des sociétés de Recherche et Développement dans plus de 8 pays d’Amérique du Nord, Europe, Moyen Orient et Afrique du Nord, Sud Est asiatique et Extrême Orient. Il a mené et diffusé des solutions technologiques avec succès dans plus de 50 pays et a voyagé dans plus de 100 pays/régions sur six continents capitalisant en expérience à travers les sociétés et les cultures.
Strategic Advisory References (2014-2020)
Strategic Advisory References (2014-2020)
Advised one of the top 3 Technology Companies on “Due diligence on Fixed Telecom Operator M&A”
Advised one of the top 5 Space Internet Operators on “Low Earth Orbits Satellite Constellation Design
Advised one of the top 3 Semiconductor companies on "Due diligence on 5G technology investments"
Advised one of the top 3 Cloud Providers on “Designing and deploying an Internet of Things strategy”
Advised one of the top 5 Investment Bank on “Due diligence on 4G Mobile Operators M&A”
Advised one of the top 3 Global Banks on "Technology Ecosystem Development in the Emerging World"
Advised four of the top 6 Strategy Consulting Firms on “Cloud, Big Data and DevOps Execution Strategies”
Advised one of the top 5 Smart Cities on “End to End Internet of Things Ecosystem Design”
Advised one of the top 3 Mobile Operators on “Due diligence on Internet of Things investments”
Advised two of the Top 3 Telecom Infrastructure Vendors on “Private/Public Cloud and Big Data Strategies”
Advised two of the Top 10 Financial Stock Exchanges on “Designing a Greenfield Financial Exchange”
Advised one of the top 3 Internet Broadband Operators on “4G/5G infrastructure Sharing Operation”
Advised one of the top 10 Commercial Banks on “Designing and deploying an IT/Data Transformation Strategy”
Advised one of the top 5 Data Center Operators on “Greenfield Data Center Security Services”
Advised one of the top 5 TMT Law Firms on “Intellectual Property Valuation and strategic M&A positioning”
Advised two of the Top 4 Telecom Infrastructure Vendors on “Designing an Artificial Intelligence Eco-System”
Advised one of the Top 3 African Technology Providers on “Executing their Global Growth Strategy”
Advised 30+ startups in the world on cloud, IoT, security, Internet and AI on technology and business strategies
Advised 5+ incubators/accelerators on their inception, launch and growth strategies.
Advised 5+ Government and Telecom Regulators on their Internet and Information Technology roadmaps.
Advised 5+ City Governments in 4 continents on their Smart City Strategies and Deployments.
Recent Talks and Workshops
Title: A Journey into the past, present and future of disruptive tech This talk is primarily about travel in time – into the past first and then into the future. Its also a journey across technologies that are shaping our era, and that we have been closely involved with: Artificial Intelligence, Wireless Internet, Blockchain, Web Scale software, Quantum Computing, Space Internet, Sharing economy and select others. We travel to the early 2000s and ask ourselves: what would be the most significant technology innovations that would have the most significant impact over the next couple of decades? We get back into the late 2010s, and revisit our predictions: significant surprises as far as what was predicted right and what ended up being wrong. Predicting the future of technology is hard very indeed. We then do a reverse trip, travel into the early 2030s, and observe which technologies, from those emerging today, would be having the most significant impact. We will likely not get this right as well, but it will certainly set the stage for a debate, which we shall conduct together, as far as what is most relevant today, where the priorities might be and how to address the opportunities.
Title: Making high risk technology investment bets – insights and perspectives Venture Capital investments in startups tend to track the latest technology development trends, and in some cases, attempt to anticipate them. Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Space Internet Tech and Cyber security are considered to be some of the most promising technologies, with significant upside potential. In this talk, we re-visit the most promising developments in some of these areas, as far as developed technologies, business models, investment considerations, and risk return equations. Specifically, we illustrate how early stage high-risk technology investors approach the fundamental question of which technologies and startup invest in and the underlying reasoning behind such decision-making. Building from our own experiences going through early stage startup fund raising and investing process, in the Silicon Valley and various other tech hubs in the world, we synthesize our what worked and what didn't, and some of the art and science around all of this. We conclude by mapping this to our views on how some of these technologies, and venture capital investments into them, are likely to evolve over time
Title: The different lives of a Silicon Valley tech startup – personal experiences Building successful technology startups is a very hard challenge. Yet, as societies fully immerse into the information age era, there is little hope for a sustained economic development without mastering the art of nurturing technology ideas and growing them into sustainable businesses. Achieving this lofty goal is the key question we attempt to address. A number of fundamental conditions have to line up for a thrilling startup ecosystem to emerge and develop. Building on our experience working with a variety of technology startup ecosystems around the world, we revisit the most critical ones, with a specific emphasis on the aspects that relate to incubating, accelerating and funding the nascent high risk technology ideas, all the way to engineering and business validation, and growth. A brief retrospect of the lifetime of venture capital models, anchored in the Silicon Valley hotbed first, then spreading to other regions of the world over time, is presented. Its progressive evolution over time is synthesized. Insight into how such models, and adaptations thereof, could potentially apply to the local context is debated, as a way to bring in reflections and decisions on how to best evolve the entrepreneurial startup environment. Finally, and taking our learning into pragmatic actions, recent ongoing initiatives we are diligently working on are introduced. Work in progress, yet, long road ahead.
Title: Grooming tech innovation ecosystems – Recollection of experiences As societies fully immerse into the information age era, there is little hope for a sustained economic development without mastering the art of nurturing technology startup ideas and growing them into sustainable businesses. Ways of achieving this lofty goal is the key question we attempt to address. A number of fundamental pre-requisites have to line up for a thrilling startup ecosystem to emerge, develop and thrive. Building on our experience working with a variety of technology startup ecosystems around the world, we revisit the most critical ones, with a specific emphasis on the aspects that relate to incubating, accelerating and funding the nascent high risk technology ideas, all the way to engineering and business validation, and growth. A brief retrospect of technology innovation models, including the venture capital dimension, anchored in the Silicon Valley hotbed first, then spreading to other cities of the world over time, including Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Singapore, Shenzhen and few select others, is presented. Insight into how such models, and adaptations thereof, could potentially apply to the local context is debated, as a way to bring in reflections and decisions on how to best evolve the entrepreneurial startup environment. Finally, and taking our learning into pragmatic actions, recent ongoing initiatives we are diligently working on are introduced. Work in progress, yet, long road ahead.
Title: Smart Cities as a catalyst for tech hubs development – Means to an End A survey of smart city activities around the world shows that there is a clear lag in the deployment of technologies and services in smart city applications, versus what state of the art technologies enable. Our aim in this talk is to develop a bottom up approach in understanding the fundamental reasons for such lag. We call this the cascading technology trap. Based on our hands-on involvement in the design and rollout of over half a dozen leading smart cities around the world, the cascading technology trap emerged as a common thread: technologies are evolving at a significantly faster pace than the ability of cities to adopt, implement and deploy. We illustrate how the rapid pace of technology evolution is an impediment to the adoption of smart city applications and how different cities around the world have tackled this challenge, and progressing their roadmaps accordingly. This is not to diminish the importance of the other challenges facing smart cities, such as the financing deployments, the establishment of optimal public private partnerships, the handling of organizational structures within smart cities in a way that is consistent with governance models and a number of other challenges. However, for cities determined on implementing smart city applications, the cascading technology trap proved to be the primary and most complex challenge to overcome after having resolved other challenges. To illustrate our thesis, we focus on one specific technology area - that of the city’s data flow information systems, including data generation, transmission and management for simplicity, although similar challenges are present in other layers of the technology stack. We also summarize possible strategies on how to approach such challenges - some of them in early stages of implementation by select smart cities. We concluded by describing our own approach in laying out a Smart City deployment blueprint and executing on a rollout of Smart City services, taking best advantage of state of the art information and Internet technologies, with optimal underlying business models.
Title: Foundational Internet technologies ahead of us – How to approach them Foundational technologies come in rarely, and when they do, they tend to carry with them a lot of promise, but also a lot of hype. Some do achieve their potential while others fade away. Blockchain, Space Internet and Quantum Computing, are the three key technologies we are focused on in our talk. They have all the ingredients of foundational technologies. Still, their industrial applications, technology, business and regulatory challenges to overcome are all work in progress. We revisit the tumultuous life of some of these technologies, their most significant developments and their most promising applications. We draw a brief parallel with some others foundational technologies we have had a chance to be very intimately involved in developing over the last 2 decades, and which have had a very significant impact on our everyday lives. Namely, the Internet and Artificial Intelligence. The way they have evolved, overcome challenges and transformed the way businesses run, provides a glimpse on what these nascent technologies’ journey may end up being. In fact, these evolving technologies sit at the confluence of a multitude of technologies that merges web scale databases, highly distributed systems, high performance computing and advanced cryptography. They span a vast array of business verticals from logistics to finance to communications and energy, among others. Yet, a lot is still unknown. Some see them as a threat, others as an opportunity. Some regulators are racing to be more friendly and fast track their deployment, others to aggressively regulate them. We go on an around the world tour, highlighting the most impactful initiatives, the most influential communities, the global investment landscape, the most disruptive technological developments and emerging regulatory developments. We stop short from crafting a roadmap on where things are heading, and instead, map out our own views on where leverage opportunities may reside and the overall technology leapfrog potential.
Some Tech Articles and Videos
Leapfrog Technologies in Smart Cities Design
"Tech Nomads of the Universe" - Dr. Riad Hartani, 2020 Edition, Book Release
Book Summary How are the world's tech entrepreneurship ecosystems evolving and thriving? Dr. Riad Hartani is uniquely positioned to answer this tricky but fascinating question, along with thirty long-time entrepreneur friends, with a wealth of knowledge and experience in tech and entrepreneurship on a global scale between them. This collection of interview-driven essays is a journey through regions and through time, canvassing the cultural, historical, geographical and governmental forces that drive innovation — or lack thereof. To create meaningful, lasting, universal change, we must know both where we're going — and where we have been
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