It used to be that if a startup got to 1 million users, it was worth paying attention to because that was a good indication that it could go mainstream. But as angel-investor-turned-VC Chris Dixon famously blogged last summer, ten million users is the new one million users. Dixon’s observation is that to be a breakout early-stage startup these days, the bar is now higher to distinguish yourself from all the noise. I believe this rule is doubly true in mobile given the fact that the number of app-centric mobile phones and tablets is quickly surpassing the number of web-centric PCs.
At DEMO Mobile, Dixon will be discussing his theory and how it applies to mobile with Pandora CTO Tom Conrad and RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs. Pandora crossed the 10-million user mark long ago—it is now at more than 175 million total users, with mobile making up a large chunk of that. And RunKeeper is well on its way to 20 million users. The three will discuss how to scale to 10 million users and beyond in mobile.
Other speakers on the agenda include Vinod Khosla and an impressive roster of judges such as Kleiner Perkins VC Chi-Hua Chien, StumbleUpon founder Garret Camp, Cowboy Ventures VC Aileen Lee, Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen, Google Ventures partner Rich Miner, and Flipboard co-founder Evan Doll. Stay tuned for more speakers.
Tom Conrad – CTO & EVP of Production – Pandora
Tom Conrad leads the Pandora product organization, which includes product management, user interface design, software development, engineering development and testing with partner companies, and network operations. Over the years, Tom has led numerous engineering and product design teams across a wide range of applications – from operating systems and enterprise software to video games and consumer web sites. Before joining Pandora, Tom was the Vice President of Engineering at Kenamea, Inc. where he led the teams responsible for the design and development of an award-winning Internet-scale messaging system. Tom previously was the Technical Director for the successful video game series “You Don’t Know Jack.” Tom holds three U.S. patents and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. Tom holds both technology and music close to his heart. His personal music collection still includes more than 1,000 CDs and he likes to say the only instrument he plays well is his stereo.
Chris Dixon – General Partner – Andreessen Horowitz
Chris Dixon is an investing partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Previously, he was the cofounder and CEO of two startups, SiteAdvisor and Hunch. SiteAdvisor was an internet security company that warned web users of security threats. The company was acquired by McAfee in 2006. Hunch was a recommendation technology company that was acquired by eBay in 2011. As an investor, Chris cofounded Founder Collective, a seed venture fund, where he made early stage investments in GroupMe, Buzzfeed, Betaworks, and MakerBot. He has also been an active angel investor, making personal investments in technology companies including Foursquare, Kickstarter, Stripe, Warby Parker, Pinterest, OMGPOP, Behance, Stack Overflow, and others. Chris started programming as a kid, and was a professional programmer after college at a high-speed options trading firm, Arbitrade. He has a BA and MA in Philosophy from Columbia and an MBA from Harvard. When he’s not meeting with entrepreneurs, he often writes blogs about his theories and experiences of investing and building startups at cdixon.org.
Jason Jacobs – Founder & CEO – RunKeeper
Jason Jacobs is the founder & CEO of RunKeeper, a mobile fitness platform that enables runners and other fitness enthusiasts to get motivated, stay motivated, and improve their results over time. Starting with a mobile app for runners, RunKeeper has built a large, passionate global user community, and recently opened up the platform so users can tie all of their health and fitness activities across a broad range of categories together in one cohesive experience. Prior to founding RunKeeper, Jason worked for 10 years in small, high-growth technology companies, always longing for the day when he could start his own. He holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Babson College, where he was an Olin Fellow.