2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Age Matters: Leverage It for Startup Success

#sxsw #agematters

Are you leveraging age to your advantage? Our youth-centered society promotes the young in pursuit of the "bright shiny object". The current entrepreneurial renaissance reinforces stereotypes that innovation is the domain of those under 30. Once 40 under 40 lists were a goal. Now it's a fail if you don’t make the 30 under 30. While the average age of successful start-up founders is 40, startups focus on recruiting millennials. A study of 32 tech firms found only 6 had employees whose median age was above 35. What does that mean for the future? From Picasso to Steve Jobs we have seen innovation get better with age. High-growth start-ups are almost twice as likely to be launched by people over 55 as those 20 to 34. If diversity is an indicator of revenue growth, how can we recognize age diversity in our teams? This panel will challenge common stereotypes around age and startup success, generating thoughtful debate about what to consider when selecting your startup team.



Christina Vuleta

Managing Dir

40:20 Vision

Christina Vuleta is founder of 40:20 Vision, a resource to start conversations and facilitate mentoring between generations. She runs a mentoring network for established and aspiring / early stage entrepreneurs and is co-creator of the 40 Women to Watch Over 40 List.

Christina is also partners with Global Citizens, a new model of consultancy focused on global strategy and transforming communities. Through her extensive work applying trends and futures to business, she is adept at helping companies leverage change and get ahead of opportunities. I

Christina serves as advising managing director at Perks Consulting, a digital consultancy focused on transferring digital and entrepreneurial competence. Christina guides the company’s strategy practice and specializes on the convergence of startup methodology and brand strategy.

To all her projects Christina applies her unique background to providing creative, high level strategic solutions that inspire new thinking and create actionable ideas.

Her background includes stints with Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve, kps+ and The Futures Company. She has taught at General Assembly and Social Media Week. You can find her writing at Women 2.0, Medium, The Huffington Post and The Daily Muse.


Sarah Kunst


Pearl Street Venture Funds

Sarah is an investor, philanthropist and startup executive who has worked for Apple, Chanel and Red Bull, many consumer and b2b startups and is currently invests on the web and mobile team at Mohr Davidow Ventures. She is also part of the Venture Diversity founding team. Kunst hails from Michigan and is a MSU Spartan though she now lives in SF and NYC.


Susan McPherson


McPherson Strategies

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. Recently, she launched McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good. She’s a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 20+ years experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications. She is a featured speaker at industry events including Net Impact, Center for Corporate Citizenship's Annual Summit, Sustainable Brands, and Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Summit. McPherson founded and hosts the bi-weekly #CSRChat on Twitter.

Currently, McPherson invests in, and advises technology start-ups, including ZADY, TheLi.st, Positive Luxury, Lover.ly, and The Daily Muse. She serves on the boards of 10×10, a social action campaign/platform funded by Intel to expand girls’ education in the developing world and Bpeace, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting women in regions of conflict and post-conflict start businesses. She is also a member Social Media Week’s New York Advisory Council. Additionally, she serves as an adviser to several non-profits, including Girls Who Code, Plant A Fish, She’s The First, The Adventure Project, and The OpEd Project. Recently, McPherson was selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and was named as one of 40 Women to Watch Over 40 and Fast Company's 25 Smartest Women of Twitter


Tereza Nemessanyi

Business Dev- Startup Evangelist


Tereza has joined Microsoft as a startup evangelist for the East, providing startups with ready access to Microsoft's offerings to help them go further and faster. A seasoned media and technology entrepreneur, she was most recently Founder/CEO of Honestly Now. Companies she’s worked with, at senior levels, include PwC, IBM, The Walt Disney Company, Unilever, Symphony IRI, Interpublic Group, Omnicom, and the InterAmerican Development Bank. Tereza is a sought-after speaker (TED, Lean Startup Conference, Harvard Club, NYU), has blogged for HuffPo and Reuters and in 2011 was one of Forbes "Ten Female Entrepreneurs to Watch". She has an MBA from The Wharton School. She is particularly passionate about opening doors for women in tech, and driving work/life sustainable innovation. She lives in New York with her husband and two young daughters.

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