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Tech Giants, Emerson Students to Converge at Cutler Majestic

Clockwise, from top left: Brian Wong, co-founder and CEO of Kiip; Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker; actor/investor Ashton Kutcher; and alternative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra. Photos/Forbes

The CEOs of billion-dollar online retail behemoths, the youngest person to get Silicon Valley VC funding, and actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher will take the stage at the Cutler Majestic Theatre October 17–18 when Emerson College hosts the Tech track of the 2016 Forbes Under 30 Summit.

The Cutler will be one of multiple stages around Boston for the four-day event, which will bring together Millennial entrepreneurs and business leaders from a variety of industries. The Summit will include TED-type presentations, panels, and live demonstrations by more than 200 founders and executives of technology companies, venture capital firms, media outlets, and nonprofits.

Chosen as Forbes Under 30 Scholars are more than 140 Emerson students, both graduate and undergraduate, representing every department at the College. The Scholars can choose any track at the Summit—Tech, Create, Impact, or Capital—as well as attend associated festivals offering food, drink, music, and networking opportunities.

“I’m thrilled that so many of this year’s Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship (E3) students were selected by Forbes as entrepreneurial Scholars,” said E3 Director Lu Ann Reeb. “The competition was stiff and now, with the headliner speakers and participants at this global gathering, E3 students will have extraordinary opportunities to meet personally with the best of the best innovators and entrepreneurs.”

One of those Scholars is Lea LeBlanc ’17, a Communication Studies major and E3 minor. LeBlanc said she’s interested in building a venture around the intersection of the arts, education, and accessibility, and for that reason will attend the Impact track.

“I hope to leave more inspired than I already am by these people,” LeBlanc said, “seeing them live in action…having the opportunity to interact with them.”

James Rowland ’18, a Media Arts Production major and E3 minor, hopes to be a media entrepreneur.

“I was really interested in seeing how people not that much older than me can achieve so much success,” said Rowland about his decision to apply.

Film and TV actor Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, manager of U2 and Madonna, are actually quite a bit older than Rowland (38 and 43). But he and his classmates can still learn from “Meet the Midas Men,” Kutcher and Oseary's talk about how they turned a $30 million portfolio into $250 million by investing in startups the likes of Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify. Their talk leads off the Tech stage lineup on Monday, October 17.

Brian Wong, 25, was the youngest person to ever get venture capital funding for his company at the age of 19. Today, he’s co-founder and CEO of Kiip, a mobile marketing and monetization platform. He’ll offer secrets of engaging customers via their devices in “Gaming of Emotional Connection.”

Co-founders of online companies Rent the Runway (Jennifer Hyman), Wayfair (Niraj Shah), and Harry’s Shaving (Andy Katz-Mayfield) will team up to talk about battling and beating old market standbys in “Empire Building in the Electric World.”

On Tuesday, October 18, after welcome remarks from Emerson President Lee Pelton, alternative medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra will talk about how technology is changing the mind/body relationship in “1,000 Gurus in Your Pocket.”

Wrapping up the Tech track will be Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, an online eyeglasses retailer that was seeded through a campus organization at the University of Pennsylvania, talking about going “From $120,000 to $1 Billion.”

All that, and legendary sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer will give relationship advice to the co-founders of Athletic Propulsion Labs and ZinePak.

Other Tech stage topics include: “Trust in the Sharing Economy,” “Show & Tell: Meet the Next Edisons,” “Next Stop—The Moon” (sneak peek of the first commercial lunar rover), “Building the New Technology Tribes,” and “Ugly Is the New Beautiful” (opportunities within “boring, bloated” industries).

For a complete schedule of the Tech track, as well as other tracks/venues, visit

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