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Famous People

This year's MC!

Antonio NevesAntonio Neves



Antonio Neves is a business journalist, speaker and founder of THINQACTION. With THINQACTION, Antonio coaches exceptional young professionals to transform potential into exceptional performance in their careers. As a business journalist, Antonio is the correspondent of the NBC produced MSN business show "Cool Runnings." His articles on entrepreneurship and innovation appear in Entrepreneur Magazine, MSN Money and Fox Business. During his broadcast career, Neves has interviewed high-profile CEOs and entrepreneurs, Grammy and Oscar Award winners and politicians. He began his career co-hosting Nickelodeon's hit show "U-Pick Live" and has worked with E!, PBS, BET Networks, Advertising Age and more.

Sara PrevetteSara Prevette



Sarah Prevette is the Editor-in-Chief at BetaKit, a Sprouter initiative. A serial entrepreneur and vocal evangelist for startups around the world, Sarah is the founder of Sprouter, which was acquired by Postmedia Network Inc. in 2011. She has been featured The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Wired Magazine and is an active advisor to several emerging companies. Her advice can be found in the Financial Post and on on BNN’s hit entrepreneurship show “The Pitch.”

Brian WongBrian Wong



Brian Wong is the founder of kiip, a mobile rewards network, backed by True Ventures. He was recently honored in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30, and in Mashable as one of "The Top 5 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch". Techcrunch and the Wall Street Journal called Brian the “youngest person to ever receive funding by a venture capital firm”. Before starting kiip, Brian was responsible for key publisher and tech partnerships at the social news website

Mena TrottMena Trott

The Sew Weekly


Mena Trott co-founded Six Apart (now SAY Media) with her husband in 2001 and helped bring blogging to the masses with Movable TypePad, TypePad and LiveJournal. She has been blogging in various forms ever since and is currently a member of the Say Media Board of Directors. In 2010, she began sewing her own clothes and started the blog, The Sew Weekly, to document her progress and has grown from a personal blog to a sewing community.

Michael KarnjanaprakornMichael Karnjanaprakorn



Michael Karnjanaprakorn is the CEO/co-founder of Skillshare, which is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone, anywhere. Prior to Skillshare, he led the product team at Hot Potato (acquired by Facebook) and developed products and services that organized the creative world at Behance. He is also an advisor to Collaborative Fund and 2012 TED Fellow.

Ben LererBen Lerer

Thrillist Media Group


Ben Lerer is the co-founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group, a digital media company converging leading men's lifestyle brand; members-only shopping club; and local experiences platform Thrillist Rewards. The three brands collectively reach over 4 million daily subscriptions, targeting a young, urban male demographic locally and nationally, online and offline, through content and commerce.

Philip RosedalePhilip Rosedale

Coffee & Power


Philip Rosedale is the founder and Chairman of the Board with Second Life/Linden Lab. He started his first software company at age 16 and in 1995, he created the Internet videoconferencing software FreeVue and sold the company to RealNetworks. In 1999, he started to pursue his dream of creating open-ended internet-connected virtual world, founding Linden Lab and creating Second Life. In 2010, he created LoveMachine with Ryan Downe. Currently, he is working on Coffee & Power and

Kevin HaleKevin Hale



Kevin Hale is a designer at Wufoo.

Ted RheingoldTed Rheingold

SAY Media


Ted Rheingold is an accidental entrepreneur, start-up investor and advisor. He is currently VP of Social at SAY Media after their acquisition of Dogster, Inc., a business which he founded in 2004. Ted broke into tech in 1996 knowing roughly half of HTML 2 after a year in Bangladesh and an expectation of never working in the for-profit sector. Ted's goal, from his degree in International Relations, is to help people optimize their lives through cooperation, consensus and sociality.

Eddie HuangEddie Huang



Eddie Huang is a writer, chef, entrepreneur and TV personality based in New York City. He is best known as the chef and owner of BaoHaus, which has received critical acclaim and coverage from The New York Times, The New York Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, The Village Voice, Town & Country, XXL, The Source, Complex, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal and many other outlets. Eddie earned a flawless "$25 and Under" review from The New York Times, "Best Bun 2010" from New York, "Best Fries" from TimeOut New York 2010 and Top 10 Eats The Village Voice.

Charles BestCharles Best


Charles Best is an entrepreneur and founder of, a nonprofit organization which provides a simple, personal, and accountable way for people to address educational inequity. At, public school teachers post classroom project requests, and donors can pick the projects they want to support. Every donor then gets photographs and thank- you letters from the classroom he or she chose to help. Recognition of includes the Nonprofit Innovation Award, selection by Ashoka, and election by the TechCrunch community as the website "most likely to make the world a better place." Fortune Magazine has twice featured Charles in the "40 under 40" list of "business's hottest rising stars."

Seth GoldsteinSeth Goldstein


Seth Goldstein is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Currently he serves as the Chairman of, the social music service that was named top music startup of 2011 by Billboard Magazine. Seth joined Fred Wilson as Entrepreneur in Residence at Flatiron Partners where he built a practice in "pervasive computing" in 1999. In 2007, Seth helped create Pier 38, a vibrant startup community which gave birth to a number of successful startups including Instagram, Social Gold (Amazon), and CoTweet (Exact Target). He also started, the first company to make advertising social, which was acquired in 2011 by LivingSocial. In 2011, Seth was invited by the US State Department to be part of the GEP Program to help foster Entrepreneurship in Egypt.

Yael CohenYael Cohen

F Cancer


Yael Cohen is the founder and president of F Cancer, a movement determined to make a real impact within the cancer space. Yael created an organization that activates Generation Y to engage with their parents about early detection, and teaches supporters how to look for cancer instead of just find it. Over the last 2 years, Yael has grown F Cancer into an inspirational and influential player in the charity space. She has attracted a host of A-list celebrities that are lined up to participate in the movement and use their influence to help garner support from the public. F Cancer's message has also begun to get the attention of some very noteworthy groups; Yael was honoured to be invited the White House and UN to talk about the charity's unconventional methods and success.

Sahil LavingiaSahil Lavingia



Sahil Lavingia is the designer, founder and CEO of Gumroad. Previously, he was on the founding team of Pinterest before he left to build a number of other projects, including the iPhone app and the file sharing site Crate. Most recently, he started Gumroad with a focus of democratizing the ability to sell stuff online - easily, simply and beautifully. Gumroad assembled an A-List of investors for its latest round of funding, including Chris Sacca, Max Levchin and Seth Goldstein of (also a Big Omaha 2012 speaker).

Jim McKelveyJim McKelvey


Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square who has, over the last 20 years, started 7 companies, 5 of which he still owns. From glassblowing to payments, Jim builds firms in spaces where nobody has gone before.

And Artists Too

Small Talk

Small Talk
by What Cheer


Small Talk is a web-based chat application made specifically for our friends at Big Omaha.


Expression by Silicon Prairie News & Oxide Design Co.


Expression is a collaboration between Silicon Prairie News and Oxide Design made possible by the support of Leo Burnett. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their Big Omaha experience through the written and spoken word using unique mediums that will be shared with the Big Omaha community.

Look Up

Look Up by InezGill


InezGill is an online clothing and accessory company specializing in knitted bows and scarves. Established in March 2011, it's owned by Courtney Zurcher of Omaha. The knitted-graffiti piece "Look up" is a representation of stars in the night sky over a vast ocean. Each part was hand-knitted by Zurcher and is true graffiti as the color was spray painted onto each strip after being knitted. "Look Up" is dedicated to the life and teachings of Dr. Ed Rauchut.

Its All Happening

Wednesday, May 9

8:00 p.m. Opening Party
(open to the public)
[Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation]

Thursday, May 10

8:00 a.m. Breakfast
[sponsored by LinkedIn]

9:00 a.m. Conference
(lunch provided)
[Sponsored by the University of Nebraska]

9:00 p.m. Middle Party
[sponsored by Gist]

Friday, May 11

8:00 a.m. Breakfast
[sponsored by LinkedIn]

9:00 a.m. Conference
(lunch provided)
[Sponsored by the University of Nebraska]

5:00 p.m. Happy Hour
[sponsored by]

9:00 p.m. Closing Party
(open to the public)
[sponsored by Hudl and Under Armour]

Full Schedule at Silicon Prairie News!

Places I'll Be At



1111 Jones St.
Omaha, NE 68102

(402) 341-3800

Big Omaha is held in the beautiful KANEKO space in the historic Old Market. KANEKO is a new kind of organization: not a museum - not a gallery - not a library nor a research center - but an open space for open minds that nurtures and promotes creativity in the arts, sciences and philosophy.

Through progressive exhibitions, performances, lectures and innovative programming, KANEKO encourages people to explore and experience the creative process that is essential to all human activity.

Participate in a Big Omaha discussion led by KANEKO, visit discusscreativity.

Suggested Hotels

Hello Sponsors

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Geoff Wood

Kauffman: The Foundation of Entrepreneuership
Microsoft BizSpark CoSentry
Gist. University of Nebraska Hayneedle Leo Burnett Under Armour
Jim & Karen Linder Neustar Hudl Novak Druce + Quigg LLP First National
Bloom Schnackel Engineers Bellevue University TSYS Merchant Solutions
MapQuest Nanonation Omaha Steaks LinkedIn SendGrid
Heartland Technology Alliance Startup Weekend Borsheims BairdHolm LLP, Attorneys at Law Verizon
UNEMED Lutz & Company Volcano Solutions State Farm Proxibid
Green Bein Productions TD Ameritrade Greater Omaha Chamber Firebone Client Resources Inc.
Gallup AIM Institute FusionFarm Seed Here Heroku
Malone & Company KANEKO Oxide Design Co
stickermule Evolve Three Pillars Media Plumroot
Allens Ninth Division Ameripride Performance Volkswagen