York, PA Oct. 9-11


BLUEPRINT isn’t just a lean-back-and-listen conference but an event that will engage all participants actively in a combination of tours, main stage sessions, and several small working groups. 


Throughout the event, we’ll be bringing together three areas of focus: Tech Expansion in the Heartland, Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration, and Workforce Readiness.

Monday, March 5

12:00 pm - 4:00 pm:

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm:

Event Registration at Nevada Museum of Art

5:00 pm:

Cocktail Reception: sponsored by Airwing Ventures & Ozmen Ventures/Kairos Society

Welcome: David Walker, Executive Director of Nevada Museum of Art

Fireside Chat: Honorable Mayors Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary Indiana & Hillary Schieve, Reno, NV

Ignite: Mark Estee, nationally recognized chef speaks to food as an emerging factor in heartland growth

7:00 pm:


Join the thought leaders

Tuesday, March 6

8:00 am:

Registration and breakfast, Nevada Museum of Art

8:45 am:

Opening: “VentureBeat’s Blueprint: Tech in the heartland”

Matt Marshall, CEO, VentureBeat 

9:00 am:

Welcome: Governor Sandoval, Nevada

9:10 am:

Fireside Chat: Ira Ehrenpreis, co-founder and managing director of DBL Partners speaks to investment strategies beyond the coasts. Moderated by Jon Swartz, Barron's.

9:30 am:

Keynote: "Walmart's changing role to tech job creator" Chris Enslin, Vice President of Tech Modernization, Walmart moderated by Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

9:50 am:

Lightning Rounds: “Success stories from the innovation belt”

Kristy Campbell, COO, Rev1 Ventures (Columbus, OH)

Mike Kazmierski, CEO, Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada

Thomas Wadsworth, Dir. of Corporate Growth and Business Development at Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development

Eric Daimler, CEO Spinglass, Obama Administration Innovation Fellow, Office of Science, Technology and Policy (Pittsburgh, PA)

David Garcia, CEO Geekdom (San Antonio, TX)    

Charlie Brock, CEO & President, Launch Tennessee  

10:25 am:

Breakout Sessions - Choose your region and learn more in a smaller, more intimate setting. Ask questions and share your ideas with: Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh PA; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno, NV; San Antonio, TX, and Tennessee

11:15 am:


11:30 am:

Fireside Chat: “Insight into Accelerating Heartland Communities /the facts & policies that work”

Chris Heivly, Entrepreneur in Residence, Techstars. Mark Muro, Sr. Fellow & Policy Director, Brookings Institute. Moderated by Anna Hensel, VB's Heartland Tech editor.

11:50 am:

Lightning Talk: "Opportunity Zones: The Largest Community Investment Program in a Generation"

Steve Glickman, Co-founder and Executive Director, Economic Innovation Group

12:00 pm:


1:00 pm:

Fireside Chat: "The nurturing community: How can we get a return on investing in the social fabric?" Executive Founder, Way to Wellville, Esther Dyson moderated by Amy Westervelt, award-winning writer for WSJ and Washington Post.

1:15 pm:

Panel: "What large tech giants are doing to accelerate prosperity in the heartland"

Jesse Haines, Grow with Google, Kate Behncken, Head of Microsoft Tech Spark Initiative. Moderated by Anna Hensel, VB Heartland Tech editor.

1:35 pm:

Panel: “Alternative workforce models emerging to address needs of 21st century”

Matt Dunne, Founder and Exec. Director, Center on Rural Innovation, Patrick Poels, VP Engineering, Eventbrite, Mark Orttung, CEO, Nexient and Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork. Moderator Chris Shipley, author and tech advisor.

2:55 pm:

Keynote: "Optimizing Our Economy: We get what we ask for. Changing the rules of the game."

Tim O'Reilly, Founder & CEO, O'Reilly Media

3:10 pm:


3:25 pm:

Technology Panel: Tech company perspectives on finding tech talent beyond coasts and creating jobs in the heartland. Tiffany Apczynski, VP of Public Policy and Social Impact Zendesk, Dan Spaulding, Chief People Officer, Zillow, Terri Cooper, VP Sales, Switch. Moderated by Amy Westervelt, award-winning writer, for WSJ and Washington Post.

3:45 pm:

Breakout sessions - Scaling the Enterprise: Meet the tech panelists and ask questions about talent, technology and costs of doing business in the heartland. Learn how to capitalize on emerging tech hubs and gain ROI.    Additional facilitators:  Jakob Kistorp, Co-founder, Rainmaking

4:45 pm:

Wrap-up - Adjourn for cocktail hour

5:15 pm:

Cocktail Party (with Ignite Talks) - sponsored by Worldpay

Peter Hirshberg, Principal & Co-founder, Maker City Project: How the maker movement can help bridge the significant gap between the skills available in the workforce and the types of jobs and economic opportunity available.

Nick Smoot, Founder, Innovation Collective: Learn how Innovation Collective’s transformational model for catalyzing communities is experiencing technological breakthroughs the world never thought possible. 

Chris Shipley, Independent Journalist: Stories from the heartland and how real innovation is happening

Craig Buerstatte, Director of the Office of Innovation and Entreprenuership at the EDA: What the EDA is doing to spur entrepreneurial activity in the heartland

7:00 pm:

Dine-around Dinner - Explore and enjoy the amazing restaurants of Reno

1:55 pm:

Breakout sessions: Meet the workforce model experts and share your point of view

Matt Dunne, Founder and Exec. Director, Center on Rural Innovation, Patrick Poels, VP Engineering, Eventbrite, Mark Orttung, CEO, Nexient and Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork, Skip Newbury, President & CEO, Technology Association of Oregon, John Fillmore, Chief of Business Operations, Chegg, Inc. 

In the Heartland

Wednesday, March 7

8:00 am:


8:45 am:

Opening Discussion and recap of Day 2
Matt Marshall, CEO, VentureBeat

8:55 am:

Panel: Tech Millennial entrepreneurs speak to benefits of doing business in the heartland

Alex Fiance, CEO, Kairos - moderator; Timothy Hwang, CEO & Co-Founder, FiscalNote Inc; Colleen Costello, CEO & Co-Founder, Vital Vio; Hunter Rosenblume, CEO & Co-Founder, Lunar Wireless; Sean Henry, CEO & CO-Founder, STORD.

9:15 am:

Lightning Rounds: “Tech Successes in the Heartland - entrepreneurs share their stories” Lee Mayer, CEO, Havenly (CO), Michael Fitzgerald, Co-founder & CEO, Submittable (MT); Dr. Elizabeth Ann Stringer, Co-founder & Chief Science Officer, Axial Healthcare (TN),; Todd Olson, Founder & CEO, Pendo (NC), Alex Kubicek, CEO, Understory (WI), Curt Atkisson, CFO, Sojern (NB)

9:50 am:

Fireside chat: Investing in the heartland - An Intimate conversation with Michael Ronen, Founding Partner, SoftBank Vision Fund moderated by Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

10:10 am:

Venture Panel: Role of venture funds in supporting talent and growth in heartland

Dino Vendetti, Managing Director, Seven Peaks Ventures

Will Price, General Partner, Next Frontier Capital

Bill Pescatello, Partner, Lightbank Ventures

David Hall, Partner, Rise of the Rest Fund

Patrick McKenna, Partner, High Ridge Global -moderato

10:40 am:

Fireside Chat: "Emerging tech ecosystems across America are disrupting traditional companies— and that’s a good thing "

Jason Illian, Managing Director, Koch Disruptive Technologies. Moderated by Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO, VentureBeat

11:00 am:


11:25 am:

University Panel: The critical role of universities in supporting heartland tech talent

Kevin Klowden, Executive Director, Center for Regional Economics, Milken Institute; Dr. Mridul Gautam, VP Research and Innovation, University of Nevada, Reno; Dr. Tim R. Holcomb, Cintas Chair in Entrepreneurship, Miami University, Zachary Ellis Jr., Director of New Ventures, The Ohio State University

11:50 am:

LUNCH - Working session: Get in a small working group and recap the key findings from Blueprint. Identify immediate next steps, conclusions, commitments.

12:35 pm:

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO VentureBeat closing remarks

11:15 am:

University of Nevada, Reno – Innovation Ecosystem

11:20 am:

Ignite:  Tim Schigel, General Partner, Refinery Ventures: Unique funding strategies to accelerate tech job prosperity in the heartland.

How to get here

By air from the Bay Area

  • Nonstops from Oakland to Reno on Southwest
  • Nonstops from SFO on United
  • Nonstops from San Jose on Alaska

Semi- Private Flight from Bay Area on Blackbird

  • $299 one way or, 
  • $549 roundtrip (use roundtrip code: BLUEPRINT18)
  • Schedule: Estimated flight time is less than one hour
  • Monday 10:00am - Palo Alto > Reno
  • Tuesday 7:00am - Palo Alto > Reno - (get to the conference by 8:15am)
  • Wednesday 2:30pm - Reno > Palo Alto 

Book your flight through the Blackbird Air app iOS | Android.

By car from Bay Area

  • 3.5 hours from downtown San Francisco to Reno
  • Free Parking at all hotels and venues in Reno for those driving.

By Train (Amtrak)

  • Emeryville to Reno