2024 Theme: Revolutions in Progress: Implications for investors, innovators, and practitioners

Phorum took place on April 30, 2024. At Phorum, you can connect with industry executives and share ideas with industry experts and peers on emerging technologies. This year, Phorum focused on intersectional challenges and opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI). This day-long event offers a chance to engage in thought leadership, see pitches from up-and-coming companies, and networking that can lead to new business opportunities and collaborations.

Stay tuned for information about 2025's event!


2024's theme: Revolutions in Progress: Implications for investors, innovators, and practitioners

Explore the geopolitical, technological, and cultural phenomena in progress in AI and on the verge of becoming exponential curves. Discover scarcities becoming abundant – and vice versa – and uncover their predicted impact across industries and continents in 2024 and beyond. Learn how to participate in revolutions instead of just experiencing them – be a revolutionary, rather than be revolutionized.  

Expert panels discussed topics such as:  

  • AI responsibility, adaptation, and implementation
  • Anticipating and navigating regulatory standards and changes
  • Macroeconomic implications of emerging technologies
  • Business model innovations and best practices

2024 Agenda

8:00 AM

Registration, breakfast, sponsor exhibits, networking

9:00 AM

Demo Pit Pitches
Sponsored by: Osage Venture Partners

The Best Answer, Inc.

9:00 AM – 3:45 PM
Liberty Conference Room


Demo Pit Showcase Exhibits

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Conference Kick-off with Dean Miller, CEO, PACT & Emerging Technology Trends

We try to make every Phorum an over-the-horizon detector of imminent innovations. What’s next? Conference chair Mike Bachman and Phorum regular Peter Coffee share and compare their views.

  • Mike Bachman, Boomi
  • Peter Coffee, Salesforce

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Technology, Talent, and Tomorrow’s Workforce
Sponsored by: SEI

This session will address the implications of emerging tech on the future job market, exploring the intersection of talent and technology. Delve into a critical discussion on how people collaborate, innovate, and connect in the context in the ever-evolving landscape of in-office versus virtual work environments. Learn the importance of transformative work models and workforce upskilling in retaining and attracting top talent. Our panel, comprised of seasoned HR professionals, technology innovators, and workplace strategists, will share their insights and best practices for optimizing talent management in a tech-driven world.


  • Allison Carey, SEI (moderator)
  • Michael Axelrod, Nimbl Consulting
  • Tom Davenport, Babson College
  • Susan George, KPMG
  • Daniel Rock, Wharton

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Recalibrating and Rethinking ‘Cost of Capital’
Sponsored by: Vanguard

Cheap Money Was So Last Decade – it’s time to navigate a new era. Join our expert panel as they share strategies for proactive risk assessment and scenario planning to anticipate and mitigate potential vulnerabilities associated with investment in emerging technologies. How do we balance the pace of technological change and innovation with proper due diligence?


  • Sean Dowling, Osage Partners (Moderator)
  • Courtney Robinson, Advance Venture Partners
  • Warren Pennington, Vanguard
  • James Thomason, Next Wave Partners

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM

Lunch Service

12:15 PM – 1:00 PM

Responsible AI: Governance, Ethics, and Explainability

In this engaging panel, speakers will define what it truly means to be AI-responsible. What are critical considerations surrounding bias, ethics, explainability, sustainability, and propaganda within AI practices? Our panelists will discuss both the social and technical considerations inherent in responsible AI frameworks. From championing fairness and transparency to fostering accountability and human-centric design, we will explore the principles that shape responsible AI frameworks. Panelists will discuss approaches to enhance the explainability of algorithms and decision-making processes, empowering users to understand and scrutinize AI-driven outcomes.


  • Odia Kagan, Fox Rothschild (Moderator)
  • Swagata Ashwani, Boomi
  • David Don, Comcast
  • Elzar Camper, CBIZ

12:15 PM – 1:00 PM
Rittenhouse Conference Room

Technology Executive Roundtable: Operationalizing AI Across the Enterprise
Sponsored by: Nimbl Consulting

This roundtable – open exclusively to technology executives – will break down how building a cross-functional team dedicated to developing, implementing, and managing AI can enhance operational efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness.  Establishing a centralized team (or an AI Office, AI CoE, etc.) is a strategic move that positions enterprises to capitalize on the transformative potential of AI technologies and ensure they capitalize on opportunities and address challenges arising from AI, such as:  governance, regulatory, and risk management; resource optimization and cultural changes; market competitiveness and stakeholder satisfaction; as well as the acceleration of innovation and scalability issues. Whether you’re a decision-maker, technologist, or industry leader, this session promises valuable insights into how to successfully manage and leverage AI throughout your business.


  • Heath Durrans, Nimbl (Moderator)
  • Jeanine Heck, Comcast Cable
  • Gavin Uhma, Cape Privacy
  • Sean Wechter, Boomi

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Networking Break

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Keynote: A Conversation with Claude
Sponsored by: Fairmount Partners

Discover Claude.ai with an interactive, live conversation between this pioneering AI model and the Phroum audience. Mike Bachman (Boomi) chats with Claude, a revolutionary AI collection, to highlight its transformative capabilities and seemingly autonomous capacity in a unique keynote. Engage directly with Claude, explore its potential, and shape the future of tech.

2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

Practical AI: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Application
Sponsored by Comcast Business

Elevate your business with the strategic implementation of AI into your organizational framework and practices. This valuable session will provide insights into shaping the development and deployment of AI. Learn the best model and practices for individual organizational needs, security considerations, and workforce capabilities. How do we identify and address unknown threats and ensure successful usage training? This not-to-miss panel will serve as a comprehensive guide for individuals and organizations to navigate an AI-centric future, offering insights and tools for success in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.


  • Kathy Baxter, Salesforce (Introduction)
  • Rick Nucci, Guru
  • Rick Rioboli, Comcast
  • Sophia Velastegui, National Science Foundation (NSF)

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Networking Break

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

AI: Good vs. Evil – Part 2, One Year Later
Sponsored by: Boomi

Back by popular demand, this lively debate explores controversial aspects of artificial intelligence and its potential to either usher in an era of unparalleled abundance or spell doom for humanity. Panelists will examine AI’s undeniable promise to solve global challenges, enhance human capabilities, innovate education, and transform healthcare, while also peering into the dark side of AI; concerns over the development of autonomous weapons, the loss of privacy, inequality, and the potential for AI to be weaponized by malicious actors. Panelists will challenge us to confront our own beliefs about the role of AI in shaping the future of our species.


  • Kathy Baxter, Salesforce (Introduction)
  • Mike Bachman, Boomi (Moderator)
  • Sneha Shah, SEI
  • Dr. Matthew C. Stamm, Drexel University
  • Carolyn Yap, Google

3:45 PM – 4:00 PM

Wrap Up & Demo Pit Best in Show
Sponsored by: Osage Venture Partners

Don’t miss the Phorum Phorward Trophy announcement!

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Networking Reception
Sponsored by: Fox Rothschild

Mingle with fellow Phorum attendees, panel speakers, and event sponsors during this open-bar reception to close the day.



Swagata Ashwani


Swagata Ashwani is a Data Professional with over 7 years of experience in the Healthcare, Retail, and Platform Integration industries. At her current role at Boomi, she leads the AI initiatives in the company, from ideation to implementation – gathering the requirements from different teams, to driving efforts to culmination of the end product. She also mentors and guides junior data scientists on their daily/weekly tasks. She also drives the patent initiatives at Boomi, and has an allowed patent from USPTO.

Apart from her work, she is also an active NLP researcher, and contributes to research articles, book chapters and participates as a speaker at various top Data Science conferences. 


Michael Axelrod

Nimbl Consulting

Michael Axelrod is a co-Founder and Managing Partner at Nimbl Consulting — a Philadelphia-based technology solutions company. He has over 25 years of operational, sales, and leadership achievement in the staffing, technology consulting, management consulting, and digital transformation industries. He has deep experience in building successful, high-performance teams, in both sales and delivery and is a passionate leader known for strong relationships with both clients and employees, and building profitable, sustainable revenue streams.

In 2001 Michael founded e-brilliance, a technology consulting firm, recognized by Inc 500 and the Philadelphia Business Journal numerous times as one of the top IT Consulting companies in Philadelphia. After ten years of consistent growth, it was acquired by LiquidHub. Michael was a Partner with LiquidHub, managing their second largest account, and he was instrumental in helping sell LiquidHub to Capgemini.  Michael received his BS at Ithaca College and Juris Doctorate, Law, from Cardozo School of Law.

Allen Born

Fairmount Partners

Allen Born focuses on originating and executing middle-market investment banking transactions in the technology sector. He has advised on exclusive sale assignments, buy-side transactions, financings, and various other strategic advisory assignments and has completed more than 50 transactions totaling over $13 billion in consideration.

Prior to joining Fairmount, Allen was a member of Stifel Nicolaus’ technology investment banking group, where he led the firm’s Internet investment banking effort. Prior to the acquisition, he spent five years as a member of Legg Mason’s Strategic Advisory Group, where he was responsible for executing middle-market M&A and financial advisory engagements. Previously, Allen worked in business development and branch operations at Epoch Internet, a privately held Internet service provider.

Allen serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (“PACT”) as well as the steering committee for the Phorum Technology Conference.

Allen Born received his M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and his B.S. in Finance, with a minor in Economics, from The Pennsylvania State University.

Kathy Boxter


Mike Bachman


Mike Bachman, affectionately dubbed “Bachman” by peers, is Boomi’s Principal Architect for Emerging Technology. With over two decades of expertise, he has assisted executives and their teams in overcoming complex obstacles through innovative tech solutions. Bachman’s background encompasses AI R&D, data pipeline development, infrastructure planning, application integration, performance analysis, and the exploration of nascent technologies.

Currently, he delves into pioneering and groundbreaking innovations, applying them to diverse use cases and patterns, ultimately crafting inventive problem-solving approaches. Bachman’s goals extend to aiding businesses in leveraging cutting-edge advancements for addressing social and environmental concerns. A published author, voracious learner, and technology thinker, he revels in acquiring languages, indulging in literature, running, tuning into podcasts, embarking on hikes, and savoring travel adventures. Spending quality time with his family is his priority.
Bachman also possesses a penchant for bowties—spot him in person, and the likelihood of witnessing this sartorial signature is high.

Elzar Camper

CBIZ Pivot Point Security

Elzar is a Managing Director for the CBIZ Pivot Point Security team within CBIZ Risk & Advisory Services. He has 20 years of experience as a global security leader and advisor to U.S. ambassadors, foreign governments, and executive leadership. He brings a wide range of consulting, program management, and international cyber and physical security experience across multiple sectors. Prior to joining CBIZ Pivot Point Security, Elzar held the position of Global Head of Protective Service at SAP and spent 12 years as a U.S. Diplomat and Federal Law Enforcement Official with the U.S. Department of State. In his tenure with the Department, he led global cyber insider threat initiatives, counterterror, and counterespionage operations and investigations, as well as information security programs at multiple U.S. embassies and consulates. Elzar is responsible for the oversight and delivery of consulting services to include vCISO engagements, threat modeling, risk and vulnerability assessments, application and network penetration testing, cloud security, third-party risk management, M&A Due Diligence Assessments, DevSecOps, compliance, privacy, and regulatory advisory services.

Allie Carey


Allie Carey heads strategy for SEI’s Private Banking and Wealth Management business. In this role, she defines the business segment’s strategic growth plans in collaboration with executive leaders across the company.  

She is focused on strategic planning, global wealth management industry landscape assessment, global go-to-market strategies, channel partnerships, product/solution strategies and M&A opportunities. 

Prior to joining SEI, Allie served as VP of Product Management at AscellaHealth, where she was responsible for identifying new market and revenue opportunities and formulating the product strategy to realize those opportunities.  

Previously, Allie served as the Managing Director of Front Office for SEI’s Advisor business. In this role, Allie was responsible for the design and delivery of the Advisor Business Platform, which supports the growth of over 7,400 independent financial advisors.  

Allie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Bucknell University.

Peter Coffee


Peter Coffee, VP for Strategic Research at Salesforce, has been with the company for over15 years. His global work supports C-suite teams, data governance professionals, and innovators in connected product and “big data” domains in many industries and institutions.

Prior to joining Salesforce, Peter spent eighteen years as a technology analyst, columnist, editor, and frequent contributor for IT publications including eWEEK, PC WeekComputer Language and AI Expert. He has written widely on cloud security and privacy, and was a chapter contributor to Prentice Hall’s Nanotechnology: Science, Innovation, and Opportunity. He previously served as the first Manager for Desktop Computing Planning at The Aerospace Corporation, where he also worked in space-asset applications of AI techniques. Before that, he held project management roles at Exxon Corporation ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic.

Peter received his engineering degree from MIT in 1978 and an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1985; he has held college faculty appointments in expert-systems programming, IT management, and business analytics, while also lecturing at Stanford, CalTech, Harvard Business School, and the Sloan School of Management at MIT as well as other institutions in Europe, Asia and South America. He advises on curriculum and degree program planning in analytics and “big data” initiatives for three U.S. universities. He is co-founder and President of the Foundation for Intelligent Life on Earth, a Seattle-based sponsor of efforts addressing climate change, conservation, STEAM education, and exploration of earth and space.

David Don

Comcast NBCUniversal

David Don serves as Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Comcast Corporation. He is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s policy strategies before federal and state governments. David has worked extensively on public policy and spectrum allocation policy for over 25 years, and he often represents Comcast in public fora examining the most relevant issues of the day. 

David joined Comcast in 2006 from the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, he received a B.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center with honors. He chairs the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) and served on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).

Sean Dowling

Osage Venture Partners

Sean joined Osage Venture Partners in 2011 and helps to lead OVP’s efforts to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs and support them as they grow leading businesses. Sean serves as a board member of ANRA Technologies, boodleAI, BookKeeping Express, Brazen, Circonus, Connectbase, Dina, ExecOnline, FOUNT, Incentivio, Indico Data, MarginEdge, Ostendio, and Returnayze. He was a board member of TimelinePI through the company’s successful acquisition by ABBYY Software in 2019. Sean is also a board observer at CIPIO, Noodle, RackWare, RiskLens, Strategikon Pharma, TeachFX, and Transeo; and was previously a board observer for GoCanvas prior to its acquisition by K1 Investment Management and Phone2Action prior to its acquisition by Frontier Capital. Sean holds several leadership positions in and has been a speaker for organizations supporting the venture ecosystem, including the Philadelphia Alliance of Capital and Technology (PACT) and the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) in the Washington DC/ Northern Virginia area.
Sean joined OVP after interning with the firm while pursuing his MBA. Prior to business school, Sean spent five years as a strategy consultant at the Monitor Group in London and Boston where he served as a senior case team leader and member of Monitor’s marketing strategy group, m2c. At Monitor, Sean focused on integrating marketing strategy and organizational design to enable his clients to achieve sustainable growth by better understanding their customers and developing innovative products and solutions to meet their needs.
Sean completed his MBA, with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Economics.
Sean currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board for Community Partnership School, a pre-K to fifth grade independent school in Northeast Philadelphia that serves low-wealth, low-income students from the surrounding neighborhoods. He is also a member of the investment committee for Wharton Impact Investing Partners, a student-run impact investing organization at Wharton.
Sean lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Tracy, and their three children.

Heath Durrans

Nimbl Consulting

Heath Durrans is the Director of AI and Innovation at Nimbl Consulting, a rapidly expanding technology consulting firm based in Greater Philadelphia. Heath brings over two decades of specialized experience in the healthcare, life sciences, and financial services sectors. He has played a pivotal role in strategic planning, platform design, product deployment, and establishing governance frameworks for numerous companies. Additionally, he has expertly designed and implemented program management offices globally. Heath is celebrated for his forward-thinking leadership and his ability to effectively navigate complex challenges in dynamic environments.

Heath received his BA in Business from Marton Hall in England, where he was born and raised. His international education is complemented by his extensive travel across Europe and North Africa as a professional windsurfer, experiences that have sharpened his adaptability and innovative capabilities.

Susan George


Susan George leads Strategic Solutioning for KPMG’s Workforce Innovation capability (newly established within HR). She is creating and prototyping an innovative approach for solutioning the firm’s most strategic talent priorities, with a unique focus on disciplined experimentation, GenAI and human-centric design. Prior to her role in Workforce Innovation, Susan served as an Executive Director of HR, advising top executives, upper management, and employees in the areas of talent strategy, organizational restructuring, coaching, diversity initiatives, performance development design, and human resources systems management. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). 

Jeanine Heck

Comcast Cable

Jeanine Heck is a Senior Vice President of Entertainment Product in the Technology Product & Experience (TPX) organization of Comcast Cable. In this role, she is leading the company’s efforts to connect customers to TV and streaming content via a global entertainment technology platform.  She oversees the product teams behind X1, Flex, and XClass as well as the data services that power them like metadata, search, personalization, and media analytics. Under her leadership, her team uses a collaborative, global approach to building TV entertainment systems, with capabilities now powering Sky Glass as well as NBC Universal’s Peacock application.

Jeanine spends time outside of work encouraging children to pursue careers in technology. She sits on the board at her alma mater, St. Hubert High School for Girls, and mentors computer science students at Lower Merion High School.  Jeanine received her bachelor’s in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.  She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and 4 children.

Odia Kagan

Fox Rothschild LLP

Odia Kagan is a Partner and Chair of GDPR Compliance & International Privacy Practice at Fox Rothschild LLP, a US national law firm. Odia has advised more than 300 companies of varying industries and sizes on compliance with data related regulation including: AI and biometrics regulation, GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other US data protection laws. With an emphasis on assessing future trends and a pragmatic, risk based approach, Odia provides clients with practical advice on how to design and implement their products and services in a compliant manner. Odia holds 3 law degrees, 5 bar admissions and 7 privacy certifications (CIPP/US/E, CIPM, CDPO, C-GDPR/P, FIP, PLS). You can follow her on https://www.linkedin.com/in/odiakagan/ or X at @odiakaga 

Rick Nucci


Rick Nucci is the co-founder and CEO of Guru – the enterprise AI search and knowledge platform that delivers trusted information from your company’s scattered docs, apps, and chats the moment you need it – directly in your workflow. Industry leaders like DHL, Shopify, and Spotify are a few of the thousands of companies that use Guru to break down information silos, reduce app overload, and improve efficiency org-wide. Before Guru, Rick was the founder of Boomi, which defined and led a new segment as the industry’s first cloud integration platform-as-a-service. Boomi was acquired by Dell in 2010, where Rick went on to run the Boomi business for Dell, helping grow the organization into the industry leader it is today.

Warren Pennington


Warren Pennington is global head of Vanguard’s Office of Investment Management Fintech Strategies, leading a team that explores new technologies to improve Vanguard fund performance, works to enhance the efficiency of the global capital markets, and serves as a catalyst for innovation in Vanguard’s Investment Management Group. 

Before joining Vanguard in 2012, Warren worked for the Macquarie Group in various senior leadership roles in its investment management division. Prior to that, he was division controller and ran operations in the consumer lending and corporate trust businesses at Wel 

Warren serves on the SIFMA Operations and Technology Steering Committee. He also serves on several advisory boards, including the Ben Franklin Fintech Accelerator Program in Philadelphia, Yale Institute of Sustainable Finance, and Stanford Advanced Financial Technologies Lab. 

Rick Rioboli


Over 25 years of experience leading large-scale technology teams focused on bringing innovative technologies and customer-facing products to market. Led technology transformations propelling critical strategic initiatives in customer experience, digital first, data privacy, and artificial intelligence. Held executive roles leading marketing, product development, GM/P&L, CIO and CTO organizations. Led teams that were awarded three Technology and Engineering Emmy’s as recognition for their impact on television engineering. 

Daniel Rock

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Professor Daniel Rock is an Assistant Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research is on the economic effects of digital technologies, with a particular emphasis on the economics of artificial intelligence. He has recently worked on studies addressing the types of occupations that are most exposed to machine learning, measuring the value of AI skillsets to employer firms, and adjusting productivity measurement to include investments in intangible assets. His research has been published in various academic journals and featured in outlets such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review. Much of his work involves applying cutting-edge data science techniques to analyze datasets from financial market data sources, online resume sites, and job postings. 

Professor Rock received his B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, he worked as an Algorithmic Trader at DRW Trading. 


Sneha Shah


Sneha Shah is an Executive Vice President at SEI and Head of New Business Ventures, responsible for new business and platform identification and incubation; engaging clients, accelerators and the entrepreneurial community to invest and accelerate new ideas and solutions; and cultivating innovation that drives top-line growth. 

With more than 25 years of experience in business leadership, strategy, and execution globally, Sneha most recently served as Managing Director and Group Head of the London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) Business Accelerator, where she created and scaled new businesses at the intersection of data, artificial intelligence, and technology. Prior to LSEG, her roles as Managing Director, Global Head of Risk Managed Services at Refinitiv and Managing Director in Africa for Thomson Reuters included leveraging emerging technologies, innovation, and strategic partnerships to drive profitable growth. She has also held senior leadership roles across finance and risk, operations, sales, and client service. 

A global citizen with a passion for purpose-led initiatives, Sneha currently serves as a Board Trustee for the African Leadership Foundation, the Education Development Center, and the Harambeans Alliance. She is also Board Chair for the Young Presidents Organization’s New York Polaris Chapter. Sneha was selected for Innovate Finance’s “Women in Fintech Power List” and was a two-time winner of the Gender Mainstreaming award by Business Engage. 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics with international studies from the University of Warwick in the U.K. and completed the Harvard Business School’s YPO Presidents’ Program.  

Dr. Matthew C. Stamm

Drexel University

Dr. Matthew C. Stamm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University, which he joined in the Fall of 2013. He leads the Multimedia and Information Security Lab (MISL), where he and his team develop AI techniques to detect fake and manipulated media such as deepfakes, AI generated images, and photoshopped forgeries. In addition to his academic work, he has helped authenticate media used in national news stories for the New York Times, Reuters, AFP, PolitiFact, and several other organizations. Dr. Stamm is the recipient of several awards for his research, including Drexel University’s 2023 Provost’s Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Scholarly Achievement, the University of Maryland’s 2023 Alumni Excellence Award for Research, and an NSF CAREER Award. In 2021, he was named one of Popular Science Magazine’s Brilliant 10 – its annual list of the “10 most innovative up-and-coming minds in science.” Recently, he was included in Stanford’s list of the “Top 2% of Scientists Worldwide” for his research in AI and Image Processing. He served as an elected member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society’s Information Forensics and Security Technical Committee from 2018-2020, and as General Chair of the 2017 ACM Workshop on Information Hiding and Multimedia Security. Dr. Stamm’s research has been supported by several sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, DARPA, the Army Research Office, the Defense Forensic Science Center, and US Special Operations Command. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland College Park, where he was awarded the Dean’s Doctoral Research Award from the A. James Clark School of Engineering for his Ph.D. thesis. 

Gavin Uhma

Cape Privacy

James Thomason

Next Wave Partners

James Thomason is a technologist, entrepreneur, and investor with over 25 years of experience building startups in Silicon Valley. He is co-founder and Managing Partner at Next Wave Partners, a startup studio and fund on a mission to redefine venture capital by expanding access to funding and support to a broader and more diverse range of innovative ideas and founders. At Next Wave, James guides investments and supports founders, often serving as the interim CTO, product leader, and advisor. In parallel, he is also Portfolio Manager for Thomason Capital, a family office fund employing an active trading strategy across equities and derivatives to capitalize on technology disruption and market volatility. He is the author of “Should You Startup?”, a guide to help founders validate their business idea, and “The Unicorn Problem”, a book that dares to suggest it is time to rethink investing in mythical startups. 

Sophia Velastegui

AI Business Leader, AI advisor for NSF, former Microsoft AI, Google, Apple, & Aptiv

Ms. Sophia Velastegui, AI business leader, has over 20 years of leadership experience in high tech and technology industries with expertise ranging from corporate strategy, product development, and advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) for Fortune 200 companies, startup, government, and academics. Previously, Sophia was the Chief Product Officer of Aptiv, a Fortune 200, managing a multi-billion dollar self driving car portfolio. Prior to Aptiv, she was the AI Chief Technology Officer and General Manager AI Products & Search at Microsoft where she worked on medtech, insurance, search, and productivity products. Her team worked extensively in traditional and generative AI including the Microsoft Open/AI and ChatGPT products. Previously, Sophia held executive and leadership positions with major high tech companies like Google, Apple, and Applied Materials. Currently, Sophia serves as a board director at Blackline (NASDAQ: BL) and chairs the technology and cybersecurity committee and a member of the audit committee. She is on the Georgia Tech’s President Advisory Board and the College of Engineering. Sophia is an AI advisor for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and members of Congress. She is a member and a speaker at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) on AI, technology, and corporate governance including industry specific areas – healthcare and finance. Sophia’s impact extends to the World Economic Forum, where she chaired the Global Future Council, and she was featured for her work on AI and healthcare. Her insights have been featured in the World Economic Forum, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), National Science Foundation (NSF), Forbes, and Scientific American magazine. She was recognized multiple times in the “The Most Powerful Female Engineer” by Business Insider for AI and emerging technology. Sophia’s educational foundation includes a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She is committed to her ongoing professional growth, and she has further enriched her expertise in corporate governance through studies at Stanford Law and Harvard Business School. 

Sean Wechter


Sean brings more than 20 years of award-winning expertise across a variety of product and IT functions, including support of engineering, security initiatives, network/IT infrastructure, and applications. As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Sean is responsible for overseeing Boomi’s critical IT infrastructure, security, data science, and enterprise systems Prior to Boomi, Sean served as CIO at Benefitfocus, where he leveraged market-leading SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions to lead the Information Technology and Data organizations. Prior to Benefitfocus, Sean served as CIO at Qlik, and led award-winning technical transformations at PwC, Xfinity, Dell, and Gartner. Sean holds an MBA in Management from Bentley College, and a Bachelor of Science from Clarkson University. He is a certified Six Sigma green belt, certified Java programmer, and holds a U.S. patent for a fraud detection system.


Caroline Yap


As the Managing Director, Global AI Business and Applied Engineering at Google Cloud, Caroline leads a team of AI leaders who help enterprise clients and customers harness the power of AI/ML technologies to extract insights from their data and create value for their businesses. She has over 25 years experience in technology, with a strong background in applied infrastructure across networking, security, and cloud. 

Caroline also advises government, policy makers, and think tanks on responsible innovation with AI, drawing from her expertise in AI strategy, ethics, and governance. She is and has served as board advisor to private companies and non-profits. 




Michael Axelrod
Nimbl Consulting

Michael Bachman

Allen Born
Fairmount Partners

Allison Carey

Ravi Chawla
Independence Blue Cross

Srinath Chigullapalli

Peter Coffee

Sean Dowling
Osage Venture Partners

Kira Gensler
Comcast Business Services

Kevin Jurrens
Broadpath, Inc.

Terrence Kerwin
Fox Rothschild LLP

Joseph Mohr
Comcast Business Services

Demo Pit

The Phorum Demo Pit features the region’s hottest early-stage companies that are providing cutting-edge innovation. Demo Pit was created to allow startups to connect with C-level enterprise decision-makers attending Phorum. In addition to showcasing their technology in the Pit, each Demo Pit participant will present their company to a panel of judges and the Phorum audience. One will be names “Best in Show” and will receive the 13th annual Phorum Phorward Award. Since our inaugural event, past participants have gone on to raise more than $350M in capital, with three of the ten successfully completing exits to strategic acquirers.

This year's Featured Companies

Past Winners

  • 2024 — Knit

  • 2023 — Red Vector

  • 2022 — Nerdwise

  • 2021 — Sweft

  • 2020 — boodleAI

  • 2019 — Crossbeam

  • 2018 — Slyce

  • 2017 — 51 Maps

  • 2016 — RedOwl

  • 2015 — Tesorio

  • 2014 — SocialLadder

  • 2013 — PeopleLinx

  • 2012 — Cloudamize