GVC Story

Because of today's economic and health conditions - it is significantly more challenging for the top tech-focused students to build the connections they need for new ventures and corporate opportunities.


For the first time, technology-minded students have the opportunity to work globally and connect with each other directly. The Global Venture Catalyst is a 4-day global event spanning over 2 weekends for aspiring student entrepreneurs and innovators. Due to sponsorship, the event is available without cost for the 500 most innovative students globally to develop new venture and industry career paths.  


Unlike traditional venture programs which are small and expensive, this is a large scale virtual event focused on launching and accelerating student opportunities. Global Venture Catalyst allows leading students to meet each other, form teams, work intensely over 2 weekends, make potentially life-long networks, and connect with Silicon Valley. The program is developed by Prof. Ikhlaq Sidhu at UC Berkeley based on the concepts of Innovation Engineering.

GVC Manifesto

Ironically, there has been no material innovation in teaching innovation-centric STEM subjects to university students in over a century. With very few exceptions, courses are taught by career academics who are focused and incentivized by research outcomes and who have little relevant industry experience or connections that can be shared with their students. 


Therefore, too much focus is on deductive logic and regurgitation. Too much focus on grades over practical learning. Co-op programs are detached and ancillary to the in-class experience. Capstone projects, if they are required, occur far too late in the student’s learning journey. Often, they do not involve “real world” projects. Students are often left to their own often limited resources and networks to guide them. This problem is far worse outside of the US. These gaps are serious and persistent. 


The higher education experience actually is excellent for offering theory, frameworks, social development, and extracurriculars. However, for technical students, despite the great expense, is it failing both the student and the prospective employer. This contributes to a huge waste of talent and societal resources. There has to be a better way. 


This manifesto was designed to answer some fundamental questions about the GVC.

Ikhlaq Sidhu​

Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist, and Faculty Director of UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. He is the author of the book "Innovation Engineering" and the creator of the very popular Data-X Course at Berkeley. He holds 75 patents in internet communication technologies. Dr. Sidhu developed the Entrepreneurship & Technology area at the #1 public university in the world, the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (for new ventures), and the Berkeley Method of Innovation Leadership (for technical leaders).


In 2018, Sidhu received the IEEE Major Education Innovation Award. He received Berkeley IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award in 2009 at UC Berkeley. In 1999, he received 3Com Corporation’s Inventor of the Year Award. He serves on many advisory boards. He received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his masters’ degree and doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Major Affiliations:

  • Board of Directors, Qatar Foundation, 2019

  • International Advisory Board, BII Business School, Norway, since 2019

  • Honorary / Visiting: Chair Professor in Computer Science and Physics (joint appointment), HKBU, Hong Kong, 2018

  • Faculty Committee for Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley, since 2016

  • Board of Trustees of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar, since 2016

  • Faculty Director’s Council, Jacob’s Institute for Design Innovation, UC Berkeley since 2018 and Review Committee for Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in 2020

  • Master of Design Faculty Advisory Council UC Berkeley since 2019

  • Advisor X-Fund, Advisor Onset Ventures

  • Fellow, Applied Innovation Institute, since 7/ 2012 (501.3c),

  • Founder, Innovation Engineering, Advisory Practice, 2010,

  • Member IEEE since 1995.

Significant Recognitions:

  • The IEEE Major Innovation Award (2018)

  • The IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award (2009)

  • 3Com Inventor of the Year (1999)


Mike Grandinetti

Former Silicon Valley engineer & McKinsey consultant Mike Grandinetti served as C-level executive of 8 tech startups. 2 went public on the NASDAQ. 7 were acquired by corporations including IBM & Oracle.


He's a faculty member at Brown, Harvard & Rutgers, where he teaches Masters & Executive courses on innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking & marketing. He's been affiliated with MIT in a variety of capacities, including Senior Lecturer, MIT $100K Startup Competition Judge, MIT Enterprise Forum Instructor & MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Planning team member for 20+ years. He most noteworthy affiliations with UC Berkeley are Program Development Fellow for the Sutardja Center of Entrepreneurship & Technology & Engineering Leadership Professional Program faculty.


His consulting clients have included Accenture, Capital One, EMC, Ferrari, Intuit, Nestle, & Novo Nordisk.


He hosts a podcast series on innovation, speaks on the TEDx circuit, mentors in numerous top tier startup accelerators & has led over 200 hackathons & design sprints globally.


He’s won the Rosoff Award for leadership on diversity & inclusion in the tech industry, is a recipient of Rutgers College of Engineering Medal of Excellence in Career Achievement & a member of the National Engineering Honor Society. He received his MBA from Yale.

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Major Affiliations:


  • Faculty – Management Division


  • Faculty: Brown School of Professional Studies



  • Faculty – MIT Enterprise Forum

  • Faculty – MIT Sloan School of Management (prior)

  • Leadership Team- MIT CIO Symposium

  • Leadership team & Moderator- MIT Sloan Digital Learning Series

  • Mentor - MIT Solve

  • Judge – MIT $100K Global Startup Competition (prior)

  • Hackathon Leader- MIT Media Lab (prior)



  • Program Development Fellow -  Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology X Labs programs

  • Faculty – Engineering Leadership Professional Program

  • Judge- Berkeley Haas Venture Capital Investment Competition

  •  Case Writer – Berkeley Haas Case Series

  • Roundtable Moderator - Berkeley Innovation X Network "Innovation That Matters" series

  • Instructor & Mentor – Berkeley Blockchain Accelerator

  • Instructor & Mentor – Berkeley Methods of Entrepreneurship

  • Mentor – Berkeley Data X applied data science course

  • Mentor – Berkeley Skydeck Startup Accelerator

  • Mentor- University of CA Launch Accelerator



  • Faculty- Professional Masters in Science Program

  • Board Member – Rutgers College of Engineering (prior)

  • Faculty Chair – School of Innovation Education (prior)



  • Board - Babson “Entrepreneurship Tower”

  • Board - Babson CODE Club



  • Managing Director – Boston, Cambridge Chapter (prior)

  • Community Impact Fellow (prior)

Significant Recognitions:

  • Rutgers College of Engineering Medal of Excellence Award for Career Achievement

  • Rutgers Alumni of the Year Award

  • Rosoff Award for Diversity & Inclusion in High Tech

  • Global MarTech Stackie Inaugural Award for Innovation in Organization Design and Use of a Marketing Technology Stack

  • Financial Times Global Professor of the Week

  • Global MBA Curriculum Innovation Award - AACSB

  • Professor of the Year Global Teaching Excellence Award (various)

  • Yale- annual Jess Morrow Johns Memorial Scholar

Paris de l'Etraz

Paris has over 20 years of experience in investment banking and venture capital. He spent 8 years at UBS Securities in New York specializing in middle market cross border deals primarily in the Financial and Building Materials sectors. From there he went on to ABN AMRO Bank in London where he was Managing Director of M&A focusing on the Southern European market. His main deals included sports equipment companies like Raleigh, Gazelle and others. In total he has completed over $4 billion USD in transactions since 1984.


In 2011, Paris received his PhD from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, after having done his undergraduate and Master’s work at Boston University from 1978 to 1982. Paris completed his PhD on Elements of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace, and is currently a professor at IE Business School, where he is the Managing Director of IE Venture Labs, the largest business school startup accelerator in Europe. IE is ranked 2nd in the world for Entrepreneurship by Bloomberg Business Week and 8th by Poets & Quants, 2020.


He is also Chairman of the AII institute a non-profit Silicon Valley institution dedicated to developing research and curriculum in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation which includes over 150 faculty from some of the top Engineering and Business Schools in the world.


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Lead Sponsor

WOJ Software Engineering and Entrepreneurship, founded by award-winning educator Esther Wojcicki and socially conscious entrepreneur Amit Hooda (founder & CEO of Secteur 6).


Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the world's creativity. Without entrepreneurs and scientists, we wouldn't have many of the amazing new technologies that we enjoy today -- and these entrepreneurs could not have done it without education...

Education is at the foundation of progress. At WOJ, we are pleased to collaborate with GVC and support entrepreneurs.

Esther Wojcicki, Internationally known educator, consultant, speaker with a demonstrated history of working in the e-learning industry




Global Venture Catalyst (GVC) is a new initiative focused on creating connections and empowering teams to pursue new ventures and corporate opportunities augmented with AI-powered matching.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us.


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