Best of SCET Series

The Series

At the Sutardja Center, we are committed to creating positive change, and we do this with the support of a group of highly talented instructors and mentors.

The Best of Series will feature some of the brightest minds teaching at SCET. These virtual series will serve as an introduction to our courses, where students from all over the world can gain insights into who we are and what we do.

From new technologies to healthcare, to plant-based foods, each video will focus on a topic that’s relevant to innovation and society. Our instructors will take you on a journey of discovery through their areas of expertise as they address some of the big questions of the moment.

Featured Speaker: Mark Searle

Don't Stop Starting: Startup acceleration and how to deliver value to customers

What is the difference between startups and big companies and how do startups find a scalable business model? These are some of the questions explored by UC Berkeley lecturer Mark Searle in this video.

The key is experimentation and expanding your customer segments or your value proposition to those segments. So how can you increase your value? Whether you deliver value to more people or deliver more value to the same amount of people, figuring out how to scale your business model and to increase your company’s value is key to organizational success.

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Mark Searle

Mark Searle is a successful entrepreneur and senior executive with diverse industry and technology experience, including enterprise software, big data, information security, manufacturing, and food-tech, among others.

Co-Founder and Managing Director of Innovation Acceleration Group, Mark is particularly adept at coordinating, aligning, and balancing the activities of diverse groups and cultures across an organization to attain optimal overall performance in high-growth environments.

A Princeton and Harvard alumni, Mark applies his knowledge on innovation and management as a lecturer and industry fellow at the Sutardja Center by teaching the Startup Acceleration Collider.

Featured Speaker: Victoria Howell

Best of Newton: How to talk to an angel investor and most successful failures

The A. Richard Newton Lecture Series features a selection of highly accomplished industry speakers who share their unique insights on industry developments, leadership, and innovation accumulated through experience in their careers.

In two different recollections of the Newton lectures, students are presented with insights on how to talk to angel investors and why this is one of the key aspects every entrepreneur must develop before they scale their project. Equally important, is how failure often plays a positive role in shaping ideas as it gives entrepreneurs the ability to learn and reinvent themselves.


Victoria Howell

Victoria Howell is a marketing and strategic planning executive dedicated to connecting exceptional individuals to diverse audiences. Victoria focuses on creating opportunities to mentor and engage students and professionals in higher education and entrepreneurship.

Victoria runs SCET’s Silicon Valley Innovation Leadership Week each October at UC Berkeley, and the Engineering Leadership Professional Program held each semester in Silicon Valley.

As the instructor for the Newton Lecture Series, Victoria brings together leading innovators to speak to students on the stories and insights behind some of the most interesting entrepreneurs and innovators in our world.

Featured Speaker: Luke Kowalski

Emerging Technologies: How to make social impact possible

Does the world need another food delivery app? Will another initial coin offer help with the global recession? These are some of the questions asked to the students of the Emerging Technologies and social impact Challenge Lab.

Through the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, students are given the opportunity to learn about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Fintech, and Blockchain. The course has developed five methods that challenge students to think in a critical way allowing them to understand human needs and how technology enables entrepreneurs to create positive change and social impact.


Luke Kowalski

Luke Kowalski is a seasoned Silicon Valley executive with experience across multiple disciplines. He has executed projects involving legal issues (antitrust, IP, audits, litigation), acquisitions, and government affairs (EU/US trade, IP reform, repatriation).

Luke currently serves as a VP in the corporate architecture group at Oracle. He has worked for various startups as well as for Netscape's Server and E-commerce divisions. He holds several patents and serves as an ISO representative for the US through ANSI.

Luke currently teaches a blockchain challenge lab at UC Berkeley's Engineering School and is pursuing a distance learning Ph.D. at the University of Leicester.

Featured Speaker: Mike Kyriacou

The unicorn in the room: Positive deviance and the wisdom of outliers

Uncommon but successful behaviors and strategies practiced by certain individuals inside a community are known as positive deviance.

Positive deviance offers ways to find the greatest opportunities hidden in plain sight, enabling people to make the maximum impact through scientific breakthroughs, corporate innovation, organizational change, or disruptive ventures. How can entrepreneurs approach problems through the lens of positive deviance? To build the necessary skills to uncover opportunities and maximize their impact, entrepreneurs must learn to see the world through the lens of generalized positive deviance.

Mike Kyriacou

Mike Kyriacou is an entrepreneurial technology executive and venture/product adviser. He has initiated, led, and participated in ventures, buyout bids & transactions, and has developed innovative products and systems now used across the planet.

Named in Australia’s 30 Most Inspiring Young Engineers, Mike has designed user-oriented products, crunched data, raised capital, and assembled successful LBO teams.

Passionate about product development and new ideas, Mike teaches Machine Learning at UC Berkeley, helping the next generation of students innovate in a wide range of areas.

Featured Speaker: Naeem Zafar

No crisis should go to waste: Disruption means new rules and new opportunities

This year, society came to a halt when an unexpected crisis disrupted the way of life of billions of people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a test for pre-established rules, so how can entrepreneurs thrive in such a scenario? New ideas sprout when the current order is broken, so the disruption of existing rules and paradigms means new rules come in to play. Understanding crises as opportunities is a key factor in creating innovative solutions in today’s world.


Naeem Zafar

Naeem Zafar is an entrepreneur, teacher, investor, and mentor. Having co-founded or worked at seven startup companies, he is steeped in the Silicon Valley culture and promotes the lessons of Silicon Valley to organizations and entrepreneurs all over the world.

Naeem has been teaching entrepreneurship as a faculty member at UC Berkeley since 2005 to graduate and undergraduate students in the College of Engineering and Haas Business School MBA program.

His latest venture TeleSense is an AgTech company addressing the need to create efficiency and reduce spoilage for the post-harvest grain industry.

Featured Speaker: Shomit Ghose

Crisis as Catalyst: The COVID-19 impact on healthcare innovation

The scope of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new set of requirements to healthcare practice worldwide.  Curve-flattening and non-pharmaceutical intervention have now entered the lexicon and reflect healthcare’s broader need to become more scalable and virtualized.  Data-driven technology innovations will not only help address COVID-19’s short-term needs but will also catalyze the development of virtualized solutions for a range of healthcare conditions for our post-COVID future.  Innovations in non-contact, data-driven healthcare will be among the most impactful and longest-lasting legacies of the COVID-19 crisis.


Shomit Ghose

Shomit Ghose is a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur with deep experience in software start-ups, both as a venture capitalist/board member, and as an operating executive. 

Shomit started his entrepreneurial life as a UC Berkeley-trained software engineer and has served in every operating role in a variety of successful start-ups: board member, CEO, COO, VP Marketing, VP Sales, VP Engineering, VP Services.

Currently, a managing director and partner at ONSET Ventures, Shomit is active in supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs through deep involvement at UC Berkeley College of Engineering.

Featured Topics


Shomit Ghose

Crisis as catalyst

The COVID-19 impact on healthcare innovation


Naeem Zafar

No crisis should go to waste

Disruption means new rules and new opportunities

Mike Kyriacou

The unicorn in the room

 Positive deviance and the wisdom of outliers


Luke Kowalski

Emerging technologies

How to make social impact possible through innovation


Victoria Howell

The best of Newton

How to talk to an angel investor and most successful failures

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Mark Searle

Don’t stop starting

Startup acceleration and how to deliver value to customers


Ricardo San Martin

Developing plant-based foods

The approach to animal welfare and human health

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Pamela Induni

Startup ideas

Innovative ideas and the journey from concept to in-market


Ken Singer

Thriving in the storm

Innovating in the era of changes and  disruption