Jason Pontin

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Leading Expert on New Technology and Innovation; Venture Capitalist; Renowned Journalist, Speaker, and Moderator; Partner, DCVC

Biography

Jason Pontin is a Partner at DCVC, the world’s leading deep technology venture capital firm, where he funds and supports companies that solve urgent global challenges in energy, health, agriculture, manufacturing, space, and other sectors, using emerging technologies and breakthrough science.

He was the first investor in DCVC-backed Totus Medicines –  where he is founding board member – and in Menten.AI. Before joining DCVC, he was a senior partner and senior advisor at Flagship Pioneering, where he worked with the enterprise’s therapeutics and agriculture companies.

Jason is an internationally known futurist and technology writer. From 2004 to 2017, he was CEO and Editor-in-Chief of MIT Technology Review. At MIT, he founded MIT Solve, the Institute’s open innovation platform, which deploys capital and other resources towards solutions to grand challenges, and chaired the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Institute’s global entrepreneurial community. From 1996 to 2002, he was the editor of Red Herring magazine, often called “the bible of the dot.com boom.”

He has written for a wide range of publications including The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, and The Believer. He still writes, mostly for WIRED. At TED 2013, he delivered a talk, “Can Technology Solve Our Big Problems?” which has been seen more than 1.6 million times.

Jason was raised in Berkeley and on a farm on the North Coast of California, where his family raised game birds for restaurants in the Bay Area. He was educated in the United Kingdom at Keble College, Oxford University, where he was awarded a B.A. and M.A in humanities fields completely unrelated to his investment interests.

Jason Pontin is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group.

Videos

Books & Research

Biography

Jason Pontin is a Partner at DCVC, the world’s leading deep technology venture capital firm, where he funds and supports companies that solve urgent global challenges in energy, health, agriculture, manufacturing, space, and other sectors, using emerging technologies and breakthrough science.

He was the first investor in DCVC-backed Totus Medicines –  where he is founding board member – and in Menten.AI. Before joining DCVC, he was a senior partner and senior advisor at Flagship Pioneering, where he worked with the enterprise’s therapeutics and agriculture companies.

Jason is an internationally known futurist and technology writer. From 2004 to 2017, he was CEO and Editor-in-Chief of MIT Technology Review. At MIT, he founded MIT Solve, the Institute’s open innovation platform, which deploys capital and other resources towards solutions to grand challenges, and chaired the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Institute’s global entrepreneurial community. From 1996 to 2002, he was the editor of Red Herring magazine, often called “the bible of the dot.com boom.”

He has written for a wide range of publications including The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, and The Believer. He still writes, mostly for WIRED. At TED 2013, he delivered a talk, “Can Technology Solve Our Big Problems?” which has been seen more than 1.6 million times.

Jason was raised in Berkeley and on a farm on the North Coast of California, where his family raised game birds for restaurants in the Bay Area. He was educated in the United Kingdom at Keble College, Oxford University, where he was awarded a B.A. and M.A in humanities fields completely unrelated to his investment interests.

Jason Pontin is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group.

Speech Topics

10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2021

Every year, Jason Pontin, a leading futurist and a partner at the venture capital firm DCVC, selects 10 emerging technologies he believes have the potential to transform business and society—how we live our lives. His technologies are always drawn from a wide variety of fields: computing, biotechnology, energy, and materials. With each technology, Jason identifies the innovators most responsible for the breakthrough, and provides an explicit timeline for commercialization. He describes the big problem that an innovator is trying to solve, dives deep into the solution, using clear, everyday language, and explains the likely impact.

How to Think Like a VC

Emerging technologies and new science are being turned into disruptive, commercial products and services at an unprecedentedly fast pace. Many of these products are based on fundamental breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, gene editing, and materials science. For ordinary people, navigating business and life, it can seem impossible to keep up with the latest ideas and their potential impact. Fortunately, there is a proven methodology, followed by all venture capitalists investing in fundamental advances, for distinguishing between hype and reality. Jason Pontin, a leading futurist and a partner at the venture capital firm DCVC, will teach your organization how the professionals think about the future.

The Future of Work

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated a transformation in how people work, driven by the rapid evolution of online work environments, artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics. What will work be like when we return to our offices, factories, stores, or work from home? Almost every job and industry will be touched by the coming age of machine intelligence and automation; cities and factories will never look the same. Jason Pontin, a leading futurist and a partner at the venture capital firm of DCVC, will explore the present and future of workplace technologies in a presentation customized to your organization and industry.

The Future of AI

The breakthrough in artificial intelligence was a revolution 70 years in the making. The creation of rebel computer scientists and mathematicians who pursued an unconventional and disputed approach to machine learning called “deep learning,” modern AI is one of the most impactful technology revolutions in history. Most people have some inkling of how disruptive AI will be, but they don’t know its untold story. Jason Pontin, a leading futurist and a partner at DCVC, tells the story of how a group of unlikely innovators overturned the assumptions of their field. Pontin will explain what to expect next from AI, and how it will impact different industries.

The Future of Health

The 21st century will be the biological century. Fundamental and surprising discoveries about the human genome and the microbiome (the microbial life that evolved with us, which lives in and on our bodies) – combined with new techniques, artificial intelligence and gene-editing tools- are providing unprecedented insights into human health and diseases. We are learning why cells pass from health to disease, how our brains learn, why we age—and much more. Jason Pontin, a leading futurist and a partner at the venture capital firm of DCVC, will guide your organization through the transformative possibilities of the revolution in genetic medicine and its potential impact on our society and our lives.

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Pontin, Jason