Prof. Eric A. Brewer, De Novo Group co-founder, Board of Directors
Dr. Brewer focuses on all aspects of Internet-based systems, including technology, strategy, and government. As a researcher, he has led projects on scalable servers, search engines, network infrastructure, sensor networks, and security. His current focus is (high) technology for developing regions, with projects in India, Ghana, and Uganda (so far), and including communications, health, education, and e-government.
In 1996, he co-founded Inktomi Corporation with a Berkeley grad student based on their research prototype, and helped lead it onto the Nasdaq 100 before it was bought by Yahoo! in March 2003.
In 2000, he founded the Federal Search Foundation, a 501-3(c) organization focused on improving consumer access to government information. Working with President Clinton, Dr. Brewer helped to create USA.gov, the official portal of the Federal government, which launched in September 2000.
He received an MS and Ph.D. in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS in EECS from UC Berkeley. He was named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, by the Industry Standard as the “most influential person on the architecture of the Internet”, by InfoWorld as one of their top ten innovators, by Technology Review as one of the top 100 most influential people for the 21st century (the “TR100”), and by Forbes as one of their 12 “e-mavericks”, for which he appeared on the cover. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering, for leading the development of scalable servers, and named an ACM Fellow.
Andrew Isaacs, De Novo Group Board of Directors
Adjunct Professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley Executive Director, Management of Technology Program Co-Executive Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Innovation
Andrew M. Isaacs is a successful scientist, technology company executive, entrepreneur, and educator. He is passionate about mentoring the next generation of technology business leaders and has a strong track record of helping young entrepreneurs launch their careers. Isaacs has worked at the crossroads of advanced technology and business innovation for 25 years, ten of those years at UC Berkeley, helping start-ups and established technology companies create and execute successful growth strategies.
Prof. AnnaLee Saxenian, De Novo Group Board of Directors
AnnaLee Saxenian is Dean and Professor in the School of Information and professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book, The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press, 2006), explores how the “brain circulation” by immigrant engineers from Silicon Valley has transferred technology entrepreneurship to emerging regions in China, India, Taiwan, and Israel.
Her prior publications include Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (Harvard University Press, 1994), Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs (PPIC, 1999), and Local and Global Networks of Immigrant Professionals in Silicon Valley (PPIC, 2002). Saxenian holds a Doctorate in Political Science from MIT, a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Economics from Williams College.
Scott McNeil, De Novo Group President
Scott McNeil brings to the De Novo Group his 17 years of experience in Silicon Valley startups and international nonprofits. He has held management positions at companies such as SuSE Inc., VA Linux Systems and IBM, and is experienced in product marketing and channel sales development both in the US and internationally.
Scott’s nonprofit experience began with his appointment as the founding executive director of the Free Standards Group. In this role, he gained expertise in leading an international community of IT vendors, enterprise customers and open source software developers. By successfully building consensus among this diverse group, he was able to secure the global adoption of standards for the Linux operating system. Scott has also worked at the United Nations in China where he partnered with educators, government agencies and private industry throughout East Asia in building educational programs based on open source software.
Recognized by InfoWorld as a “mover and shaker” in the open source community with “the ideas, the foresight, the connections and the ability to get things done in a timely manner”, Scott brings experienced community building, project management, and proven fundraising success to the De Novo Group.
Rabin Patra, De Novo Group co-founder, Secretary
Rabin Patra received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are in developing innovative and cost-effective communication technologies tailored for the disadvantaged regions of the world. He has worked on the design and deployment a low-cost rural tele-medicine network connecting the Aravind Eye Hospitals in Tamil Nadu, India to rural village clinics that has enabled 90,000 remote video consultations till date.
Vina Yun Wang, De Novo Group Treasurer
Vina Wang is a Certified Public Accountant in California, and have worked at various accounting and financial reporting functions during the past three years. Before transitioning to accounting full time, she was a California CTEC registered and certified tax preparer, preparing individual and small business taxes for four years. She worked at various IT positions at banks and startups of financial software for 10 years, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Cornell University.
Melissa Ho, De Novo Group co-founder, Advisory Committee Chair
Melissa Ho is a PhD candidate in the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, and holds a BA in Computer Science from Cornell University, and an MSc in Data Communications, Networks and Distributed Systems from University College London. Recipient of the 2008 Yamashita Foundations for Change Prize, she now leverages her Silicon Valley experience in design and development of user interfaces and web-based applications in developing regions.
Since 2004, Melissa has been actively conducting research (ethnographic fieldwork and systems design and deployment) with the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions research group (tier.cs.berkeley.edu), an inter-disciplinary project funded in part by the National Science Foundation. As part of this group, she has participated in numerous deployments, including the setup of long distance wireless communications networks for hospitals and universities in Africa and India.
Melissa's project in Ghana is an open source tele-medicine application enabling doctor-to-doctor consultation between rural doctors and urban specialists, as well as between doctors in Ghana and their colleagues who have moved abroad (amitatelemedicine.org). In Uganda, she is working on the use of mobile devices for information management in the Uganda OBA project (www.oba-uganda.net). Her research focuses on healthcare and telecommunications infrastructure in Africa, and is funded by the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
Yahel Ben-David, De Novo Group co-founder, Advisory Committee
Yahel Ben-David is the founder and CTO of AirJaldi.ORG. Before shifting his focus to social-entrepreneurship, Yahel co-founded the Xpert group (1993), a multinational security and continuity solutions provider.
Yahel designed and led the technical setup for some of the world's largest ISPs, consulted to many fortune 500 companies, and supervised a large number of security projects for governments and top dot-com leaders. Following the sale of his Xpert group holdings in 1999, Yahel has been living and working in the Indian Himalayas (Dharamsala), where he harnesses his professional expertise to support a wide range of social causes and projects in the ICT/ICT4D spheres.
Yahel presently divides his time between Dharamsala and Berkeley-California, from where he leads AirJaldi’s R&D, and works closely with UC-Berkeley's TIER research group and the De Novo Group. He brings to AirJaldi over 20 years of extensive hand-on, diverse, technical experience, as well as a wide network of leading experts and professionals.
Divya Ramachandran, De Novo Group co-founder, Advisory Committee
Divya Ramachandran is a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science department at the University of California, Berkeley. She is affiliated with both the Berkeley Institute of Design and Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) research group. Her research is in Human-Computer Interaction, in the area of using mobile, persuasive applications for addressing challenges in health information access and delivery in developing regions.
Divya is currently working on the design and evaluation of a mobile phone application that helps rural health workers in Orissa, India access and share information with their pregnant and postnatal clients using digital media. For this project, she has been conducting fieldwork over the past two years to better understand the social context and design an appropriate, sustainable solution. Her previous work on evaluating the persuasive power of speech interfaces won a best paper award at the Persuasive conference in 2008. She has also previously worked on speech recognition for low-resource languages.
Divya has co-organized a number of workshops on technology design and development, including one held at the Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) conference in 2009. She has also worked at Microsoft Research India in the Technology for Emerging Markets group as an intern. She holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Utah.
Sonesh Surana, De Novo Group co-founder, Advisory Committee
Sonesh Surana focuses on the design and implementation of low-cost ICT and related power infrastructure for developing regions. He received his PhD in Computer Science with the TIER research group at UC Berkeley in 2009. As part of TIER, he co-developed new WiFi-based long-distance technology enabling inexpensive targeted rural broadband coverage, and demonstrated high bandwidth point-to-point links as long as 380 Kms, a new world record. He also led the deployment of this technology for a live video-based rural telemedicine network at the Aravind Eye Hospital in South India, managing a range of non-profit, government, university and private stakeholders. This network, now financially and operationally sustainable, provides coverage to 500,000 people in areas with no other option for eye care. It has enabled over 100,000 remote patient examinations in three years, and 20,000 of those patients have received their sight back due to early diagnosis.
In the past, Sonesh has also worked on automated/assisted diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy to enable patient triage in areas with a shortage of doctors. He has also worked on the use of mobile phones as shared platforms for accurate and timely health care data collection in rural areas. He has done ICT work in Romania, Rwanda, India and Venezuela. He advises several non-profit development organizations and is also the co-founder of QVSense Inc, a company focused on building photovoltaic power management hardware solutions.