Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum: Building Innovation Economies – from Silicon Valley to the Middle East

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Date(s) - 10/06/2016
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Banatao Auditorium - Sutardja Dai Hall

Register Now!


6:30 PM Registration & Networking Reception – Atrium

7:30 PM Panel Presentation – Banatao Auditorium



Dariush Zahedi
Executive Director
BIT-AMENA Center for Building Innovation Economies

Dariush Zahedi is Director and founder of the BIT-AMENA Center for Building Innovation Economies at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Since 2001, he has taught a diverse array of courses for the Departments of Political Science, Political Economy, and Peace and Conflict Studies as well as the Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley. Zahedi has also taught for the College of Letters and Science’s Discovery Courses Program. He has published three books on the political economy of the Middle East, and his articles have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, and Middle East Policy, among others. He is the co-editor of four book series for Palgrave Macmillan, including Institution Building in West Asia and North Africa, the Political Economy of Islam, Natural Resources Management in West Asia and North Africa, and Financial Institutions, Reforms, and Policies in West Asia and North Africa. His knowledge of the political economy and business milieu of the Middle East and North Africa, however, is not purely academic.



Lily Sarafan

Lily Sarafan 
CEO of Home Care Assistance

Lily Sarafan is co-founder and CEO of Home Care Assistance, the leading consumer health company in the $100B in-home care market with a mission to change the way the world ages. Under Lily’s leadership, HCA has grown from Silicon Valley startup to industry champion and today employs more than 6,000 team members across 150 markets. The company is consistently recognized as an employer of choice, best-in-class consumer product, and one of the fastest growing companies in the world, and Lily as a featured expert on digital health and innovation in aging at the White House and global conferences. Lily led the successful consumer exit of HCA, paving the way for significant investment in and attention to the senior care space. For her leadership at the helm of HCA, Lily has been honored as Women Health Care Executives’ 2016 Woman of the Year and Ernst & Young’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year. Lily is an active investor and advisor to startups and venture capital firms and a mentor at 500 Startups and StartX. She is also co-founder and Executive Chairwoman of Porcelane, a health tech startup pioneering house call dentistry. Alongside corporate board seats and membership in such organizations as YPO and Chatham House, Lily serves on the boards of several high-impact nonprofits including the Stanford Alumni Association and the National Iranian American Council. One of Silicon Valley’s 40 Under 40, Lily has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Newsweek and Inc. She holds an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering and B.S. in Science Technology and Society with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Stanford University, where she was Eben Tisdale Fellow and Class President.

Nikki Iravani
Inventor of EyeXam App

Dr. Iravani is the founder and CEO of EyeXam. EyeXam™ app is a patented method for self guided vision screening using a mobile device. EyeXam™ was the second most downloaded free app, in the medical category on iTunes and is currently the eye care industry’s leading app which was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Prior to founding EyeXam, Dr. Iravani was the Vice President of Clinical and Professional Affairs at CooperVision, the world’s second largest contact lens manufacturer. Dr. Iravani is an optometrist with extensive experience in clinical ophthalmology and optometry and is on the advisory board for ophthalmic and health care start-ups. Dr. Iravani has been recognized as one of the successful women in the optical industry. Dr. Iravani graduated from the University of California-Irvine with a bachelor of science in biological sciences and received her doctor of optometry degree from the University of Houston, College of Optometry.

Bahram Bahrami
Executive Scientist Entrepreneur

Dr. Bahrami is an executive scientist and entrepreneur in life sciences and healthcare. He has played leading roles in inventing technologies, locating technical and business opportunities, and managing projects in academia, national lab, and industry leading to the launch and success of four startup companies. All inventions and intellectual properties resulting from his scientific endeavors have been commercialized and led to market entry of several products with regulatory clearances. He has acted as co-inventor and scientific consultant at Novare pharmaceuticals (regenerative medicine), co-founder, co-inventor and VP of engineering at Presage Biosciences(oncology drug discovery), co-inventor at Blaze Biosciences(tumor targeting), Processing manager at SUPA (medical device), and co-founder, co-inventor, and VP of R&D at ChitoTech (healing & hemostasis). In his current role at Natera, the leader of prenatal genetic testing, he is managing oncology projects in diagnostic, recurrence, and therapy selection. Throughout his career, Dr. Bahrami has been actively engaged with fostering entrepreneurship as executive board member of Berkeley Postdoctoral Entrepreneurship Program, judge and mentor at Silicon Valley Plug and Play Tech Center, affiliate scientist and entrepreneur at Berkeley National Lab, UCSF, and Haas business school for mentorship.


Fees for on-site registration go up to $30 for Community/Alumni 


Banatao Auditorium is located in the Sutardja Dai Hall Building.

Nearest Address: 2594 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Banatao Auditorium at 310 Sutardja Dai Hall



Upper Hearst Lot

On the corner of Gayley Rd. and Hearst Ave.