Yahel Ben-David – Executive Director and Co-Founder
Dr. Ben-David is a social entrepreneur who works at the intersection of wireless networks, freedom enhancing technologies, and social development.
In 1984, while still in high-school, Yahel hacked the computers of a leading daily newspaper to publish a blistering critique of one of his teachers. While he got in trouble, this episode also paved the way for his career as an IT security expert.
Over the next 3 decades, Yahel accumulated diversified hands-on experience in leadership, design, deployment, and research of computer security and networks in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. In 1993 Yahel co-founded the Xpert group, a multinational IT security and network solutions firm. At Xpert he designed and led the technical setup for some of the world’s most advanced networks, managing large scale and complex projects for Fortune 500 companies and governments. Upon the sale of his Xpert group holdings in 1999, Yahel moved to Dharamsala in the Indian Himalayas, the headquarters of the Tibetan community in exile. There he founded the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec) and AirJaldi. AirJaldi became an exemplary model for sustainable delivery of affordable broadband Internet services to rural communities, and continues to expand to this day.
Yahel holds a doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, and continues his affiliation with Berkeley’s TIER (Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions) research group.
As the executive director of De Novo Group, Dr. Ben-David manages multi-million dollar projects which bring together world-renowned ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) researchers, and practitioners dedicated to bridging the digital divide and harnessing technology to increase civil liberties.
Yahel is passionate about connecting the next billion people to the Internet, while ensuring it remains uncensored and free.
Eric A. Brewer – Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board
Prof. Brewer leads the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions group (TIER) at Berkeley, he focuses on all aspects of Internet-based systems, including technology, strategy, and government. As a researcher, Prof. Brewer 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 among others, and including communications, health care, 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(c)(3) 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 was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering for leading the development of scalable servers (early cloud computing), and also received the ACM Mark Weiser award for 2009. He received an MS and Ph.D. in EECS from the MIT, 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.
AnnaLee Saxenian - Board of Directors
AnnaLee 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.
Rabin Patra – Co-Founder, Board Secretary
Dr. Rabin Patra is a co-founder at Tarana Wireless, a startup that builds smart antenna based wireless radio technology that enables highly spectrally efficient and scalable backhaul networks. Rabin received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. During his Ph.D. work with the TIER research group, Rabin developed low cost long distance wireless technologies. He also worked with Aravind Eye Hospitals in Tamil Nadu (India) to put this technology into practice by deploying a rural telemedicine network that has enabled 90,000 remote video consultations till date. Rabin believes that novel communication technologies, and especially wireless, can be very effective in aiding and amplifying efforts to further socio-economic development and democratic discourse around the world.