GWU Entrepreneurship Seminar: Marketing – How to Find Your Customers [EVENT]

GW School of Engineering and Applied Science is hosting an excellent event next week for those who are interested in finding  customers with minimum or even ZERO budget.  If you are around DC next week, I urge you attend.  The program is free and open to the public and is a great networking opportunity for students, professionals, faculty and even others from outside the GW network.

The panel consists of me and two other Washingtonian serial entrepreneurs who will share and discuss our experiences.  The program provides for ample audience participation and is a unique opportunity to learn from the experts on effective ways to get your message to the right people.  For those on a shoestring budget, we will have tips and ways to market at low or no cost!

Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
6:00 p.m.                     Reception
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.       Program
Location: Funger Hall, Room 103
2201 G St NW, Washington D.C., DC 20052  map

Jim Chung, GW Director of Entrepreneurship
Elias Shams (that would be me 🙂 ), Doug Humphrey, Randy Graves (Bios shown below)

here. It’s FREE 🙂

Panelist: Elias Shams

Elias Shams is an experienced technologist and business manager with 14 years of expertise in the telecommunications, internet, e-commerce and networking industries.  He is also a strategist with a successful history of identifying opportunities, delivering solutions, and breaking into some of the most competitive markets worldwide.

Shortly after his graduation from GW, Mr. Shams joined one of the hottest startups of the late 1990s, Yurie Systems, based in Lanham, Maryland.  He was put in charge of managing the mission-critical design and rapid deployment of the ATM over Satellite network, used to support U.S. troops on the ground in Bosnia via the famous predator drone.  Today, it is used for the War on Terror, the first of its kind.  In March 1998, Yurie was acquired by Lucent Technologies for $1.23 billion.  Mr. Shams secured his next venture with Newbridge Networks, another networking company. Newbridge Networks was sold eight months later to Alcatel for $440 million.

In March 1999, Mr. Shams started his first Internet company,, the first social networking company and a telecom solution search platform on the Internet backed by $5 million in institutional and angel investment. He elevated the company to the top five B2B internet sites in the world for three consecutive years, and brought the company to cash flow positive (with a revenue of $1.6 million) in 2001, when most dot com companies were struggling.  In June 2006, he raised another $2 million from angel investors to run the DC-based social search and media company, Searchles.

Mr. Shams recently launched his second internet venture,,your first stop before any connection online. The platform is the new social media portal to help both the users and the corporate to manage their brand and reputation leveraging the power of community. The site is a powerful social interaction engine that will help you to determine intelligently and effectively who you need to be connected with and through which social media channels.

Mr. Shams received an M.S. in telecommunication engineering from GW in 1996 and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1991.

Panelist: Randolph (Randy) Graves Jr

Randy Graves has more than 40 years experience in aerospace technology research, development, commercialization, and management. He served for 26 years with NASA, finishing his career as the director of the Aerodynamics Division in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology at NASA Headquarters.  At NASA, he served on numerous managerial and technical panels and committees including the White House’s Federal Coordinating Council on Science Engineering and Technology Subcommittee on High Performance Computing, and NATO’s Advisory Group on Aerospace Research and Development, Fluid Dynamics Panel, where he was chairman of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Subcommittee.

Since leaving NASA, Dr. Graves has been the CEO and chairman of several start-up companies and continues his technology consulting through Graves Technology Inc., a consulting company he founded in 1991.  Over the years, he has assisted numerous clients in identifying, assessing, and evaluating technologies for commercialization, and he has written more than 40 technology assessment analyses for international clients.  He is listed in the Oxford Who’s Who Elite Registry of Extraordinary Individuals, 1992-1993 and in the Sterling Who’s Who Executive Edition, 1994.

Dr. Graves received his B.S. in 1963 and M.S. in 1969 from Virginia Polytechnic University.  He received his D.Sc. in 1978 from GW.  He was awarded a Sloan Fellowship at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 1982.

Panelist: Doug Humphrey

Doug Humphrey is a serial entrepreneur.  Likely he can’t help himself—probably some genetic pre-disposition to starting companies.    He has started many, had success and failure, and serves today on a variety of boards of advisors and directors, and also as a business consultant to companies of all sizes.

Mr. Humphrey began his entrepreneurial career as a teenager building tracking beacons for model rockets.  He had fun, sold a few, made a few dollars, and decided that he liked being in business.  After high school, he attended the University of Maryland, discovered the ARPAnet and “was doomed.”  He left the university after a year, worked as a program manager for three years at ITT/Dialcom, and returned to entrepreneurship.  He founded Micro Express in 1983 and operated it for two years before closing.  In 1985, he founded Computer TimeShare Corporation, and sold it two years later after it failed to thrive.

After five years as an analyst with Tandem Computers, Mr. Humphrey founded Digex Inc.  He served as the company’s CEO until 1997, when he sold it to MCI for a $150 million profit to investors.  He followed this with the founding of CORE Location LLC, an internet/real estate fusion project, in 1998.  He sold it in 2001 for a $200 million profit to investors.  Mr. Humphrey’s most recent start-up was SkyCache/Cidera, which he founded in 1997 and sold in 2003, with a loss of $200 million.

Mr. Humphrey lives in Laurel, Maryland, with his wife and their two children, whom he sometimes refers to as “start-ups.”

Moderator: Jim Chung

Jim Chung is the director of The George Washington University’s Office of Entrepreneurship, where he is responsible for entrepreneurship programs and technology transfer.  Throughout his career, he has led a number of entrepreneurship-based efforts.

As the director of Mtech VentureAccelerator at the University of Maryland, Mr. Chung assisted faculty and students in launching start-up companies based on University of Maryland technology.  Prior to that, he served as director of new business development at the Corporate Executive Board, helping establish the company’s mergers and acquisitions capabilities.  He also served as vice president of Cherington Capital (now Intervale Capital), a middle market private equity firm, and prior to that, he spent five years as an early stage venture capital investor, most recently at incTANK Ventures, where he served as managing director.

Before becoming an investor, Mr. Chung was an academic researcher studying how business, government, and academia work together to create new innovations in high technology industries.  He served as a research fellow at several institutions during his 10-year academic career, including Harvard University (Center for Science and International Affairs), the University of Tokyo (Fulbright Fellow), and the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (NSF Fellow).  He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Stanford University, and was a Ph.D. candidate at MIT.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

One Response to GWU Entrepreneurship Seminar: Marketing – How to Find Your Customers [EVENT]

  1. maksud28 says:

    Great post, great blog!
    Doug Humphrey is a serial entrepreneur. Likely he can’t help himself—probably some genetic pre-disposition to starting companies. He has started many, had success and failure, and serves today on a variety of boards of advisors and directors, and also as a business consultant to companies of all sizes.

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