A Panel on Humanities-Focused Startups between NJ/NY and Italy

Its Not Just for Techies; Join us!

When: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 6:15-8:30pm
6:15-6:45pm Networking with light refreshments
6:45-8:30pm Formal program

Where: University Hall 7th Floor Conference Center
Montclair State University

RSVP Required: http://tinyurl.com/MSUstartups
Free and open to the public

‌If you only think of tech companies when you hear the word “startup,” think again. Humanities and language studies can also be the spark for a startup, especially in NJ and NYC. On the occasion of the presentation of Tech in the City, a book about the local startup ‌community, a panel of experts will explore the intersection of languages, technology and entrepreneurship. All featured in the book, the panelists will examine the vital role that the humanities play in today’s international do-it-yourself economy by using Italy as a case study.


Maria Teresa Cometto and Alessandro Piol (authors, Tech in the City: The Making of New York’s Startup Community)
Don Katz (Founder and CEO, Audible)
Claudio Vaccarella (Founder and CEO, HyperTV)


Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies)
Dennis Bone (Director, Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship)

Panelists’ bios

Maria Teresa Cometto is an Italian journalist with more than 25 years in the media industry. Since 2000 she has been based in New York, covering business, financial markets and high-tech, and writing for some of the most important Italian papers such as Corriere della Sera, which is the daily with the largest circulation in Italy, and Il Mondo, the most authoritative Italian business magazine. She is well known for her articles on the US technology industry and for her many interviews with leading economists, including 14 Nobel Laureates. Maria is also the author of several books, among which Figli & Soldi (Kids & Money, 2008).

Alessandro Piol is a co-founder of Vedanta Capital and has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry. He previously was a General Partner of Invesco Private Capital where he headed the technology practice. Prior to joining Invesco, Alessandro spent 10 years with AT&T where he co-founded AT&T Ventures, the venture capital arm of AT&T where he focused on early-stage new media investments, as well as Pixel Machines, an AT&T-backed startup in the graphics super-computing business. Alessandro is President of the New York chapter of TiE, a global organization fostering entrepreneurship; he serves on the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board and the Board of Visitors of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering at Columbia University; and he is a mentor, advisor or board member of various private companies. He received a BS and MS in Computer Science from Columbia University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Donald Katz is founder and CEO of Audible, the leading seller and producer of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming on the Internet (digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers). Katz was previously a journalist and author for twenty years, writing five books and serving as contributing editor at Rolling Stone and other publications; his work won a National Magazine Award and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. For his leadership of the company since inception, Katz won the 2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for New Jersey. Katz graduated from New York University in 1974, where he studied with novelist Ralph Ellison.

Claudio Vaccarella is the CEO of HyperTV. HyperTV was founded in Rome in 2011 with a mission to develop and commercialize a unique publishing platform that makes it simple to create engaging, interactive, and gamified TV show companion apps. In 2012, HyperTV expanded and opened an office in New York City, where the company began working with its first American client, Al Jazeera America. Previously, Vaccarella was the founder and CEO of Vejo Park, and partner and founder of Show Farm.

This event is co-organized and co-sponsored by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University.

The event is supported by Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster.


Montclair State | New Jersey

Martin Halo

Martin Halo is a music journalist who founded TheWaster.com in 2006. He currently lives just outside of New York City and is the Director of Publishing for WASTER Inc., Halo Media Group, and Wired Jersey at Montclair State University.