Press Release

SVForum Recognizes the Extraordinary Accomplishments of Some of the World’s Great Innovators

By SpaceRef Editor
June 12, 2012
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SVForum, Silicon Valley’s leading source of information and education in the technology community today, announced the recipients of the 15th Annual SVForum Visionary Awards. The award winners are Accel Partners Partner and President, Jim Breyer, Khan Academy Founder, Salman Khan, Techonomy Conference Founder, Journalist and Facebook Effect author, David Kirkpatrick, and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Elon Musk. (download photos:

Each year, SVForum honors exceptional visionaries, leading venture capitalists, technologists, and entrepreneurs personifying the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. Past recipients have included Vint Cerf, John Chambers, Jim Clark, Judy Estrin, Bill Gates, Reed Hastings, Reid Hoffman, Vinod Khosla, Michael Moritz, and TJ Rogers.

“For the past 15 years SVForum has brought together Silicon Valley’s leaders to recognize the visionaries making the greatest contributions each year to shape the world of technology on a global level,” commented Ann Winblad, Chairperson of the SVForum Board of Directors. “We are fortunate to honor these extraordinary individuals who are pushing the bounds of innovation.”

The SVForum Board of Directors selects the award recipients based on their monumental achievements and ongoing dedication to improving our lives through superior technology. The 2012 Visionaries will be honored at a ceremony on June 19, 2012.

“For nearly three decades SVForum has provided a powerful voice and opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn, network, and successfully bring their ground-breaking ideas to market,” said Chris Gill, CEO of SVForum. “As a major hub of expertise and learning for the Silicon Valley tech community, SVForum is privileged to once again assemble Silicon Valley’s foremost business and technology innovators to celebrate the visionary achievements of those select people who are helping to lead the tech world forward.”

The 2012 Visionary Honorees:

Jim Breyer, Partner and President, Accel Partners

Jim has been an investor in over thirty consumer internet, media, and technology companies that have completed public offerings or successful mergers. Many of these investments returned over 20 times their cost to investors. In April 2011, Forbes published its Midas List of top technology investors and ranked Jim Breyer #1. In August 2010, Fortune Magazine named Breyer the #1 smartest investor in technology, and one of the 10 smartest people in all of technology.

He led Accel’s investment in Facebook (FB) in April, 2005, and has served on the Board of Directors since that time. Jim is also currently on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (WMT), where he is the Lead/Presiding Independent Director, and serves on the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, and the Technology Operations Committee. He also serves on the board of Brightcove (BCOV), where he invested in the Series A round in 2005, and on the board of Dell Inc (DELL), where he is the Chair of the Finance Committee. Jim recently was elected to the board of News Corporation (NWS) in October, 2011.

Salman Khan, Educator

Salman Khan (Sal) founded the Khan Academy as a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education for “anyone, anywhere” in the world. As a side project, Khan began tutoring his young cousin in math, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. When others expressed interest, he began posting videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009 he quit his day job to commit himself fully to this new business. The Khan Academy website now provides self-pacing software and unlimited access to over 3,000 instructional videos covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics, and is the most-used library of educational videos on the web. Over 10,000 classrooms around the world are also using Khan Academy to help build student mastery of topics and to free up class time for dynamic project based learning.

Sal was recently profiled by 60 Minutes and recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Microsoft’s Bill Gates stated in the Time article that, “Sal Khan is a true education pioneer. He started by posting a math lesson, but his impact on education might truly be incalculable.”

David Kirkpatrick, Journalist and Author

Author and journalist David Kirkpatrick is founder and CEO of Techonomy Media, which hosts the annual Techonomy conference, on the role of tech in business and social progress. The company also produces editorial content about technology’s integral role in, increasingly, everything. Kirkpatrick wrote the bestselling book The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, which has been published in 31 countries, and was finalist for Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year and the Gerald Loeb Award. Kirkpatrick was for many years senior editor for Internet and technology at Fortune Magazine where he wrote numerous cover stories and created Fortune’s Brainstorm conference. Kirkpatrick now writes regularly for Vanity Fair, Forbes and Newsweek/Daily Beast and is a frequent commentator on Bloomberg, CNBC and CNN. He earlier studied art and exhibited video at the Museum of Modern Art. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations

Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect and CEO

Elon Musk is CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. In 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to dock with the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth with its Dragon spacecraft. At Tesla, Elon has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all electric Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X. Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests for almost two decades. Elon is also the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create. Prior to SpaceX, Elon co-founded PayPal, and served as the company’s Chairman and CEO. Before PayPal, he co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.

In 2010, Musk was the youngest recipient of the Auto Executive of the Year Innovator Award for his work at Tesla Motors, and named to the Time 100 for 2010. Elon has also been recognized as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine. He has received Research and Development Magazine’s Innovator of the Year Award, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics award for the greatest contribution to the field of space transportation, the National Space Society Von Braun Trophy for leadership of the most significant achievement in space, and the Aviation Week Laureate for the most significant achievement worldwide in the space industry.

About SVForum

Established in 1983, SVForum is a leading Silicon Valley not-for-profit organization. SVForum provides an unbiased source of information and insight to the technology community. SVForum engages the community by creating connections and community, providing education and access to resource and linking the global business community to Silicon Valley. SVForum provides the latest insights on emerging technology trends and best business practices through events, specialized services and resources. SVForum reaches 15,000 technology professionals annually through more than 20 events each month. SVForum partners include global leaders Accenture, Citrix, Deloitte, Genentech, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia and SAP, as well as leading venture capital firms, service providers and the Sobrato Foundation.

For further information, visit the SVForum website at

SpaceRef staff editor.