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Fireside Chat with Heidi Messer, Technology/Digital Entrepreneur & Investor

I invited Heidi to come to our campus at CCNY to talk about the startup world and entrepreneurship overall, and also to talk about the role of technology in the world. She has been a very successful internet entrepreneur since the early days in the 90's and is now pursuing a new venture involved incorporating AI-driven tools for the enterprise end market. We had a wide ranging conversation covering the technology sector, the future of AI, and the state of the venture capital industry. Thank you so much Heidi for being so generous with your time with our students!


Heidi Messer was an early Internet entrepreneur and investor who has founded several global businesses, including LinkShare Corporation, host to one of the world’s largest online networks representing the world’s premier publishers and merchants on the web. The company is widely considered to be a pioneer in the world of SaaS, digital advertising and the share economy. Heidi served as a board member, President, and Chief Operating Officer of LinkShare, helping to create the sector of online marketing commonly referred to as “affiliate marketing.” LinkShare sold to Rakutan for $425 million in 2005. In 2008, Heidi co-founded Collective[i]™ with her husband, Tad Martin, and brother, Stephen Messer, eventually collaborating with leading data scientists and PhD-level technology developers in building the company’s AI-driven tools. In 2014, Heidi was awarded two patents in conjunction with Collective[i]’s data analytics network. Messer is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences around the world on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, business intelligence and the future of the Internet. She served on the 2012 Wall Street JournalExecutive Task Force on Women and participated in the 2014 Wall Street Journal CIO Network as a subject matter expert. She was selected as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs as part of their Builders and Innovators Summit in 2012 and received the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Technology Pioneer Award at the United Nations in 2014. Heidi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Brown University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum Claude. She received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude.

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