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January 20, 2018 interview

V O L J Podcast Interview


Blackbird Ventures

Barbara Bry & Neil Senturia

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2223 Avenida de la Playa, Suite 206
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 248-9465

Contact Barbara Bry

Contact Neil Senturia

Barbara Bry has been a successful entrepreneur in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In early May, she announced that she is a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1 which includes La Jolla, University City and Carmel Valley.

Currently, she is the chief operating officer of Blackbird Ventures that invests in and incubates early stage tech companies, and she and her husband Neil Senturia have written a weekly column on innovation and entrepreneurship for U-T San Diego. In 2014, they were recognized by the SBA as “Small Business Journalists of the Year” for San Diego and Imperial Counties. Last year, Barbara was appointed by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is the first San Diegan to be selected.

Barbara was on the founding team of that started in 1998 in a small office in La Jolla. She was the first Associate Director of CONNECT, which has been recognized internationally for its role in nurturing early stage companies. She is the founder of San Diego Athena, which has become the leading organization for women in the San Diego tech and life science community, and Run Women Run, a non-partisan group that supports qualified San Diego women for elected office.

Barbara has served on numerous non-profit boards and councils including the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Business Advisory Council, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation, and CONNECT​. She has also been a member of many community organizations including Rotary Club 33. Her numerous awards include the CONNECT Distinguished Contribution Award for Technology Innovation and induction into the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame.

Neil Senturia is the CEO of Blackbird Ventures that invests in and incubates early stage technology companies. Current investments include Dealstruck, Abreos, LoanHero, and 1 App Works. Past investments include Atcom/Info (sold to Cisco), Mohomine (sold to Kofax), Valore Books (sold to Simple Tuition) and LonoCloud (sold to ViaSat). He also writes a weekly column on entrepreneurship for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
From 1985-1995, Neil focused on real estate development, building more than 1.8 million square feet of condo, office and hotel. From 1980-1985, he was an executive in the financial services industry and worked in real estate syndication. Prior to that, he worked in Hollywood as a screen and TV writer. 

Neil has taught entrepreneurship at San Diego State University and at UC San Diego. His numerous awards include CONNECT’s Distinguished Contribution Award for Technology Innovation in 2008, several innovation awards from Microsoft, and recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration as “Small Business Journalist of the Year” for 2014 for San Diego and Imperial Counties. He is the author of “I’m There for You Baby, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Galaxy,” in which he shares the ups and downs of his entrepreneurial life and the lessons-rules-that he’s learned and how they apply to all of our lives.