Esther Dyson (@edyson on twitter) is chairman of EDventure Holdings. Her primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on health, human capital and aerospace. Most recently, she founded HICCup (Health Initiative Coordinating Council), dedicated to fostering and measuring the impact of critical-density health programs. HICCup will run a contest of five years, five places and five metrics, to encourage and reward five communities to make dramatic changes in both health care and health “production.” Beyond the HICCup prize, the real reward will be a sustainably healthier workforce/student body/community.
Overall, Dyson is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets (both economic and political). From October 2008 to March of 2009, she lived in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, training as a backup cosmonaut.
Apart from this brief sabbatical, she is an active board member for a variety of companies, including 23andMe, Eventful, IBS Group (advisory board), Meetup, NewspaperDirect, Voxiva (the company behind text4baby.org in the US and Russia), WPP Group, XCOR Aerospace and Yandex (Russia – YNDX). Her past investments have included Medstory and Powerset (sold to Microsoft), Flickr and del.icio.us (sold to Yahoo!), Brightmail (sold to Symantec). Her current investments include AdKeeper, Amicus, AnchorFree, ChallengePost, Cognitive Match, Crowdbooster, Fancy, Factual, Flattr (Sweden), GoodData, GridPoint, Ji Grahak (India), Knack.it, LinkedIn (LNKD), Linqia, Payperks, RockTech, Skygrid, Square, SocialBon, Sparked, Trusted ID, txteagle/Jana, Vizu in information services; AlterGeo, Ostrovok, TerraLink and Zingaya in Russia; Applied Proteomics, Crohnology, Genomera, HealthEngage, Health Loop, HealthRally, HealthTap, Keas, Medico, Medivo, Omada Health, Organized Wisdom, PatientsLikeMe, PatientsKnowBest (UK), Resilient, Tocagen, Valkee (Finland) and Vita Portal in health; and Icon Aircraft (light sport aircraft), Nanoracks and Space Adventures (which organizes programs such as hers for space tourists) in aerospace.
Dyson also sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Eurasia Foundation, the Long Now Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, the Personal Genome Foundation, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (patron) and StopBadware.org. She has a BA in economics from Harvard and started her serious career as a fact-checker/reporter for Forbes Magazine (1974-77). From 1977 to 1982 she worked on Wall Street as a securities analyst, covering companies such as Federal Express, Apple Computer and Electronic Data Systems. From 1983 to 2004 she wrote/edited Release 1.0, a monthly analysis of the PC/Internet business, and ran the yearly PC Forum, the industry’s leading executive conference (no sponsors), as head of her own company EDventure Holdings. She sold EDventure to CNET in 2004 and worked there for two years before going completely independent. Along the way, she served as founding (non-exec) chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000. In addition, she wrote the best-selling, widely translated book “Release 2.0: A design for living in the digital age,” published by Broadway Books, in 1997. She writes a monthly column for project-syndicate.org and posts photos at www.flickr.com/photos/edyson.