May 3: First Friday- Thorne Sparkman, “Encouraging Local Tech Companies”

Thorne Sparkman, Managing Director

Mr. Sparkman joined Slater in 2000 as Executive Director of the Slater Center for Interactive Technologies (“Slater Interactive”), now the Slater Technology Fund (“Slater Fund”), where he invests in software, new media, and energy-related technologies.

Mr. Sparkman began his career at Time Warner in 1993, where he led the book group’s early efforts in online publishing and commerce on CompuServe and the web. In 1995, Mr. Sparkman co-founded EScribe Corporation, an online publisher that developed communities for upscale, outdoor enthusiasts. The company grew organically and was acquired by NameMedia in 2006. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Sparkman was co-founder and CEO of Incubator, Inc., an angel-funded, Internet business incubator in Berkeley, California, which backed web-based start-ups from the university community, including Emptor (, a venture-backed online payments company acquired by

At the Slater Technology Fund, Mr. Sparkman continues to focus on the earliest stage of company creation. He serves as a board member for Advanced Image Enhancement, Alektrona, Dynadec, Tizra, and Traction Software, and as a board observer at Andera, Location, Inc., Mofuse, RxVantage, and VCharge. He was previously involved with MTI Film and MTI Machine vision (acquired by DVT Corporation, NSDQ: CGNX), GeneSpectrum (acquired by NABsys), Swyx, Tazz Networks, and ModEnergy (acquired by Enersys NSDQ: ENS).

Mr. Sparkman enjoys working with young entrepreneurs as a guest in entrepreneurship classes at Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, a judge at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, and a mentor at BetaSpring, a Providence venture accelerator. He is a frequent panelist at forums including the Brown Forum for Enterprise, the 128 Innovation Capital Group, and the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and his articles on entrepreneurship have appeared in publications including The Providence Journal, Mass High Tech, and American Venture.

Mr. Sparkman holds a B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Harvard and an M.B.A. from the University of California Berkeley’ Haas School of Business.

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