The Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award recognizes excellence in the Wharton and University of Pennsylvania entrepreneurial community. Recipients are chosen by the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, and awarded at the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Dinner in San Francisco.
2015: Josh Kopelman, W’93
Josh Kopelman W’93 founded First Round in 2004 to reinvent seed-stage investing. Since that time the firm has invested in nearly 300 emerging technology startups, becoming one of the most active venture capital firms in the country.
A serial entrepreneur, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation in 1992, while he was an undergraduate at Wharton—and took it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1996. Josh founded Half.com in July of 1999, and led it to become one of the largest sellers of used books, movies and music in the world. Half.com was acquired by eBay in July 2000. In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world’s first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later.
Josh is an entrepreneur who has found a way to help other entrepreneurs at the crucial seed-stage moment, when support, guidance, and funding are most needed. As such, he exemplifies the mentoring spirit of Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship. We are proud to honor him with the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award.
2014: Mark Pincus, W’88
Mark Pincus, W’88, is Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Zynga, driving the company toward a mission of connecting the world through games.Mark founded the company in 2007 and served as CEO for six years and CPO for seven years.Since its founding, more than one billion people in 200 countries across web and mobile platforms have played and connected through Zynga games. Games such as FarmVille and Words With Friends have become a part of people’s daily lives. The way we play games, for fun, education, or social good, has been profoundly changed by Mark Pincus. He exemplifies the qualities we seek to honor with the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Achievement Award.
2013: Jeff Weiner, W’92
Jeff Weiner, W’92, is CEO of LinkedIn, the world’s largest and most powerful network of professionals. He joined the company in December 2008, and under his leadership, LinkedIn has rapidly expanded its global platform to 19 languages and 26 offices around the world, grown its membership base from 33 million to more than 200 million members and increased its revenue more than tenfold to $972 million in 2012. Without Jeff Weiner, our day-to-day online activities, at work and at play, would be a vastly different experience.
2012: Rick Thompson, WG’96
Serial entrepreneur Rick Thompson WG’96 launched his first business, FlyCast, as a Wharton student. He has since founded and exited businesses valued at over $1.5 billion, including on-line advertising company Adify, social gaming company Playdom, and mobile gaming Funzio, and invested in dozens of ventures such as Wild Needle, Idle Games, Red Robot Labs, Grand Cru, Rumble Entertainment, Project Slice, Fun+, Airy Labs, Noise Toys, Viki, Social Shield, Udemy, Triangluate, AdHina, and Iddictuion. He is one of the most active investors in games and gaming companies in the world.