Silicon Valley Research tour - a summary


Lawyers from Bird & Bird's San Francisco and London offices have been participating in the 23rd Ntegra US Research Tour of Silicon Valley. The tour started informally on Sunday with a visit to San Francisco to see some of the sites the city has to offer, as the delegates looked forward to an interesting and varied agenda over the coming days.

The tour is based at the Stanford Park Hotel in Palo Alto, just a short distance away from Sandhill Road where the tour party will be visiting Greylock and Sequoia Capital. The delegates will also meet with start-ups from the portfolios of Intel Capital, Cyber Mentor Fund and Next World Capital. Ntegra are working with new collaborators including Silicon Valley Bank, Salesforce, GV, Lightspeed and The Vault and were hosted by Stanford University at the prestigious Faculty Club for an afternoon of insight including hearing about some of the projects the students are involved with.

In addition to seeing the broad range of emerging technology, on this year’s tour the delegates will be exploring how the “Digital Transformation Gap” manifests itself in organisations and what role innovation plays, both technologically and culturally as a counter to closing the gap.



Read day one summary

Read day two summary

Read day three summary

Read day four summary

Read day five summary

Day five

For the final day of the research tour consisted of visiting Sequoia Capital where we were hosted by Jeff Pashalides and Austin Quarles, who are members of Sequoia's capital development team. Sequoia once again where able to showcase a high calibre of portfolio companies, with our delegates receiving presentations from UiPath, Confluent, Armis Security, Ironclad and Figma. The presentations where followed by further discussion between the delegates and the presenters, allowing the opportunity to hear more from our presenters and gain further insight into each respective company.  

Our visit to Sequoia successfully concluded this year's research tour. Once again Ntegra's US research tour done in partnership with Bird & Bird provided  high quality, engaging and innovative content and insights to all our delegates. To learn more about the tour or for further details on upcoming tours please get in touch.

Day four

The 4th day of  the Research Tour was a Venture Capital day. The delegation visited both Lightspeed Ventures and Greylock Partners for a full day of presentations from portfolio companies. Where  Saqib Awan at Lightspeed and Cyrus Pinto from Greylock acted as hosts and the presenting companies included Abnormal Security, Anyvision, Blameless, Cleo, Demisto, Dremio, Elastifile, FotressIQ, InCountry and Testim,

As well as hearing from the portfolio companies we had insightful discussions with both Lightspeed and Greylock on VC funding and how each VC approaches investing. The day finished with an End of Tour Dinner at the Stanford Park Hotel.

Day three

The third day of the tour hosted by Deena Shakir and Cissy Hu from GV (previously known as Google Ventures). They discussed the values of GV and we received overviews of their portfolio companies. Our visit continued with presentations from Tamr, Obsidian, FaunaDB and SambaNova

In the afternoon we headed to the prestigious Faculty Club at Stanford University.  We heard from Tamara Carleton, CEO and Founder of the Innovation Leadership Group and Continuing Studies Instructor who took the delegation through 3 Horizon Scanning, the Curve of Ambiguity and the Growth Mindset. 

This was followed by Professor Michael Shanks who talked about developing cultures of learning.  By special arrangement we also held a student panel where 5 students talked about the start-ups they had been involved with, their aspirations for the future and life as a student at Stanford. 

Ntegra's Jon Ellard chaired an Executive Panel and was joined by Gerald Brady of Silicon Valley Bank, Timothy Eades, investor and CEO of vArmour, Bill O’Connor of the Vault  and Alex Fielding, Founder and CEO of Ripcord. Among other topics there was much discussion on innovation in large enterprises, finding hiring and retaining talent and building culture.

The afternoon ended with a walking tour of the campus, taking in the award-winning ME310 student design loft, creative spaces, and the campus bookstore.

Special thanks to all our presenters, executive panellists and the student panellists!

Day two

Day 2 of the Research Tour saw the delegation heading into San Francisco where we were kindly hosted by Salesforce. The day began with a “breakfast with a view” on the 61st floor of Salesforce Tower and a tour of the floor along with the views! The tour then moved on to the Innovation Centre at Salesforce East where Jo-ann Olsovsky, Salesforce CIO, gave a talk on “Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Theresa Ludvigson, Senior Director, Global Onboarding then presented on “Technology + Culture = Innovation & Employee Engagement”.

In the afternoon, we had presentations from a number of start-ups from the portfolio of Intel Capital. These included AEye, Ayar Labs, Avaamo, CloudGenix and GenXComm. We completed the presentations by taking a short trip to The VAULT, an incubation and co-working facility, where Bill O’Connor talked about the Innovation Genome project.

Howard Rubin, Partner in our Commercial Practice says:

"Silicon Valley remains the focus for innovation.  Whilst we see innovative companies in Europe and Asia, the attraction of Silicon Valley stands head and shoulders above their eco systems.  Israel which perhaps is the closest ecosystem to the Valley's lacks the readily available market to boost sales for its innovative companies.

There is awareness that the ever increasing volume and value of data needs more hardware as opposed to software solutions to manage it and extract value.  New chip design was identified as a way of addressing this issue."

Roger Bickerstaff, Partner in our Tech & Comms group says:

"The Study Tour gives a great and positive immersion in the Bay Area's "can do" innovative Tech culture.  Bill O'Connor, from the San Francisco Vault, emphasises the positive and collaborative Bay culture as being a key factor in the Valley's success.  He is right that the Valley's cultural positivity allows innovations to develop and flourish in the Valley, that would be stifled and crushed in most other environments."

We would like to extend special thanks to Salesforce for hosting us for a very special visit today and to everyone who presented.

Day one

Ntegra’s 23rd US Research Tour commenced on Monday 20th May with a “Perspectives Day” hosted by Silicon Valley Bank. The morning session explored how to be truly innovative before hearing from VCs and carefully curated portfolio companies in the afternoon.

Gerald Brady from Silicon Valley Bank  hosted the Ntegra delegation and shared his insights on Silicon Valley and the bank’s Artificial Intelligence strategy. Our day was framed with a keynote from Mark Zawacki of 650 Labs titled “Rethink Everything”. Ntegra’s Jon Ellard shared Ntegra’s approach to Technological Innovation using “The Curve of Technological Innovation” and “The 9 Personas”.

Craig Hanson from Next World Capital provided an informative Q&A session and the CyberMentor Fund. Presenting companies included Redmarlin, Calypso,, and Undefined Labs.

Feedback from the delegation was very positive for both a thought provoking and informative day. We finished the day with drinks at Silicon Valley Bank, followed by a walk into Palo Alto for dinner where we were able to reflect on what we had learned so far.