Leadership and Entrepreneur Keynote Speaker, Venture Capitalist, LinkedIn influencer, and Former CEO of Odesk.
Gary Swart is a veteran Silicon Valley executive and venture capital investor. He is credited with building the world’s largest online marketplace oDesk, which grew to more than eight million freelancers and one million clients under his leadership. He guided the company through periods of great change and hockey stick growth, and then through a successful merger with Elance in April of 2014, all the while serving as a champion for entrepreneurship and workplace innovation.
In 2014, Gary sought to leverage his operational experience and passion for growing startups and joined Polaris Partners as a Venture Partner. Polaris is a venerable venture capital firm that invests in exceptional technology and healthcare companies across all stages of their lifecycles. At the firm, Gary leads the Silicon Valley technology practice where he mentors business leaders at innovative companies working to change the way we live and work. He is a LinkedIn Influencer and regularly shares his commentary via the social network.
Gary has held numerous leadership positions at technology organizations including Intellibank where he was VP of Worldwide Sales responsible for building the direct and indirect sales organization and channel development. Prior to Intellibank, he was a Business Unit Executive for IBM’s Rational Software Product Group, which he joined following the acquisition of Rational by IBM. Gary also served in numerous leadership and management positions at Pure Software early in his career.
Gary has held a seat at the table of some of the most innovative and fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley. He has translated these experiences into an inspirational, forward-thinking, and collaborative approach to building and motivating young business minds. Gary’s messages draw on his three decades as a business leader and entrepreneur, offering strategic and practical methodologies for success in a dynamic, ever-changing business ecosystem.
Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school students.
Gary has been described as inspirational, charismatic, down to earth, passionate, energetic, fascinating, enlightening, and gives “invaluable entrepreneurial and business insights”.
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