Below you will find everything you need to know about your time with us during the 2017 Praxis Academy. If you find information that needs to be updated or have questions, please let us know by replying all to your speaker email. 


Biola University
13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, CA 90639

We will primarily be in Crowell Auditorium (Plenary Sessions) and Talbot East (Breakouts, Roundtables).
For those who need to park, please use Parking Structure S

When you arrive on campus, please contact Meghan Easley: 724.961.9530 or Dylan Thomas: 717.669.5920

We have you down as staying locally with friends. If that changes and you need a hotel, please let us know. 

We have you down as renting your own car and driving yourself to/from the airport and to/from campus for the events you're scheduled to speak/mentor at.

We are happy to pay all travel related expenses; we simply need receipts for them in order to comply with strict IRS regulations. Please submit receipts to jon@praxislabs.org by August 16 and include the mailing address you'd like a check sent to.

Jon Hart: jon@praxislabs.org | 612.382.0609 // Contact for: Pre-Event Questions & Speaker Content
Dylan Thomas: dylan@praxislabs.org | 717.669.5920 // Contact for: On-Site Logistics
Meghan Easley: meghan@praxislabs.org | 724.961.9530 // Contact for: On-Site Logistics

We will be filming the event, and request your permission to do so for your talk; if you haven't sent your signed waiver in yet, please send to lori@praxislabs.org.

Given that talks will be filmed, we suggest a nice & smart-casual dress.


Academy includes 3 types of sessions: Plenary, Breakouts, and Roundtables. We've found delivering content in a variety of settings and formats enhances the student learning experience and gives them exposure to an array of experiences and perspectives. This also means timing for our sessions are tight, thus we appreciate your help in preparing content that is succinct and within the allocated time. We intentionally schedule some sessions for a tight timeframe on the main stage, knowing that the topics are best digested in a smaller format. 

Here's an explanation of the session types:

Plenary sessions are on the main stage with the full audience (~200). There are talks, panels, and interviews. 

Breakouts are a deeper-dive on a topic where 2-3 mentors co-facilitate a conversation and engage the audience for Q&A. Sessions are 40 minutes; consider sharing 15-20 minutes of up front content (between all mentors) then inviting audience Q&A. Expect ~20-45 students per session. 

Roundtables are an an informal time for a smaller group to personally engage with mentors and ask questions about the whole of life — from career, life, or startup advice. These are a unique opportunity to share more personal and off-the-record stories (they will not be recorded), if you are comfortable with that. As you might imagine, students value authentic stories (even if they are incomplete) over prepared or canned answers.


View the full week's event schedule here and meet the mentors here. Please note the below schedule only includes the times we have you down as having specific mentorship/speaking responsibilities. You're more than welcome to attend before or stay after your official mentoring times. 


MORNING PLENARY: You're more than welcome to join us for the morning plenary so you see some of the topics covered, but no obligation. Your official time with us starts with breakouts at 2pm. Please plan to arrive at least 15-minutes early to your first breakout to meet the other mentors and get situated. 

Talbot East, various locations

Venture Capital & Venture Philanthropy: Careers, Trends And Opportunities (AI)
Josh Kwan, Tom Blaisdell // TE, P07
We’ve all heard the cliche that “money makes the world go round,” and to entrepreneurs this can often be painfully true: the flow of capital can make or break a venture, whether it is a business or a nonprofit. We believe in the large-scale impact of entrepreneurship, which means we need to understand the funding models that drive this kind of impact. Venture Capital and Venture Philanthropy are critical financial components to understand – both from the perspective of those who deploy capital, and of those seeking to secure capital for their ventures.
This session will focus on three aspects of the VC/VP world: 

  • Careers: How might one chart a course toward VC or VP jobs?
  • Trends: What is happening in the industry, and what does the future look like? How do current trends shift job prospects, and what kinds of experiences are most valued? How might it shift how investments are made? 
  • Opportunities: What are best practices for creating opportunities with VCs or VPs to either land a job or an investment?

Josh Kwan spent seven years in high-impact philanthropy, granting over $25m, and has helped broker multi-million dollar capital investments in hybrid models (social enterprises). He will share his expertise on Venture Philanthropy, including current trends and what they are looking for, and what the difference is between traditional non-profit fundraising and this emerging category.

Tom Blaisdell spent 17 years in Venture Capital, most recently as a General Partner at DCM Ventures, where he made dozens of investments and heard thousands of pitches. He will share stories and advice on Venture Capital, from how to build relationships and navigate the muddy waters of connecting with VCs, to charting a career path in the industry. 

Raising Capital For Your Idea (DFR)

Kurt Keilhacker, Jessica Kim, Tom Blaisdell // TE, P08

From Shark Tank’s rise to one of TV’s top shows, to the dozens of podcasts, hundreds of accelerator demo days, school startup competitions, and thousands of blogs offering advice on how to pitch, there’s no shortage of advice on how to raise capital. But how do we separate the signal from the noise and find wise advice? Perhaps more importantly, how do we, as Christians, think differently about raising capital for our idea? This session will dispel some of the myths around fundraising and provide practical advice on how to build relationships and navigate the complexities of trying to raise capital. 

Kurt Keilhacker, a 20-year venture capital veteran who has invested or operated across dozens of technology oriented startups, from Cobalt (IPO / acquired by Sun for $2B) to Mailbox (acquired by Dropbox), is also a deeply clear theological thinker who always helps cut through the noise. Kurt will share some of his perspectives on how Christians might think differently about capital raises, from how they go about it, to who they bring on as investors, and how they divide their cap table. 

Jessica Kim, a serial entrepreneur who raised $1m for her first venture before she graduated college and went through a prominent accelerator and raised multiple rounds of capital from prominent investors in her second venture, will share best practices and stories of her experience. Jessica is also working on her third venture as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Charles River Ventures – with whom she built a long-term relationship during her second venture. 

Tom Blaisdell, an investor and operator who spent the last 17 years as a Venture Capitalist where he led a dozen investments that resulted in successful IPOs or acquisitions, will bring his deep expertise to the conversation. Tom has developed a passion for teaching along the way, and is now leading the Center for Private Equity & Entrepreneurship at the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth.

*There is another breakout session happening during this time; feel free to choose one of the other sessions to attend, or we know you've got other meetings in the area, so feel free to take off for the day -- your next mentoring obligation is Wednesday morning. 

Speakers Dinner (Optional) 
Mr. V's Bar & Grill (14320 Valley View Ave, La Mirada, CA 90638)


For those needing a ride, please meet in the lobby by 8:00AM; Scott Kauffmann, Dave Blanchard, and/or Josh Kwan will be driving speakers to campus.

For those arriving on your own, please arrive on campus by 8:40AM at Talbot East, Andrews Banquet Room. 

Morning Worship
Talbot East - Plaza Level, Outdoor Courtyard

Talbot East, Andrews Banquet room & Plaza Level Classrooms

ROUNDTABLE 1: 40-minutes
ROUNDTABLE 2: 40-minutes
ROUNDTABLE 3: 40-minutes

For each roundtable session, you will connect with a rotating group of 6-14 students and answer their questions across the whole of life. You do not need to prepare specific content for these sessions, rather just be yourself and be prepared to answer their questions and give advice by sharing your knowledge though stories, anecdotes, and critical decisions you've made as a leader. 

Speakers Lunch Available / Optional if you can stay for it!
Crowell Hall - Courtyard (near Main Stage Greenroom) 


Your official mentoring time with us concludes on Wednesday after the roundtables (12pm). Feel free to hang out for longer if you'd like, grab lunch with other speakers at Crowell, or students in Cafe Biola -- but no obligation to do so! Thanks for being with us!

We have you down as departing on your own once the event concludes. If we can be helpful in arranging any of your transportation needs after the event, please let us know.