MITX Innovation Hall of Fame 2012 – "Boston" Bill Warner

Posted by Debi Kleiman on Fri, May 11, 2012

Our MITX Innovation Award finalists are working hard every day to make an impact on the way we work and play. It’s incredibly inspiring to hear their stories and see their results. Many of them talk about the mentors, coaches and partners that have helped them along the way – allowing them to get where they are now and see where they are going next.

In fact, there are individuals in our community who wake up every day with the sole purpose of supporting this great community in exactly this way.  These people give so much of themselves – yet to them, it’s all in day’s work. They too are incredibly inspiring.

Each year, as part of the MITX Innovation Awards, we recognize an individual who embodies this spirit. We look for someone who is an accomplished entrepreneur and technologist, a true innovator, and a person who continues, despite their enormous past successes, to shape and contribute to the New England Innovation Community in a big way.

At the Awards, we honor this person by inducting them into the MITX Innovation Hall of Fame – where we have the opportunity to learn about their contributions and hear, in their own words, about what innovation means to them.  

Bill WarnerThis year, we have the exciting honor of recognizing the contributions that Bill Warner - engineer, entrepreneur, community builder, and angel investor -has been making to our community since coming to Massachusetts in 1977. 


“It is generally really hard to look backwards and pinpoint one event or person that has fundamentally changed the course of an entire community.  In our case, we can – it’s easy.  Bill Warner and his passion impacts nearly every entrepreneur in our ecosystem.   He’s a chameleon of roles to the people that need him most.  To some, he’s a mentor and coach and to others an investor – but I think it’s safe to say that to everyone – he’s an inspiring figure, we all hope to be able to achieve just 1% of what he’s already been able to accomplish.”

-     Gus Weber, Entrepreneur in Residence, Polaris Venture Partner, MITX Board of Directors

Bill’s focus on working with entrepreneurs from the very early stages, and specifically on how to “build your startup from the heart” and avoid the push to follow your head, has moved many a budding entrepreneur forward to great success.

"Bill is a tremendous supporter of early-stage entrepreneurs in the Boston area. His vision of building companies based on heart and fearlessness, and not short-term quarter-by-quarter economics, is critical to making Boston the birthplace of billion-dollar tech companies. That vision and daring, is the foundation of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Bill inspires every entrepreneur he touches, with it."
-     Anmol Madan, Founder/CEO, Ginger.io

Bill started Avid Technology in 1987 to make video and film editing as easy to cut and paste as words are in word processing. Bill won an Emmy in 1993, and Avid received the Oscar in 1999 for technology that changed the film industry.  In 1992, Bill started Wildfire Communications, Inc., which created the world’s first electronic assistant to use speech recognition on the phone, much like Apple's Siri does today.

In the last four years, Bill has focused on how to supercharge the local ecosystem. He's created new conferences that catalyze the community including MassTLC’s Innovation unConference, worked on leadership programs at MIT, helped bring TechStars to Boston and grow it into a major local force, and has become a prolific Boston “Super Angel” investor through his company CoFlow Investing. Bill has made 20 investments in the last 18 months.

“Bill Warner reminds us all to think about our intentions as we build companies, mentor and create a vibrant community. Every day he helps bring entrepreneurs back to the things that matter so they build strong companies they are proud of leading. Thank you Bill for all you do and being a fantastic mentor.”
-    Katie Rae, Managing Director, TechStars Boston

Join us on June 12th to honor Bill and hear his thoughts on the growth of the Massachusetts innovation community as he accepts the 2012 MITX Innovation Hall of Fame award.