Dan Harple is the managing director of Shamrock Ventures, B.V., which is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has been a technology entrepreneur for more than 20 years, having founded and built technologies, companies, and products that have been used by billions of Internet users.
Harple has had a seminal influence on the commercial Internet thanks to his pioneering of voice over internet protocol (VoIP), streaming media, and interactive screen sharing/shared whiteboards, in the early ‘90s. He has been behind innovations driving a range of patents that are some of the most cited for: collaborative computing, VoIP, streaming media, real-time web communications, big data integration, and location-based social media. Harple’s influence underlies technologies that power Skype, GoToMeeting, Webex, SmartBoards, Oracle Fusion, Sina Weibo, and YouTube, among others.
- Harple was the co-founder and chairman/CEO of InSoft, a company that merged with Netscape in 1995, providing core audio and video functionality, as well as VoIP, streaming, and real time conferencing. (Netscape CoolTalk, Netscape Conference, Netscape Media Server)
- He later collaborated with artist/producer/musician/inventor Todd Rundgren on their Context Labs/Waking Dreams venture, which focused on real-time interactive artist technologies. PatroNet, a Rundgren vehicle, was the internet’s formative artist/fan direct relationship platform.
- Subsequent to this effort, Harple was founder and chairman/CEO of Context Media, which was acquired by Oracle in 2005. This combination formed the basis of Oracle’s “big data” collaborative enterprise search, Fusion, which now has more than 50,000 customers.
- In 2006, he founded and was chairman/CEO of gypsii, which, via a 2010 joint venture, now provides the location-based social media engine driving China’s fastest-growing Twitter-like platform, Sina Weibo, which has more than 600 million users.
Harple is a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he founded the new Sloan program called REAL (Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration Lab). He serves as an entrepreneur in residence (EIR) at MIT as well. Dan co-founded Context Labs, which uses big data analytics to describe the growth of innovation ecosystems and clusters, which also partners with the MIT Media Lab’s work on City Science in the Changing Places Group. He’s collaborated on several Media Lab Courses: Beyond Smart Cities (2013) and Changing Cities: How to Prototype New Urban Systems (2014).
He has received numerous awards, including Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the NEA President’s Award, and he has served as a director and/or advisor for a variety of nonprofits and educational institutions. The book by the Wall Street Journal’s Thomas Petzinger, The New Pioneers: The Men and Women Who Are Transforming the Workplace and Marketplace. Simon & Schuster, 1999, describes the pioneering work done by Dan and his team for Voice over IP (VoIP), real-time collaboration, and Internet video streaming. He holds degrees from MIT and the University of Rhode Island and he also attended Marlboro College. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the Berklee College of Music.