Big Omaha

The nation's most ambitious conferenceon innovation and entrepreneurship.

13-15 May 2011 at KANEKO

For two and a half days, Big Omaha brings more than 500 passionate individuals together on the Silicon Prairie to experience a lineup of nationally renowned speakers in a venue unlike any other, KANEKO, an artist’s creative center in Omaha’s historic Old Market district.




Regular @ $389 Press Apply Here


David Hauser

David Hauser is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of Grasshopper and Chargify. He is one of the youngest co-founders of a company to be named to Inc.'s list of "500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America." David was also co-founder of Return Path, an email performance management company. David has been featured on CNN, named one of Boston Business Journal's "40 Under 40," and featured in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and many other publications.

Leila Janah

Leila Janah is the founder and CEO of Samasource, an award-winning social business that connects people living in poverty to microwork - small, computer-based tasks that build skills and generate life-changing income. Janah is a frequent speaker on social entrepreneurship and technology, and her work has been profiled by CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC The New York Times and The New Scientist. She serves on the board of TechSoup Global.

Shervin Pishevar is the former chairman of Social Gaming Network, a leading publisher and developer of social and mobile games. Named "Bill Gates' Worst Nightmare" by the Financial Times, he is a visionary technology entrepreneur, published researcher, startup advisor, incubation expert and startup visa activist. In his career, he's raised nearly $50 million in venture funding for his startups.

Travis Kalanick is the co-founder and CEO of Uber, a startup working to provide high-quality, on-demand car service booked easily through a user's iPhone or SMS. His previous company, Red Swoosh, was sold for $19 million in April 2007. Prior companies include Scour, the world's first p2p search engine, where Kalanick also achieved the distinction of being sued for $250 billion.

Ben Huh is the founder and CEO of Cheezburger Network, a conglomerate of related sister sites that has been credited with bringing internet memes to the mainstream and popularizing internet culture. Huh attributes the success of his company to the users and fans who create the content and those who started the sites he acquired, such as and His goal is to make the world happy for five minutes a day.

Philip Kaplan is an entrepreneur in San Francisco, California. He co-founded several companies including Blippy, a venture-backed social shopping company, and AdBrite, the largest privately-held Internet ad network. In 2010, Philip was entrepreneur-in-residence at Charles River Ventures. Philip founded and sold several other businesses including and PK Interactive. Kaplan is the bestselling author of "F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot-com Flameouts." He is an active angel investor and advises several companies.

Sarah Lacy is a senior editor at TechCrunch, the world's largest blog on tech entrepreneurship, and the author of the critically acclaimed "Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good." After more than a decade covering business in Silicon Valley, Lacy decided to follow the flow of capital into the developing world. She bootstrapped a two-year, 40-week journey looking for the best entrepreneurs Silicon Valley had never heard of. The result is her recently released book "Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos."

A senior VP at the Case Foundation, Erich Broksas is also serving as the partnership development lead for the Startup America Partnership. With a deep business background and experience in entrepreneurial environments, Broksas works with corporate partners to develop meaningful commitments that will help Startup America entrepreneurs smartly grow and scale their companies.

Dan Martell is the co-founder of Flowtown, a social marketing platform focused on helping small businesses achieve real results in the world of social media. An award-winning entrepreneur at age 25, he founded Spheric, Inc, which grew an average of 152 percent per year until he sold it in 2008. As an informal angel investor, he is active in advising entrepreneurs using the Lean Startup approach to gain market adoption.

Neil Blumenthal is the co-founder of Warby Parker, an online eyeglass retailer offering boutique-quality prescription eyewear at $95 per pair. For every pair of glasses sold, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone in need. Previously, Blumenthal was the director of VisionSpring, a non-profit social enterprise training low-income women to start their own business selling affordable eyeglasses to individuals living on less than $4 per day in South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Bo Fishback is the founder and CEO of Zaarly, a proximity-based, real-time, buyer-powered market where buyers make an offer for an immediate need and sellers cash in on their local marketplace. If you've ever said, "I'd pay ______ for _______" then Zaarly is for you. If you've ever said "I want money," well... you're welcome. Previously, Fishback was the president of Kauffman Labs and the vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation.

Marc Eckō is an American serial entrepreneur. His roots to business are tied deeply to his love of art and popular culture. He is the founder and chief creative officer of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a billion dollar full-scale global fashion and lifestyle company. Eckō was the youngest member ever inducted into the Board of Directors for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He is also founder of Artists & Instigators, a venture innovation company and a Partner at SeventySix Capital, a top performing early stage venture capital fund.


Gary Vaynerchuk is the co-founder of VaynerMedia, founder of Wine Library TV, and the New York Times bestselling author of "Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion." Vaynerchuk's latest book, "The Thank You Economy," focuses on what he believes is the most important shift in culture businesses have seen. Through Vaynerchuk's dedication and hustle, he helped take his family's business, Wine Library, from $4 million to $60 million over the course of a decade. Vaynerchuk's latest video blog, Daily Grape, is a new twist on his five-year-old Wine Library TV.

Micah Baldwin is CEO and chief community caretaker of, a startup providing an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise. Previously, Micah was with Lijit Networks, his sixth startup. Micah has helped author several books on internet and search marketing, and started the #followfriday meme on Twitter, which has become part of the fabric of the social web.

Aneesh Chopra is the United States Chief Technology Officer and in this role serves as an Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology within the Office of Science & Technology Policy. He works to advance the President's technology agenda by fostering new ideas and encouraging government-wide coordination to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland. He was sworn in on May 22nd, 2009. In 2008, Chopra was named to Government Technology magazine's Top 25 in their Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers issue.

The attendees and speakers at Big Omaha are the people "getting things done." Be a part of something big - ideas and business that are long-lasting and worthwhile. Jeff

Kauffman Microsoft Bizspark Rackspace Gist. Hayneedle Yahoo Anderson Partners Cox Business Jim and Karen Linder Schnackel Tripleseat Hudl NUTech Omaha Steaks Proxibid Quova Borsheims Brown Winick Canada Dwolla Omaha Chamber Unemed Entrepreneurs Organization Nebraska Angels Heartland Technology Alliance Nelnet Bairdholm CRI Kaneko Oxide Malone and Co. Allens Plum Root Ninth Division Sticker Mule Performance Volkswagon Nomad Lounge Metro Magazine


What Cheer

Grab the smart phone, Watson! It's time to earn prizes while you explore every nook and cranny at Big Omaha with Selective Perspective Detective Objective (SPDO). SPDO (pronounced: spee-doh) is an interactive seek and find game with a twist. All you need is a QR reader and Twitter account. Start sleuthing and race to the top of the leaderboard.


In response to the moon's constant presence and cyclical affects on our world, This Strange Phase is an installation of projected animations, sound and gridded paintings that host mournful vocals, poetic fragments and animated activities affected by lunar patterns.

The Hood Internet
The Hood Internet

ABX (pronounced like three consecutive letters) and STV SLV (pronounced "steve sleeve") are collectively known as The Hood Internet. For the past three years, the duo have been chewing up the indie, pop, rap and R&B landscapes and spitting out pure fire. Like laptop-armed alchemists, they draw from their expansive interest in the many faces of modern music and re-imagine songs for mass public consumption through

Over the past year, Omaha native and current New Orleans resident Robert X Fogarty, founder of Dear World, has photographed written messages on people's bodies in his signature accessible portrait style. From a 6th grader who dreams of attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (I'm Going to College) to Superbowl winning quarterback Drew Brees (1...2, Win for You) his work is now seen over 2 million times per month online.

Jeffrey Koterba is an award-winning cartoonist for the Omaha World-Herald. His work is distributed through King Features Syndicate to 400 newspapers nationwide, and has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2010, two of Koterba's cartoons flew aboard space shuttle Discovery.



1111 Jones Street Omaha, NE 68102 (402) 341-3800

Big Omaha is held in the beautiful KANEKO space in the historic Old Market. KANEKO is a new kind of organization: not a museum - not a gallery - not a library nor a research center - but an open space for open minds that nurtures and promotes creativity in the arts, sciences and philosophy.

Through progressive exhibitions, performances, lectures and innovative programming, KANEKO encourages people to explore and experience the creative process that is essential to all human activity.

Suggested Hotels

Magnolia - 1615 Howard St - (888)915-1110 Hilton Garden Inn - 1005 Dodge Street - (402)341-4400 Homewood Suites - 1314 Cuming St - (402) 345-5100

Cold Storage


We've sold out of tickets. If we have the opportunity, we'll release a handful of tickets in the coming weeks. If you're interested in purchasing one of those tickets, please fill out our waitlist form.
To redeem your tickets, contact
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Photos & Videos

Our event photographers, Malone & Company, took thousands of photos and shot hundreds of minutes of video to capture Big Omaha 2011. See the stunning photos on Flickr. Stay tuned to Silicon Prairie News for the release of videos.

In the Press & Blogosphere

Thanks to the reporters, bloggers and photographers who covered, blogged and photographed Big Omaha. We appreciate the attention and we hope you'll join us again next year. Stay tuned to Silicon Prairie News for a full list of coverage.

Big Omaha 2012

We're already gearing up for Big Omaha 2012 to be held in May at KANEKO. For sponsorship information, contact

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