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Business

High-Tech Startup Veteran Kevin O’Connor Offers Tips to Harness Consumer Web

Entrepreneur to lead Wednesday's panel discussion at MIT Central Coast Enterprise Forum

Santa Barbara high-tech entrepreneur Kevin O’Connor will be talking technology at the MIT Central Coast Enterprise Forum on Wednesday at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center.

O’Connor will discuss the premise behind his latest venture, FindThe Best.com, an online comparison engine that helps consumers compare their options under a multitude of topics and decide which is best for them. He will also speak about “lessons learned” from DoubleClick, an Internet advertisement technology company, and other startups that he has successfully founded.

The Internet has evolved from being the go-to source for everything you need to know about anything to a cumbersome and tangled consumer Web of conflicting retailer and product information. Business opportunities abound in trying to comprehend the multiple Web sites offering disparate information on consumer products. One of the best of many attempts to consolidate the surplus of information on the Internet and one of the most comprehensive and objective aids for online consumers, FindTheBest.com is a Santa Barbara-based startup backed by the Kleiner Perkinsventure capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

Topics include:

» What new entrepreneurial opportunities are emerging as the consumer Web matures

» What is the future and viability of comparison engines

» Is there room for an all inclusive Internet aggregation tool and what will that do to the vertical comparison engines

Wednesday’s program, presented by O’Connor and a panel of experts in various aspects of online consumer choice and shopping, is for both entrepreneurs and investors looking to capitalize on this new phase in the consumer Web lifecycle, and retailers interested in how to best maximize their electronic commerce channels.

Susan Block, co-founder of Block, Bowman & Associates LLC, will moderate the panel, which includes John Greathouse, general partner of Rincon Ventures; Jeffrey Lee, an associate of Mission Ventures; Christopher Means, executive director of sales and marketing of Digifit; and Ed Stevens, CEO and founder of Shopatron.

The MIT Central Coast Enterprise Forum begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday with a networking hour, wine, beer and a light buffet. The program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and includes a Q&A session. The event is held at Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Click here to register online for the forum for $30. Walk-in registration is $40 and student tickets are $15. There is a $3 parking fee for the municipal lot adjacent to the building.

Click here for more information on the MIT Central Coast Enterprise Forum.

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