Amplifier ventures is lead by Jonathan Aberman, a highly respected and valued thought leader on entrepreneurship and innovation. His work as a venture investor, innovation consultant, university professor and media commentator, allows him to experience and connect the many threads of entrepreneurship and technology innovation that are core to the United States economy and its future. When Jonathan talks about these areas, the community takes notice. He is identified as a leader of change and influence in print and television media, among other things being recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Tech Titan,” by Washington Business Journal as a member of the “Power 100” and by the Commonwealth of Virginia as one of the “50 Most Influential Entrepreneurs” in the Commonwealth. He has been innovation policy advisor to a number of national and state political campaigns, including serving most recently as the head of the Innovation Group for the successful gubernatorial campaign of Ralph Northam.
He has a significant media footprint. He hosts What’s Working in Washington, a podcast and weekly show on WFED examining innovation in one of the least understood business communities in the country. Jonathan’s interviews reveal how D.C. is about way more than just politics. It is brimming with creative people who are interesting, engaged and getting things done. He is also a weekly columnist in the Washington Business Journal and was previously a columnist in the Washington Post, where in each case he wrote on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.
During his career Jonathan has helped to create many successful communities of entrepreneurs. In 2011, he was the founder of Startup Virginia, Startup Maryland and StartupDC as part of the Obama Administration’s StartupAmerica Initiative. These efforts resulted in the formation of regionally impactful programs including 1776 Accelerator and the iCorps program. In 2012 he formed FounderCorps, a not for profit that aggregated many of the Greater Washington region’s most prominent entrepreneurs and promoted mentorship. In 2013 he founded TandemNSI, a community that connects entrepreneurs with national security opportunities.
Jonathan grew up in a family of small business owners. His parents and grandparents desperately tried to prevent him from living an entrepreneurial life and encouraged him to become a professional instead. He obtained an education in economics and law (with post graduate qualifications in each) from the London School of Economics (MSc in Economics), Cambridge University (BA and MA in law), New York University (LLM) and George Washington University (BA).
During his subsequent career as a professional advisor, he worked in the financial services industry in London for Daiwa Securities, Goldman Sachs and Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette, and then as a corporate/venture capital lawyer as a partner in technology law firms Fenwick & West, Pillsbury Winthrop and Fish and Richardson. During this time Jonathan’s focus was on opening new business initiatives and offices, and in 2003 he realized that despite his parents’ best intentions he was really an entrepreneur after all.
Jonathan is a committed educator, and has been adjunct professor at a number of universities. He is currently Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland, where he teaches a broad range of classes in business formatting, strategy and family entrepreneurship. He is a sought-after commentator on developments in technology, innovation and political economics. In addition to his work with the Washington Business Journal and What’s Working in Washington, he is often quoted in national publications including Bloomberg, CNN, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He is also an active and regular participant on panels involving innovation, entrepreneurship and technology as well as a keynote speaker at similar events.
Jonathan is lead guitarist of Two Car Living Room and an avid reader of science fiction