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Michael  Chasen

Michael Chasen

Co-Founder of Blackboard & Current CEO of PrecisionHawk


Michael Chasen is an entrepreneur who is focused in the technology, education, and Social Local Mobile (SoLoMo) space. After co-founding Blackboard Inc., an eLearning software company used by over 20,000 institutions in more than 70 countries, with over 20 million students and faculty utilizing the platforms, Chasen led the company as CEO for 15 years and successfully sold it to Providence Equity Partners for $1.7 billion in 2011. Read More >

Currently, Chasen is the CEO of PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, NC-based drone tech company. He intends to help corporations and government organizations figure out how they can best put unmanned aerial systems, sensors and data analytics to work in their operations. He sees PrecisionHawk products and services figuring heavily in agriculture, architecture, construction and energy, long-term.

Chasen helped to create ten data centers around the world and worked to establish the first true Cloud solution for education. While Blackboard sold its software to colleges, universities, and schools, it also developed its software for use by the consumer. What emerged was Blackboard Mobile Learn and Blackboard Mobile Central, which were both marketed directly to students, garnering millions of users.

He was also the CEO and co-founder of SocialRadar, a company focused on the mobile location services space. Chasen is also an investor and advisor to several companies that are focused on using technology to improve education as well as several start-up ventures and mature companies across the technology spectrum.

Chasen has a degree in Computer Programming from American University and his MBA from Georgetown University. As a speaker, his engaging topics help educators, students, institutions, and corporations understand the importance of technology as a learning tool as well as how youth can become more engaged in the classroom. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

MAGC 2015: Michael Chasen's Keynote Presentation - Part 1

MAGC 2015: Michael Chasen's Keynote Presentation - Part 2

MAGC 2015: Michael Chasen's Keynote Presentation - Part 3


Speech Topics

What's Next in Tech

Technology demands that we predict the future on a regular basis, beyond the requirements of many other spaces. Michael Chasen embraces this concept and has predicted the future countless times within his business ventures and twice on a grand scale. This talk reveals how Chasen discerns where we're headed and how we can get there a little faster with the help of technological advancements. Using personal examples — such as predicting years before others that education would go online and predicting the benefits of merging geolocation and social networks — his insights are part instinct, part experience and always worth considering. Among the Next Big Tech developments, Chasen is keeping close watch on location sharing, wearable tech, virtual payment and anything mobile so audiences can have an exclusive look at what's next in tech.

MOOCs & Mobile — The Disruption of Our Education System as We Know It

The Internet has led to perpetual reinvention across all segments of society, notably education. Michael Chasen, co-founder and former CEO of Blackboard, the e-learning software company he sold for almost $2 billion, was there from the start. Read More >

Early on, Chasen both caused and predicted industry trends, seeing how technology could improve the way we teach and learn. This speech explains why the two biggest disruptors in the space today are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and mobile. All audiences should listen closely, because these developments are going to enable more people than ever before to access quality education and change the way people teach and learn around the world.  Delivered with Chasen’s signature insight and wit, this talk puts you in the front seat for the next phase of the edtech evolution. Read Less ^

The Mobile Revolution: Disrupting How People Learn and Connect

Mobile technology disrupted music, books, TV, and commerce, and it is now doing the same for education, both in the classroom and around the campus.  Read More >

The mobile usage patterns Michael Chasen saw at colleges and universities during his tenure as CEO of Blackboard will radically reshape the education system and beyond. In this talk, he enlightens audiences on why the mobile benefit is lower cost for students to access higher education--thus fundamentally disrupting how people learn, but in a good way. At the same time, mobile technology is expanding the way students find, meet, and interact with each other.

We’ve reached the point at which students are often more technologically savvy than the institutions they attend. To stay competitive, the institution must now adapt to the student. What are the implications for a society in which the students are the driving force behind this digital disruption? A provocative question, and Chasen has provocative answers to match. Read Less ^

The 5 Pieces of Unconventional Wisdom: Lessons Learned from Building a $2 Billion Business

Growing a concept hatched in a small brownstone into a company with over 3,000 employees, 30 million users, and a value of $2 billion comes with a hefty share of challenges. From designing the product to fundraising to forging a company culture, these were just some of the tasks Michael Chasen learned to do during his 15-year tenure as co-founder and CEO of Blackboard. Chasen was not just growing a company, but himself as well—from a young entrepreneur with fierce determination but no track record to a thought leader in more than one industry. He found that the lessons he learned in the startup phase continued to be relevant even when the organization had become a global corporation. In this talk, he shares the top 5 pieces of unconventional wisdom he taken with him on the journey, how they affected each stage of building a company, and how you can also turn your idea into a $1 billion+ organization. Only visionaries need attend!