Esther Dyson was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on January 14, 1951. In 1980, Dyson founded EDventure Holdings, a pioneering information technology and new media company. In 1982, she took over Rosen’s Electronic News. In the late 1980s, she became an active investor in Eastern European technology ventures. She also became involved in public discussion about the future of the Internet. In 2000, she started writing a column for the New York Times.
Her primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on health care, human capital and aerospace. Overall, she is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets (both economically and politically). From October 2008 to March of 2009, she lived in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, training as a backup cosmonaut. Apart from this brief sabbatical, she is an active board member for a variety of startups.
Esther Dyson, named one of the most powerful women in American business by Forbes magazine, is a study in contradictions. She’s widely regarded as one of the most influential voices in technology, but she’s not a programmer or high-tech executive, and doesn’t even have a phone at home. Dyson started out as a magazine fact checker, but ended up managing her own venture capital fund. She has rarely, if ever, voted, but she’s an active technology policymaker in Washington.
Dyson was born on January 14, 1951, in Zurich, Switzerland, to prominent mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson and physicist and futurist writer Freeman Dyson. Her father worked at the prestigious Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and Dyson grew up accustomed to seeing Nobel laureates at the dinner table. An aspiring novelist, she started her own mini newspaper at age eight,and later worked as a page in the public library.
She entered Harvard University at age 16, but by her own account, rarely attended classes, instead spending most of her time at the university newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, or hanging out with friends on the Harvard Lampoon. She graduated with a B.A. in economics in 1972.
Foray into Venture Capital
Although she’d hoped to become an entertainment writer at Variety, she ended up as a fact checker, and later a reporter, at Forbes, where she became fascinated by the business world. In 1977, she left print journalism behind and became a Wall Street securities analyst specializing in electronics and technology. In 1980, Dyson founded EDventure Holdings, a pioneering information technology and new media company. Her career took another turn in 1982, when she joined venture capitalist Ben Rosen and took over Rosen’s Electronic News, an industry newsletter which she purchased the following year and renamed Release 1.0.
Her newsletter quickly became a must-read among elite technology executives. In 1983, she took over the PC Forum, an industry hot ticket where Bill Gates rubbed shoulders with Lotus founder Mitch Kapor and other high-tech giants.
Internet Policy Adviser
In the late 1980s, Dyson became an active investor in Eastern European technology ventures. She also became increasingly involved in the public discussion about the future of the Internet. As co-chair of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC), head of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), and interim chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Dyson has helped mediate and inform public policy regarding privacy, encryption, trust, and the assignment of Internet domain names. Her book, Release 2.0, addressed to a general, non-technical audience, presented in plain English the key issues and controversies surrounding the evolving Internet.
In January 2000, Dyson started writing a syndicated twice-weekly column, Release 3.0, for The New York Times. The feature discusses the impact of digital technology on daily life as well as on the world’s social, political, and financial fabric. In addition to managing EDventure Holdings, Dyson continues to invest in start-up Internet companies and to serve on various boards that set policy for the Web.
Esther Dyson Positions and Profiles
- Ms. Esther Dyson serves as a Member of Advisory Board at Zouk Capital LLP.
- a Member of Advisory Board at LiveJournal Inc., Medivizor International Limited, XL Education Corp, Patients Know Best, Ltd., GOT Corporation, Inc., Medivo Inc, Ravenflow Inc., New Europe Online Ltd., Viewpoints, LLC, Communispace Corporation, ActiveWeave, Inc, Zeta Interactive Corporation, Starfish Community Group S.L, Keep Holdings, Inc, Basis Science, Inc., Jana Mobile Inc., Reframe It, Inc., Factual Inc., Epernicus LLC, ZEDO, Inc., SAirGroup AG, Women in Technology International and RSV Venture Partners.
- a Member of Executive Council at iEurope Capital LLC.
- Director at Medscape, LLC. She has been a Director at LanguageWare.net Ltd. since June 1996. Member of Board of Advisors at Startup Health Holdings, Inc. (alternative name OrganizedWisdom.com, Inc.).
- Director at Pressreader, Wellpass, Voxiva, Inc., Boxbe, Inc. and 23andMe, Inc.
- Member of Board of Advisors at Passfaces Corporation.
- Non-Executive Director at Electrobug Technologies Limited.
- Director at OAO IBS IT Services and Needl, LLC. Director at Evernote Corporation.
- Director at Eventful, Inc. Director at TerraLink Russia.
- Director at Newknow Network, S.A. and Jana Mobile Inc.
- She has been a Director of XCOR Aerospace, Inc. since March 2, 2012.
- Director at NewspaperDirect, Inc., MeetUp, Inc., and EVDB.
- Director of Whitestein Technologies GmbH.
- She has been a Director at Aristotle, Inc. since March 2000.
- Director of Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Long Now Foundation.
- Advisory board member of BatchTags.
- Director at CV-Online Estonia OÜ.
- Director of NSGV Inc., The Golden Spike Company, Vatera.hu Kft and HealthXL Limited.
- Independent Director at Luxoft Holding, Inc. since February 12, 2014.
- Non-executive Director at Yandex N.V. since 2006.
- a Director at Sourceree Ltd. and Airship Ventures, Inc.
- Sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Eurasia Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, the Personal Genome Foundation and StopBadware.org.
- Member of Advisory Council of VitaPortal since December 2011.
- Member of Advisory Board at Caivis Acquisition Corp.
- Chairman at EDventure Ventures.
- Chairman at Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Inc. From 1998 to 2000, she was a Founding Chairman of ICANN.
- Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
- Chairman at EDventure Holdings, Inc. Previously, she worked as a journalist at Forbes and a technology analyst New Court Securities and Oppenheimer & Co.
- Worked as editor-in-chief for and was chairman of EDventure Holdings from 1983.
- Advisor of WebThriftStore, Inc. Ms.
- Advisor of FON Wireless Ltd., Cognitive Match Limited, Constellation Services International, Inc., FON Technology, S.L., ICON Aircraft, Inc., Vanquish Inc., Socialblood.org, Directly Software, Inc., SBT Venture Capital, FluidInfo Inc., HealthTap Inc. and Airship Ventures, Inc.
- Innovation Advisor at AnchorFree, Inc. Ms.
- Strategic Advisor at New Europe Ventures, LLC and served as its Advisor.
- General Advisor at Keas Inc. She is Founder of HICCUP.
- Advisor and Advisors of Wild at iCurrent, Inc.
- She was Advisor of Radar Networks, Inc. and Azigo, Inc.
- Founder of EDventure Holdings, Inc.
- She served at FedEx Corporation, CNET Networks, Inc., and Rothschild Inc.
- Chairman of Advisory Board at Credo Ventures.
- Member of Advisory Board at Nanowear, Inc. since December 10, 2014 and ChoiceStream, Inc. since June 1, 2006.
- Non-Executive Director at PA Consulting Group Limited from December 6, 2013 to December 16, 2015.
- Director at Cygnus Solutions, Inc.
- Director at iGabriel, Thinking Tools, Inc. and GirlGeeks.
- Non-Executive Director at WPP plc. since June 29, 1999 until June 25, 2014.
- Director at Trustworks Systems BV.
- Director at Uproar Inc. since April 1997.
- Member of Board of Advisors at GridPoint, Inc. since November 2005.
- Member of Supervisory Board at Scala Business Solutions N.V.
- Member of Advisory Board at Dotomi, LLC.
- Director at Graphisoft SE until May 10, 2005.
- Director at Sygnity Spólka Akcyjna.
- Member of Business Advisory Board at PGP Corporation.
- Member of Advisory Board at IBS Group Holding Limited.
- Director at Manugistics Group, Inc. Her primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on health care and aerospace.
- Expertise in digital technology, health care and advising early-stage businesses.
- Active board member for a variety of startups.
- She wrote the book Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age. In addition to Yandex and Luxoft, her Russian interests have included advisory board seats with both IBS Group and SUP/LiveJournal, and investments in the technology companies Epam, Ostrovok, Medesk, Fairwaves, TerraLink, UCMS and Zingaya.
- She spent most of six months training as a backup cosmonaut in Star City from October 2008 to March 2009.
- She earned a B.A. in economics from Harvard University (1967-1972).
- Esther Dyson Biography (Biography / Goodreadbiography / Bloomberg)