Investing, Philanthropy, Education, and Software
- Greater Seattle Area
- Computer Software
Ben Slivka's Overview
- Trustee at Wissner-Slivka Foundation
- Co-Founder and Chairman at DreamBox Learning, Inc.
- Director, Enterprise Resource Planning at Amazon.com
- General Manager, Project Leader, Software Design Engineer at Microsoft Corporation
- Staff Programmer at Northwestern University
- Junior Programmer at IBM Corporation
- Northwestern University
- Northwestern University
- Northwestern University
Garfield High School
3 people have recommended Ben
Ben Slivka's Summary
Ben is an investor, philanthropist, and software engineer with a passion for education.
Ben previously served as Co-Founder and Chairman of DreamBox Learning (acquired by Charter Fund via Reed Hastings), a Director of TeachFirst (acquired by Editure), Vizrea (acquired by Microsoft) and GroundSpring.org (acquired by Network for Good), and on the Advisory Board of UIEvolution (acquired by Square Enix).
Ben spent 14 years at Microsoft, where he worked on OS/2, MS-DOS 6, Windows 95, the Java VM, and MSN. He started the Internet Explorer team in 1994 and led it through the release of IE version 3.0 in 1996. IE 3.0 beat Netscape 3.0 in press reviews and achieved 30% market share by the time IE 4.0 released in 1997. Ben installed Microsoft's first production LAN in 1985, proposed the FAT32 file system in 1990, led the team that wrote the Win32 API specification in 1991, and started and led the team that created CAB software distribution files in 1993. His work at Microsoft and DreamBox Learning resulted in 22 issued U.S. patents. Ben also worked brief stints at Amazon and IBM.
Ben and his wife Lisa created the Wissner-Slivka Foundation in 1997, primarily focused on supporting education. His non-profit engagements include Garfield High School Foundation and Social Venture Partners, where he spent five years as the lead partner for Seattle MESA.
Ben earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science and a B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University, where he has served as a Trustee since 1998.
Ben Slivka's Experience
Co-Founder and Chairman
Privately Held; 51-200 employees; E-Learning industry
February 2006 – April 2010 (4 years 3 months) Bellevue, WA
Ben co-founded DreamBox Learning in 2006 to pursue a future where every student enjoys an individually-tailored, world class learning experience. Launched K-3 Math in home and classroom versions, kids played in all 50 states and over 40 countries. Sold the company in April, 2010.
Director, Enterprise Resource Planning
Public Company; 10,001+ employees; AMZN; Internet industry
September 1999 – June 2000 (10 months) Seattle, WA
Responsible for 160+ person team developing software systems for supply chain, distribution center, and customer service. Also managed finance, HR, and legal systems.
General Manager, Project Leader, Software Design Engineer
Public Company; 10,001+ employees; MSFT; Computer Software industry
June 1985 – August 1999 (14 years 3 months) Redmond, WA
Worked on OS/2, MS-DOS 6, Windows 95, the Java VM, and MSN in 14 years at Microsoft. Started the Internet Explorer team in 1994 and led it through the release of IE version 3.0 in 1996. IE 3.0 beat Netscape 3.0 in press reviews and achieved 30% marketshare by the time IE 4.0 released in 1997. Installed Microsft's first production LAN in 1985, proposed the FAT32 file system in 1990, and led the team that wrote the Win32 API specification in 1991. Also started and led the team that created CAB software distribution files and DMF floppy disks, which reduced the number floppies in Office and Windows by 28%, saving over $60 million/year in 1994 and 1995.
Educational Institution; 5001-10,000 employees; Higher Education industry
June 1983 – June 1985 (2 years 1 month) Evanston, IL
Lead programmer for User Services Group. Implemented a simple on-line document index using a relational database (SIR), provided consulting assistance to users on programming languages, databases, and statistical packages. Created NUInfo, a rudimentary online information system. Worked full-time while earning MS CS degree.
Public Company; 10,001+ employees; IBM; Information Technology and Services industry
June 1982 – June 1983 (1 year 1 month) Poughkeepsie, NY
I wrote 7+KLOC of REXX to replace 17+KLOC of PL/S code for a design change request tracking system.
Ben Slivka's Projects
Ben Slivka's Skills & Expertise
Ben Slivka's Organizations
- October 1998 to Present
Ben serves on the Alumni Releations and Development, Finance, and Information Technology committees of the Board of Trustees. In the past he has served on the Major Gifts committee. He and his wife Lisa host a party for new and returning undergraduate students from the State of Washington each summer and he occasionally speaks on campus.
Garfield High School FoundationDirector
- May 2002 to Present
Started in 2002, Garfield HS Foundation's mission is to raise money to support current students of Garfield High School in Seattle, WA. See www.GarfieldHSF.org for more information.
Social Venture Partners -- SeattlePartner
- January 1998 to January 2013
Served on K-12 Grant Committee in 2002-2003 and was Lead Partner for SVP investment in Seattle MESA from 2003-2008.
TeachFirst.comDirector and Investor
- May 2003 to December 2008
TeachFirst aimed to increase student achievement by increasing teacher quality and effectiveness. It did this by implementing and sustaining school-based collaborative professional development aligned to student learning needs.
UIEvolutionAdvisory Board Member
- 2002 to 2004
UIEvolution built a small cross-platform run-time for mobile phones before smart phones became popular. It was sold to Square Enix in 2004.
VizreaInvestor and Directgor
- 2005 to 2006
Vizrea was focused on mobile phone photo sharing before that wave was high enough.
- March 2003 to September 2004
Groundspring.org provided a web-based non-profit donation platform with simple communication tools.
Ben Slivka's Education
September 1983 – June 1985
September 1978 – June 1982
1978 – 1982
Garfield High School
1974 – 1978
Ben Slivka's Additional Information
- Honors and Awards:
6,347,398 Automatic software downloading from a computer network
6,256,668 Method for identifying and obtaining computer software from a network computer
6,192,432 Caching uncompressed data on a compressed drive
6,141,018 Method and system for displaying hypertext documents with visual effects
6,061,695 Operating system shell having a windowing graphical user interface with a desktop displayed as a hypertext multimedia document
6,049,671 Method for identifying and obtaining computer software from a network computer
5,915,129 Method and System for Storing Uncompressed Data in a Memory Cache that is Destined for a Compressed File System
5,845,084 Automatic data display formatting with a networking application
5,815,705 Method and computer system for integrating a compression system with an OS
5,572,206 Data compression method and system
5,493,649 Detecting corruption in a computer program at execution time using a checksum
5,455,577 Method and system for data compression