Esther Dyson is an angel investor and chairman of EDventure Holdings. Her primary activity is investing in and nurturing start-ups, with a recent focus on aerospace, health care and human capital. After her training as backup cosmonaut to Charles Simonyi- two-time space tourist, she joined the NASA Advisory Council for two years as chairman of its Technology and Innovation Committee. Currently, in addition to her role as a director of Golden Spike, she sits on the board of XCOR Aerospace, where she was an early investor.
Her other aerospace investments include ICON Aircraft, Nanoracks and Space Adventures, the company that organizes training such as hers and actual space trips such as Charles Simonyi's. She is also a sponsor of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
From October 2008 to March 2009, Dyson lived in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, training as a backup cosmonaut. During this training, she got to fly weightless, endure 8G, and spend two winter nights in the Russian wilderness as part of an emergency landing simulation. Back on Earth, she is an active board member for a variety of startups including 23andMe, Eventful, Evernote, IBS Group (advisory board), Meetup, NewspaperDirect, Voxiva, WPP Group (not a start-up!), and Yandex (recent IPO). Her past investments have included Medstory (sold to Microsoft), Flickr and del.icio.us (sold to Yahoo!), Brightmail (sold to Symantec).
Her current investments include AdKeeper, Amicus, AnchorFree, ChallengePost, Cognitive Match (UK), Crowdbooster, Factual, Flattr (Sweden), GoodData, GridPoint, Ji Grahak (India), Knack.it, LinkedIn, Linqia, Payperks, PlanGo (Finland), School of Everything (UK), Skygrid, Square, SocialBon, Sparked, ThingD, Trusted ID, txteagle/Jana, Vizu; AlterGeo, Ostrovok, TerraLink and Zingaya in Russia; Applied Proteomics, Eligible API, Genomera, HealthEngage, Health Loop, HealthRally, HealthTap, Keas, Medico, Medivo, Omada Health, Organized Wisdom, PatientsLikeMe, PatientsKnowBest (UK), Resilient, Tocagen and Valkee (Finland) in health.
Dyson also sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Eurasia Foundation, the Long Now Foundation, the Sunlight Foundation, the Personal Genome Foundation and StopBadware.org. She has a BA in economics from Harvard and was founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000. In addition, she wrote the best-selling, widely translated book "Release 2.0: A design for living in the digital age," published by Broadway Books, in 1997. She writes a monthly column for www.project-syndicate.org and posts photos on flickr. Overall she is fascinated by new business models, new technologies and new markets, both economically and politically.
"I joined the Mars-One advisory board because I plan to retire on Mars... but not too soon! I want to help send some healthy settlers on ahead to get the place ready for me."