Dan is the Managing Director of Shamrock Ventures, BV, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, MA.   He’s been a technology entrepreneur for 25+ years, having founded and built technologies, companies, and products, which have been used by billions of Internet users. 

His love of audio, video, and real time interactive communications secured a seminal influence on the commercial Internet, pioneering Voice over IP (VoIP), streaming media, and interactive screen sharing/shared whiteboards, in the early 90’s. He's been behind innovations driving a range of patents that are some of the most cited for: collaborative computing, VoIP, streaming media, real time web communications, big data integration, and location-based social media.  If you use Skype, GoToMeeting, Webex, Oracle Fusion, Sina weibo, or YouTube, among others, Dan's seminal influence on these underlying technologies has touched your life.

Contemplating Being Here Now

Contemplating Being Here Now


He was the co-founder and Chairman & CEO of InSoft, a company that merged with Netscape Communications Corp. in 1995. This groundbreaking effort was formative for the steep growth of audio, video and collaboration apps on the commercial Internet, providing: the first commercial VoIP products, interoperable audio and video, streaming media servers, standards for realtime media to the Internet, and the first real time web platform, including RTSP (which is used daily by millions for web video).  

After Netscape, Dan collaborated with artist/producer/musician/inventor Todd Rundgren, with their Context Labs/Waking Dreams venture, on real time interactive artist technologies. Patronet, a Rundgren vehicle, was the Internet’s formative artist/fan direct relationship platform.

Subsequent to this effort, Dan was founder and Chairman & CEO of Context Media, which was acquired by Oracle in 2005.  This combination formed the basis of Oracle's "big data" collaborative enterprise search, "Fusion,” which now has 60,000+ customers.   

In 2006, he founded and was Chairman & CEO of Geosolutions’ gypsii, which via a joint venture, provided the location-based social media engine driving China's fastest growing mobile social media platform, Sina Weibo, with over 600 million users.   

In 2012, Dan became a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he founded a new Sloan program entitled REAL (Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration Lab).  The MIT work effort also inspired the further development of Innovation Dynamics and Pentalytics, as a practice and technology within Context Labs, to deeply describe innovation ecosystems and innovation clusters. Dan also served as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at MIT, working with new entrepreneurs to assist them on their journeys. 

Context Labs was founded as a direct result of the research and thesis written by Dan at MIT. The Context Labs Immutably™ platform product line provides the digital thread from product inception through consumer use, enabling the Supply Chain of Everything. Context Labs delivers platform innovation integrating secure distributed and shared ledgers (Blockchain), network graph analytics and visualizations, data interoperability, trusted identity management, and micro-payment enablement.

As CEO of Context Labs, Dan was founder of subsidiary, www.sphericalanalytics.io, a new company aimed at building the world's trusted platform for environmental data, in partnership and funding with the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and Shamrock Ventures (https://www.contextlabs.com/posts/spherical-analytics-launch)

Innovation Ecosystems- Dan’s work in Pentalytics was used in designing innovation ecosystems to create and start the following global initiatives:

Dan was a co-founder of MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, from its inception, as well as a founding Board Advisor, bringing together a global automotive ecosystem to apply blockchain-related technologies to big industry challenges. MOBI includes over fifty percent of the world’s transportation leaders, including BMW, Bosch, Denso, Ford, GM, Groupe Renault, Honda, and many others. (https://www.contextlabs.com/posts/contextlabs-cofounds-mobi)

As CEO of Context Labs, and a Berklee Trustee, Dan Harple was the originator, strategist, and Co-Founder of the Open Music Initiative, bringing together a global music and media ecosystem to bring digital interoperability to all stakeholders, enabling the seamless payment and attribution of creators. OMI includes the gamut of the world’s entertainment ecosystem, including Universal Music Group, Viacom, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Sony Music Entertainment, Sonos, SACEM, SESAC, Netflix, Intel, Jammber, and many others. Dan wrote the kick-off launch posting for the OMI, “A Call to Action,” and a later OMI post described how Pentalytics shaped the creation of OMI.

Dan advised the country of the Netherlands in assessing and planning its startup ecosystem efforts, resulting in the formation, launch and success of StartupDelta. Dan’s relationships with the Dutch startup scene, and the uses of Pentalytics was key to informing the Netherlands about the nature of its innovation ecosystems.

Dan was co-founder of the Trusted Climate Data Initiative, a new non-profit with a mission to insure that climate data is trusted, sourced with provenance, and made transparently discoverable, and accessible for all, for free, as a public good. TCD also uses Pentalytics as a navigational framework to convene the global commons, focused on climate.

MIT Research:

Dan’s work in scaling technologies and influencing and developing standards has always been in the context of vibrant ecosystems. To further extend and develop a platform to accelerate the leverage of network effects in ecosystems, Dan performed research at MIT. Here, he developed a new model called Pentalytics™, described in the thesis, “Toward a Network Graph-based Cluster Density Index.” Concurrent with this, Dan founded and developed a program at MIT called REAL (Regional Entrepreneurial Acceleration Lab), designed to be a living lab to learn and experiment with ecosystems, which has been in operation every Fall at MIT Sloan since 2012.

Informed by the MIT research, Dan founded Context Labs, which uses big data analytics to describe the growth of innovation ecosystems and clusters, intersecting this method with transformative uses of blockchain-based technologies. These early efforts partnered with the MIT Media Lab’s work on City Science in the Changing Places Group. He’s collaborated on several Media Lab Courses: Beyond Smart Cities (2013) and Changing Cities: How to Prototype New Urban Systems (2014). While at MIT, He concurrently served as an entrepreneur in residence (EIR).

Awards and Books:

He has received numerous awards, including Inc. Magazines’ Entrepreneur of the Year, the Red Herring Watch Award, the Upside Hot Startup Award, the University of Rhode Island's Alumni Excellence Award for Contributions to Science and Technology, and the NEA Presidents Award. 

Tom Petzinger’s (Wall Street Journal) book, “The New Pioneers: The Men and Women Who Are Transforming the Workplace and Marketplace,” tells the story of Dan’s first company, InSoft, and its influence on Internet media in the seminal days of the early 90’s.  Michael Casey’s recent bestseller (April 2018), “The Truth Machine, The Blockchain and the Future of Everything” describes the work Dan is leading in the global blockchain market in data veracity and efforts to provide industry-wide APIs enabling interoperability in complex ecosystems such as automotive, supply chain, etc. Authors Richard Rende and Jen Prosek chose to kick-off their new book, “ Raising Can-Do Kids: Giving Children the Tools to Thrive in a Fast-Changing World,” Chapter One, "Wired for Exploration," discussing Dan's views on raising children in our digital world.


As an experienced technology entrepreneur and inventor, Dan has participated at all stages of the investing lifecycle, from Angel to venture, initial public offerings, secondary offerings, PIPEs, debt/bridge financings. He has been an LP in a variety of venture firms, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Charles River Ventures, Adams Capital Management, and Goldman Sachs. Over 100 companies invested in include, but are not limited to: Webex, Juniper Networks, Verisign, Broadview Networks, Force 10 Networks, Vonage Holdings, Netezza, Tableau, Wercker (Oracle), and many others.


Dan has also served as a Director and/or advisor for a variety of non-profits and educational institutions: Berklee College of Music and its new Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (ICE), The International School of Amsterdam, Tabor Academy, Marlboro College, University of Rhode IslandFriends Academy, Harrisburg Academy, Slater Center for Interactive Technologies, and the Buzzards Bay Coalition.  He has served, and continues to serve, on a long list of technology-related company Boards. 

Speaker and Education:

He also is a keynote speakers for a variety of innovation focused events: most recently the World Smart Cities Conference, Intel Innovation Conference, and the EU Congress on Open Data.  

He has degrees from MIT, the University of Rhode Island, and attended Marlboro College.