Streams: Computational Health, Manufacturing
Growing up in Bellevue, Washington, Ken Birdwell was there from the start of the Northwest high-tech boom in the 1980s. With a background in real-time embedded systems, simulation, networking, 3D scanning, several short-lived startups, as well as formal training in Fine Arts, Ken became a founding member of Valve Corporation in 1996. Valve Corporation is a small, self-funded startup which has become a leading video game developer and major digital PC game distribution platform (Steam).
As senior product engineer Ken’s focus was core technology, hiring foundational staff, developing cross-discipline design processes, and developing customer-focused company culture. Branching into HW in 2014, Ken fast-tracked internal VR research into the first consumer-ready room-scale VR system with the HTC Vive.
Retired in 2016, Ken’s focus has shifted to private equity and VC partnerships. He is also returning to the world of non-profits, specifically philanthropy. His company, Magic Cabinet, is attached to a foundation which helps non-profits expand their internal capacity to increase their impact.