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Chris Kemp

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Chris C. Kemp, the founder, current Chief Strategy Officer and former CEO of Nebula, is the definition of an overachiever. He doesn’t just set goals for himself; he lives his goals. When he was 15, Kemp started his technology career with his first job in the old Apple dealer network, fixing Macs for consumers. Kemp would later attend the University of Alabama at Huntsville for computer science and drop out to pursue his first entrepreneurial venture: Netran.

Netran was a company that launched the online grocery shopping service for Kroger. Kemp was the CEO and President of Netran from 1997-2000, and he would sell the company at the age of 21 to become the Chief Architect at Classmates.com.

In 2002, Kemp launched Escapia, a company he conceived after trying to rent a beach house on the Internet. Kemp served as CEO and President of Escapia from 2002-2006. Escapia was sold to HomeAway in 2010, which filed for its IPO in 2011.

Eventually, Kemp would fulfill his lifetime goal to work for NASA in 2006. First, he was the Director of Business Development. That lasted for 1 year and six months. Then he would move on to the NASA Ames Research Center, working as the Chief Information Officer. Later, for his last stint at NASA, Kemp would become the first Chief Technology Officer for NASA. This is the job that set him on the radar for other computer scientists.

Kemp became CTO after co-founding OpenStack, the largest and fastest growing open source project in history, and building NASA’s Security Operations Center of NASA Ames Research Center.

As CTO, he assembled and led a team of NASA contractors to leverage the web as a platform and take the lead in open, transparent and participatory space exploration and government led to the Nebula Cloud Computing Pilot and the founding of Nebula.

Kemp left NASA in March 2011 to start Nebula with entrepreneur Steve O’Hara and former colleague Devin Carlen. The company received seed investments from the first few investors in Google, including Andy Bechtolsheim, Ram Shirram and David Cheriton.

Kemp has been recognized in the 2014 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, the Silicon Valley Business Journal "40 under 40" and received the "Federal 100" award for his service at NASA.

Companies and Investments

Nebula (founder, former CEO, current Chief Strategy Officer, board member). Planet Labs (Advisor). OpenStack (Board Member, Co-founder). Escapia (Founder, former CEO). Netran (Founder, former CEO).

Lessons Learned

Seek out the smartest and most successful people you can and partner with, learn from them, and listen to them. And let them invest in your great ideas.

Inspiring Quotes

Train yourself to let go of the things you fear to lose.

George Lucas

Anything that you want to do of consequence, I believe youre going to do with others.

John Doerr

Chris Kemp's Quotes

When information is shared, everyone benefits.

Chris Kemp

Nebulas mission is to enable all businesses to easily, securely, and inexpensively build large scale-out computing infrastructures.

Chris Kemp

Influential Books

Peter F. Drucker - The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)

Sam Harris - By Sam Harris - Letter to a Christian Nation (8/20/06)

Clayton M. Christensen - The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business

Douglas R. Hofstadter - Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid


Steve Jobs, Jim Gray