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John Warner is a serial innovator who has ridden waves from scrappy startups of companies, academic centers, not-for-profits, and a government agency to the towering halls of the New York Stock Exchange.


After his early days at KPMG serving visionary entrepreneurs, John made his own entrepreneurial leap, co-founding Capital Insights, which became one of the country’s largest angel investment groups. He was Chairman of the Board of its most successful investment, Earth Fare, which grew into the country’s largest regional organic grocery store chain. 


As Vice President of Strategy and Communication at KEMET, a world leader in electronic capacitors, he was the company’s point person with Wall Street analysts during the chaos of the 2000 internet tsunami. John was the architect of InnoVenture and InnoMobility conferences, with anchors including Michelin, Milliken, Sealed Air, GE, Blue Cross, and others. He sparked impactful innovation at the intersection of corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, and academic researchers and experienced firsthand the institutional and cultural barriers that resist change. 


John’s insights have inspired audiences as a speaker at innovation conferences, business leadership retreats, and professional society meetings. He’s a familiar voice on South Carolina Public Radio, where he has promoted innovation and entrepreneurship for two decades. John wrote a thought-provoking first book about his Capital Insights experiences and many newspaper op-eds and business journal articles. 

His community leadership has included being a founding board member of Artisphere, a nationally acclaimed arts festival, and the South Carolina Venture Capital Authority, a pioneering state agency promoting venture capital investment. He was part of the community conversation leading to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, an internationally known graduate engineering school.

In his presentations and books, John shares insights from exhilarating successes and more profound, humbling lessons from whiffs that shaped his distinctive perspective on innovation.

Contact John Warner


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