Jason Matthew Daniel Pontin (born 11 May 1967) is an English journalist and venture capitalist, and a former editor and publisher. He is a senior partner at Flagship Pioneering, a firm in Cambridge, MA that creates, builds, and funds companies that solve problems in health, sustainability, and agriculture. He was the editor in chief and publisher of MIT Technology Review, a role he held from 2005 to 2017.
Pontin was born on 11 May 1967 in London, to a British father, Anthony Charles Pontin, a businessman, and a South African mother, Elaine Howells, an actress. He was raised in Northern California but educated in England, at Harrow School and Oxford University.
From 1996 to 2002, Pontin was the editor of Red Herring, a business and technology publication. From 2002 to 2004, he was the editor of The Acumen Journal, a now-defunct magazine he founded about the life sciences.
He was hired as the editor of Technology Review in July 2004, and in August 2005 was named publisher. Pontin engaged in what The Boston Globe has described as a "strategic overhaul" of Technology Review, whose goal is to make the magazine into a largely electronic publishing company. In October 2012, he renamed the organization MIT Technology Review and relaunched it as a "digital-first enterprise". AdWeek commented that "Pontin and MIT Technology Review could set the standard for the transition to a digital future for legacy media." Pontin was Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum, MIT's global organization of technology entrepreneurs.
Pontin has written for national and international magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, The Believer Magazine, and Wired. He writes a bi-weekly column for Wired in the publication’s “IDEAS” channel and contributes to the magazine. In February 2013, he delivered a TED Talk in Long Beach, California, "Can Technology solve our big problems?"
In 2015, under Pontin's leadership, MIT Technology Review launched a conference called Solve that addressed many of the questions raised in his 2013 TED Talk. The 2015 event convened leaders in philanthropy, business, technology, and policy to discuss global challenges in health care, education, resources, and infrastructure. Solve evolved into MIT’s open innovation platform: today, Solve solicits solutions to a series of new challenges every year, and hosts events in different cities where innovators present their ideas.
He has engaged in a long-running dispute with Aubrey de Grey regarding de Grey's assertion that it will be possible to reverse ageing. Pontin has written that he considers some of de Grey's strategies to be pseudo-science; de Grey has responded vigorously, and the dispute has persisted for at least a decade.