Influential technology leaders who help guide Alpha events and membership
Tech Square Ventures
Blake Patton is the founder and Managing General Partner of Tech Square Ventures where he leads investments in enterprise software, marketplace, and platform technology companies. Under his leadership, the firm has invested in 51 early-stage companies. He has represented Tech Square Ventures as a director or observer on the boards of Pointivo (Chairman), Cypress.io (Chairman), Yesler, Speedscale, Slip Robotics, PreTel Health (Chairman), UserIQ, Haste, Sequr (acquired by Genea) and Salesfusion (acquired by SugarCRM). Blake is also the co-founder and Managing General Partner of Engage, a collaborative corporate innovation and startup program in partnership with 11 leading companies, Georgia Tech, Tech Square Ventures, and Invest Georgia.
Prior to founding Tech Square Ventures, Blake was General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech – named by Forbes as one of the “Top 12 Incubators Changing the World”. Prior to leading ATDC, he served as President & COO of Interactive Advisory Software and EVP of iXL, an internet services company that he joined through the acquisition of Swan Media and was part of the executive team that grew the company from startup to over $300 million in annualized revenue and an IPO. He started his career as an Associate at SEI Corporation.
Blake is an active leader in the technology community, serving on the boards of Engage, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (former Chairman), Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures (GATV) and High Tech Ministries (Treasurer). He also serves on the advisory boards of ATDC and Georgia Tech’s Cowan-Turner Center for Servant Leadership and is a former Chairman of Venture Atlanta, a Georgia Research Alliance Industry Fellow and a member of the selection committee for the NC State Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. Blake is a part-time Professor of the Practice at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business where he teaches Entrepreneurial Finance.
Blake earned a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, where he was captain of the swim team. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech College of Engineering’s Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni, is a former Georgia Tech Alumni Association Trustee, and previously served on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board.
Silicon Valley Bank
Dale Kirkland is a Managing Director for Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) Atlanta office, where he leads the technology practice. He is responsible for origination and strategic relationship management in the Southeast, and focuses on providing financing solutions to early-stage and growth companies. Kirkland joined SVB in 2003 and has provided strategic financing to more than 500 companies, making over $2.5 billion in venture debt, recurring revenue, ABL and M&A financing loan commitments.
He began his career at SunTrust and has held operating roles in sales leadership and financial management at several telecom companies including MCI, XO Communications, Broadwing Communications, and NASDAQ listed BroadBand Technologies, where he served as CFO.
He has served on the Board of Directors of The Florida Venture Forum, TechBridge, as chair of the finance committee, and has held Advisory roles at the MIT Enterprise Forum, and Venture Atlanta, where he twice served as Selection Committee Chair.
Kirkland earned a B.B.A. in business administration with a concentration in finance and graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State University. When not helping founders, he enjoys family travel, live music, comedy clubs and his Peloton.
Larry Covert is an entrepreneur and investor with over two decades of successful venture capital experience. He began his career at MILCOM Tech which commercialized over 2 billion dollars of defense R&D from defense labs DARPA, INEEL, Los Alamos, and Oakridge. Larry was CEO of NYSE: MHR private equity subsidiary Energy Hunter, advisor to the Chertoff Group, advisor to Galaxy Interactive, Crosslink VC, and early investor in US Bitcoin Mining Co.
Scott Elequin is an entrepreneur, investor and Chief Revenue Officer for SafePaaS Software – an industry-recognized Digital Risk Management platform. Prior to SafePaaS he was the CEO and President of SmartDog Services, a nationally known Oracle Consulting firm (acquired by Apps Associates in June of 2019).
Scott has also has served as board member for several technology startups and is co-founder and board member of a faith-based 501(c)(3) which promotes commerce in impoverished regions of the world through technology innovation.
Scott holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Baylor University.
Christy is an early-stage builder in the real asset and infrastructure space. She focuses her time on clean energy and logistics, in addition to AI and data platforms. Christy believes all investing is impact investing and invests her attention accordingly.
Christy is a CPA and has $12 billion in transaction experience. Prior to venture, in largescale private equity, she invested with First Reserve ($30B AUM, now BlackRock) and Arroyo Energy ($500M AUM, spun out of JP Morgan) in the ongoing clean energy revolution across energy and power infrastructure sectors. Focus spanned the value chain, including solar, wind, biomass, energy efficiency, hydrogen fuel cells, and transportation, among others. Christy started her career in energy investment banking at Citi in New York during the last credit crisis, working on a variety of M&A, IPO and debt issuances across the upstream, midstream, oilfield services and petrochemical sectors. Christy has also enjoyed roles at Mercury Fund and Ecliptic Capital and continues to serve in an Advisory role to both firms.
Christy is intimately familiar with both economic and technological transformations, investing throughout the ongoing energy revolution across the capital markets. She is investing in similar transformations across many sectors, all in support of a better future.
Silicon Valley Bank
Dax Williamson, CFA, is the Managing Director for Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in Austin, leading the bank’s efforts to unite and empower innovators across TX. SVB is the premier global financial institution, providing capital strategies and insights exclusively to growing innovation companies, as well as the investors who back them. Prior to joining SVB in 2008 to serve the entrepreneurial community, Dax was an investment manager, overseeing more than $1Bn of client funds in public equities.
Dax is passionate about driving the growth of the innovation economy and the sustainable ecosystem that Austin has developed, helping to make the region one of the premier emerging tech ecosystems globally.
Mr. Williamson holds an undergraduate degree in Finance from TCU. He spends his time actively supporting organizations and activities that bring focus to Texas as a technology hub, including serving on the Steering Committee of Austin’s CFO Leadership Council. He also actively volunteers with CASA of Travis County, as Co-Chair of their golf tournament committee, helping raise funds to support advocacy efforts for neglected and abused kids in the region. When not at work, you can find him golfing, cheering at his kid’s sporting activities or making a concerted effort at becoming more than a novice wine connoisseur.
Managing Partner at E14 Fund the early stage deep tech MIT Media Lab fund. E14 works closely with scientists helping them commercialize their science. Before that, he was the founding CEO Wamda, a platform and a fund to support and invest startups across the MENA region. Before Wamda, Habib founded Yamli a linguistic startup focused on right to left languages., Yahoo! bought the technology in 2009, the World Economic Forum recognized Habib as a Young Global Leader.
Rebecca Liebman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnLux, a financial wellness company, helping employees navigate their biggest financial decisions. She is on the advisory board of HubSpot and was on the 2016 Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Before starting LearnLux, Liebman lived in Kenya and studied microfinance and worked at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
Rob is a co-founder and Partner at NextView. His main focus is on seed and pre-sed stage companies that use software to deliver transformative consumer experiences to end users.
Prior to founding NextView, Rob was at Spark Capital and focused on early stage investments in consumer web and mobile. Before joining Spark Capital, Rob held product roles at Ebay, Fidelity investments, and BzzAgent and was a management consultant at The Parthenon Group.
Rob attended Duke University and holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Over the past 26 years, David has been a director on more than twenty-five technology company boards, bringing expertise on product and competitive strategy, risk, ESG and human resources, among other issues. He has strong M&A and financing experience, comprising dozens of transactions with leading technology companies and top investment banking firms. And he has worked with companies across the United States as well as internationally in Canada, Germany, Czech Republic and Israel.
David enjoys working with groups of motivated executives and innovators, to help them bring their expertise and ideas together with a strategic plan – and to act on that plan. His sectors of experience and interest include SaaS, Cloud, Cybersecurity (Consumer, Enterprise and Infrastructure), Enterprise Software and more recently in Quantum Computing, Quantum Networking and Climate Technologies. David currently sits on the venture-backed company boards of Aliro, BetterCloud, BitSIght and NS1. He is an independent director on the boards of Draper Laboratories, iDirect Government and Minim (NASDAQ: MINM). David sits on the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and is a Trustee Emeritus of the University of Vermont.
In the past few years David has shifted his focus to help address climate change. In 2020 he joined MCJ as its Executive Chairman. MCJ is a combination of businesses including Community. Media and Capital to help accelerate innovation in climate solutions. MCJ has quickly established itself as one of the most active climate investors – emphasizing inclusivity and extensive collaboration with its community to help portfolio companies accelerate their missions to address the climate crisis.
Holland brings a pioneering outlook and strong track record as an entrepreneur and C-level executive in high growth companies. He has an impressive history of driving growth at venture-backed startup companies and private equity-backed businesses ranging from $10 to $750 million in sales. Most recently, Holland was CEO of Feedback Loop, a unified market intelligence platform that was acquired by DISQO Inc. He has successfully built businesses and grown companies valued at over $1 billion, including Bluecore Inc. and Datalogix, which was acquired by Oracle. Holland has also held leadership positions in product management at The Nielsen Company.
Energy Capital Ventures
Vic is the Cofounder and Managing General Partner of Energy Capital Ventures (ECV). ECV is the only early-stage venture capital fund dedicated the ESG imperatives and digital transformation of the natural gas industry. Vic has led and managed venture investments in numerous multi-billion-dollar companies and category defining leaders including Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), ID.me, MX, Extend, Personal Capital (acquired by Empower Retirement), TRUECar (NASDAQ: TRUE), Next Insurance, Care.com (NYSE: CRCM) and Clearcover. He has achieved a top-decile investment track record. Vic has over 20 years of experience in venture capital and financial services encompassing over $750 million in VC and M&A transactions. He currently serves on the board of Cemvita Factory and ID.me.
Prior to Energy Capital Ventures, Vic was the Managing Partner of Chicago based early-stage venture capital firm, Lightbank. Before Lightbank, Vic built and led USAA’s $330 million corporate venture capital program. At USAA, Vic directed investments and served on the boards of Narrative Science, TRUECar (NASDAQ: TRUE), Care.com (NYSE: CRCM), ID.me, Automatic Labs (acquired by Sirius XM), Prosper Marketplace, Personal Capital (acquired by Empower Retirement), Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), MX, Roost, Cartera Commerce (acquired by Ebates/ Rakuten), Roostify, RepairPal, Saffron Technologies (acquired by Intel Corp.), CafeX, MindMeld (acquired by Cisco) and VAST (acquired by Vroom). After USAA, he was an Investment Director/Partner with Munich Re Ventures in San Francisco where he was responsible for their insurtech investment activities in including Trov, Super, Slice Labs and Next Insurance.
Vic’s early career includes leadership positions in Chicago start-ups and law.
Sam Yagan co-founded Corazon Capital in 2013 and is one of its Managing Directors. He recently served as the CEO of ShopRunner, Inc., which provides its millions of members free two-day shipping and seamless checkout at over 100 leading online retailers. In 2020, he led the sale of ShopRunner to FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX). Before ShopRunner, Sam served as Vice-Chairman of Match Group (Nasdaq: MTCH), a position he assumed after leading the company as CEO through a period of explosive growth that culminated in its IPO in 2015.
Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes, still the dominant brand of study guides, and MetaMachine, Inc., once the largest peer-to-peer file-sharing network in the world. Sam sold SparkNotes to iTurf, Inc. and then to Barnes & Noble, Inc. He served as Publisher and oversaw the expansion of the digitally-native brand into a multi-platform media business. Sam also co-founded OkCupid in 2003, which he led as its CEO through its sale to Match Group in 2011. In 2009, Sam co-founded Excelerate Labs (now Techstars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first Managing Director.
Sam sits on the board of several private companies, including The Duchossois Group, SpotHero, Brilliant Worldwide, and Grindr. He previously served on the Digital Advisory Council at Target Corp (NYSE: TGT), the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, and as an advisor to Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG). He also sits on the boards of three non-profits: Start Early, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Fund Board, and Rush University Medical Center.
Sam has earned recognition on TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50” and “40 Under 40,” Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” and ranked #19 on Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.”
Sam holds a BA with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He earned distinctions as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the latter of which Stanford awards annually to each class’s valedictorian.
Silicon Valley Bank
Dennis Grunt is the Midwest Technology Team Leader at Silicon Valley Bank where he has worked since mid-2011. In his current role, Dennis oversees SVB’s efforts in partnering with both early and growth stage technology companies. Prior to Silicon Valley Bank, he served as Vice President, Middle Market Commercial Banking at MB Financial Bank where he sourced and managed a portfolio of public and privately held middle-market companies. Additionally, Dennis spent his last six months at MB spearheading the formation of its Capital Markets Group.
Dennis began his career at LaSalle Bank; a $120 billion bank headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the bank’s sale to Bank of America in late 2007, Dennis served in many capacities with the bank ending his time as Vice President of Metropolitan Banking.
Dennis earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He later earned his M.B.A. with majors in Finance and Management and Organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (KSOM).
Joe was the CEO and Founder of Honor.org, America’s first career transition institute for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community. He scaled a multi-million dollar business and a network of 7,000 + supporters and deep networks inside the Fortune 100, technology and venture capital communities. He served on the board of the NASDAQ Center for Entrepreneurship in San Francisco, supporting start-up entrepreneurs with partnership and talent strategies, leadership, and culture design.
Joe graduated from DePaul University in 2006, where he majored in Political Science and later received Certificates in Non-Profit (Harvard), Design Thinking (Stanford), and Capital Markets (Pepperdine). He has lectured at NYU, UCSD, UCLA, and UCSB on the Art and Science of Teams, Leadership, and Culture. Joe is the sixteenth man in his family to serve in the United States Military. He is a proud US Navy Veteran; he was honorably retired from the US Naval Special Warfare Command.
Silicon Valley Bank
Claire Palmer is a director with SVB’s emerging manager practice. Claire and her team lead all relationships with emerging managers in the Southern California region. A key part of her role is focused on building collaborative relationships with general partners (GPs), while leveraging the SVB platform to help their funds and portfolio companies scale. Claire began her career with SVB in 2018 in the UK office, where she launched the emerging manager practice and worked with top-tier, early-stage fund managers. Claire enjoys meeting with smart and dynamic GPs who are often challenging and changing the existing venture model. She finds it rewarding to see these funds grow and succeed through ecosystem connectivity, particularly from a fundraising perspective. Prior to joining SVB, Claire ran the tech group at financial advisory firm Smith & Williamson, focusing her efforts on helping tech clients scale. She also built out the entrepreneurs group at Metro Bank Private Bank, a challenger bank in the UK. Outside of SVB, Claire has served as an advisor to FemTech Lab, a London-based femtech accelerator, and led SVB’s partnership with the Newton Venture Program, a first-of-its-kind investor training program that aims to make the practice of global investing more widespread and accessible. Claire is based in Santa Monica, California.
Rob Freelen is Managing Director and investing partner at Sozo Ventures.
Prior to joining Sozo in 2022, Rob was an executive at Silicon Valley Bank where he led both technology and healthcare teams. Most recently, Rob was Head of VC Relationship Management, serving as principal advisor to SVB Capital’s Fund-of-Funds and primary relationship manager for many of the most active US Venture firms. Earlier in his SVB career he opened the Santa Monica office, was part of the Los Angeles region’s exceptional growth (‘15-’20), helped reorganize the sales organization as SVB’s first Chief of Staff, and contributed to record-setting expansion of the Healthcare/Life Sciences practice as Head of Business Development.
Rob has a B.A. in Psychology from Whitman College and has lectured at UCLA, USC, and Stanford University on venture capital and venture lending.
Despite having been born and raised on the Stanford University Campus, Rob and his wife moved to LA for SVB in 2015 and quickly fell in love with everything about their Santa Monica community, except the density of Dodger fans. On the weekends Rob can be found chasing his three daughters through the waves and trails of Southern California.
Brett Brewer is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at CrossCut Ventures. Prior to co-founding Crosscut Ventures, Brett was a serial entrepreneur who has built, operated, and sold a number of Internet media companies. In 1998, he co-founded Intermix Media, which launched several online businesses including Myspace.com. Brett sold Intermix to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 2005 for $680M. After leaving News Corp, Brett became President and Vice Chairman of Adknowledge, and helped grow the business from $40M to $300M in revenue over the span of seven years. Brett is an active angel investor and a pillar in the SoCal tech community. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry events including Bear Sterns Internet Roundtable, Goldman Sachs Internet Conference and the Montgomery Technology Conference. Brett received a B.A. in Business and Economics from the University of California Los Angeles.
Dustin Rosen is founder of Wonder Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on funding LA-based startups at the earliest stages. Previously, Dustin founded a mobile startup, Pose, and as CEO, led the company through development, growth and three rounds of venture capital funding before an acquisition in 2013. He received a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to forming Mucker Capital, Erik was most recently at Harrison Metal Capital, where he helped lead one of the original “micro-VC” firms in Silicon Valley. Before Harrison Metal, Erik was VP of product at TripAdvisor and GM of eBay’s premium features business. He began his career as a software developer at Accenture and holds a BS from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Duke University.
Robyn Ward is a 20+ year veteran of the tech startup space. She is a former operator and VC who, in 2016, started FounderForward, a coaching, training and development company. Robyn also teaches Venture Capital at USC and is a champion of diversity and equality in the technology industry. She has been named a Top Woman in LA Tech by DigitalLA and a Top LA Tech Ambassador by TechWeek.
Derek Norton is the founder and managing general partner of Watertower Ventures. Previously, he was the founder and managing partner of Watertower Group, an industry leading boutique investment bank advising technology, internet and digital media. He has built three other successful companies including Entertainment Media Ventures, $120 million seed and early stage venture capital fund, Jeffries Technologies, which became one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, and Digital Boardwalk, which was Netscape’s second commercial application partner and one of the very first internet service providers.
He is a frequent speaker and panelist on the subjects of technology, consumer internet and venture capital. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC’s Marshall School of Business. He and his wife support charities focused on improving the lives and education of under-privileged youths, is a former member of the board of directors of The Fulfillment Fund, and previously served as Vice President of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporaries.
Derek holds a BA in Communications from the University of Southern California and lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and son who together form a tightly knit team of 3 global travelers and adventure seekers and can often be found of the water somewhere in the world. Derek is an avid runner and a passionate cyclist, surfer, skier, and yogi.
Linda Findley Kozlowski is the President and CEO of Blue Apron. In her role, she is driving a strategy to return to growth through a sustainable business model. Prior to Blue Apron, Linda was COO of Etsy, running the revenue-generating parts of the business including product, marketing and international for the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. She has about 25 years of experience in operations, international marketing, business development, public relations, and customer service. She also currently serves on the Board of Ralph Lauren, Styleseat, Inc., and Dress for Success. Linda has deep expertise in the ecommerce industry through her earlier tenure at Alibaba.com, where she led global marketing, business development, and customer service. After her work at Alibaba, Linda was COO of Evernote, where she oversaw worldwide operations and led cross-functional teams in offices across seven countries. She has also held leadership positions in communications firms including Fleishman-Hillard, Text 100, and Schwartz Communications. Through her career, a distinct set of values have guided Linda’s decisions: mission, creativity, globalism, and impact.
Liz is Co-Founder & CEO of WayUp, a platform that transforms how employers recruit students and recent grads. Liz has been featured in Forbes 30U30, the “18 Coolest Women in Silicon Valley” by Business Insider & NY Business Journal’s “Most Influential Women.” Liz has been a speaker at TedX, TechCrunch Disrupt, SXSW & more. Prior to WayUp, Liz worked in Marketing at Google in Mountain View & India.
Stephanie is a Partner at NextView Ventures, a NYC, SF, and Boston-based seed and pre-seed firm. She invests in the founders who share a North Star of building exceptional user-centric experiences for individuals, families, companies, and communities. She spent a decade as a partner at Uncork Capital, where she invested in dozens of seed-stage companies, including Poshmark ($POSH), Clever (aqu. by Kahoot!), Chariot (acq. by Ford), ClassDojo, Carrot Fertility, Hallow, Panorama Education, Phil, Wrapbook, and Wonderschool. Previously, Stephanie worked as a technology consultant and marketer at Accenture, Estee Lauder, and several startups. She is a founding member of All Raise and on the advisory board of Columbia Business School’s Entrepreneurship Center.
We started Twelve Below to reshape the future of venture capital — partnering with founders and offering them the guidance they need to go-to-market. At Twelve Below, I seek breakthrough ideas from special founders early in their journey. I’ve spent the last 10 years as a partner at leading seed firms Lerer Hippeau and Collaborative investing at the seed stage. Prior board roles include: Allbirds (NASDAQ: BIRD), Step, Mirror (NASDAQ: LULU), Leaflink, Teamshares, Transfix, Monument, Guideline, Crexi, Parsec (NYSE: U), Hungryroot, OpenTrons, Loyal, Accrue Savings. Other brands that I’ve influenced include: Mighty, Outbrain, Gyft, TrueHold, Dutch, Accrue Savings, Sora Schools and Campus.
I lead and advise marketing teams that create and grow brands that inspire fun, excitement, passion, and deep loyalty. My background includes all aspects of marketing, advertising, and public relations for clients ranging from early-stage venture capital and corporate-backed startups to top global brands such as Disney, Yahoo! and Pepsi. Leading e-commerce/retail employers have included Crate & Barrel (CMO), Stitch Fix (SFIX), and Gap subsidiaries, Piperlime (founding CMO) and Banana Republic. Prior to my marketing career, I was with two global public relations firms, Edelman and Fleishman-HIllard, and worked on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
Silicon Valley Bank
Natalie Fratto is a managing director on SVB’s Emerging Manager Practice team. In this role, she provides general partners with tailored services and strategic guidance, including fundraising and fund operations strategies, portfolio company support and creative liquidity solutions. Prior to rejoining SVB, Natalie led strategic investments into emerging managers and growth-stage companies as part of the corporate development team at Goldman Sachs. Natalie started her financial services career at SVB in 2016 as a vice president of Early Stage Practice, providing banking and financing support for the most promising early-stage startups in New York City. She went on to direct SVB’s international expansion into Canada as a senior manager of New Market Development. Natalie earned her B.A. in Political Science at the University of Michigan. She is an alum of First Round’s Angel Track program and On Deck’s Founder Fellowship, and previously led operations for a Y Combinator–backed startup. Passionate about new technologies and innovation, Natalie has been a contributing writer for some of the world’s top finance and technology publications, including Fortune, Fast Company and VICE Motherboard. Her 2019 TED Talk on adaptability has been viewed almost four million times and was one of the top 10 most-watched talks of the year.
Hadley is a Founding General Partner of Eniac Ventures, a SF & NYC based venture capital firm that leads seed rounds in bold founders who use code to create transformational companies. Before founding Eniac in 2019, Hadley was a two time venture backed entrepreneur, helping growth Vlingo and Thumb until both were acquired. Hadley lives in NYC but also spends quite a bit of time in the bay area.
Hayley Barna is a Partner at First Round Capital based in New York. Prior to joining First Round she co-founded and scaled Birchbox, the leading beauty and grooming retailer seed funded by First Round in 2010. Since joining First Round in 2016, Hayley has led investments across many industries and business models including healthcare, consumer, tech-enabled hardware and marketplaces among others.
Pelion Venture Partners
Experienced Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the venture capital and private equity industry. Skilled in Due Diligence, Corporate Development, Licensing, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Entrepreneurship. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a JD from Santa Clara University, MBA focused in Finance from Brigham Young University, Economics from Brigham Young University.
Ben is the Managing Director at Peterson Ventures. He has been with Peterson Ventures since inception, raising over $300 million in capital and overseeing investments in over 100 deals in his 10+ years of experience including leading the firms investments into 6 unicorns in the last 10 years including Allbirds (BIRD), Ethos Life, Lucid Software and Nomi Health among others. Prior to joining Peterson Ventures, Ben was the first employee hired at an enterprise tech startup based in Northern Virginia and spent several years at Charles River Associates, a leading global economic and business consulting firm headquartered in Boston. Ben received an MBA and a B.S. in Finance from Brigham Young University, where he was a Hawes Scholar.
Catherine Wong is Domo’s Chief Product Officer and EVP of Engineering, where she leads the company’s global engineering, product and design teams responsible for Domo’s award-winning modern BI platform. With extensive technology and engineering management experience, Catherine has led the development of the Domo platform from the ground up. Her customer-centric approach has ensured Domo’s ability to grow at the speed and scale needed by its customers. Prior to Domo, Catherine held a number of key global leadership roles at Adobe and Omniture across product, M&A and engineering.
Over the course of her career, Catherine has been awarded patents in data segmentation, data visualization, and SaaS data collection. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Amplitude and the Women Tech Council. She has previously served on the advisory board for the College of Engineering at the University of Utah and the College of Engineering at Utah State University. In 2018, Catherine was recognized as the Women in Tech Champion from Utah Tech Council. She was also awarded Woman of the Year (2018) and CXO of the Year (2019) by Utah Business Magazine. In 2020, she was named a 50 Most Powerful Women in Technolo
Angel Investor / Startup Advisor / Carta
Jeff is an active angel investor and experienced entrepreneur. He currently serves on the advisory boards of several startup companies and is on the partnerships team at Carta, a leading software company serving startups and the venture capital community. Jeff is passionate about startups and enjoys working with founders and mentoring entrepreneurs.
Sunil Nagaraj is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ubiquity Ventures, a seed-stage institutional venture capital firm with $100 million under management and a focus on “software beyond the screen”® startups. This includes B2B technology companies that utilize smart hardware or machine learning to solve business problems outside the reach of computers and smartphones. By transforming real-world physical problems into the domain of software, Ubiquity-backed startups tap into large greenfield markets and offer more effective solutions.
Sunil currently serves on the boards of Esper, Halter, Kinetic, Koop, Loft Orbital, Parallel Domain, Resemble AI, ThruWave and other undisclosed investments.
Prior to founding Ubiquity Ventures, Sunil spent the better part of a decade with Bessemer Venture Partners where his work included leading the seed rounds of Auth0 (acquired by Okta for $6.5 billion) and Zapier as well as investments in Rocket Lab (NASDAQ: RKLB), Spire (NASDAQ: SPIR), Velo3D (NYSE: VLD), Tile (acquired by Life360), and Twitch (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion). Prior to being an investor, Sunil was founder/CEO of Triangulate, a VC-backed online dating startup using machine learning and behavioral data to improve matching accuracy. He has also worked at Bain & Company, Cisco, and Microsoft.
Sunil holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (the largest general astronomy education society in the world with past Presidents including Edwin Hubble and Frank Drake). He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Harvard Business School California Research Center and as an Alumni Advisor to the Harvard MS/MBA program. He spends his free time playing piano, sailing, and nerding out on new technologies.
First Ascent Ventures
Katharine is a Partner at First Ascent Ventures, a VC fund that invests in early stage, emerging and growth-oriented enterprise software companies in the information technology sector. Prior to joining First Ascent, Katharine worked in the area of privacy and data protection. Most notably, she was Head of Privacy Programs at Facebook where she oversaw major initiatives related to the company’s privacy and data protection issues. Katharine was responsible for building and managing Facebook’s privacy and security program, which included everything from application to infrastructure, policy and procedure, regulatory compliance, incident response, as well as “go-to market messaging”. Katharine now leverages her experience in privacy and data protection to both examine target companies through a lens of privacy and security as well as help existing portfolio companies to think through their growth strategy as it relates to privacy and security.
Founders Circle Capital
Mike Jung, Co-Founder and Partner, has invested in leading companies such as Twilio (TWLO),
AppDynamics (acq by CSCO), Adaptive Insights (acq by WDAY), Dollar Shave Club (acq by
Unilever), Ebates (acq by Rakuten) and AlienVault (acq by AT&T). He was previously a Partner
and founding team member at Panorama Capital and began his venture career at JPMorgan
Partners. Previously, Mike held executive roles as Vice President of Corporate & Business
Development at Ask Jeeves (acq by IAC), where he led M&A, strategic partnerships and new
product development, and the Exigen Group, where he led alliances, business development and
M&A. Mike also advised start-ups as an investment banker with Robertson Stephens and an
attorney with Gunderson Dettmer. Mike is also the co-founder of Alpha, a peer networking
community of technology founders and CEOs.
Silicon Valley Bank
Ashraf Hebela is Head of SVB Startup Banking at Silicon Valley Bank. Prior to his current role, Hebela was Head of Analytics & Sales Operations and prior to that he was Chief of Staff of Silicon Valley Bank, reporting to the Chief Executive Office. He was responsible for supporting the strategic and operational needs of the Office of the CEO and the Relationship Banking organizations. Prior to these roles, Hebela was Managing Director of SVB Strategic Analytics and was Head of Product Management for SVB Analytics where he was responsible for defining its product roadmap and releases.
Prior to joining SVB in 2009, Hebela was Senior Director of Product Management at NorthStar Systems, Inc., where he managed the enterprise wealth management software application for high net worth advisors at Fortune 100 financial institutions; NorthStar was subsequently acquired by SEI, one of the largest global wealth management providers, with $582 billion of assets under management / administration. He also worked as a Group Program Manager at Siebel Systems where he was responsible for the technology roadmap and implementation for the Global Services organization; Siebel was subsequently acquired by Oracle for $6 billion. Prior to Siebel Systems, Hebela was a consultant for Accenture, and was one of the lead analysts involved in the process and technology implementation of one of Accenture’s largest telecommunication engagements at the time.
Hebela earned a bachelor of arts in economics with distinction from Harvard University, and also holds a master’s degree in business administration and global management from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a BUILD mentor, a Chartered Financial Analyst Designate and a member of the CFA Society of San Francisco.
Sunil Rajaraman is a tech entrepreneur, operator and investor. He is currently VP of Marketing at GoodRx, where he oversees offline marketing, marketing to healthcare providers, and B2B marketing. Prior to GoodRx, Sunil was CMO of Metromile, and also ran marketing at Replicon Software. Sunil co-founded Scripted.com, which was backed by Crosslink, Redpoint and Storm Ventures. He is a 2-time EIR at Foundation Capital. His investments include Turing (Founders Fund, Foundation Capital), Maven (First Round Capital, A16Z), Tonkean (Accel, Lightspeed), Iron Ox (Crosslink, Eniac) and Practice (A16Z) and several others. Sunil’s podcast ‘This is Your Life in Silicon Valley’ reached as high as top-200 in the US, and his writing has generated 10s of millions of pageviews.
Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies.
Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at Uncork Capital (formerly known as SoftTech VC). In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure, mobile applications, and marketplaces. In addition to his investment activities, he supported SoftTech portfolio companies on business and corporate development matters. He was also the CoFounder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup based in San Francisco, CA.
Prior to joining SoftTech VC and cofounding Bionic Panda Games, Charles Hudson was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga in February 2010. Prior to Serious Business, he was the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Interactive, an online hangout and virtual world for teens. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007. Before IronPort Systems, Charles worked at In-Q-Tel, the venture capital fund backed by the Central Intelligence Agency, where he invested in early-stage hardware and software companies.
Charles graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and Spanish. Charles holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Edith is CEO & Co-Founder of LaunchDarkly, the leading feature management platform.
Edith has more than 20 years of experience in product, engineering and marketing with both consumer and enterprise startups. Most recently she was Product Director at TripIt and Concur. She holds two patents in deployment from her time in engineering at Vignette. She is a contributing writer to DZone, DevOps.com, and ReadWriteWeb; and cohosts the “To Be Continuous” Podcast with Paul Biggar, CircleCI founder. Edith earned a BS in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.
Hunter cofounded Homebrew, a seed stage venture fund, in 2013 with his friend and former colleague Satya Patel. Prior he led product management at YouTube after originally joining Google in 2003, managing product and sales efforts for AdSense, Google‘s contextual advertising business. Hunter’s first job in Silicon Valley was as the founding product and marketing guy at Linden Lab, creators of the innovative virtual world Second Life. Earlier in his career he was a management consultant and also spent a year at Late Night with Conan O‘ Brien. His parents are proud of his BA in History from Vassar and MBA from Stanford University.
Karl Jacob is a serial entrepreneur who has been building, advising and investing in companies for the last 20 years. During his career Karl has raised 23 rounds of financing from a wide range of investors, including True Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Microsoft, eBay, Integral Partners, Norwest Ventures, Greylock, Benchmark Capital, FT Ventures, Ignition Partners and Vulcan Ventures. Many of Karl’s companies have been successfully acquired, including Dimension X, acquired by Microsoft; Keen/Ingenio, acquired by AT&T; Cloudmark, acquired by ProofPoint; and Coveroo, acquired by Zazzle. Across his various tenures as a start-up CEO, Karl has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in investor returns and up to $150 million in revenue per year. In 2005 he joined Facebook as one of its first advisors and has gone on to advise several other companies. Karl is also a prolific angel investor and mentor for start-up companies including Mayvenn, June, Healthtap, Everlane, Skillshare, Rescale, Memsql, Haven, Shippo and many others. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California’s Engineering School, where he sits on its board of counselors.
Russ is a technology founder, executive, and investor who has been working across the startup industry since 1996. Based in Silicon Valley, Russ currently serves as Vice Chairman of Carbon Health where he works with Eren and the leadership team to support Carbon Health’s historic growth. Russ is also the Chairman of Dynamic Signal, a venture backed SaaS business he founded and ran as CEO for ten years. Prior to founding Dynamic Signal, he was the founder and CEO of Adify, which he sold to Cox Enterprises in 2008. Russ is also on the board of CoachArt, a non-profit in California.
Andrea is a Managing Partner at Basecamp Fund who has worked with early and growth-stage companies both as an investor, founder and an operator. She focuses on investments in b2b and enterprise companies as well as fintech, though looks at any company with a disruptive business model. Her recent investments include Flatfile, Tilled, Levels, TripleBlind, Cube, Composer and Balsa, to name a few.
Prior to Basecamp, she was an investor at Fika Ventures and Expa, the venture studio started by the founder of Uber. At Expa she helped manage the firm’s early stage practice investing in both consumer and b2b companies such as Statespace, Sleeper and Radar.
Prior to venture, Andrea was on the other side of the table operating at technology companies both large and small. She was an early employee of proptech company VTS before founding Loop, a two-sided marketplace allowing tenants of multifamily residential buildings to leverage their collective buying power when purchasing services and products for the home. She started her career in commercial real estate at CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company and the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.
Andrea holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Shawn Merani is the Founder and Managing Partner of Parade Ventures, a business-to-business themed pre-seed & seed stage venture capital firm.
Previously, Shawn was a co-founder and partner at Flight Ventures, investing in early stage software, internet and mobile companies across a variety of sectors. He has also made select later stage investments. Shawn’s investments include Cruise Automation, Dollar Shave Club, HOOKED, Sapho, Plastiq, Madison Reed, Stance, Inkbox, Pillow, Managed by Q and more.
As an operator, Shawn was a founding partner of Liquidnet’s Private Shares marketplace, which enabled over 750 of the world’s leading asset managers to invest in high-growth, pre-IPO companies. Prior to Liquidnet, Shawn was Senior Director of Business Development at ReachLocal. Shawn has a BA in Economics and a BS in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Shawn enjoys spending time with his family, riding his Peloton, fantasy sports and supporting the Cal Bears.
Chris Britt is the Founder & CEO of Chime, the leader in US challenger banking that helps Members avoid fees, save money automatically and achieve financial peace of mind. From 2007-2012, Chris was Chief Product Officer and SVP, Corporate Development at Green Dot. Chris was also a senior product leader at Visa and one of the first executives at ComScore. He’s also a Board Member of coachart.org, a non-profit that connects chronically ill kids with free lessons in the arts and athletics.
Tim Young is a Founding General Partner at Eniac Ventures with two exits as an entrepreneur and over 20 years of experience advising and investing in 100+ early stage startups. Tim has been fascinated by technology since his mother taught him to code in Fortran at the age of 10. He went on to study engineering and become a patent attorney and tech entrepreneur.
Tim Kendall is the CEO of Moment, an app that helps people use their phones in healthier ways. Tim is the former President of Pinterest – at various points, he led product, engineering, marketing and sales. Prior to Pinterest, Tim was Facebook’s Director of Monetization. Tim serves on the board of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. He earned his engineering degree and MBA from Stanford University.
Amazon Alexa Fund
Hanns is a member of the investment team at the Amazon Alexa Fund, where he supports early-stage companies building new experiences at the intersection of ambient computing and the digital consumer. Prior to joining Amazon, he led iRobot Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the robotics company iRobot. Previously, he spent time at Claremont Creek Ventures, where he invested in areas such as sustainability, fintech, and mobility. Over the past fifteen years, Hanns has invested in software and hardware companies spanning consumer and enterprise applications in categories such as AI/ML, energy, healthcare, transportation, logistics, and the built environment. Hanns holds an MBA and MS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan, and a BS from Wake Forest University.
Flying Fish Partners
Heather is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Flying Fish Partners, a venture firm investing in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics companies. She serves on the boards of Beneficial State Bank (Lead Independent Director and member Audit & Technology Committees), Yesler, Inc., Coldstream Holdings Inc., Greater Seattle Metropolitan Chamber (immediate past Chair), Washington Technology Industry Association (Chair), Technology Alliance, Forterra and as a Regent of the Washington State University. She serves on the executive committee of the Global EIR Coalition, the governing advisory board of the Hawthorn Club, the Connector Board of NCWIT, the advisory board of iInovate and as a mentor at Techstars. She was named a 2019 Director of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Heather is also very active in local and national policy. Prior to her current roles, Heather was Executive and Senior Vice President at each of Indix, Summit Power, Atom Entertainment, Getty Images and PhotoDisc and General Counsel of Getty Images, a publicly traded company. Heather’s law degree is from Stanford and her BA is from Reed.
Pioneer Square Labs
Ben is a co-founder of PSL. He is a technology investor and entrepreneur, and currently represents PSL on the Boards of Glow and an unannounced investment. He has a background in product management from Microsoft where he shipped the first version of Office for iPad and ran The Garage, the company’s grassroots innovation program. Ben also co-founded Madrona Venture Labs.
Ben was named the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by GeekWire and 40 Under 40 by Puget Sound Business Journal. He is the co-host of Acquired, one of the most popular technology and venture capital podcasts.
Ben sits on the board of the Microsoft Alumni Association and the Pacific Northwest Anti Defamation League.
Lisa leads portfolio development activities for M12. Additionally, she also leads investment activities in the Pacific Northwest, VC engagement for Microsoft and marketing strategy and execution for the fund. Lisa’s been with Microsoft for several years in a variety of roles across business development and finance. She most recently served as chief of staff for the EVP of Business Development where she helped identify, pursue and support new areas of growth for Microsoft through key strategic partnerships, investments, and M&A. Lisa is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Bachelor in Business Administration – Finance and Statistics from the University of Washington.
Liz Pearce is the CEO of Seattle-based Fresh Chalk, a social network that helps you find professionals that your friends recommend. Prior to that, Liz was with LiquidPlanner for 11 years, starting as the company’s marketing contractor and working her way up to COO in 2011 and ultimately to CEO in 2012. Before LiquidPlanner, she held marketing roles at Amazon, Google, and PlayStation and ran an independent marketing consulting business. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from The George Washington University.
Aviel Ginzburg is a General Partner at Founders’ Co-op and former Managing Director of the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, which was backed by Amazon’s Alexa Fund. In 2010 Aviel co-founded Simply Measured, one of Founders’ Co-op’s first investments and was later backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, and MHS capital. When Simply Measured sold to Sprout Social at the end of 2017, Aviel transitioned from his role as Venture Partner into a full time General Partner. Aviel got his start as one of the first software engineers at Appature (acquired by IMS Health), which was also backed by Founders’ Co-op in 2009. Though a new addition to the partnership, Aviel knows the Founders’ Co-op ecosystem well, and has played every role from portfolio founder, to company employee, to partner over a 10 year period. Aviel holds a BS from Vanderbilt University
Kirby Winfield is a seasoned startup operator and investor, and is currently the Founding General Partner at Ascend.vc, a pre-seed stage venture fund investing in marketplace, e-commerce/DTC, and B2B software startups in the Pacific Northwest. Early in his career, Kirby was a founding team member and operating executive at back-to-back tech IPOs, with Go2Net (GNET) and Marchex (MCHX). He is also a two-time venture capital-backed CEO, with AdXpose (DFJ, Ignition) acquired by comScore (SCOR), and Dwellable (Maveron, VersionOne) acquired by HomeAway (AWAY). Kirby has invested in dozens of technology startups, and served as a Board Director of the real estate CRM platform Sharper Agent (sold to LEDR/Z), and the in-store customer experience platform Spectrio (sold to Bertram Capital). He currently serves as a Board Director at Bean Box, the premier Direct to Consumer gourmet coffee gift and subscription brand; Keepe, the leading vetted, on-demand contractor network for property managers; and SyncFloor, the consumer-grade music licensing platform for independent labels and artists. Other notable investments include Attunely, Blume, Crowd Cow, Dolly, Stackery and Wrench. Kirby has served as Board Chair at Special Olympics of Washington, where he helped bring the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to Seattle. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Seattle Preparatory School, Board Member at the University of Washington’s Haring Center Capital Campaign, and Board Advisor at the Friendship Circle of Washington. In his free time, Kirby coaches youth sports, and enjoys running, tennis, and traveling with his wife, son and daughter.
Dr. Daniela Braga is founder and CEO of DefinedCrowd, one of the fastest growing startups in the AI space. With two decades of experience across research, industry and entrepreneurship, and a hybrid background that spans from linguistics to engineering to AI, Dr. Braga is a citizen of the world and one the world leaders of Crowdsourcing adoption in large enterprises. Previously at Microsoft, De. Braga worked across all stacks of Speech Technology and shipped 26 languages for Exchange 14, 10 TTS voices in Windows 8 and was involved in Cortana. At Voicebox Technologies, created the Data Science team and shipped voice enabled products for clients like Samsung and Toyota, introduced Crowdsourcing for big data solutions and re-structured the Engineering infrastructure around data collection, processing, ingestion, instrumentation and discoverability.
Dr. Braga is oftentimes guest lecturer in the University of Washington, USA, is the author of more than 90 scientific papers and several patents. At DefinedCrowd, Dr. Braga has raised more than $63 million USD, and is the woman founder who raised the largest Series B in the US. Always looking for the next challenge and to get out of her comfort zone, Dr. Braga has led her company to outstanding achievements in just five years.
Dr. Braga has been recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 by the João Vasconcelos Award, and is an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 Pacific Northwest finalist. Under her leadership, DefinedCrowd ranked #27 in the Inc 5000 list with an 8550% revenue growth (2016-2019), won the VentureBeat AI Innovation Award (2019); and was featured on the following rankings: Forbes’ America’s Best Startup Employers, Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Most Promising AI Companies (2019); Hottest Start-ups in Lisbon by Wired (2018, 2019); AI 100: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries (2019).
Fuse Venture Partners
Kellan Carter is a founding partner of Fuse where he focuses on early-stage investments in intelligent software in both horizontal and vertical categories. Previously, Kellan spent seven years at Ignition Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. He joined Ignition in 2013 and was made partner by 2018. At Ignition, Kellan led investments in Botkeeper, Symend, Icertis, KenSci, and Azuqua, and served on the boards of both Botkeeper and Symend.
Prior to Ignition, Kellan spent two years in investment banking at Mooreland Partners in San Francisco. There, he helped execute M&A transactions for technology companies in a variety of sectors, including mobile, enterprise software, systems, and infrastructure. Prior to Mooreland Partners, Kellan was an associate in KPMG’s advisory practice in Orange County, CA, where he helped structure asset-backed securities collateralized by student loans, auto loans, and residential and commercial mortgages.
Kellan holds a BS degree in business administration from the University of Montana in Missoula, where he graduated summa cum laude. After college, Kellan founded an online, business-networking platform to connect current students and faculty to UM alumni.
The Good Fund
Stacey is the founder and managing partner of The Good Fund – an impact fund that invests in early-stage startups solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. She is also is the CEO of Otto Intelligence, a fintech working to enable the personalization of finance.
Prior to founding The Good Fund, Stacey was the Director of innovation projects at Goodmans LLP, driving strategic initiatives and projects aimed at addressing change in the legal market. Stacey also practiced corporate law at Goodmans. Stacey is the Co-Chair and Co-Founder of The Breakthrough Fund, a venture philanthropy initiative through SickKids Hospital. Stacey serves on the Board of Save a Child’s Heart, an organization whose mission is to save children’s lives, by improving the quality and accessibility of paediatric cardiac care. Stacey also serves on the board of OCAD U CO, an executive training studio with a mission to help industry leaders and their teams use creative problem solving to drive innovation and change.
Stacey holds a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School, a MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA (Hons) from the University of King’s College.
Ameet Shah is a Partner at Golden Ventures. He has 13 years of product development and sales experience, wearing many hats in both early-stage startups and large enterprise. As an investor, Ameet has worked with a number of successful startups including Brightwheel, ChefHero, Hush, Inkbox and Skywatch.
Prior to joining Golden, Ameet spent some years living in the Bay Area before returning to Toronto in 2005 to co-found Five Mobile, a premier product design and development firm. Zynga later acquired the company in 2008, where he became a GM, overseeing the operations in Toronto. Key responsibilities included managing the P&L of several live games, launching the mobile ad platform and kickstarting many of the machine learning initiatives for the company.
He also was one of the first employees at Tira Wireless and became the Director of Systems Engineering and Strategic Accounts after moving to San Francisco. He also worked as a software engineer at both IBM and Grey Interactive.
Ameet attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a B.Sc Hons in Computer Science and Economics. He has been an active mentor, advisor, and angel investor in the community.
Candice runs Faktory Ventures, a firm investing in globally ambitious founders leveraging exponential technologies. Candice also sits on the Board of one of Canada’s largest enterprise AI companies, Coveo. Candice has played many roles in the tech ecosystem in her career including Global Head of Business and GM at Wattpad, Co-Founder of TorStar Digital (corporate venture and innovation arm), CEO and founder of Ourfaves.com and Strategy Consultant at DeloitteMonitor. Candice has a passion for helping founders scale global companies and advancing the Toronto tech ecosystem and is an Associate at CDL, a Board member at Alpha, a founding partner of #MovetheDialStories and of ElevateTech Festival.
Two Small Fish Ventures
Prior to co-founding Two Small Fish Ventures, Eva was the former Head of Community at Wattpad, who helped nurture and scale its storytelling community from its infancy to tens of millions of monthly users around the world. With a sharp focus on investing companies with strong network effect, Eva created the ASSET framework that many startups have adopted in their developing business strategies.
Silicon Valley Bank
Shez oversees SVB’s market-facing efforts and client acquisition strategy across Canada. As part of his role, Shez leverages SVB’s global innovation platform by connecting companies, market influencers, and both Canadian and U.S. investors who are looking for growth or value-add opportunities. Shez also leads the origination of Canadian corporate and sponsor-backed financings for public and late-stage technology companies and assists with the structuring of complex senior and junior debt financings. With more than 10 years of direct private and public market investing experience, Shez’s background includes originating, structuring and executing transactions across the capital structure and in a variety of industries and situations.
Prior to joining SVB, Shez was a Vice President at Third Eye Capital, Canada’s largest private debt and special situations investor. He began his career at BMO Capital Partners, the Bank of Montreal’s principal investing division.
Shez lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter. Outside the office, Shez serves on the Investment Committee for Community Development Venture Fund, a nonprofit microloan company founded to support entrepreneurship, particularly among immigrants to Canada.
Andre is the Founding GP at Maple VC, a seed fund that backs founders with Canadian roots. Prior to founding Maple, he was one of the first 25 employees at Uber and Hired (both have Canadian founders). He is also a Venture Partner at Inovia, Canada’s top multi-stage fund and Co-Chair of the C100, an influential community of Canadians in tech. Prior to tech, Andre worked in investment banking in the US and UK. Andre was born and raised in Toronto and studied at UofT.
With over 15 years of investment experience, spanning public and private companies, Kirsten combines an experience and thesis driven approach, with a consumer centric view, to identify visionary entrepreneurs and compelling brand platforms. Her ability to draw connections between large and small companies ensures a well-rounded perspective on successful business models, operational and market issues, and consumer trends. Through her work at Forerunner, she has actively supported dozens of innovative companies, investing in some of the most promising companies in the current evolution of commerce.
Spider Capital Partners
Michael has been working with technology startups for two decades as an advisor, investor, co-founder or operator. In 2015, Michael founded Spider Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm. Spider invests in technology driven companies that are building enterprise cloud, software as a service (SaaS) platforms which are transforming business productivity.
Peter is the co-founder of startup studio/incubator Science, which was behind Dollar Shave Club ($1B exit to Unilever), where they co-build these companies with founders in Santa Monica, CA. The companies they’ve built has had over $500M in follow on financing with acquisitions from NY Times & Google . Science also has a $75M venture fund. Science also has a blockchain incubator – Science Blockchain, the first incubator to do an ICO, and one of only 3 SEC regD tokens. They build companies on the blockchain, do ICO coordination for companies as well as actively invest in ICO’s
Jason Lawrence Nazar is an active tech entrepreneur, investor, and writer. Jason is the Co-founder and CEO of Comparably, the online platform to understand compensation and culture. He was the co-founder and CEO of Docstoc (Acquired by INTUIT), the premier content site to start, grow and manage small businesses. Docstoc hosts the best quality and widest selection of professional documents and resources including articles, videos, & productivity tools to make every small business better. Docstoc has over 50 million registered users.
Oren is an entrepreneur, investor, board member, and advisor to technology startups in the US and Europe. He co-founded Mashery in 2006 and served as CEO until Intel acquired the company in 2013. When it was acquired, Mashery-powered APIs were used by over 350,000 active developers in over 100,000 active applications, and counted among its customers many of the largest e-commerce, media, and data companies in the world. Oren has made angel investments in several successful companies including Uber, Pebble Post, Addy, Navdy, and eero. He also invests as an LP in several early- and mid-stage VC funds. He served as an outside (non-executive) director of Aepona, an Irish software company, from 2011 through its acquisition by Intel in 2013. He was also an early advisor to the founder of Gnip, which was acquired by Twitter.
Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online. Today, Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone, and powers billions of conversations, connecting more than 100,000 logos with hundreds of millions of customers over telephony, chat, email, messaging, social channels, communities, review sites, and help centers. Zendesk products are built with love to be loved. Learn more at www.zendesk.com.
For more than 35 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. Learn more at svb.com.
Fenwick provides comprehensive legal services to leading technology and life sciences companies — at every stage of their lifecycle — and the investors that partner with them. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. For more information, please visit fenwick.com/.
Crosslink Capital is a leading early-stage investor based in the San Francisco Bay Area investing in emerging growth companies since 1989. They are a proven team of early stage business builders investing out of their ninth fund ($350M). Crosslink partners with ambitious entrepreneurs who are reshaping massive markets with disruptive technology.
Burkland provides strategic financial services for venture-back startups to help them scale. They offer Fractional CFO, Startup Accounting & Bookkeeping, Tax Services, People Ops, and Financial Due Diligence.