Influential technology leaders who help guide Alpha events and membership
Katie serves as the CEO and Managing General Partner of The Engine. She is also co-founder and Managing Director of Project 11 Ventures. She serves as a Board Member at Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Form Energy, Via Separations, and Cellino. She has advised hundreds of founders and invested in nearly 100 companies at the earliest stages of formation. Key investments include Pillpack (acquired by Amazon for $1 billion), Bevi, GrabCad, Synack, Zagster, NBD Nano, Neurala, and Amino.
Katie has experience in managing startup accelerators and business-innovation programs — several of which she co-founded including Techstars Boston and Startup Institute. In addition to her extensive investing career, she has over 20 years of experience in management & operations including holding management positions at Microsoft, Eons, AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2, and Mirror Worlds. She holds an MBA from Yale University and a BA in Biology from Oberlin College.
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.
Founder/CEO/board/founding team: Endeca (Oracle $1.1B acquisition ecommerce/bigdata), Akamai (AKAM), Toast (~$500M capital raised SAAS for restaurants), Desktop Metal (~$500M capital raised for 3D metal printing), Parallel Wireless (accelerating 5G globally), Kandou (silicon), Shoobx (bringing leverage to tech entrepreneurs), and more.
Sonia joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2016. She is responsible for sourcing, diligence and oversight for the firm’s investments in consumer, enterprise and emerging technologies. Most recently, Sonia was vice president of product and head of mobile apps for RetailMeNot (NASDAQ: SALE), responsible for cross-platform strategy and leading an app redesign that earned a 2015 People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Shopping App.
Board Director | Advisor | CEO
Jennifer Carr-Smith is a seasoned senior operating executive who thrives in organizations undergoing rapid growth and transformation. She has a proven track record of building, scaling and transforming businesses across sectors, including: CPG, Fashion/Apparel, Food/Grocery, Retail and Internet. Ms. Carr-Smith has more than 20 years' experience in digital and has built a reputation as a strong, effective leader who is strategic, passionate, curious and transparent. With a diversity of experience including early stage start-up, high growth, mid-sized and large global businesses, she has demonstrated her range and versatility leading businesses of all sizes: from $5M to $1B+ revenue and organizations spanning 20 to more than 3,000 associates. Jennifer has worked across business models and possesses broad management experience across functions, including: Strategy, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, E-commerce IT, Analytics, Supply Chain and Customer Experience. Her strengths include: developing strategy, building & leading teams, building & scaling businesses, simplifying complexity, developing talent and delivering results.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Rob Freelen is the Los Angeles Market Manager for Silicon Valley Bank, where he leads SVB’s technology practice. Across the globe, SVB works with the majority of venture-backed technology companies, delivering products and services including venture debt, working capital lines of credit, treasury management, payments, private banking and equity venture capital.
Since joining the bank in 2005 Rob has helped guide both the Tech and Life Sciences practices to market-leading positions in the industry, personally having led debt transactions for several hundred public and private companies. Prior to the L.A. Market Manager role, Rob moved into the technology practice, serving as SVB's first Chief of Staff where he helped restructure SVB's sales organization.
During his early career Rob interned for a winery in Sonoma County, spent two long years as an early employee of a dot-com era startup near SF, and then transitioned into finance with an asset management firm based in Woodside.
Outside the office Rob is an avid recreational cyclist, a lifelong student of wine, a current candidate for the Certified Sommelier designation, devoted husband, and father to three girls.
Rob earned a B.A. from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, and intends to develop a family vineyard there someday.
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.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Melissa manages the New York Market for Silicon Valley Bank’s Technology practice, and has over 20 years of experience building client relationships, advising companies on strategic growth, and tailoring financial services/solutions with a focus on debt financing for technology companies.
She’s active in supporting entrepreneurial organizations and events throughout the New York metro area with a focus on building a network of executives, entrepreneurs and board relationships dedicated to the innovation economy. Melissa received her BA at Smith College and an MBA at Babson College.
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.
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 Palmeri is a partner at Uncork Capital, investing in Marketplaces, SaaS, Consumer, and Hardware. Investments include Poshmark, ClassDojo, Panorama Education, Merlin, Pared, Wonderschool, Carrot, and Chariot (Ford). Prior to joining Uncork in 2011, Stephanie’s decade in NYC spanned technology, marketing, and startups. She has an MBA from Columbia and is an All Raise founding member.
Lerer Hippeau Ventures
Prior to Collaborative Fund, Taylor Greene was a Partner at Lerer Hippeau, a New York focused early stage venture capital fund where he invested in Allbirds, Giphy, Casper, Soylent and Transfix among others. Previously, Taylor served as an advisor and angel investor to several seed stage startups and ran sales and business development at Altruik, acquired by Searchdex. Taylor has also held operating and finance roles at Time Warner and at The Synapse Group, an integrated marketing firm acquired by Time Warner in 2005. Taylor received his BA from Wesleyan University and his MBA from Columbia Business School.
Sandra Oh Lin is the Founder and CEO of KiwiCo. KiwiCo inspires young innovators by designing and delivering seriously fun and enriching hands-on experiences. Before KiwiCo, Sandra was GM of eBay Fashion and a founding member of PayPal Mobile. Sandra’s early career began in R&D at Procter & Gamble. Sandra has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Dave Sabow leads Technology and Healthcare Banking for Silicon Valley Bank serving the financial needs of SVB’s clients across the US and Canada. In this role, he drives the sales and marketing strategy, assists with the structuring of complex credits and presents regularly at global industry conferences. He also oversees the business development team focused on venture capital relationship management and new opportunity origination.
With more than 15 years of life science and healthcare finance experience, Dave’s background includes structuring senior and subordinated debt, IPOs, follow-on offerings, mergers & acquisitions and strategic advisory roles.
Dave joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2012 to support late-stage lending in the Life Science and Healthcare Practice. He soon became responsible for the national Life Science & Healthcare Practice, and over the years has led SVB’s client funds business and products. In 2018, Dave worked with senior management to lead SVB’s acquisition of investment banking firm Leerink Partners, now SVB Leerink.
Prior to joining Silicon Valley Bank, Dave spent nine years in the life science investment banking practice at Canaccord Genuity, with responsibility for both domestic and international deals across the life science and healthcare spectrum, specializing in public financings and M&A transactions. Before Canaccord, Dave worked as a relationship manager with U.S. Bank.
Dave graduated from Santa Clara University, and completed the executive program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, focusing on Leadership and Strategic Impact.
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.
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.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Minh is a Market Manager for Silicon Valley Bank's Washington and Western Canada region headquartered out of Seattle. He serves as a banking partner for technology, life science and clean technology companies of all stages. Minh is deeply involved with the Washington entrepreneurial and venture capital communities and has advised countless companies on raising capital and debt financing.
Minh has been with Silicon Valley Bank since 2008 and previously worked at Square 1 Bank where he helped develop and grow their banking practice in Washington and Oregon. Prior to Square 1 Bank, he served in various commercial banking roles at US Bank and Key Bank.
Minh is a graduate of the University of Washington where he obtained his bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting and Finance.
Andrew Macdonald is the Senior Vice President for Uber's operations globally. Prior to this role, he served as the Vice President for Uber's Americas Operations and Global Business Development.
Uber is a continuation of Andrew’s start-up ambitions, as he founded 2 start-ups in the years before his time at Uber. Prior to entrepreneurial pursuits, Andrew was a management consultant with Bain & Company, covering clients in technology, financial services, and manufacturing.
Originally from Toronto, Andrew is passionate about giving back to the local tech community. He sits on the Advisory Council of Ryerson DMZ, Canada's top university business incubator, and advises a number of other local start-ups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Orrick is a tech-focused, full-service law firm passionate about entrepreneurship and guiding the success of early ventures. We provide tech companies and investors with commercial and legal insight, from financing strategies, protecting IP, retaining talent and advocating for innovation-friendly public policy.
For over 12 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS services are trusted by millions of active customers around the world to power their infrastructure, make them more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit http://aws.amazon.com.