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.
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.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Dan Allred is a senior market manager for Silicon Valley Bank leading the bank's technology practice in Boston. In this role, Dan and his team partner with private companies innovating in enterprise software, hardware, consumer tech, and fintech; leveraging the strengths of their team and the passion and energy of their clients to help clients achieve growth, scalability and outsized success in a competitive, global environment.
Dan enjoys developing relationships with founders, CEOs, CFOs and boards of directors of tech companies, and he is passionate about helping these companies succeed, which in turn further develops a vibrant tech ecosystem, leading to more startups, jobs and wealth creation in the local economy. Having worked for SVB since 2002, Dan has had the privilege to work with and learn from founders, entrepreneurs and executives whose companies are impacting the world in remarkable ways. He is committed to helping clients access SVB’s network, allowing them to tap into data, insights, talent, financial products and services and other resources that can accelerate their business.
Before SVB Boston snagged him in 2007 to build their Accelerator team, Dan headed up SVB’s business development efforts in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Earlier in his career, Dan worked at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), also in Research Triangle Park. In this role, he worked with founders and venture capitalists to help build that community’s tech and life science ecosystem. Dan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Dan volunteers on the board of directors for the SVB Foundation, which grants funds to various organizations in the communities that SVB serves. He also chairs the executive committee for the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, a run, walk and cycle event that raises money for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. An avid fan of the great outdoors, Dan puts more miles on his bicycle each year than he does on his car. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Silicon Valley Bank
Alicia is the Mid-Atlantic Technology Team Lead for Silicon Valley Bank where she has worked since 2007. In her current role, she overseas SVB's efforts in partnering with emerging and growth companies in the innovation economy throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Alicia began her career with SunTrust Bank, where she went through their Analyst Training Program for the Commercial Bank. Eager to work with technology companies and entrepreneurs, Alicia left SunTrust in 2007 to join SVB.
Alicia holds a BA in Finance from Virginia Tech. She sits on the Advisory Board of The Vinetta Project’s DC chapter, an organization that supports high growth female founders in taking their businesses to the next level. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the DC chapter of BUILD, a non-profit that engages students from under-resourced communities through our four-year entrepreneurship, business development, and post-secondary readiness
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and Co-founder of Winnie, a marketplace for daycare and preschool helping over 4 million parents across the United States. Sara has a background in consumer technology and product management. Prior to founding Winnie she was the Director of Product at Postmates, and prior to that held product leadership roles at Twitter, YouTube, and Google. She graduated with a Computer Science and Engineering degree from MIT.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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 https://aws.amazon.com.
Position2 is an innovative digital marketing agency that accelerates demand through integrated content marketing, paid acquisition and marketing technology solutions. We serve clients ranging from VC funded startups to Fortune 500 firms. Our team consists of marketing gurus, engineers, data scientists, writers and designers. Visit: www.position2.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 eighth fund ($275M). Crosslink partners with ambitious entrepreneurs who are reshaping massive markets with disruptive technology.