Ash Fontana (Zetta Venture Partners): We enter at the seed stage. We like to be the the first and most important partner of the company.
Ash Fontana is Managing Director at Zetta Venture Partners. Ash launched syndicates at AngelList – the biggest startup investing platform in the world that now manages over $2B. He previously co-founded Topguest, a Founders Fund-backed company that built customer analytics technology for companies like United, Virgin, and InterContinental. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I was always very interested in investing and in computers, so I just combined these interests. When I started a company I worked in finance, in law, because I’ve studied law. This idea was a sort of coming about in lots of different ways. I’ve built the relevant skills and experience as an entrepreneur. I came my way to Angellist, that, obviously, is a pretty interesting place to be in the ecosystem. And I started investing. What was the most unusual startup you ever supported? Or, maybe, your favorite? […]
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl (Social Venture Circle): Our criteria are very strong on impact, but we also expect the financial return, this is not a philanthropic giving
Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, of Cherokee ancestry, is the Executive Director of Social Venture Circle, a network of impact investors, entrepreneurs, and capacity-builders that solves big problems. Valerie is the owner and a founder of Red-Horse Financial Group, Inc. and has a reach in-depth experience in finance and investment banking, but also in the tribal government sector. She holds seven FINRA registrations. In more than 30 years Valerie has raised more than $3 billion in capital for tribal nations. She teaches Entrepreneurialism for Racial Equity and Social Impact at Stanford and is the founder of several non-profit organizations. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? I started in finance many years ago. I am Cherokee Indian, so that means I’m part of the tribe, and there are over 500 nations indigenous to America. And I started years ago, when I was young, working […]
Anurag Chandra (Fort Ross): We’re not conservative, we’re not aggressive, we’re Fort Ross, we’re no different today than we were before COVID started
Anurag Chandra is a Venture Partner at Fort Ross Venture, who has been a member of the Silicon Valley tech community for about 20 years. His experience includes investing (NXT Capital Venture Finance, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Galleon Crossover Fund) and operating (senior executive roles at venture-backed companies). Anurag Chandra serves on the Board of Directors at Upaya and is a mentor at accelerator Imagine H20. He is also a Trustee and Investment Committee member for the San Jose Federated Employees Pension Fund. Anurag Chandra has also been a coach to Astia (women’s technology cluster) companies. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? It’s one of these things that’s more organic. I had been doing some stuff in my mid-twenties. I tried to raise money for various types of form direct investment projects in India. And I was struggling to get any of […]
Peter Rojas (Betaworks Ventures): We are really focused on people who can build. We are builders and we build products and lead teams who build products to scale.
Peter Rojas is a partner at Betaworks Ventures. He is a successful four-time entrepreneur with deep operating experience. He was VP of Strategy at AOL and co-director of AOL Alpha, co-founder of Weblogs Inc. He created and was the founding editor of tech sites Engadget and Joystiq, music discovery site RCRD LBL, gdgt, and gadget blog Gizmodo. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? I started as a technology journalist. In the late nineties I worked in a magazine in San Francisco, called Red Herring, which was a magazine that covered the business of technology, but very focused on venture capital. The idea behind the magazine was “If you want to see the future of the technology industry, you need to look at the companies which venture capitalists are investing in.” And 20 years ago that was a very novel idea; I think, at […]
Julie Maples (FYRFLY Venture Partners): We invest in data, intelligence and enterprise software that is not really sexy part of the market.
Julie Maples is Co-Founder and MD at FYRFLY Venture Partners. She has over 20 years of venture experience as both an investor and operator. She is founder of two venture firms in the seed stage arena achieving top percentile returns. She is Founder and Chairwoman of the Wine Celebration, Board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, V Capital Campaign Committee. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? Actually, I entered the venture capital world right out of college. I came to California between my junior and senior years from Philadelphia, where I studied for an undergraduate degree. As I did a summer internship, I found my passion for this career that I just loved. I just love being in the industry. I always thought I would be working in the consulting, financial, maybe banking industry in New York. Finding VC world in Silicon […]
Sergey Gribov (Flint Capital): Nobody in the normal mind would invest in a company that has more chances to fail than to succeed, but that’s what we do
Sergey Gribov is a partner at Flint Capital with a rich experience of being a tech entrepreneur and investor for more than 20 years. He was a founder and a top manager in more than 10 startups across Israel, USA and Russia. Sergey has an expertise in IT, namely in cybersecurity, software development, VoIP, finance and bioinformatics sectors. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My original background is technical, I graduated in Computer Science. While I was in university, I started to work for a company called Compugen, which is in Israel. It’s one of the success stories of Israeli startups that appear in the “Start-up Nation” book. I was an employee №1 at Compugen where I did a bunch of different things. But I realized I could never work for a big company and liked startups. And at some point […]
Phil Nadel (Forefront Venture Partners): We’re not working to hit Grand Slams every time we invest, we’re happy with hitting doubles and triples with occasional home runs.
Phil Nadel is Founder and Managing Director at Forefront Venture Partners. He has been a serial entrepreneur for many years, having founded and exited several startups. He is also a published author, frequent conference speaker, and one of the co-hosts of “The Pitch” podcast. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? Over the years I have started and sold several businesses myself, and when I exited a few businesses, friends and relatives had asked me if I could help them with their startups – both in terms of advice, but also with investment. So I started investing in startups on casual basis with people I knew. And that quickly grew to investing on more professional and full-time basis over the last 10-15 years. Because I started as an entrepreneur and a founder, it gave me a really good basis for understanding of other businesses […]
In light of recent events, many startup owners are thinking about how to survive in times of crisis and how to raise money. We recommend listening to Denis Dovgopoliy, who during his career managed to be both on the side of startups and the side of investors. Also, he witnessed the global financial crisis of 2008-09 in Silicon Valley How it was in previous crises Of course, the current crisis is very different from the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, and from the Great Recession of 1999–2000, but it is worth paying attention to many significant trends. In particular, the fact that those investors and entrepreneurs who successfully survived the 1999–2000 recession, when the entire industry collapsed, worked much more efficiently. As soon as the crisis came in 2008, the sub-primes collapsed and the market experienced a shock, startups who raised money shortly before the crisis were in absolute gain. […]
Riyad Abou Jaoudeh (MEVP): Our fund is focused on the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey region.
Riyad Abou Jaoudeh is Managing Director at Middle East Venture Partners VC (MEVP). He has more than 6 years of strategy and management consulting experience in the telecom and media sector in the Middle East. Prior to joining MEVP, Riyad was a Senior Associate with Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company). Riyad also helped launched an e-commerce platform focusing on toys, was country manager for Qatar at Careem, and launched a mini-burgers restaurant in Beirut. How it’s all started? How you decided to enter the venture investment business? It was a funny story because I did not make that decision. This opportunity came to me through my network. I went to do an MBA at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, and about a year and a half later I was at the alumni event for the School and met there Walid Mansour, who was – and is – a […]
Matthew C. Le Merle (Fifth Era & Keiretsu Capital): We are working very hard on supporting teams that are transitioning the world to a digital world
Matthew Le Merle and his wife Alison Davis are co-founders and Managing Partners of Fifth Era, which manages Blockchain Coinvestors. Matthew is also Managing Partner at Keiretsu Capital, the most active early-stage tech investors in America, Chairman at CAH and Securitize (Europe), Vice Chairman at SFOX, and an advisor at Warburg Pincus. Matthew has been an advisor on growth and innovation-related issues for giants like Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Cisco, eBay, and HP. He is an expert in a broad range of industries. How did it all start? How did you decide to enter the venture investment business? My wife and I grew up in England, and we started our careers as management consultants with McKinsey & Company. We came to California more than 30 years ago to attend business school at Stanford and then had careers as senior partners at other big consulting firms including Kearney and in my case […]