Some of the most brilliant people in Silicon Valley support what we do. Offering their time and experience to help our Fellows thrive, these experts stand behind our vision for making meaningful connections with leading corporations.
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Business LeadLionTree LLC
Co-Founder & Head Of BusinessLiftIgniter
Co-founder & CEOOwnerListens.com
Co-founder & COOWonolo
DirectorSamsung NEXT Ventures
Executive DirectorJPMorgan Chase
Co-founder & CEODashbot
CEO & Co-founderSamba TV
VP, MD, and Global Head of Samsung Next Ventures
Global Customer Experience ProgramsTesla
Co-founder & CEOCathay Innovation
Global Innovation DirectorMcCann Worldgroup
VP TechnologyOrange Silicon Valley
Senior DirectorAlvarez & Marsal
Serial entrepreneur and product strategistBefore Alpha
General PartnerAlpha Bridge Ventures
Product Design ManagerFacebook
Head of Global Network & Software PlatformUber
Founder & PrincipalAmplify
Venture LeadLuma Launch
VP Knowledge TransferOrange Silicon Valley
VP of Growth and DevelopmentDigital Garage US
Head of Corporate and Business DevelopmentOsterhout Design Group
Entrepreneur, Advisor, Investor
Global M&A Integration ManagerUnilever
Co-Founder & General PartnerThe Venture Reality Fund
Julien-David joined the team in 2013. He is mainly responsible for early stage investments, primarily in France, with a key interest in cloud and mobile technologies, e-commerce platforms, enterprise software and Internet of Things.
He’s currently supporting companies in France and Germany. Prior to joining the team, Julien-David launched and grew the European activities of Apperian, a US start-up that develops and markets a cloud-based mobile application management platform.
Julien-David has an extended experience in Telcos and Tech. He started his career in Business Development for Orange in USA then led the negotiations and signature of strategic partnerships between Orange and key networks vendors. He then headed Orange’s portfolio of fixed and mobile devices for B2C and B2B markets worldwide, and contributed to establish the Orange and Deutsche Telecom joint venture, BuyIn.
Julien-David is a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and Telecom ParisTech (France).
Adam Judd leads the technology business in San Francisco for LionTree, a global investment and merchant banking firm, where he serves as an advisor to companies across the technology landscape. Adam joined LionTree in 2012 as part of the original team in New York, and his transaction experience includes executing over 20 deals totaling more than $130 billion.
Adam is on the board of select private companies and foundations and graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Excited about building & creating, Adam joins LiftIgniter from Henge Docks where he was Chief Operating Officer. Adam previously ran his own social data science company, and did business development at Clearwell Systems, an e-discovery company that sold to Symantec for $400m. Before moving to California, Adam worked at Neustar, a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information. Adam holds a JD & MBA plus dual-majored with minor in undergraduate from the University of Miami and Vanderbilt. In his free time, Adam can be found scuba diving (he’s a board member of the Coral Restoration Foundation), reading, and skiing.
Adi Bittan is the co-founder & CEO of OwnerListens.com, a messaging platform for businesses and customers to communicate directly.
In addition to running OwnerListens, Adi mentors entrepreneurs at Stanford University’s Lean LaunchPad, a class led by Steve Blank and at StartX, a Stanford affiliated startup accelerator; She is also on the leadership team of the SFO-TLV Direct Flight Initiative (sfotlv.org).
AJ Brustein is Co-Founder and COO of Wonolo, a mobile on-demand staffing platform. Based in San Francisco, he has led Wonolo to exponential growth, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs to Wonoloers and helping companies get work done better, cheaper, and faster. Before founding Wonolo, AJ was the Director of the Coca-Cola Innovation Accelerator, led the turnaround of the Fanta brand in Japan, and ran global innovation and digital projects for the Coca-Cola brand.
Ajay Singh is a Director at Samsung NEXT Ventures. Based in Silicon Valley, Ajay focuses on early stage investments in software and services, particularly in artificial intelligence and emerging tech areas such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Ajay has over 12 years of investment and operational experience with venture firms, startups and small and large companies. Ajay graduated with BS in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, JD from Northwestern University School of Law and MBA from Kellogg School of Management.
As CEO, co-founder and member of the board of directors for Ripcord, Alex Fielding is responsible for the leadership, vision and execution of the company. Fielding started his career as an engineer at Cisco Systems and Apple, where he worked on multiple generations of MacOS, PowerBook, Network Server and was part of the first iMac team. Shortly after departing Apple, he worked at Exodus Communications with Ellen Hancock, Exodus’ CEO who was Apple’s former CTO. He co-founded Wheels of Zeus with Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak in 2001, which was sold to Zontrak in 2006. Alex was Chief Technology Officer, Federal Government at Power Assure and then Vice President at Vigilent before starting Ripcord while at NASA. Alex sits on the Board of Directors of The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), is a Board Member of the Code Warrior Foundation and is a founding member of Singularity University.
Anand Desai is an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase, with responsibility for the bank's digital identity strategy. He has over 20 years experience, spanning product, engineering, and startups in security and payments. He has been a contributor to the crypto research community since before the time that the term was misappropriated from them. Anand has a PhD in Computer Science from UC San Diego.
Anton serves as a Director at 3311 Ventures, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the fund. Before joining 3311, Anton worked at Homejoy Inc and Goldman, Sachs, and Co. He received his BA from Stanford University.
Arte Merritt is the co-founder and CEO of Dashbot – a bot analytics platform. Previously, he founded the mobile analytics platform, Motally, which he led to a successful exit via sale to Nokia. Arte has 17 years experience in the mobile space and nearly 20 in the analytics space, working with companies like Yahoo Mobile, Turner Broadcasting, and a wide variety of startups. In addition, he helped launch two accelerator programs, Turner’s Media Camp and Mobile Monday’s Momentum. Arte is an MIT alum.
Ashwin Navin is CEO and co-founder of Samba TV, a data and analytics service that measures television viewership using data from Internet-connected devices and set-top boxes.
Prior to Samba TV, Ashwin was the president and co-founder of BitTorrent, Inc.
Dr. Bernhard Gold is responsible for international investments, especially in the United States. Previously, Bernhard was Managing Director at T-Venture of America, Deutsche Telekom's venture capital arm.
Brendon Kim has been investing in early stage startup companies for over 20 years. He is currently the VP, MD, Global Head of Samsung NEXT Ventures. The Ventures team invests in compelling early stage software and services startups, bringing the power of the Samsung platform to accelerate their growth. Prior to joining Samsung, Brendon was a co-founding general partner of Altos Ventures where he was a lead investor and board member in numerous early-stage software and services companies. Before co-founding Altos Ventures, he was a strategy and management consultant in the media, consumer and technology industries. Brendon received his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and his BA from Princeton University.
Christian's background is in business development, sales and brand management in B2C and B2B markets. He currently works on Tesla's global customer experience programs and brings vast experience from startup ventures to multi-billion dollar operations like LVMH / Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, L'Oreal, Kiehl's, Otto Group (Crate & Barrel), Adyen, Fiverun and various startups within the Automotive, Technology, Payment, Retail and Media industry. He managed, grew and coordinated teams in the U.S., Europe and APAC.
Chris’ diverse range of investment and consulting experience in areas like data, entertainment and real estate form his limitless view of the connected tech world. At Comcast Ventures, he focuses on marketplaces, data and real estate fintech. Prior, he worked at Siemer & Associates where he focused on transactions across the digital media, data, software and analytics landscape. He has independently consulted with a variety of startups in the technology and entertainment space. Chris spent his early career working at IMT Capital, a real estate private equity fund, where he held a leadership role. He sits on the Workforce Investment Board for the state of California. He received his B.A. in history from Yale.
Denis is co-founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation. He is also a managing partner of Cathay Capital Private Equity. Prior to Cathay, he was at Iris Capital where he managed the international activities of the Orange/Publicis fund. He has also been the Head of Corporate Venture at Orange, and a Managing Director at Innovacom.
lav leads innovation for McCann Worldgroup, developing new methods and processes to create meaningful
consumer experiences based on strong relationships with tech partners and startups.
Elav’s experience in technology stems from her experience in the Israeli army and her tight connection with tech companies.
Elav successfully melded her tech savvy and marketing prowess from 10 years in the advertising industry
to develop McCann Worldgroup’s TechDate offering.
TechDate connects brands, start-ups and creatives to develop cutting edge solutions.
Elav has a passion for nurturing the tech ideas within youth culture and loves mentoring upcoming women innovators and leads global Youth Hacks with emerging teen entrepreneurs.
Eric F. Galen specializes in entertainment and technology law, focusing on the convergence of content, commerce, influencers and brands. Over the past 15 years, Eric has worked with entrepreneurs, startups, influencers and brands including Fullscreen, Naritiv, Jaunt VR, Jack & Jack, DanceOn, DigiTour, Science, Amplify, Launchpad, Muse Entertainment, Samsung, Hello Society, Instabrand, Viddy, GE, Tai Lopez, David Copperfield, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mitsubishi, Tradesy, Mariah Carey, Slate Studio, Column Five Media, Neon Roots, Wiredrive and many others.
Gabriel Sidhom is Orange Silicon Valley's VP of Technology Development. He's responsible for all of the engineering, development, research and business model functions, while also rapidly prototyping and developing services that deliver business innovations emblematic of the Silicon Valley technology ecosystem. Previously he was in charge of Technology Analysis and Implementation for the unit for Orange.
Goutam Palukuri is a Senior Director with Alvarez & Marsal’s Transaction Advisory Group in San Francisco. For the past thirteen years, Goutam has worked with private equity sponsors, family offices and corporate clients and has been based in Dubai, London and Los Angeles. Goutam focuses on financial due diligence comprising quality of earnings, cash flow, working capital and net debt analysis. He also performs reviews of purchase agreements and financial models and assesses the achievability of Management prepared business plans. Goutam has assisted his clients throughout all phases of a potential acquisition, from pre-deal evaluation through to post-deal purchase price adjustment support.
Gregarious “Greg” Narain has been at the forefront of social media marketing, influencer marketing, and product marketing for more than 20 years. Throughout his career, Greg has helped drive marketing verticals – such as content management, email and customer relationship systems, and marketing research – with a focus on product development and launches.
Greg is a designer and developer by trade and has been the founder of numerous startups in the software and marketing spaces. He most recently founded a growth and innovation agency where he works with both startups and Fortune 500 companies on product and business strategies.
As General Partner of Alpha Bridge Ventures, Howie works to identify and evaluate promising early-stage technology companies seeking funding, conducts diligence on all potential investments and helps quarterback overall operations for ABV. Howie delivers expertise in many facets of business while bringing a hard core entrepreneurial perspective.
Jacob focuses on investments in the Emerging Platforms sector which includes Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Computer Vision and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. He believes there will be an unprecedented increase in the utility and functionality of the camera with applications built “on top of” the camera and powered by AI and advanced computer vision to place digital objects and experiences into our physical world. Jacob manages the Shasta Camera Fund, a dedicated pre-seed targeted fund that backs visionaries developing products in AR/VR and camera-first Computer Vision applications. He is the lead investor in CameraIQ.
Jean Marc is a self-taught multidisciplinary designer, currently working as Product Design Manager for Facebook Messenger. Prior, he worked for Google Daydream, Inbox, and Gmail. Born an raise in the South of France, Jean Marc moved to San Francisco in 2012 after Google acquired Sparrow - the company he was working for.
Justin Dustzadeh is Uber’s Head of Global Network & Software Platform. He leads a team responsible for the engineering and operations of Uber’s global network infrastructure, as well as the software-based automation capabilities and tools that help ensure Uber’s infrastructure (compute, network, DC) is always available and functions at peak performance. Previously, Justin served as the VP and Head of Global Infrastructure Network Services at Visa, where he led the architecture, engineering, and 24x7 operations & security of Visa’s global datacenter and wide-area networks, and drove the modernization and transformation of Visa’s infrastructure toward open, software-defined networking & cloud technologies. Prior to Visa, Justin served as the CTO & VP of Technology Strategy for Huawei’s $9B Networks business while helping to drive the development and adoption of open SDN & NFV in the industry as a visible and active member of the open networking community. Other previous positions include VP of Technology & Head of Network Architecture at Ericsson, CTO & Co-Founder of a Silicon Valley software technology startup, senior technology and management roles at AT&T Labs (CTO support including driving the transformation of AT&T’s technical infrastructure), as well as senior technology roles with French service providers Cegetel/SFR and Orange. Justin holds a Ph.D. and master's degree in Computer Science from Telecom ParisTech and a bachelor's degree in Theoretical Physics from Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS Paris).
Ken Yeung is a veteran journalist and seasoned marketing profession with 15 years of experience in technology and business. His career spans different roles in execution, including project management , content strategy , and in reporting for notable industry publications. He's covered Silicon Valley companies, startups, and VCs for VentureBeat and The Next Web across a variety of sectors such as social media, adtech, fintech, enterprise, customer service, consumer, developer tools, AI, and more. Ken has a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa specializing in marketing.
Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify, a modern HR executive search and consulting firm that helps companies build progressive people teams and prepare for the future of work. His experience includes industry-leading companies like Ticketmaster, NPR, SpaceX, Hootsuite, and Duo Security. Lars is also the Co-Founder of HR Open Source (HROS.co), a global initiative to accelerate innovation and education in HR. He’s a writer with regular columns in Fast Company and Forbes, co-author of Employer Branding for Dummies (Wiley, 2017), and global speaker. Lars was named a Top 100 Influencer by HR Examiner, included in The Huffington Post’s Top 100 Most Social HR Experts on Twitter, and LinkedIn’s 50 Most Popular Recruiting Influencers.
Laurent is an Entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist who works with start-up founders to successfully build scalable teams, strong company cultures and disruptive products. His desire to support the growing tech communities in Los Angeles led him to his current role as Venture Lead at Luma Launch, a seed to series-a corporate venture with an accelerator program and internal incubation team. Luma Launch is focused on early stage startups at the convergence of evolving technology and content markets, capitalizing on internal and external resources to create successful products.
Mark Plakias is Vice-President of Knowledge Transfer at Orange Silicon Valley. His office manages initiatives for best practices in innovation, including creative services, market intelligence operations, and community outreach efforts like Orange Institute, as well as topics relating to the evolution of the communications industry. Recent research projects have focused on new models for personal data, sustainable food systems, platform economy and employment.
Former Product guy, now a Business Development leader, Mobile, Web, Android, IOS.
Maya Kanehara is passionate about innovative technologies and services that transform lives. She has over 15 years of experience in product development for tech companies like Twitter, Apple, and Autodesk. As part of her current role as VP of Growth and Development at Digital Garage US, Maya manages DG 717, a coworking and event space at 717 Market Street. She strengthens and maintains a centralized business development process for existing and new partners for DG Incubate(https://www.dgincubation.co.jp/en/portfolio) and DG Lab Fund(https://dg-daiwa-v.com/en/).
Michael spent his entire career as a digital intrapreneur within large organizations - building profitable businesses, creating ground breaking marketing programs and identifying disruptive startups with staying power. Earlier in his career, he was Director of Global Emerging Technology and New Media at General Motors for nearly a decade, which made him an expert in working with agencies, startups and large enterprises.
Michael has a BA in economics from the University of Michigan (USA) and an MBA from Ellis College at the New York Institute of Technology (USA).
Mick Eddy is Head of Corporate and Business Development at Osterhout Design Group, designer and manufacturer of the advanced augmented reality smartglasses. In his role, Mick oversees ODG's strategic and technology partnerships. Mick was instrumental in a 2013 IP asset sale to Microsoft and raising ODG’s Series A, the largest in the AR/VR and wearable sector.
Mick's venture fund, Night Owl Ventures, invests in and advises disruptive technologies. He started his career in real estate development, based in Los Angeles. Over the course of his 7 years in the real estate business, he oversaw a variety of large-scale hospitality and commercial projects totaling more than one billion in value.
Mick graduated from The University of Southern California and studied at London School of Economics.
Nikhil works the Deal Team at Republic, part of a family of startup platforms together with AngelList, Product Hunt, and CoinList, whose mission is to democratize angel investing. He is a founder at Ambition.VC, with investments in companies like Samba TV, Verdigris, VentureBeat, and FabFitFun.
Marketer turned entrepreneur, focusing on helping early- to mid-stage startups to build a strong, scalable foundation and creating an innovative, entrepreneurial culture and teams.
Pascale Diaine recently joined Storm Ventures as a Principal. She focuses on early-stage enterprise SaaS, AI, and AR applied to the B2B world. She made her first investment in the AI space with LiftIgniter. Previously, she worked at Orange (the European Telco) where she founded the corporate accelerator Orange Fab and collaborated with startups like Talkdesk, Edyn, Iunu (Luna Powered), and TrackR. She holds a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Technology at Compiègne (UTC).
Rashmi leads enterprise software investments for Microsoft Ventures in the Bay Area. She brings a combination of strong venture capital and startup operating experience. Previously, Rashmi was an Investment Director at Intel Capital focused on investing in cloud, infrastructure, and big data companies. She also led global business development for high-growth startups Couchbase and BlueData. Prior to that, she held business development and product development positions at GE and Oracle. Rashmi has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Mumbai in India.
Roy Aubeelack manages Unilever’s global technology practice for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Prior to this, he’s helped to land the company’s digital transformation agenda, partnering closely with the global brand portfolio and marketing functions to drive business innovation at the intersection of technology, data, marketing and culture. He is passionate about mentoring startups and emerging collectives, while bridging disciplines and discovering new approaches that have impact at scale.
Sebastien is a San Francisco based designer working for Google in the Chrome, Chrome OS and Android team.
He specializes in clean, simple and precise interface design.
Tom Emrich is committed to driving adoption and innovation in technology which is augmenting the human experience. Tom is an active investor and founding partner at Super Ventures, the first fund dedicated to augmented reality. He is also a community builder having grown a community of over 250,000 professionals dedicated to augmented reality, virtual reality & wearable technology through We Are Wearables, the largest wearable tech community in the world and AWE (Augmented World Expo) the world's #1 AR+VR conference and expo with annual dates in the USA, China and Europe. Tom has been recognized as a top global influencer for AR, VR and wearables and has presented talks at major conferences such as TEDx, SXSW, TechCrunch Disrupt SF, CVR, WT Conference, Wearable Technology Show, TOM*FW, and FITC. He regularly appears in the media as a futurist and expert including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Space Channel, CNN, BBC, CBC, Readers Digest, Globe and Mail and FASHION magazine. Tom's passion for this space is driven by his belief that wearable tech plays a critical role in our human evolution.
Tugce Ergul is a co-founder at Angel Labs, the world's first investor accelerator with a strong focus on diversity & inclusion. Before founding Angel Labs, she worked as a Managing Director at Startup Labs where she managed over 30 successful digital investments. Tugce has been and continues to be a national and international consultant and speaker on economic development, angel and venture financing for numerous countries and NGOs including the EU and OECD. She has worked closely with several countries on their national entrepreneurship programs, and with digital agencies on their startup partnerships. She regularly collaborates with agencies, media companies, and corporations on accelerating the ways they discover and pilot innovation from startups.