Access Tour 2019
New York • Seattle • Los Angeles
Access Tour 2019
New York • Seattle • Los Angeles
New York • Seattle • Los Angeles
New York • Seattle • Los Angeles
The Female Founders Alliance Access Tour is designed to help founders move their business forward by fostering meaningful connections with the people and organizations that are most difficult to access for underrepresented founders.
Through a combination of panels, 1:1 VIP coaching, founder AMAs, and facilitated networking, our guest speakers and coaches will meaningfully support founders in their area of business expertise. Founders will leave with new connections and newfound wisdom in an area of their business.
*Topical panels with influential leaders in the startup & VC communities
*AMAs with founders who have raised before, organized by type of financing
*Substantial time for relationship-building
*1:1 meetings with investors and other influentials
Frances Frei is a Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Harvard Business School. Her research investigates how leaders create the conditions for organizations and individuals to thrive by designing for excellence in strategy, operations and culture. She regularly advises senior executives embarking on large-scale change initiatives and organizational transformation, including embracing diversity and inclusion as a lever for significantly improving performance.
A global thought leader on leadership and strategy, Frances is widely recognized
for her dynamic teaching style and breakthrough courses optimized for rapid, lasting impact. She developed one of the most popular classes at HBS, which explores business models that reliably delight customers. She also led the design and launch of HBS’s innovative FIELD curriculum built around learning experiences that are experiential and immersive.
In 2017, Frances was tapped to be Uber’s first Senior Vice President of Leadership and Strategy with a mandate to help the company navigate its very public crisis in leadership and culture. In her ongoing work with Uber, she has focused on giving thousands of employees the tools to excel in a context of hyper-growth, strategic change, and an evolution in cultural values.
Her firsthand experience in Silicon Valley gave her a new lens on the urgent topic of trust, and in May 2018, Frances delivered a widely-viewed TED talk on ‘How to build (and rebuild) trust.’ This powerful framework delivers a crash course on stakeholder trust: how to build it, maintain it and restore it when lost.
Frances is now helping to launch The Leadership Consortium (TLC), a first-of-its kind leadership accelerator that works to build inclusive executive teams and elevate diverse leaders to senior levels of the world’s most influential organizations. Through a curated blend of participant development and direct company engagement, TLC enables strategic investment in high-value, diverse talent and fosters discontinuous leaps in individual and company performance.
Frances is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. She and her co-author Anne Morriss are currently working on their next book on leadership due out in 2020.
She holds a Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit: http://www.hbs.edu/ffrei
Zameer Kassam is a VOGUE-featured jewelry designer and founder of his eponymous fine jewelry brand.
Zameer’s love affair with jewelry began in his teens while working at his family jewelry business in Vancouver, Canada. Early on, he learned that jewelry is about more than the incredible beauty of gemstones or the excitement of wearing a magnificent piece; it is about celebrating the most important moments in life, in a way that will last forever.
After honing his business skills at McKinsey & Company and MTV Networks International, he reentered the world of fine jewelry by joining De Beers Louis Vuitton as the head of the bridal and classics business. From there, his passion for design led him to create his own brand, Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry.
Zameer takes his clients’ loves stories and builds classic engagement rings, yet secretly weaves details of each couple’s story into the design. Perhaps the number of diamonds on the band represents their years together, or a secret gemstone set inside the band represents an important moment in time. This far, Zameer has designed more than 1,500 pieces of jewelry, each telling a unique love story.
In 2017, Zameer worked with Ashley Judd to craft the #TimesUp Oscars ring, the first red carpet jewel based on social impact story, which she famously used as a tool on the red carpet to speak about Hollywood inequality. Since then, he has crafted other social impact jewels to create meaningful dialogue on red carpets for stars such as Lupita Nyong’o, Constance Wu, the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, and many more. He has been featured in The New York Times, VOGUE, CNBC, Forbes, Crains, CNN, Harper’s Bazaar, The Knot, the New York Post, Harvard Business School Alumni Magazine, among other publications.
Zameer holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University, and is based in New York City.
Jenny A. Durkan is the 56th mayor of Seattle and the first woman to lead the city in nearly a century. She entered office on November 28, 2017. Prior to becoming mayor, Durkan was a civic leader and attorney. Durkan, one of eight children, was raised in Seattle. She and her partner, Dana, have two sons.
Tim is focused on investing in B2B software companies in the Pacific Northwest. He currently is particularly interested in the areas of B2B intelligent applications and SaaS, cloud native software, ML and data analytics, and security. He is a board member or board observer of numerous Madrona portfolio companies.
In addition to his work at Madrona, Tim is a member of the Investment Committee for the Alliance of Angels Seed Fund I, and also is on the boards of the Washington Technology Industry Alliance and the Technology Alliance. Tim also serves on the Investment Committee for Global Partnerships’ Social Venture Fund.
Throughout her life and career, Jessie Woolley-Wilson has been driven by a singular belief that all children need and deserve high-quality learning opportunities, regardless of who they are or where they live. She believes that by supporting great teaching and learning, everyone wins: kids, families, communities and the world. Jessie has worked in the education technology space for nearly 20 years to support school and district leaders to improve learning and life outcomes for K-12 students.
Jessie joined DreamBox Learning in 2010 as Chair, President, and CEO. The startup software company had pioneered Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ in 2006 and began partnering with schools soon after Jessie joined. Today, DreamBox serves nearly 3 million K-8 students and approximately 120,000 teachers. The company provided more than 350 million math lessons across the U.S. and Canada in 2017.
Jessie recently secured a $130 million investment in DreamBox from The Rise Fund, a global impact investing fund managed by TPG Growth. Prior to joining DreamBox, Jessie served as president of Blackboard’s K-12 Group and LeapFrog SchoolHouse, the K-12 division of LeapFrog Enterprises. Jessie also served in leadership positions at collegeboard.com, the interactive division of The College Board, and at Kaplan, the leading test preparation company in the U.S.
Jessie supports the broader K12 industry by serving on the boards of several educational organizations including Rosetta Stone, Newsela, the Western Governors University Board of Trustees, and Ursuline Academy. She is also a board member for Boeing Employees Credit Union, Pacific Science Center, and The Bullitt Foundation. She has been a featured speaker at international events including TEDx Rainier, SXSWedu, DENT and GeekWire Summit 2018.
Jessie is a two-time recipient of EdTech Digest’s EdTech Leadership Award for her work in transformative innovation in education and honored her as one of 2018’s Top 100 Influencers in EdTech. Seattle Business Magazine awarded Jessie the 2015 Executive Excellence Award in the CEO of the Year category and Forbes placed her on its “Impact 15” list for being a disruptor in education. The Puget Sound Business Journal honored Jessie as a “Woman of Influence” and 425 Magazine named her as one of eight “Unstoppable Eastside Women” for having a clear focus on the greater good. Additionally, The New York Times has profiled Jessie and her leadership style in their Corner Office column.
Jessie holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia. She is also a 2007 Henry Crown Fellow and moderator for the Aspen Institute.
Lauren is Career Contessa’s CEO, #1 power move advocate, and has a life mission to help women build successful and fulfilling careers on their terms. Lauren launched Career Contessa in 2013 out of her master’s thesis project to close the gap in career development resources for women. With women accounting for more than 50% of the workforce and the workforce being less defined than ever before, it seemed crazy (and outdated) that a resource for us didn’t exist. Career Contessa now helps millions of women each year with their careers through content, online learning courses, and job listings.
Formerly, Lauren was a Recruiter for Hulu focused on hiring, employer branding, and program management. She has a Bachelor’s in Education from University of Oregon and a Master’s in Communication Management from USC where she wrote her thesis on millennial women and career resources.
Lauren has spoken at TED Women, Yale, and Creative Artist Agency (CAA), appeared on Cheddar TV, Good Day LA, and regularly contributes on career advice to outlets like Good Morning America, Goop, and more.sLauren is also the host of Career Contessa’s podcast, The Femails, covering all things work, women, and traits of success, is currently writing her first book, Power Moves, coming out in May 2020 from Harper Business, and loves to stay in touch on Instagram:
Tiffany Dufu is founder and CEO of The Cru, a peer coaching service for women looking to accelerate their professional and personal growth, and the author of the bestselling book Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less. According to foreword contributor Gloria Steinem, Drop the Ball is “important, path-breaking, intimate and brave.”
Named to Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women, Tiffany has raised nearly $20 million toward the cause of women and girls. She was a launch team member to Lean In and was Chief Leadership Officer to Levo, one of the fastest growing millennial professional networks. Prior to that, Tiffany served as President of The White House Project, as a Major Gifts Officer at Simmons University, and as Associate Director of Development at Seattle Girls’ School.
Tiffany is a member of Women’s Forum New York, Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and is a Lifetime Girl Scout. She serves on the board of Girls Who Code and Simmons University. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Maia Bittner is an entrepreneur and investor who splits time between SF and NYC. She was co-founder of Pinch, a company that helped customers build their credit scores through paying rent and was acquired by Chime in 2018. Prior to Pinch, Maia was Co-founder & CTO of Rocksbox, a successful jewelry rental startup that has raised $12.3 million. Maia advises and invests in early-stage startups with a passion for all things fintech, customer-focused ideas, and female founders. She loves eating ramen, deploying fast and scrappy pilots that demonstrate sparks of consumer demand, and tweeting startup punditry at @maiab
Leslie Feinzaig is Founder & CEO of the Female Founders Alliance, a network of founders, investors, partners and champions that collaborate to help women and non-binary startup leaders succeed. FFA offers programming, community, incubation, deal flow and investment opportunities, with a mission to increase the number of successful member founders 20 times over in 10 years or less. Leslie’s background is in technology and strategy consulting, with a BSc from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School (with a full scholarship). Leslie was named one of Forbes Magazine’s Most Powerful Women from Central America & the Caribbean, Seattle Magazine’s Most Influential People, and Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She’s a frequent speaker and published author. She was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, and now lives in Seattle with her husband and their two daughters.
Ruth Yakubu is a Cloud Developer Advocate for Startups at Microsoft; and also the founder of PoshBeauty.com. Ruth specializes in Java, Cloud, Advanced Analytics, Data Platforms and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In addition she’s been a tech speaker at several conferences like Microsoft Ignite, Devoxx, JavaWithBest, DeveloperWeek, TechSummit, Grace Hopper Dublin and several developer communities. Prior to Microsoft, She has also worked for great companies like UNISYS, ACCENTURE and DIRECTV over the years where she gained a lot of experience with software architectural design and programming.
Ambika Singh is revolutionizing the way women dress as co-founder and CEO of Armoire, a high tech rental fashion startup based in Seattle. A graduate of Dartmouth College and MIT’s Sloan School, Singh brings 15 years of experience in the tech industry, working across diverse organizations in marketing, business development, product management, SEO, and social media roles. Singh played a key role in the creation of internet startups Rover.com and TravelPost.com, as well as two major Microsoft product launches: Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7.
Taylor is GeekWire’s managing editor, responsible for coordinating the newsroom, planning coverage, and editing stories. He is a native of Portland, Ore., and graduate of the University of Washington.
As CEO of Barokas Communications, Karli is passionate about helping clients tell their stories and grow
their brands via a holistic approach to communications. With more than 20 years of experience working
with enterprise tech, B2B and consumer technology companies, Karli has shaped Barokas
Communications into a growing, trusted mid-size PR and communications agency known for its fearless,
Karli specializes in working with high-growth companies in enterprise and cloud technology. She has
been directly involved in leading PR strategy and execution for a number of notable startups from
launch through exit. Some of her former clients include Opsware (acquired by HP for $1.65B), Redback
Networks (acquired by Ericsson for $1.9B), Apptio (IPO, acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.94B)
and Skytap (growing, with more than $109M in funding). She is an active speaker in the Seattle and
Denver technology communities, participating in women’s leadership and technology marketing and
communications events. Her recent speaking platforms and engagements include Female
Empowerment for Women Leading Technology, Path to the C-Suite for the Women in Cloud Summit,
and Marketing and PR Strategy for the Washington Technology Industry Association Startup Club.
In her spare time, you can find Karli swimming, biking, running, traveling or relaxing with the fam, which
includes Mack, a very spoiled English bulldog.
William has spent his career as both an entrepreneur as well as an executive of a Fortune 100 company.
Prior to forming Mucker Capital, William was the SVP and Chief Product Officer of AT&T Interactive where he owned P&L, Product Management, Product Marketing, and UX responsibilities for all digital advertising initiatives for greater AT&T. In 3 years at AT&T Interactive, he doubled revenue to over $1B. Previously, as a fresh college graduate, he founded BuildPoint (Acquired by NYSE:ROP) – a SaaS provider of bid management & marketplace services to the commercial construction industry. William helped the company grow to over 250 employees and raised over $50M in venture capital. In between, he has led product teams at eBay, Green Dot (NYSE:GDOT) and Spot Runner.
William holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a MBA from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of Stanford University’s Undergraduate Cabinet.
Kavita Varma-White is a Senior Editor for TODAY.com/TODAY Parents/TODAY Parenting Team. After a career in newspapers, including the (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Sun-Sentinel and the (Wilmington, DE) News Journal, she became a digital editor for Red Tricycle and MSNBC.com. She is the mom of two, ages 20 and 17, and resides in Bellevue, WA.
Amy Nelson is the founder and CEO of The Riveter, a modern union for working women. A graduate of Emory University and the NYU School of Law, Amy practiced corporate litigation with a focus on high-profile First Amendment matters for over a decade in New York City and Seattle. She also served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee where she co-chaired Gen44, the under 40 fundraising arm of the campaign. Additionally, Amy previously worked with President Carter’s The Carter Center. In 2017, Amy launched The Riveter while pregnant with her third daughter in three years and she welcomed daughter number four in June 2019. The Riveter’s growth has outpaced even WeWork’s first years, and to-date they’ve raised over $20 million in venture capital. Amy is a contributor for Inc., has written for Forbes, and has been published broadly including in/on outlets including The TODAY Show, Refinery29, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post and The Seattle Times. She has spoken across the world on many stages, including Forbes Under 30, United State of Women, Cannes Lions, and SXSW.
Allison Long Pettine is an investor and entrepreneur who is passionate about finding and empowering visionaries uniquely destined to change the world. She recently founded Ad Astra Ventures, a fund dedicated to empowering founders of high growth startups with at least one female co-founder. She is President of Crescent Ridge Partners, Founding Partner at SEED San Diego, and co-founder of Lymber, which was sold to MindBody in 2017. Allison began her career at Viscogliosi Brothers, a New-York based venture capital company focused on cutting-edge orthopedic medical device technologies. She has several years of operational experience as an early employee at Paradigm Spine, a medical device startup. Allison is help to help in any way possible and excited to be part of the Techstars family.
Expertise: Founder / CEO skills, Fundraising / Finance, Marketing | Thinking through fundraising strategy, big picture of important things to consider when building company, clarity on direction, and what will truly make your product and company succeed.
Prakash Somasundaram (LinkedIn) is the Head of Global Projects for Amazon Launchpad. He leads the growth and expansion of the Amazon Launchpad program with the mission of providing resources, expertise, and global infrastructure to entrepreneurs & startup companies worldwide to sell and deliver innovative products to millions of Amazon customers. Prior to Amazon, he has held leadership roles in Product Management and Business Strategy across a variety of industries including consumer electronics, healthcare and supply chain. Prakash has a Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently based in Seattle.
Commercialization strategy. Partnerships and M&A. Contract Negotiation. Corporate development. Brittany Berry-Pusey has devoted her career to bringing good ideas into the light and seeing to their success.
She facilitated technology commercialization as co-founder of the UCLA Business of Science Center. She helped one of the world’s largest pharma companies forge a path into digital health. She repeatedly brought transformational technologies from the whiteboard to the boardroom for health companies and investors.
She has finely-tuned her ability to cut through the noise to recognize the bright ideas, and then catalyze their commercialization. This has culminated in her current role as co-founder of Avenda Health—a company that will redefine the treatment of prostate cancer.
Her philosophy has been cold-forged over years of experience: go broad, then deep; emphasize research and due diligence, and then drive to success.
Heather Redman has lived her life in leadership roles at startups, including as Senior Vice President at each of AtomShockwave, Inc., Getty Images, Inc., and PhotoDisc, Inc., VP Business Operations and General Counsel at Indix Corporation and Senior Vice President at Summit Power Group.
Heather is a consummate networker and believes in service to the community. Heather serves on the boards of the Washington Technology Industry Association (Vice Chair), the Greater Seattle Chamber (Chair Elect), the Hawthorn Club, Global EIR Coalition and Beneficial State Bank (Audit and Technology Committees). She has served on the boards of several privately held companies and many industry associations and non-profit companies as well as on numerous advisory boards. Heather is also active in local and national policy and politics. She speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics.
Heather holds a JD (with distinction) from Stanford and a BA from Reed.
Alex Iskold is a co-founder and Managing Partner at 2048 Ventures. Prior to 2048, Alex spent 5 years at Techstars as the Managing Director of its NYC program, where he invested in and helped over 100 startups. Alex was previously the founder and CEO of Info Lab (acquired by IBM), founder and CEO of GetGlue (backed by USV, RRE, Time Warner), Chief Architect of distributed computing startup DataSynapse, and a software engineer at Goldman Sachs, D.E. Shaw and Thinkmap.
Alex also taught an award-winning undergraduate computer science class at NYU. He holds a B.S. in Math with Honors from Lehigh University and M.S. in Computer Science from NYU. Alex writes one of the top startup blogs called Startup Hacks. You can email Alex at email@example.com, see Alex’s connections on Linkedin, and follow him on Twitter @alexiskold.
Full time individual angel investor and member of different angel groups in Seattle (Grubstakes, Alliance of Angels, SWAN Venture Fund). My previous professional career doesn’t really apply to startups (I was a small equity fund manager), but as an analyst I can help brainstorm business ideas, markets and industries. And as an angel I can help review pitches and pitch decks, explain the point of view and common questions posed by angel investors, and share what I have found to be the best practices for fundraising for early stage startups.
Jenna Sleefe is a highly skilled M&A and investment professional with private equity, corporate development, and integration experience involving over 50 acquisitions in technology and software totaling $4.7 billion of aggregate transaction value. Currently, Ms. Sleefe is an investment professional focused on business development for K1 Investment Management, a private equity firm focused exclusively on B2B and enterprise software. Prior to K1, Ms. Sleefe spent six years at Internet Brands, a billion-dollar portfolio company of KKR, serving as the Director of Acquisitions & Integration and Chief Compliance Officer.
K1 builds category leading enterprise software companies. As a global investment firm, K1 assists high-growth businesses achieve successful outcomes. K1 invests alongside strong management teams that continue to guide their organizations on a day-to-day basis. With over 85 professionals, K1 changes industry landscapes by assisting with operationally-focused growth strategies. Since inception of the firm, K1 has partnered with over 110 enterprise software companies including industry leaders such as Apttus, Buildium, Certify, Checkmarx, ChiroTouch, Chrome River, Clarizen, ControlUp, Granicus, IronScales, Jobvite, Onit, Rave Mobile Safety, RFPIO, Smarsh and WorkForce Software. For more information about K1, please visit: http://www.k1capital.com or http://www.linkedin.com/
Shane founded Wolverine Angels, an early stage investment firm and mentor network with investments including Neurable and Phase Four. The firm pools capital and expertise from University of Michigan alumni to accelerate early stage tech startups.
Most recently, Shane was Head of Investments for CrowdSmart, an AI platform and venture fund combining human expertise and artificial intelligence to increase transparency and reduce bias in venture investing. Shane led 15 fund investments since joining the firm. Portfolio companies include InvolveSoft and Syntiant.
Previously, Shane helped GreeneStreet Films raise several rounds of venture capital and build a slate of over 20 motion pictures generating over $250 million at the box office. His operational responsibility spanned film finance, international distribution, and digital media. His motion picture credits include Movie 43 and Awake.
Shane holds an MBA with distinction from University of Michigan where he was a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow. He earned a BS cum laude from Morehouse College where he studied Math and Physics. During school he circumnavigated Earth by boat in 100 days through Semester at Sea
Divya is FFA’s Director of Marketing. She has over 12 years of experience across retail, lifestyle and consumer brands leading marketing efforts for Fortune 500 companies as well as early stage startups, successfully exiting her last one!She is passionate about supporting women’s careers through life change and telling their stories. An immigrant and mother of two boys four and under, she and her husband are determined to raise feminists.
Erina is the co-founder and CEO of Remarkably. She has spent over a decade helping owners, investors, and developers lease up their buildings, maintain stabilization and achieve their revenue goals in some of the hottest markets across the country.
Remarkably is a portfolio performance platform for multifamily real estate innovators. We are passionate about helping the nation’s top property owners, investors, developers, and managers reach their leasing, occupancy and revenue goals with portfolio-grade marketing operations and analytics software. Our software enables customers to achieve significant and measurable results at all stages of the real estate lifecycle, from ground-up developments to repositioned and stabilized properties.
Enrique is a business, technology, and investment professional with lots of experience building, growing, and investing in market leading products and enterprises. For 15 years, he served in R&D and business management roles at Xerox PARC, Adobe and Gartner. In 1996, he cofounded Voyager Capital, a Seattle-based, early-stage venture capital firm where for 16 years he led investments in software, wireless and service tech businesses. In 2008, he was recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors as the Northwest’s Region Private Company Director of the Year.
Enrique co-founded 9Mile Labs, a Seattle-based B2B accelerator. He later joined UP Global, the nonprofit parent company of Startup Weekend, Startup Week and other entrepreneur-focused programs. After their merger with Techstars, Enrique and his wife toured the country in an RV for 3 years on a personal exploration of “Innovation in America.” He serves as an advisor to the Women’s Venture Capital Fund and a board member of Global Partnerships, an Impact-First Investor dedicated to expanding opportunity for people living in poverty. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jesse Beyroutey is a Partner on the IA Ventures team who joined in 2011. At IA he primarily focuses on financial services, healthcare, life sciences, real estate, and other regulated industries.
Prior to IA, he worked at Insight Venture Partners, a late-stage software and Internet fund. At Insight, he focused on gaming, payments, travel, and enterprise software investments. Jesse held several jobs in college: as a product manager on Microsoft SharePoint, as an intern for Stephen Starr Restaurants, and at a nonprofit in Mexico City called The Hunger Project.
He graduated with a M.Sc. and B.Sc. in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.Sc. in marketing and operations from Wharton, as part of the M&T program. At Penn, he was president of Wharton’s undergrad marketing club. He loves cooking and is an aspiring web developer.
Debbie is the Founder, CEO of Hydrostasis, Inc. She has 18 years of experience developing optical diagnostic tools (hardware and algorithm). She has a B.S. in Bioengineering from UCSD and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University. Past projects include early diagnostic tool for detection of peripheral neuropathy, corneal confocal microscopy for Type-1 Diabetes screening, 3D in-vivo plankton microscope, and high-content screening for drug discovery.
Debbie completed the Rady Micro-MBA program and the MyStartupXX accelerator program in 2016. She went on to complete the Stella Labs and Ad Astra Accelerator programs from 2017-2018. Hydrostasis, Inc. was created based on Debbie’s athletic pursuits and her background in optical sensing. She realized there is a need for personalized, continuous hydration monitoring to be able to notify users before dehydration or over-hydration occurs. When not running her company, Debbie is a Mom of 2 and an Amateur Muay Thai fighter. She is an advocate for female and under-represented founders, and is passionate about mental health, especially entrepreneurship mindset.
Angela Lee is the founder of 37 Angels, an angel investment network and training bootcamp for women investors. She is an entrepreneur and angel investor with a passion for education. She is also a consultant and educator and teaches Strategic Problem Solving, Entrepreneurial Thinking and Executive Communication at Columbia Business School, NYU, and General Assembly.
Chris is a Managing Partner at Shipyard Capital, a privately-held firm managing a portfolio of early-stage investments as well as partnerships with many leading investment managers.
Carly Kiser is a Vice President for Silicon Valley Bank’s Washington region headquartered in Seattle. At SVB, Carly partners with Technology and Innovation, Life Science and Clean Tech companies to provide debt and financing solutions and strategic guidance to meet our client’s needs. Carly has been with the bank since 2009, and previously worked in management and strategic consulting with DaVita Healthcare Corp as well as Early Edge Solutions.
Carly received her undergraduate degree from Guilford College in Chemistry and Business and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.
John Zagula is the founding managing director of Ignition Capital, a boutique private-equity fund. He is formerly the founding managing director of Qiming Ventures, a top-five venture capital fund in China, and a partner at Ignition Partners, one of the leading venture capital firms in the Northwest. Zagula has also served on numerous U.S. and international corporate boards that focus on software, hardware and consumer services from inception to IPO. Before working as a professional investor, he held marketing and strategic executive roles at Microsoft and American Express. John is also an adjunct instructor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.
Laura Malcolm is the founder and CEO of Give InKind, a modern social platform for coordinating support through life’s disruptions. Laura spent 10 years in product management, building B2B and B2C products for both startups (Brighter.com, Connectivity) and public companies (Dex Media/Supermedia). After the unexpected loss of her first child, Laura combined her professional and personal experience into a fast-growing business that allows friends and families to support one another, from anywhere. Laura is a northwest native, graduate of the University of Washington, and has two little boys at home that keep her grounded.
Co-Founder. Y-Combinator Alum. Relationship builder. Relentless optimist. Gets people and what drives them in business and the world.
20 years developing the world’s most recognizable brands and building a $60 million brand from scratch. Thrives on challenges by figuring out what nobody else is doing and why, cutting to the bone, piecing together ideas and testing the heck out them.
Rachel is a Partner at Five Four Ventures. Prior, she was co-founder and CMO of Scentbird where she was responsible for customer acquisition, brand partnerships and influencer marketing. Before starting Scentbird, she led Marketing and Strategy for top Beauty and CPG brands including: P&G, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Bacardi and Elizabeth Arden. Passion for developing innovative solutions to meet complex business demands, specializing in digital, business development, brand management, branding, strategy and growth.
– Brand Management and Strategy
– Consumer Communications: Social Media, Direct Marketing, Content Creation, and PR
– Growth: Customer Acquisition, Paid Social, E-commerce, Online Advertising, SEO, SEM
– Product Development: Launch Management, Innovation and Portfolio Strategy
– Branding, Corporate Identity, Creative Development and Marketing Communications
– Hispanic Marketing (native Spanish speaker)
Guest speaker at key industry events including Indie Beauty, StyleCon, HBA Global Expo Conference, Columbia Business School and 85 Broads. Actively interested in Board appointments.
Sonya has over 25 years of experience counseling emerging growth companies, established technology businesses and venture capital funds. Her clients range from early stage startups to larger public companies. Sonya advises clients on a variety of legal and business issues. Her particular expertise is in private and public financing, strategic technology transactions and mergers and acquisitions. She represents companies and investors in private financings, strategic investments, spin-outs and public offerings. Sonya is counsel to public and private companies in a broad range of industries, with a focus on the software, mobile, biotechnology and medical products and services industries. In the last 10 years alone, Sonya has worked on more than 300 venture capital transactions, closed public offerings of over $3 billion in equity and M&A transactions valued at more than $3 billion. Sonya serves on Cooley’s management committee. Prior to joining Cooley, she was a shareholder at Heller Ehrman and a director and one of the founding members of the Seattle, WA office of Venture Law Group (VLG) before the merger with Heller Ehrman. Prior to that, Sonya was an associate at VLG in Menlo Park, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in Palo Alto and Jones Day in Los Angeles. Sonya is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the category of Venture Capital Law since 2004, is listed as a leading attorney in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2013 – 2018, and listed in Washington Super Lawyers from 2014 to 2018.
T.A. McCann is a serial entrepreneur. He was founder and CEO of Senosis (acquired by Google), Gist (acquired by Blackberry) and Rival IQ, a leader in marketing analytics. Previously, he was an EIR at Polaris Venture Partners, Vulcan Capital where he built Vulcan Labs and Providence Health Services, focused on quantified health ideas and investments. He also held senior roles at Microsoft leading Exchange and the Mobile Services divisions. In addition to his own startup experience, he is an active angel investor in companies including SkillJar, CreativeLive, Assist, Migo and Vendor Hawk and on the board of Guidant Financial, Volt Athletics, and Splash.org. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business and active TechStars mentor.
Prior to his startup career, he was a professional sailor having competed in 2 America’s Cups (won one, lost one) and the Whitbread Round the World race. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, where he attended on a full swimming scholarship.
Dennis is an active member to two of the most active angel groups in Seattle – the Alliance of Angels (AoA) and the Puget Sound Venture Club (PSVC). He screens deals and leads due diligence teams for both groups.
Lara Jeremko is a Los Angeles-based investor, strategist and executive producer. She is a strategic advisor to venture capital firms and incubation companies with a current focus on aging, longevity and future of work. She is an early stage angel investor and producer of JOBSOLETE, a documentary series exploring the future of work through the people of today. Lara is on the Advisory Board for AI LA, a non-profit exploring the impacts of artificial intelligence on humanity. Recently, Lara designed and led the XR Education Prize Challenge funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Lara co-founded re:3D Inc., a socially conscious 3D printing company committed to the circular economy and capacity building. Lara was also an institutional investment officer managing a $1.5 billion venture capital fund portfolio at UTIMCO, the investment firm overseeing $35 billion of University of Texas System endowment assets. Prior to UTIMCO, Lara was a private equity analyst at Credit Suisse in New York, NY.
When she’s not making big ideas become big realities, you’ll find her indulging her passions for piano, dancing, singing, comedy and outdoor adventures.
Dr. Silvia Mah, PhD, MBA, is the new President of CONNECT San Diego and founding partner of Ad Astra Ventures, that aims to “get to even” for high achieving women. Dr. Mah also serves as Executive Director of Hera Labs, an accelerator for women-owned businesses; founding member of Hera Angels, a female angel investment group; Investment Committee member of Next Wave Impact, a social impact venture fund; and an angel investor to over 30 startups who have diverse founders on the leadership team. Dr. Mah’s own success includes producing a globally-recognized podcast, She Invests!, highlighting the investment journeys of female angel investors and venture capitalists; serving for 2 years as the Student Programs Diversity Director at the Office of Innovation and Commercialization’s The Basement, a technology accelerator for undergraduate startups at UCSD; & Fund Manager for the San Diego Angel Conference, a new angel fund to activate regional capital from aspiring and existing angel investors. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Mah believes in integrating family and work to create a lifestyle that serves both with a strong cup of integrity.
Alexandra Freyer is a senior associate in SVB’s Santa Monica office, where she works on the Early Stage Practice team to provide the personalized service that positions LA-area technology and innovation entrepreneurs to meet and exceed their goals.
Alex’s knack for business development and passion for adventure make her a perfect fit for SVB. As a Tanzanian safari consultant in 2010, she increased her employer’s revenue by $1.2 million within her first 10 months on the job. She also developed the Boston office of LivingSocial Adventures from its inception. From there, she took on a position as an account executive for the New York–based Clinton Global Initiative, where she brokered worldwide partnerships for socially responsible initiatives and secured millions of dollars in memberships and sales to Fortune 100 corporations, celebrities, social impact companies and NGOs.
Alex also worked as manager of executive operations for online advertising technology company true[X] Media, where she participated in the rebranding and restructuring that preceded its successful $200 million acquisition by 21st Century Fox in 2014. The innovation-driven startup mentality at true[X] served as the ideal training grounds for the SVB Santa Monica office, which she joined in 2016.
Alex earned her bachelor’s degree in government with a minor in theater and dance from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Through its semester abroad program, she studied world politics at the University of Cape Town and volunteered at a refugee center in South Africa. Shortly after graduating in 2009, she completed the rigorous certification process at the India-based Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre. She has taught private and group classes in Newport Beach since 2014.
When she’s not working in the fast-paced world of tech startups or leading students into the reflective universe of yoga, you’ll likely find her pedaling a bike, playing a piano or dancing.
Len joined Madrona in January 2010. He is interested in analytics systems and IoT devices that radically transform economics for big industries, and consumer products that change the way we see, hear, feel and sense life. “There are some amazing companies developing systems that could dramatically change the way products are marketed and sold. Billions are spent marketing through the internet, retail, sales forces and e-commerce. Measuring, optimizing and attributing performance will be as important to the future of marketing as was the change wireless technology made to the communication industry. Healthcare, industrial systems and education will be next.”
He most enjoys working with entrepreneurs on building their teams to last and scale. “I have 16 years of experience working at companies and have made some great decisions and meaningful mistakes. It’s worth learning from both.”
Colleen Badgley practices corporate law, with a focus on all aspects of emerging company development, including corporate formation, venture capital financings and M&A. While at the University of Michigan Law School, Colleen served as an international fellow at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She was also a member of the Entrepreneurship Clinic.