Mark Suster is a Partner at Upfront Ventures. He joined the firm in 2007 after having previously worked with Upfront Ventures for nearly 8 years as a two-time entrepreneur. Before joining Upfront Mark was Vice President, Product Management at Salesforce.com following its acquisition of Koral, where Mark was Founder and CEO. Prior to Koral, Mark was Founder and CEO of BuildOnline, a European SaaS company that was acquired by SWORD Group. Earlier in his career, Mark spent nearly ten years working for Accenture in Europe, Japan and the U.S.
Mark looks to invest in passionate entrepreneurs in early-stage technology businesses. His interests include Digital Content and Distribution, AdTech, Consumer Internet, and SaaS businesses and he has deep operating experience having started and sold his last two companies.
Mark received a BA in Economics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
On a sports field somewhere around LA cheering on my two boys in soccer, basketball, baseball or swimming. I work hard during the week but Saturdays are all about the kids and I love it.
Be real. Be authentic. Only start a business that you are truly passionate about because it is very seldom that success comes from "a money making idea." Most businesses are not huge financial winners so doing what you love is the only way to truly be happy.
A team with technology at the core of its DNA creating a product fundamentally better than its predecessor.
Yves has been a Partner at Upfront since its founding in 1996. Prior to Upfront Ventures, Yves managed the U.S. investments of Fourcar B.V., a division of Carrefour S.A., the second largest retailer in the world. In this capacity, he was an investor in numerous private equity investments in a number of venture capital, emerging growth and later-stage retailing transactions.
Yves has SaaS/Cloud Software and Consumer Internet / Consumer domain expertise. He has helped build $1B+ businesses in both verticals and has operational experience at a leading European retailer.
Yves attended the University of Law (Lyon) where he received a JD and LLM, and received an LLM from New York University School of Law.
Uber. I don't have to worry about my kids or friends getting around, and the interface is awesome.
Franklin Canyon Park. Great hiking and scenery that is easily accessible.
Be obsessed about product and make great hires.
Steven has been a Partner at Upfront since its founding in 1996. Prior to Upfront, Steven was a Senior Vice President of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette in the Investment Banking Division and a member of DLJ’s Retailing Group for 14 years, where he provided advisory and capital raising services to more than 30 different retailers and numerous information technology companies.
Steven focuses on investments in early-stage companies in Financial Services and Technology, Consumer, SaaS, and Big Data.
Steven serves on the Board of Leaders of the USC Marshall School of Business.
Steven received a BSc from University of Colorado at Boulder
Failure to focus on what differentiates your business - doing too many things that don't move the needle.
On my bicycle in Malibu early on a Sunday morning.
Your business idea is that which differentiates you from others. Execution on everything else is how you make your idea happen.
Greg joined Upfront as a Venture Partner in 2013. Greg was the Chief Marketing Officer for HauteLook, a leading online flash-sale retailer. Launched in December 2007, Los Angeles based HauteLook was acquired by Nordstrom, Inc., in March 2011 for $270mm. Prior to joining HauteLook, Greg was Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Live Nation, responsible for strategic direction and key business partnerships for Live Nation’s ticketing and digital businesses. Before Live Nation, Greg held a number of leadership positions at eBay, including Sr. Director of Business Development at StubHub, where he led business development, partnerships, sales and seller development, including spearheading StubHub’s landmark relationship with Major League Baseball. Prior to transitioning to StubHub from eBay, he led eBay.com’s Event Tickets and Media businesses (including half.com) and was the business leader who led eBay’s acquisition of StubHub in 2007.
Greg focuses on investment in businesses at the juncture of retail and technology. He is our resident expert on user adoption & acquisition with significant operating experience in marketing and BD at top online retail brands.
Greg received a BA in Political Science from the University of San Diego and an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
The Staples Center. Not only is it the sports and entertainment center of the world, it is a reminder of what makes Los Angeles so special. The world's best come here to compete and perform.
When I can feel the passion of the entrepreneur in every word when they speak about their business.
The day that Nordstrom formally acquired HauteLook, but not for the reasons you would have thought. We were in a very competitive space and were not the Silicon Valley or New York darling. We were underdogs and counted out amongst those "in the know." The reality was we built a team that worked harder, smarter, and directly for the benefits of our customers and business partners. We kept our eye on the ball and didn't drift despite the temptation to do so. As a result we were able to control our own destiny with a great outcome for everyone involved in the business.
Kara joined Upfront as a partner in November 2014. Kara is also co-founder of Seedling where she currently serves as Chairman. Prior to starting Seedling, Kara spent close to seven years at IAC where she acted as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Urbanspoon and Citysearch. Prior to Urbanspoon/Citysearch, Kara co-headed the M&A group at IAC where she lead some of their most successful acquisitions, notably Urbanspoon, Dictionary.com and Aston Hotels. While at IAC, Kara also served as a board member to Hatch Labs, IAC’s mobile technology incubator, where she recruited and advised Tinder. Kara also spent time at Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, and Battery Ventures.
Kara received her AB in Politics from Princeton University and her MBA from Stanford University.
Hollywood Bowl. I love being seconds away from the heart of urban, historical Los Angeles tucked away listening to music under the stars.
Doing too many things at once and chasing shiny objects.
Chasing my daughters around on their bikes and scooters!
Hamet Watt is a Venture Partner at Upfront Ventures. He is also co-founder and Chairman of bLife, — a wellness innovation company, and co-founder and Chairman of MoviePass — a subscription service for movies in theaters.
Previously, Hamet was an entrepreneur-in-residence at True Ventures, after exiting another company that he founded called NextMedium, which was acquired by Brand Affinity Technologies. Prior to founding NextMedium, Hamet advised Nielsen Media Research in the development of the first product placement measurement service for network and cable television. Hamet was also a General Partner in the New Africa Opportunity Fund — a $120 million venture capital fund, which was the first US-backed venture fund investing in post-apartheid South Africa.
A leader in both the Los Angeles and wider entrepreneurial communities, Hamet has received numerous awards for technology innovation and entrepreneurship — including a “Top 10 Black Innovators Award” — and was named by Business Insider Magazine one of 2014’s “46 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.”
Hamet sits on the board and/or advises several companies and organizations. He has frequently been noted in the national press for innovation in media and entrepreneurship, and has been featured in publications such as Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and Forbes.
Hamet currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Joy, and his son, Zion.
Hamet received a BS from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
"Amazing" - Kanye West
A team that is so deeply immersed in the problem that they are trying to solve that they're completely absorbed by the company building process.
Wearable sensors and personal informatics. The first time I was able to see a compressive picture of my personal biometrics (heart rate, activity level, breath rate, stress levels, etc) it was like looking into a mirror for the first time.
Dana joined Upfront Ventures as a Vice President in 2004 from The Walt Disney Company’s Corporate Finance group, where she was primarily responsible for the evaluation and execution of structured finance transactions. Prior to Disney, Dana worked for five years in investment banking for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and then Credit Suisse First Boston. Her responsibilities included capital raising as well as merger and acquisition advisory services for specialty retailing, healthcare, lodging, and broadcasting clients. While in business school, Dana worked for the private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors.
Dana is responsible for finance and investment operations at Upfront.
Dana received her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management where she was a Price Center Venture Fellow. She received a BS in Finance from the University of Arizona
Family pool party!
La Roux - Bulletproof (Tiborg Remix). Has to be the Tiborg remix because he’s electro-ed it up a bit to give the song an edgier sound than the original. I know the song is really talking about a guy, but I love the idea of being “bulletproof” in life. For me it speaks to resiliency. Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and keep moving forward. “This time baby I’ll be-e-e-e bulletproof….”
The iPhone. I know I’m not cool for saying that today as it is ~6 years old? But there are just so many things in my life that it enables and makes easier.
Stuart joined Upfront Ventures in April 2014 to run operations and manage the platform services team. Before joining Upfront, Stuart was Chief Marketing Officer at CareerArc Group, a Software as a Service based social recruiting platform, where he was responsible for the marketing, business development and product development functions. Prior to CareerArc Group, Stuart was Founder and Chief Operating Officer at BuildOnline, a European Software as a Service company that was acquired by SWORD Group. Earlier in his career, Stuart was an attorney with the international law firm, Herbert Smith, where he worked on multiple corporate finance transactions including mergers, acquisitions and restructurings.
Stuart received a first class honors degree in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds and a law degree with distinction from the College of Law in London, England.
BBQing in my back yard with the family while Charlie (the dog) begs for scraps
BBC iPlayer - Keeps me up to date with all the news, sport and gossip from good old Blighty!
That's easy - the Internet. Without it I wouldn't have a career - and my wife would have to take the kids grocery shopping (her worst nightmare)
Kerry Bennett joined Upfront Ventures in January 2016 to lead marketing and branding efforts for the firm. Before joining Upfront, Kerry held leadership positions in several technology-based startups, most recently as SVP of Marketing at DogVacay, a leading online and mobile pet care marketplace. While there, she built and led the marketing team in all aspects of user acquisition, PR/communications, content and retention marketing, and creative strategy. Prior to DogVacay, Kerry was the SVP of Marketing at HauteLook, a leader in flash-sale e-commerce that was acquired by Nordstrom in 2011. Previously, she held marketing and brand strategy roles at mobile startup Helio, Grey Worldwide and Leo Burnett.
Kerry received an AB in anthropology from Princeton University.
On a good day, at a yoga studio in Santa Monica. We have so many amazing teachers within a few miles. On a lazier day, it's brunch in Venice. Both good options.
Mobile internet. I can live and work anywhere, any time, with the ability to access whatever information I need. And on a macro level, I think it's helped make us all more informed global citizens.
Know what you're great at, and as your business grows, make sure you have people with complementary skills and perspectives around you.
Jordan joined Upfront Ventures as an Associate in 2012. Most recently Jordan was part of the Strategy & Business Development group at Fox Filmed Entertainment, where his responsibilities included the development, evaluation and implementation of strategic initiatives across Fox’s theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital businesses. Prior to Fox, Jordan worked in investment banking at GCA Savvian Advisors in San Francisco, providing merger and acquisition and capital raising advisory services for digital media and technology companies.
Jordan concentrates on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, providing assistance to portfolio companies, and directing strategic initiatives.
Jordan received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in Finance and a minor in History
Current: The Mighty
Likely surfing, on a hike with my wife and our dog, or in Venice somewhere - probably grabbing coffee and catching up on emails.
Lately it's been Jonathan Wilson's new album Fanfare, start to finish.
Know your strengths and weaknesses and hire the best people possible to fill the gaps (functionally and culturally). It's often said, with good reason. Having the right team can be transformative.
Kevin joined Upfront Ventures as an Associate in 2012. Most recently, Kevin was an Associate at the Boston Consulting Group, where he advised on strategy and operations for technology, healthcare and industrial goods clients in the US and Asia and conducted due diligence for private equity investors. Previously, Kevin worked at Verisk Health, a healthcare IT startup in Boston, focusing on project management, product development, and consulting for strategic accounts.
Kevin concentrates on identifying and analyzing investment proposals, conducting financial and business due diligence, and supporting portfolio companies.
Kevin received a BA in Biology from Harvard College, with a minor in Psychology
Current: Grove Labs
CloudMagic, it's the fastest and most comprehensive search across all my email, social and cloud storage accounts.
Downtown LA: a rapidly transforming microcosm of LA's cultural diversity, it's 10 neighborhoods crammed into one.
Go into every meeting with a sense for how you can be helpful or how the person you're meeting can be helpful to you. Try to come out with a specific, low-touch ask. If you don't ask, you don't get.
Michael received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California.
Living in LA, home to world famous traffic, it’s hard to overstate the value and magic of Waze.
Without a doubt, mobile broadband. The ability to access all the world’s information and communicate with anyone, anywhere, on a moment’s notice has changed the world.
Build a company solving a problem that you can’t help but think about. Success doesn't happen over night and the only way to survive the inevitable low points in the journey is to be truly passionate and personally invested in the product.
Steven joined Upfront Ventures as an Associate in 2015. Steven comes to Upfront directly from Stanford University where he completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees concurrently. While at Stanford, Steven served as a Sophomore and Senior Class President, a member of the Stanford Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, Foundation Capital’s Young Entrepreneurship Program, the Birthright Excel Fellowship Program, and was selected to be a member Stanford’s Mayfield Fellows Program. Steven has worked for several startups of various stage and scale in Los Angeles, Tel Aviv and San Francisco.
Steven concentrates on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, providing support to portfolio companies, conducting financial & business due diligence, and deal tracking.
Steven received his M.S. in Management Science & Engineering with a Strategy and Policy Concentration. He received his B.S. in Science Technology & Society with a Product Design Concentration.
Playing beach volleyball, (finally) learning how to surf, and hopping around to new restaurants and bars … Or not in LA at all! If there is snow, I’ll be racing up to Mammoth for a weekend ski trip.
Streaming services such as Netflix, HBOGo and Hulu. I have been a huge movie and tv buff since birth, and I love how dramatically the entertainment landscape has shifted.
The Getty Center. I love escaping the commotion of LA to one of LA’s most beautiful panoramic vantage points.
Julian received a BA in English from Dartmouth College.
I spent the first 30 years of my life in or near New York City, so Los Angeles is still fresh and exotic to me. Drop me anywhere in the city and I am inspired.
Streaming music. I spend a non-trivial portion of my waking (and sleeping, for that matter) life on Spotify and Soundcloud.
Exploring LA and SoCal with my wife Katie and our terrier mutt Nico.
Kyle joined Upfront Ventures as Platform Manager in 2013. Most recently, Kyle was Director of Operations at Launchpad LA, a startup accelerator in Santa Monica, where he was responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, internal operations, and business development. Prior to Launchpad LA, Kyle was a Mechanical Engineer at Syska Hennessey Group and MSC Software where he designed and tested products using finite element analysis and other computer aided design tools.
Kyle concentrates on developing scalable solutions to share knowledge and resources within Upfront and between our portfolio companies.
Kyle attended the University of California, Irvine where he received a BS in Mechanical Engineering
Santa Monica Mountains - great bike riding and hiking overlooking the beach
Mountain biking, playing soccer, or hanging out in parts of LA that are too tough to get to during the week (eastside, mid-city, downtown).
Right now - anything by Disclosure or Fat Freddy's Drop will help me get it done.
Audrey is responsible for assisting in accounting, finance and administration of management companies and investment funds.
Audrey joined Upfront Ventures as a Manager, Accounting & Finance in 2013. Prior to joining Upfront, Audrey was a senior at local CPA firms in both CA and CO and was responsible for business management, accounting services and tax for various companies, including non-profit organizations, private equity funds, and small and medium-sized businesses.
Audrey received a BS in Business Administration, Emphasis in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Southern California , Marshall School of Business. She is a certified public accountant and received her Certificate in Accounting from University of California Los Angeles Extension
The Grove, I frequent it A LOT.
Drama Fever because I am guaranteed entertainment if I ever have idle time.
The iPad. Traveling with a child is a lot easier when you don't have to lug around portable DVD player and DVDs.
Nancy Davila is the Executive Assistant to Yves Sisteron, Steven Dietz and Dana Kibler.
Nancy has been with the firm since its founding in 1997. She worked alongside the co-founders to establish the new office and manage admin operations for the firm and its employees. As Upfront Ventures has grown, Nancy’s responsibilities have carried over to HR assistance and supporting the CFO with fund management administration. She recently became a Notary Public to better assist with the corporate document processes.
Prior to joining Upfront Ventures, Nancy worked at Good Samaritan Hospital for ten years where she managed the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee members and meetings.
When not being Upfront’s coordinating queen, Nancy loves dinner and dancing, the great outdoors, and the occasional splurge at the mall.
Redondo Beach Pier. When I was younger, my parents would take my sister and I to eat at Tony's and would tell us stories about the jazz on the beach events they attended through the years.
Waze - it helps me maneuver through the LA traffic.
Cell phones - I love being able to call and catch up with my family and friends while in the LA traffic.
Jori Kaplan is the Executive Assistant to Mark Suster and Greg Bettinelli.
Prior to joining Upfront Ventures, Jori was the Executive Assistant to the CEO at Spark Networks and enjoys working in the evolving tech world.
Jori can be found doing anything outdoors in sunny Los Angeles and her favorite is hiking or running on the beach in Malibu. This was her reason for moving after graduating from the University of Arizona and leaving the heat back in AZ.
The Hollywood Bowl. One of my favorite summertime activities is to get friends together to picnic and then enjoy a great show!
Groupon always provides access to finding deals on fun activities that this great city has to offer!
Fitness Apps. Keeps me motivated to move and live a more active lifestyle instead of sitting on the couch and watching marathons of television shows!
Prior to joining Upfront Ventures in 2016, Naheed co-founded Simjee Textor, an independent art advisory where she managed private contemporary art collections and was responsible for art image copyrighting and licensing as well as negotiating contracts for artist collaborations with fashion brands. Her projects include the groundbreaking Art in the Streets show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and Jean Michel Basquiat’s Man Made at Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery in New York City. Naheed has produced several exhibitions at art galleries and museums. Before her career in fine arts, Naheed was the General Manager of Glacial Pace Recordings, a subsidiary of Epic Records where she was responsible for artist development and the label’s internal operations. Previously, Naheed was a Talent Payment Manager in Business Affairs at Wieden + Kennedy where she negotiated athlete and actor talent contracts for TV and radio commercials and handled clearance requests for music and art used in advertising. She has also held administrative roles in the Executive Offices of the House of Blues in Anaheim and Universal Studios Japan.
Naheed received a BA in International Relations and Spanish from USC with a minor in Art History and earned a Certificate in Music Business from UCLA Extension.
I love exploring the historic Broadway Theater District in Downtown LA - the movie palaces built in the early 1900’s are incredibly rich in social, architectural and cinematic history.
Cruisin' down the street in our '59 Convertible Impala
The Boss by James Brown
Prior to joining Upfront Ventures, Rebecca spent eight years working in a boutique retail store with a startup back in her home town of Flemington, New Jersey.
In her free time Rebecca enjoys sketching her favorite flowers, going to local concerts, and dining out at the many wonderful restaurants Los Angeles has to offer.
Pinterest! I like to try out new recipes and it makes finding and organizing them incredibly easy.
Westridge-Canyonback Park, those gorgeous views are what I moved to Los Angeles for.
By far, the smart phone. I would be lost in this big city without it.