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.
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.
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.
Brian joined the firm as a partner in 2002, after a decade at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and a year as a CFO of an Upfront portfolio company. Brian brings to the firm substantial experience in advising companies in business development, capital raising and M&A.
Brian focuses on investments in Financial Services and Technology, Mobile, and SaaS businesses.
Brian attended Rutgers University where he received a BA, and received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania
Gjelina. I think it's the best restaurant in LA and it's an excuse to go back to my old neighborhood.
It's been said many times, but I continue to see startups raise too much money. Having too much money changes behavior, primarily by reducing a team's sense of urgency. Operating or business model problems cannot be solved with cash.
There's nothing better than meeting a talented founder who has untempered enthusiasm and resolve to build a big, valuable company.
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.
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, investment operations, and facilities 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.
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
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.
Glenn joined Upfront Ventures as a Senior Associate in 2013. Most recently, Glenn was Director of Business Development at TrialPay, a transactional advertising company in Palo Alto, where he was responsible for the development of new products including strategy, partnerships, and early sales. Prior to TrialPay, Glenn was a Consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Boston working on strategy and operations projects for Retail and Financial Services companies.
Glenn concentrates on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, providing support to portfolio companies, and conducting financial & business due diligence.
Glenn received a BA in Economics from Harvard College.
Runyon Canyon. Great views of the city and its pretty people. I like it almost as much as our dog does.
Reading in the park with my partner Amy and probably thinking about food.
I get excited when founders are excited. It is contagious. Startups are hard and the energy and passion of the team can make a difference.
Graham joined Upfront Ventures as an Associate in 2012. Prior to Upfront, Graham was a Senior Associate Consultant at L.E.K. Consulting, a management consulting firm. While at L.E.K., Graham worked on strategy and operations projects for media, entertainment, tech and healthcare clients and supported private equity investors with their due diligence processes.
Graham concentrates on financial and business due diligence, portfolio company support, proposal assessment, market research, and opportunity identification.
Graham attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received a BS in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business and a BA in Economics
Doing my best impression of Yaya Touré out on the soccer field.
"Test, test, test. Focus, focus, focus." - Bill Gross
Measurements of my activities by GPS and accelerometers (and spectrometers soon) combined with social sharing/pressure.
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
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.
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
Grand Central Market. It highlights what makes this city great - a rich diversity of culture and food.
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.
Kelly is the Executive Assistant to Brian McLoughlin and Mark Suster.
Kelly joined the Upfront in September of 2006. In addition to scheduling and support for Brian McLoughlin & Mark Suster, Kelly coordinates company events and keeps everyone well fed.
Prior to her relocation from sunny Australia to the United States in 2006, Kelly joined Upfront as Executive Assistant to Brian McLoughlin. In her home country of Australia, Kelly was a contract Legal Assistant for some of Perth, Western Australia’s prominent law firms, and a contract Executive Assistant for the Western Australian Government’s Department of Treasury & Finance, Department of Justice, and the Department of Health.
When not eating or cooking, she can usually be found barefoot, designing the world to be more colorful or rocking out on the drums. Kelly is a current Director with Brady Drum Company, a high-end musical instrument manufacturer in Australia.
I love to eat so it would have to be dinner at either Angelini Osteria, Bouchon or Baco Mercat. Or brunch at Lamill Coffee in Silverlake with friends.
The Fixer by Pearl Jam
The 2002 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
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.
Tasha Welton is the Executive Assistant to Greg Bettinelli and Hamet Watt.
Tasha joined Upfront in 2008. Prior to joining Upfront, Tasha was an Executive Assistant with a focus on entertainment and law.
In addition to assisting Greg and Hamet, Tasha is the mother of a toddler and teenager, runs a kids’ party planning business, and writes a blog chronicling her life.
She is the Technology Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of Jack and Jill as well as a mentor of young girls through the organization EmpowHer Institute.
Attending cheer competitions and a Tots and Tutus Dance Class
Anything by Eminem or Kanye West
Joyce joined Upfront Ventures as front office coordinator in 2013. Prior to Upfront, she worked in other sectors such as entertainment, retail and education. Joyce was born and raised in Baja California, Mexico. She moved to Los Angeles in 2007 and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema and TV Arts from Cal State Northridge. While in college, she was involved with the production of several short films, two of which were accepted into film festivals across the country.
With a bicultural background, Joyce enjoys foreign films, literature, and music, as well as practicing Spanish and Italian. Understanding other cultures through their language has always been her passion. To quote poet Ralph Waldo Emerson “Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.”
Funky Sole nights at The Echo
Trying out different food trucks and small restaurants.
Stevie Ray Vaughn - Rude Mood