BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Mark received a BA in Economics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Investments

Current: DataSift, Epoxy, Ferris, Invoca, MakeSpace, MiTú, MyTime, Osmo, textPlus, uBeam, Vidme

Past: Burstly, Gravity, Maker Studios

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found….

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.

What’s the best advice you have for founders?

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.

What gets you excited about a new company?

A team with technology at the core of its DNA creating a product fundamentally better than its predecessor.

BIO

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.

 

EDUCATION

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.

Investments

Current: AdoreMe, DailyLook, Envestnet, Grove Labs, GumGum, Health Data Vision, Kyriba, 6SensorLabs

Past: Health Data Insights, Ugo, Ulta

What’s your favorite app and why?

Uber. I don't have to worry about my kids or friends getting around, and the interface is awesome.

What’s your favorite spot in LA?

Franklin Canyon Park. Great hiking and scenery that is easily accessible.

What’s the best advice you have for founders?

Be obsessed about product and make great hires.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Steven received a BSc from University of Colorado at Boulder

Investments

Current: ChowNow, Digital Air Strike, Eagle Crest Energy, Navdy, Pathmatics, Seriously, SkyLine Financial, TrueCar, ZestFinance

Past: BillMeLater, Dealertrack Technologies, Ugo

What’s the biggest mistake startups make?

Failure to focus on what differentiates your business - doing too many things that don't move the needle.

What's your favorite place to be in LA?

On my bicycle in Malibu early on a Sunday morning.

What’s the best advice you have for founders?

Your business idea is that which differentiates you from others. Execution on everything else is how you make your idea happen.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

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.

Investments

Current: Combatant Gentlemen, Deliv, Draft, Luxe Valet, Retention Science, Ring, Silversheet, thredUP, Walker and Company

What's your favorite spot in LA?

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.

What gets you excited about a new company?

When I can feel the passion of the entrepreneur in every word when they speak about their business.

What’s one of your proudest career moments?

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.

BIO

Kara joined Upfront as a partner in November 2014. Before joining Kara was 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.

EDUCATION

Kara received her AB in Politics from Princeton University in Politics and her MBA from Stanford University.

Investments

Current: Parachute, Seedling

What's your favorite spot in LA?

Hollywood Bowl. I love being seconds away from the heart of urban, historical Los Angeles tucked away listening to music under the stars.

What’s the biggest mistake start-ups make?

Doing too many things at once and chasing shiny objects.

On a Saturday afternoon, I can be found

Chasing my daughters around on their bikes and scooters!

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Hamet received a BS from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

What’s your go-to song when you need to get stuff done?

"Amazing" - Kanye West

What gets you excited about a new company?

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.

What technology has changed your life?

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.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

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

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found…

Family pool party!

What’s your go-to song when you need to get stuff done?

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….”

What technology has changed your life?

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.

BIO

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.    

EDUCATION

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.

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found

BBQing in my back yard with the family while Charlie (the dog) begs for scraps

What's your favorite app and why?

BBC iPlayer - Keeps me up to date with all the news, sport and gossip from good old Blighty!

What technology has changed your life?

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)

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

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

Investments

Current: The Mighty

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found ...

Likely surfing, on a hike with my wife and our dog, or in Venice somewhere - probably grabbing coffee and catching up on emails.

What’s your go-to song when you need to get stuff done?

Lately it's been Jonathan Wilson's new album Fanfare, start to finish.

What’s the best advice you have for founders?

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.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Glenn received a BA in Economics from Harvard College.

What's your favorite spot in LA?

Runyon Canyon. Great views of the city and its pretty people. I like it almost as much as our dog does.

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found...

Reading in the park with my partner Amy and probably thinking about food.

What gets you excited about a new company?

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.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Kevin received a BA in Biology from Harvard College, with a minor in Psychology

What's your favorite app right now?

CloudMagic, it's the fastest and most comprehensive search across all my email, social and cloud storage accounts.

What's your favorite spot in LA?

Downtown LA: a rapidly transforming microcosm of LA's cultural diversity, it's 10 neighborhoods crammed into one.

What's the best advice you have for founders?

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.

BIO

Michael joined Upfront Ventures as an Associate in 2015. Most recently, Michael was a West Coast Editor at PandoDaily, where he lead the publication’s coverage of the venture capital, financial technologies, ecommerce, on-demand services, and online video sectors. Previously, Michael worked as a Managing Director at WorldVest, a merchant bank based in Los Angeles, leading investments in early stage opportunities within the technology and natural resources sectors in North and South America, and Asia.

Michael concentrates on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, providing support to portfolio companies, and conducting financial & business due diligence, and leading the firm’s strategic content initiatives.

EDUCATION

Michael received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California.

What's your favorite app right now?

Living in LA, home to world famous traffic, it’s hard to overstate the value and magic of Waze.

What technology has changed your life?

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.

What's the best advice you have for founders?

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.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

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.

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found…

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.

What technology has changed your life?

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.

What is your favorite spot in LA?

The Getty Center. I love escaping the commotion of LA to one of LA’s most beautiful panoramic vantage points.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

Kyle attended the University of California, Irvine where he received a BS in Mechanical Engineering

What's your favorite spot in LA?

Grand Central Market. It highlights what makes this city great - a rich diversity of culture and food.

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found ...

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).

What’s your go-to song when you need to get stuff done?

Right now - anything by Disclosure or Fat Freddy's Drop will help me get it done.

BIO

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.

EDUCATION

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

What’s your favorite spot in LA?

The Grove, I frequent it A LOT.

What’s your favorite app and why?

Drama Fever because I am guaranteed entertainment if I ever have idle time.

What technology has changed your life?

The iPad. Traveling with a child is a lot easier when you don't have to lug around portable DVD player and DVDs.

BIO

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.

What is your favorite spot in LA?

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.

What's your favorite app and why?

Waze - it helps me maneuver through the LA traffic.

What technology has changed your life?

Cell phones - I love being able to call and catch up with my family and friends while in the LA traffic.

BIO

Jori Kaplan is the Executive Assistant to 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.

What is your favorite spot in LA?

The Hollywood Bowl. One of my favorite summertime activities is to get friends together to picnic and then enjoy a great show!

What's your favorite app and why?

Groupon always provides access to finding deals on fun activities that this great city has to offer!

What technology has changed your life?

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!

BIO

Tasha Welton is the Executive Assistant to Kara Nortman.

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 Kara, 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.

What’s your favorite spot in LA?

Bikram Yoga

On a Saturday afternoon I can be found ...

Attending cheer competitions and a Tots and Tutus Dance Class

What’s your go-to song when you need to get stuff done?

Anything by Eminem or Kanye West