The Upfront Summit is LA's premier technology event, with more than 750 of the country's top investors, startups, and corporate executives.
Matt Auron is a master coach who supports leaders in fast growing companies scale into their potential with long term, sustainable success. As co-founder of Evolution, Matt’s combination of deep intuition, organizational experience and behavioral science expertise allow him to design powerful and customized development solutions for their clients. He has worked with clients such as Slack, Snapchat, Change.org, Coursera, Tile, Baidu, Collective Health, Prynt and Nuna.
Matt is also a founding partner at Evolution Ventures, an early stage venture fund that combines coaching with investment for seed- and other early-stage companies. Thus far, the team has invested in Slack, Radiology Partners, and Wade&Wendy.
Matt formerly worked with DaVita HealthCare Partners, a highly progressive and culture-focused Fortune 500 healthcare company as Senior Director and Global Lead on their Wisdom Team. There, Matt served as the steward for the culture globally, developing leaders, and facilitating change through coaching, facilitation, and training. Matt’s team was awarded Training magazine’s “Top 125” award for the five years he helped lead it.
Prior to DaVita, Matt designed and delivered an executive coaching model based on the work of Ken Wilber and Integral Theory to entrepreneurs before working as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant at the ground-breaking Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP).
Matt has been trained and mentored by luminaries in the field of organization development such as Peter Block, Chris Worley and Edie and Charles Seashore and continually learns and integrates current thinking into his coaching practice such as neuro-leadership and mindfulness.
As an author, Matt has published articles in both academic, peer-reviewed journals as well as trade magazines such as Training and Development. He has been a regular presenter at the Organization Development Network annual conference. Matt holds a Master’s degree in Organization Development (MSOD) from Pepperdine University where his thesis research was focused on building trust in groups.
Chris Bosh has made a mark in the NBA as being one of the most respected and sought-after players in the league. He is an eleven time NBA All-Star, helped bring two consecutive NBA championships to the Miami HEAT in 2012 and 2013, and was named to the All-NBA second team and appeared for the US national team (with whom won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics).
A native of Hutchins, Texas Bosh grew up in a close knit family, playing basketball at the house with his younger brother. Bosh names his parents as the biggest influences on his life. He led Lincoln High School to the number one ranking team in the country and the USA Today National Championship with a perfect 40–0 season. Bosh later went on to play at Georgia Tech. After one season with the team, he entered the 2003 NBA Draft and was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors. In 2010, after seven years with the Raptors, he landed in South Florida along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, earning the name THE BIG 3 with the Miami HEAT.
With Chris’ passion for education, he partnered with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and will.i.am to create a short film with code.org to raise awareness for and emphasize the importance of coding in youth education. As a result, Chris also wrote a story for Wired Magazine where he discussed his thirst for education and why he learned to code. As a child growing up, education and the sciences were highly stressed in his house. That year he also revealed he had become fluent in Spanish after some tutoring and classes.
Residing in Miami, Bosh has immersed himself in the prevalent arts and culture scene in the colorful ocean-side town. With craft brewing high on the scene, in fall 2015 Chris, an avid home brewer, teamed up with Dogfish Head Brewery owner, Sam Calagione and created his very own mesquite-smoked barley stout, “Daddy Jack”. In February 2016, Chris, Sam and Dena Marino, owner of MCKitchen debuted Chris’s Daddy Jack brew at MCKitchen for a one-night-only, five course private event. In 2014, Chris and his HEAT teammate, Shane Battier, participated in the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. To put on a good show, Chris and Shane each partnered with a celebrity chef and had an intense cook off battle. Bosh is a regular partaker in the Art Basel Miami Beach events. In 2014, Mr. Nice Tie hosted “An Evening of Art with Chris Bosh” at the famed Yeelen Gallery in Miami’s Little Haiti. 2012 marks the unveiling of the “Art of Basketball” exhibit during Art Basel, with the help of hosts Bosh and fellow HEAT teammate Dwyane Wade.
In 2011 Bosh launched his own non-profit organization, Team Tomorrow Inc. dedicated to supporting community-based organizations that promote the upliftment of children, families and the community. Annually the organization puts together “Christmas with Chris Bosh” which treats underprivileged children to a Christmas celebration. For Thanksgiving, he spends time with the residents at Chapman Partnership serving Thanksgiving meals to those in need. For Mother’s Day, Team Tomorrow Inc.has celebrated all moms, from hosting the “Today I Can” brunch celebrating expectanct moms, spa days, shopping sprees, to Glamchella. Throughout the basketball season, he can also be found working with America Mom’s for Soldiers, packing care packages for soldiers overseas. Throughout the year, Chris and wife, Adrienne can be found spreading surprising fans with meet and greets, gifts and sometimes even game tickets through their Random Acts of Kindess.
Chris and his wife live in Miami with their two daughters (Trinity and Dylan) and three sons (Jackson, Lennox and Phoenix).
Dan heads Corporate Development for NIKE. Before joining NIKE in 2015, Dan was a startup + VC lawyer in Los Angeles, most recently as the co-chair of Latham and Watkins' Emerging Companies practice.
Jason Corsello is SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development for Cornerstone. He is responsible for driving the company’s product innovation, go-to-market strategies and new corporate initiatives. This includes guiding M&A and Cornerstone’s corporate venture investments, as well as overseeing new product initiatives in the areas of platform, analytics and mobile.
Jason has over 20 years of experience in enterprise software, market research and management consulting. Prior to joining Cornerstone in 2011, he worked with HR consulting firm Knowledge Infusion (now Appirio), where he was senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, responsible for the organization's strategy and solutions. He also developed and launched many new services for the firm and played a lead consulting role with many of Knowledge Infusion’s Global 2000 clients, such as Nike, Dell and Metlife. His background also includes a research director role with Yankee Group, leading the company's human capital management and talent management research, advisory and consulting services. He also spent six years with Flextronics International (now Flex), where he worked with large, multi-national clients in developing their outsourced manufacturing and supply chain strategies.
Corsello is an active participant in the human capital management community, speaking at events such as the HR Technology Conference and LA Tech Summit. He has also been featured as an industry expert in media outlets such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and CIO Magazine. Jason holds a BBA in Business Administration from the University of San Diego. Follow Jason on Twitter @jcorsello.
Baron Davis in an American athlete, entrepreneur and creative, known for The Black Santa Company, high tech investment portfolio and Emmy nominated documentaries.
His current venture, The Black Santa Company, was created after Davis dressed up as his favorite holiday hero, Santa, during Halloween. The Black Santa Company was launched in 2016 in the spirit of celebrating afro-american culture through story telling - to capture and share goodness, positivity all year round.
Recognizing an opportunity that aligned his passions in culture and technology, the Los Angeles native Davis, pursued an idea to bring Santa Claus to homes across the world through holiday ornaments, wrapping paper, apparel and multimedia content.
“For us, it’s the challenge to create characters that are culturally aware, culturally diverse and through storytelling be able to create something that is fun and positive,” Davis explains. “We want to bring cool characters to holiday seasons. And also from a merchandise perspective, to manufacture and produce high-quality products that you can live with and making something that sticks. Giving has no season. So Black Santa is a constant reminder and encouragement, every day that we can be better and do something good for somebody else.”
Davis has a long track record of success. He’s been a savvy investor in early stage tech and consumer products, including Songza, Popchips, Vitaminwater. In Hollywood he is a recurring success in producing acclaimed documentaries, such as “Crips and Bloods: Made In America” and “The Drew: No Excuse Just Produce,” among others. Davis also teamed with business partners to launch two YouTube networks, YOMYOMF (You Offend Me You Offend My Family) and The NOC (The Network of Champions) as a part of Google’s Premium Content initiative.
A global figure thanks to a All-American sophomore season playing for the storied UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team, Davis was selected with the third overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. He was twice elected to the All-Star game over a 13-year career where he suited up for the Hornets, Warriors, Clippers, Cavaliers and Knicks. Davis’ electrifying style helped him amass career averages of 16.1 points and 7.2 assists and earned him a reputation as a heady point guard who was adept at facilitating and leading his team in crunch time.
“I think everything that I’ve done and all the lessons that I’ve learned have allowed me to take all those wins and losses and put that into something that I’m dedicated and passionate about,” says Davis. “It’s taking sports, culture, technology and making it fun and educational.”
Davis is a longtime supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Venice and his nonprofit, Rising Stars of America, established in 1999CK, helps to raise funds for basketball camps and sponsors AAU teams across Los Angeles with a mission statement to “teach our kids to play with passion, heart and integrity.”
Scott currently serves as managing partner at High Alpha, a venture studio focused on conceiving, launching, and scaling next generation enterprise cloud companies. Prior to High Alpha, Scott co-founded ExactTarget and led the company as CEO from start-up to global marketing software leader. ExactTarget went public on the New York Exchange in March of 2012 and sold to Salesforce.com in July of 2013 for $2.5 Billion. Post-acquisition, he led the ExactTarget Salesforce Marketing Cloud which encompassed 3,000 employees and included the teams at ExactTarget, Buddy Media, and Radian6. Scott credits the ExactTarget Orange culture as the company’s greatest differentiator and key to its success. Scott serves on a number of non-profit boards in the community, including Chairman of the Indiana Sports Corp., Board and Executive Committee member of TechPoint, Board member of Nextech, Dean’s Advisory Board at Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, Global Advisory Board at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Emeritus Board member at Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Scott is also the Chairman of Octiv. Scott is a business school graduate of Indiana University and earned an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Rishi Garg focuses on companies that have the potential to impact millions of lives. His areas of interest include social media and new media platforms, disruptive financial services, and new marketplaces, but he mainly seeks to back the most driven, product-centric entrepreneurs in the world, regardless of industry. As a former strategy and business development executive, entrepreneur, and angel investor, Rishi has implemented his product-first approach to early and growth-stage companies across their life cycles.
Prior to joining Mayfield, as Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy at Twitter, Rishi defined and executed company-wide strategic priorities and led the company’s most active M&A program, including the acquisitions of Periscope, TellApart, Niche, Zipdial, TapCommerce, and many others.
Prior to Twitter, as the first Head of Corporate Development at Square, Rishi worked closely with the company’s product and services teams to evaluate and execute a wide range of acquisitions across several major strategic initiatives. Earlier at Square, as Head of Strategic Partnerships, Rishi built and managed key financial networks partnerships, distribution and retail partnerships, and strategic relationships for Square’s buyer-side products.
Prior to Square, Rishi co-founded FanSnap, a leading venture-backed live event ticket search company, where he created a network of hundreds of tickets providers and executed dozens of landmark distribution partnerships with brands including Bing and LiveNation, driving an eventual sale of the company to Nextag, Inc. (now Wize Commerce). Earlier, Rishi led key business development initiatives at Google on the PrintAds team, and was a Director of Strategy and Business Development at MTV Networks, focusing on social media, online video, and music. Rishi started his career as an investor at Highland Capital Partners and as an investment banker at the Morgan Stanley Technology Group. Rishi is an angel investor and advisor to several early-stage companies. Additionally, he serves on the board of Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII).
Rishi’s passions include jazz, improv, cooking, mixology, independent film, hip-hop, Stanford sports, economic policy and politics, and playing several sports all too infrequently.
Rishi earned a BA in Economics and an MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA at the Harvard Business School.
Todd Gitlin founded Safire Partners in 2006, one of the preeminent executive search firms for venture backed companies. Today he has a team of 15 people, working on 100+ searches annually, and has invested in 40+ companies. Todd has been in executive search since 1999 and worked on 800+ assignments.
As a coach and investor in startups, Geoff combines his 25-year career as an entrepreneur. executive, and adviser with a passion for supporting leaders of evolutionary businesses.
Geoff founded Evolution in 2012 to partner with companies to fulfill their purpose as world-enriching entities, serving all stakeholders while building iconic cultures. Geoff has worked with Slack, Snapchat, Change.org, Coursera, Collective Health, Nuna Health, among many others.
In 2016, Geoff co-founded Evolution Ventures with Matt Auron and Ezra Chaouli to combine coaching with investment for seed- and other early-stage companies. Thus far, the team has invested in Slack, Radiology Partners, and Wade&Wendy.
Geoff began coaching ten years ago after recognizing the critical need in tech startups for leadership and culture development, as well as a belief that business has far greater potential than just profit maximization through increased consciousness and progressive organizational design, culture, and governance. He joined Axialent, a global firm with clients that included Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and was mentored by experts including Fred Kofman and Carolyn Taylor.
In addition to his work as a coach, Geoff has started and led a number of technology companies. He launched the first video games business in China with Electronic Arts (EA) in 1994, and led Yahoo! Games to become the world's largest games website in 2004. Geoff also founded two companies, IQI Accessories and Scout OnDemand, which was acquired, and co-founded Muse Communications, for which he raised over $12m. Geoff’s career began in venture capital in the early ‘90s at BankAmerica Capital Corp. and IDG Capital Partners, the first VC in China.
Geoff graduated with honors from UCLA in East Asian Studies and Business. He also studied at Soochow University in Taiwan, at the East-West Center at University of Hawaii, and at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Geoff lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cathy, and daughters, Chloe and Genevieve.
Nitu is a go-to recruiter for booming tech startups in the SoCal region, focusing almost exclusively on engineering talent. She has consistently ranked #1 at two large national staffing firms over the past 17 years. Nitu leads a team of technical recruiters with the highest satisfaction rate among both clients and employees, prioritizing long-term partnerships above all. Since 2000, Nitu’s deep-seated knowledge of the most in-demand skills and tech landscape has been pivotal for building out the teams for some of SoCal’s most prosperous startups.
She’s known by many industry experts as the top technical staffing consultant in assembling the best engineering teams in SoCal. Her roster includes Tinder, Dollarshaveclub, Amazon, Apple, Crowdrise, Dronebase, Honey etc
Mac Hofeditz is a Managing Director at GCA, where he heads the firm’s Private Funds Group. Mac has over 25 years of institutional capital markets experience focused exclusively on advising institutional investors on investment and capital raising strategies. During his tenure, he has led successful fundraisings for a wide variety of private equity strategies including domestic and international; buyout, venture capital, mezzanine, restructuring/turnaround, growth capital and real asset funds. Mac has sourced and led 30 private equity fundraises with total capital commitments over $20 billion for such fund managers as Speyside Equity, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Revolution Growth, Storm Ventures, University Ventures, Revolution Ventures, KPS Capital Partners, Marlin Equity, Atomico, WestView Capital, IDG Ventures, BlackEagle Partners, Arclight Capital, Granite Ventures, BV Investment Partners, Shasta Ventures and CIVC Partners.
Michael Kim is the founder of Cendana Capital, which invests in seed VC funds. Michael is a member of the LP Advisory Boards of Accelerator Ventures, Bowery Capital, Collaborative Fund, Engineering Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Founder Collective, Freestyle Capital, IA Ventures, K9 Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, MHS Capital, Mucker Capital, NextView Ventures, PivotNorth Capital, SoftTech VC and Silicon Valley Data Capital. Prior to the founding of Cendana Capital, Michael was one of the original partners of Rustic Canyon Partners, a venture capital firm with approximately $1 billion under management. In March 2004, Michael was appointed by the Mayor of San Francisco to a 5 year term as a Trustee of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System, a $15 billion pension fund, and served as the President of the board and the Chairman of the Investment Committee.
Eric Paley is a Partner at Founder Collective, a seed-stage venture capital fund. Eric led Founder Collective's investments into numerous companies including Uber, Cruise Automation, Makerbot, Kuvee, Bookbub, Contently, The Trade Desk and Integral Ad Science. Previously, Eric founded Brontes Technologies, a 3D imaging company, which was acquired in 2006 by 3M. In 2016, Eric was named to the Forbes Midas List of top technology investors. Eric has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, is a frequent contributor to Techcrunch, and is a board member of the New England Venture Capital Association.
Mehul is the CEO of Hired, where he oversees all business strategy and operations. Mehul is known as an expert at building and scaling marketplace companies and has nearly 20 years of experience in operations, business development and sales and marketing roles at major tech companies such as Lyft, Oracle, CNET and Kaggle. He also served as an Executive-in-Residence at Crosslink Capital and was an early executive at Axiom, the leading marketplace for lawyers, where he led global expansion as the company scaled to over $150mm in revenue. He holds a BA from Brown and a JD from the University of Virginia.
Garry is a designer/engineer turned early stage investor. He was a partner at Y Combinator for nearly five years where he advised and funded over 600 companies and more than a thousand founders. He was cofounder of YC-backed blog platform Posterous (Top 200 Quantcast site, acquired by Twitter in 2012). Before that he was employee #10 at Palantir, where he was a founding member of the engineering team for Palantir's financial analysis product, and also designed Palantir's logo. He has a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford.
Amit Tiwari, Partner, has 16 years of private equity experience. Prior to joining Invesco Private Capital, Amit was a part of the Alternative Investments Team at the California State Teachers' Retirement System where he invested over $125 million in several venture capital and buyout partnerships. Prior to that, Amit was an Investment Banking Associate in Credit Suisse First Boston's Technology Private Placements Group where he raised over $250 million for several growth-staged venture-backed technology companies. Amit currently serves on several Venture Capital and Private Equity advisory boards, including Amplify Partners, Caltius Equity Partners, Foundry Group, Greycroft Partners, Huntington Capital, Monitor Ventures, NextView Ventures, Physic Ventures, and PTV Sciences.
Hamet Watt is a Board 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.