Venture Capital Trends and Outlook
Nabeel is a former founder and now General Partner at Spark Capital. He makes early stage investments in entrepreneurs using that rare combination of design and technology to transform markets. He is currently on the board of Spark Capital’s investments in Cruise (acquired by General Motors), Fig, Harmonix, Postmates, Proletariat, DIY, Sonder and Thalmic Labs.
He looks for products in which the underlying technology or systems can be extremely complex, but are presented as a simple, magical experience to the people who use them.
Cruise, for example, is tackling deep technical challenges in computer vision and perception to bring an elegant solution to self-driving cars. Postmates has a seemingly humble first offering—it brings you dinner in under an hour via a push-button simple mobile app—but by finally solving the complicated operations of last mile delivery it upends all of urban logistics.
Nabeel was previously cofounder and CEO of Conduit Labs, which was sold to Zynga in 2010, where he then became General Manager up through the IPO. Prior to that he was variously cofounder, head of product, and CEO at a variety of hardware and software companies including MIT Media Lab spin-out Ambient Devices, Teamtalk (BSkyB), and Interphase.
Nabeel received a B.A. in Design from Maryland Institute, College of Art, studied Computer Science at Purdue University and now lives in Berkeley, California.
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.
Mood Rowghani is a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He focuses primarily on growth-stage investments in consumer internet companies that have achieved strong adoption and scale. His portfolio companies include Uber, Ring, Stripe, GoEuro, Waze (acquired by Google), MyFitnessPal (acquired by Under Armour), and LendingClub (NASDAQ: LC)
Rich joined Accel in 2006 and led the investments and currently serves on the Boards of Atlassian (TEAM), Osmo, Checkr, MoLabs, Neumob, Qwilt, Sunrun (RUN), and Tune. Rich also led Accel's investment in Rovio.
Previous investments include: MoPub (acquired by Twitter), Airwatch (VMWare), Admob (Google), Dealer.com (Cox), Parature (Microsoft), Swiftkey (Microsoft) and 3LM (Motorola).
Prior to Accel, Rich served as SVP/GM of Products at Openwave Systems, and CMO of Covad, a leading broadband provider. Rich started his career at McKinsey & Co. and as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble. Rich grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif and has an SB in Engineering and an MBA from MIT.
Samuel Angus is a corporate partner at Fenwick & West. He concentrates his practice on advising founders, boards of directors, startup/venture-backed and mature companies, and investors in a broad set of transactions, including early and late state equity and debt financings, mergers & acquisitions, strategic joint ventures and corporate governance and board matters.
Some of Sam’s representative company clients include Airbnb, Boku, Class Dojo, Datera, deviantART, Fundbox, GitHub, Glint Software, Imgur, Marin Software, Munchery, Quizlet, Sojern, Turo (formerly RelayRides) and UpWork (formerly oDesk/Elance). Some of his representative investor clients include August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures and Upfront Ventures.
Representative client transactions include: Airbnb – incorporated the company, multiple equity/debt financings (announced) totaling over $2.3 billion and multiple acquisitions; Blue Lava Wireless (Tetris) acquisition by and license to JAMDAT Mobile; Github, multiple equity financings (announced) totaling over $350 million; Ingenio’s acquisition by AT&T Yellow Pages; Kosmix’s acquisition by Walmart Labs; Marin Software, incorporated company, multiple equity/debt financing through IPO; Naxon Corporation’s (Wineshopper.com) acquisition of Wine.com; and Upwork, multiple equity financings for oDesk (predecessor of Upwork), merger with Elance to form Upwork
Sam received a Bachelor of Arts degree in law and society from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received a J. D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1993. At Hastings, he was the Executive Articles Editor for the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review. Sam is a member of The Bar Association of San Francisco, the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. Prior to joining Fenwick & West, Sam practiced commercial lending law at Lillick & Charles. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sam was a founder and the chief executive officer of Design Look Publications, Inc., a publisher of fine art calendars and other published gift products.
Sam sits on the advisory board of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley. He also frequently lectures at the Haas School of Business and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.