Investors and Advisors
James is one of Silicon Valley’s foremost experts in growth and network effects. He’s a four-time serial entrepreneur. He is also a pioneer of user-generated models, viral marketing, a/b testing, crowdsourcing, and myriad other growth techniques now followed by nearly all technology companies. Because of his expertise in these critical areas of company growth, he’s been fortunate to invest in, advise, and mentor many of technology’s definitive startups, and has revolutionized the trajectory of today’s leading internet companies. James is a growth junkie with an uncanny eye for what it takes to succeed. He has been investing before or alongside firms like Sequoia, Greylock, CRV, A16z, First Round, Mayfield, Shasta, and GGV.
Maxine is Co-Managing Director for LDR Ventures and Executive Producer of “The Biz Fix’ Podcast. She previously led global marketing and PR for brands including The Beach People, Melissa & Doug Toys and LA LA License. She spent 4 years in music licensing for EMI Music Publishing. Maxine is an expert specializing in PR, social media, entertainment, key-influencer acquisition, audience engagement and content marketing for fashion and consumer lifestyle brands. She is a Limited Partner at Belle Capital, which invests exclusively in early-stage and emerging female-founded and led Companies.
Dr. Freada Kapor
Freada Kapor Klein is an entrepreneur, activist and pioneer in the field of organizational culture and diversity. As a Founding Partner at Kapor Capital, Freada invests in seed-stage tech startups that create positive social impact by closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and communities of color. Often, the founders are drawing on their lived experience to create a business that solves real needs. Freada is an Advisory Trustee of the U.C. Berkeley Foundation and is a founding team member at Project Include, a community of women in Silicon Valley working to provide practical, effective diversity and inclusion recommendations for tech companies.
Brian Dixon focuses on identifying and evaluating early-stage investments along with helping portfolio companies grow effectively. Brian joined Kapor Capital in 2011 after spending two summers as an MBA intern, and was promoted to partner in November 2015. He is committed to making sure entrepreneurs of all backgrounds have access to advice and capital in order to make their business succeed. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science from Northeastern University and an MBA from F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and has been selected as a Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Fellow, Babson Fellow, and Springworks Scholar.
Linnea believes that women-led businesses are changing the world for the better. They’re also really smart investments that are too often overlooked and undervalued by investors. To change that scenario, Linnea launched GingerBread Capital (GBC) in 2016 to build and invest in women’s entrepreneurial success–and encourage other women to do the same. It’s fitting that after retiring from a successful 30-year career in investment banking, one of her first investments in a women-led venture under the mantle of GBC was the 2016 feature film, “Equity,” about women on Wall Street.
As a founder, operator, advisor and angel investor, Bill has helped dozens of companies launch, manage through hyper-growth and win. Before joining First Round, Bill led LiveOps to $100 million in sales and hundreds of employees as the industry’s leading cloud contact center. He also founded Jump Networks, a leading web calendar and personal organizer acquired by Microsoft. As an angel investor and Founder Partner at Founder Collective, Bill made investments in category killing companies including Uber, IronPort (acquired by Cisco), Adroll, PowerSet (acquired by Microsoft), Lending Club, HomeRun (acquired by Rearden Commerce), Tapulous (acquired by Disney), Slide (acquired by Google), and Chegg.
MengKe "MK" Li
MK is a managing partner at UpHonest Capital. UpHonest Capital is an early-stage focused fund in Silicon Valley that has over 200 investments in its portfolio. MK leads the fund's early stage investments and helps portfolio companies grow with his experience in product and operation. Prior to UpHonest Capital, MK built a career in product management, where he served as product leader and manager at Treasure Data (acquired by ARM), Microsoft and Google.
J. Skyler Fernandes
J. Skyler (Sky) Fernandes is ranked as a Powerlist 100 VC and is the Founder & General Partner of VU Venture Partners, a multi-stage venture capital fund focused on Consumer, Enterprise, Fintech, Frontier, Healthcare, and Property Tech. VU has a ~50 person investment team and has offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Hong Kong. Sky is also the Founder & CEO of Venture University, the world's leading investor accelerator for individuals breaking into venture capital, private equity, and angel investing.
Christopher R. Upperman is a Board Member of Envolve Entrepreneurship. Christopher is a Manager in the Governance & Strategic Initiatives Organization at Facebook. He was previously Envolve’s CEO, leading the operational and strategic functions within the organization. Prior to joining Envolve, Christopher was an Obama Administration political appointee at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and served as the Assistant Administrator (Head) of the Office of Public Engagement. His primary focus was increasing entrepreneurship, business opportunities and capital access for undeserved and minority-owned enterprises.
Ghost Note Agency
Ghost Note is a team of creatives as beautifully diverse and brilliant as the world at its best. They come from every corner of America and the globe, and we bring all of our personal stories and journeys to the work we do. Ghost Note thinks that’s pretty cool. The values Ghost Note holds close were formed and affirmed through a journey of triumphs, bumps and bruises. And we wouldn't have it any other way.