Mark Valdez

Principal, Playground Ventures

Biography

Mark Valdez

Principal, Playground Ventures

Venture Partner Mark Valdez is responsible for driving Playground’s investment activities. He seeks out startups that will change what we think is possible and that will create new experiences and capabilities in a converged physical and digital world.

Playground Global is the third firm Mark has had a hand in launching. In 2009, Mark started in venture capital at Andreessen Horowitz, joining as the first employee. After a hiatus at Stanford’s business school, he rejoined Andreessen Horowitz as Marc Andreessen’s chief of staff. Later, Mark co-founded early-stage VC firm A Capital.

Mark says that Playground is uniquely positioned to help overcome the challenges that today’s entrepreneurs face.

“We are entering a renaissance for the maker, a new era of the industrial entrepreneur,” says Mark. “Additive manufacturing and open source hardware and software have made it cheaper and easier than ever before to rapidly prototype products.”

“Yet, building a commercially viable product at scale—moving from prototype to manufacturing to distribution—is a still a massive challenge with risk around every corner,” he says.

During Mark’s time at Playground, he has noticed that hardware entrepreneurs have a different mettle about them.

“They knowingly take on product development and distribution challenges that you never encounter when building software-only companies. We built Playground not just to be a capital provider but also to provide entrepreneurs the resources, team, and community that can help them tackle these challenges head on.”


Co­-founder: A Capital, a VC firm focused on early stage consumer and enterprise technology companies
Chief of Staff: Andreessen Horowitz VC firm
Investment team: Stanford Management Company, the university investment arm
Hometown: St Louis
Favorite baseball team: St Louis Cardinals
Alma Mater: Duke University and Stanford Graduate School of Business, MBA
Played Men’s soccer at Duke
CFA Charterholder