We are scientists, engineers, operators, and designers who know how to execute and scale at every stage of a business. Our collaborations with world leaders in our fields give us insights to see around the next corner.

When we’re not publishing papers on AI, earning PhDs in pharmacology and bio-engineering, or filing for patents, we’re building transformative companies that deliver outsized returns and make positive impacts on society.

Filters

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Peter Barrett
General Partner
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What's your favorite thing about Playground?

 

I learn something new here everyday working with our team at the boundaries of hardware, software and AI. I'm inspired by entrepreneurs building watershed technologies that are challenging but consequential.

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Jory Bell
General Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Tetrascroll" by Buckminster Fuller

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Matt Hershenson
General Partner
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Why did you create Playground?

One of the greatest benefits we can provide to entrepreneurs is sharing what we learned in building our own companies.

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Bruce Leak
General Partner
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

The holodeck will be used for “in-person” meetings making the daily commute unnecessary. Decoupling where we live from where we work will obviate the need for many office buildings and transit systems.

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Laurie Yoler
General Partner
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

A tenacious, focused, interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and marketers with the right leadership can create extraordinary companies.

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Richard Becker
Prototype Machinist
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always bring appropriate footwear.

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Taggart Bonham
Associate
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

“Skinned knees are temporary, play is forever” - GPT-3

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Victoria Chernow
Associate
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -Teddy Roosevelt

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Sylvia Donohoe
Principal, People & Talent
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

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Justin Ernest
Senior Associate
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always play like it’s your last game.

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Jeff Freburg
VP, Real Estate & Operations
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Attention to details they matter...

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Gabby Halberg
UX Software Engineer
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... figuring out how to help fight plastic pollution.

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Marissa Huang
Operating Partner
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Everyone has something valuable to contribute, so take the time to listen to their story.

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Marissa Huang is an operating partner focused on full-cycle recruitment with more than a decade of experience spanning new graduate to executive search hiring. She specializes in building out and executing on hiring strategies for startups, specialized teams, and hard-to-source positions.

Prior to joining Playground, Marissa led the talent function at Niantic Labs, growing the team from 70 to 700 employees in four years. She changed the function, culture, and impact of talent operations across the company to support the company’s business goals and strategies as well as the needs and aspirations of its growing workforce.

Marissa's previous experience also includes executive search, managing talent teams, and managing talent and people operations at later stage companies like Asana, Facebook, and Google. Marissa was the first head of talent at Thumbtack and Figma. She has previously worked with many prominent leaders across Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, to build and manage talent operations that support and reflect their dynamic needs.

In her spare time, Marissa enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle, making pottery, flipping houses around the Bay Area, and spending time with her dog and fiancé at their home in San Francisco. She loves learning new things and is inherently curious about people and their stories. In her executive coaching practice, she supports startup founders, CEOs, and other senior executives on their journey to becoming stronger leaders who build diverse teams and successful products.

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George Ketigian
Advisor
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Perfection to the fringe of a deadline.

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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... a full time triathlete.

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Ben Kim is a Venture Principal at Playground Global where he helps identify the founders and companies that are revolutionizing engineered biology. At Playground, he has sourced and led investments into companies including Outpace Bio, Manifold Bio and Lassogen, where he also sits as a Board Observer. In 2022, Ben led investments into two breakthrough biotech companies, currently operating in stealth.

Prior to Playground, Ben was a PhD graduate student and an NSF Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering.

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Clinton Lazzari
Operating Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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Clinton Lazzari is an operating partner at Playground Global with a focus on electronics engineering, product design, manufacturing operations, and program management, bringing more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of shipping global products from architecture to manufacturing.

Prior to joining Playground, Clinton was a senior hardware engineer at Google, where he managed the launch of several consumer product designs from architecture to production including electrical design and specification, trade-offs between software features and thermal limitations, compliance certification, manufacturing test criteria, and processes, and more. Clinton designed the first consumer electronics to advance the Android operating system to devices beyond the smartphone and tablet.

He also designed, developed, and debugged the digital and RF systems for X Lab’s Project Loon, the ambitious skunkworks project that brought high-speed internet to remote areas in the world via weather balloons. Clinton managed external contractors, designed subsystems, and guided a team of junior engineers.

His professional experience often blends the most difficult elements of program management, operations, hardware engineering, and product design. As an engineering and business consultant, he has worked with a wide range of industries on projects that include medical devices, industrial power tools, consumer electronics, robotics, aerospace control systems, and much more.

Outside of work, Clinton lives in Medford, Oregon with his wife Brooke and three children, Neasa, Reid, and Teagan, where in his spare time he runs a company that designs, builds, and sells electronics for hobbyist building remote control model aircraft. He has a cat named Midnight that runs the house, and when he’s on vacation, he can be found using his airline miles and travel points from traversing the globe to take his kids to various renown zoos across the country.

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Nancy Ly
Associate, Finance & Administration
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Be patient.

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Alex Mack
Manager, Marketing & Communications
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." - Rumi

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Natalie Martin
Talent Apprentice
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

If you fail at something, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it just means you need to try a new approach.

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Chika Nakasu
Executive Manager
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Never lose curiosity.

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Anh Nguyen
Design Director
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Play on, player.

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Hoang Nguyen
Design Director
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr Seuss. We often get caught up by logic & reason and don't take shots at the unusual. Try new things. Love the journey, not the destination.

Quote icon Created with Sketch. Playground is really a partner for entrepreneurs and mission oriented founders. Their deep bench of operational and technical expertise has been invaluable as our company scales. Michael Martin CEO & Founder at RapidSOS
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Sasha Ostojic
Venture Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Joy of Engineering Leadership" by Sasha Ostojic. A thriller with real world engineering twists and turns. Sitting on the bookshelf in my head.

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Kendra Perlitz
Operating Partner
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

Self-driving cars.

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Kendra Leigh Perlitz is an operating partner focused on investor relations at Playground Global, where she is responsible for Playground’s capital formation and related operations. She partners with current and prospective limited partners to develop their investment strategy, targeting early-stage innovation through fund commitment and co-investments.

Prior to joining Playground, Kendra was managing director of investor relations and operations at SVB Capital, leading product strategy across venture capital fund of funds, direct equity, and private credit funds. Her previous experience also includes serving as vice president of capital formation and investor operations at Top Tier Capital Partners, a venture capital fund of funds located in San Francisco.

Before Top Tier, Kendra served as senior manager of financial planning and analysis for US pharmaceutical generic drugs at McKesson, the largest provider of distribution and technology solutions within the healthcare industry. In her early career, she worked at iRhythm Technologies, a venture-backed healthcare startup, and client services at Hall Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based investment advisory firm.

A native of Silicon Valley, Kendra holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development with leadership effectiveness and a minor in economics from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education in organizational leadership from Vanderbilt. When Kendra is not raising billions for venture capital, she enjoys hosting community events, traveling, skiing and pilates.

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Faith Petrie
Talent Apprentice
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Treat everyone like a friend.

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Robin Quattlebaum
Principal, People & Talent
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always be kind. You never know what someone might be going through.

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Akim Richards
Senior Talent Associate
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Algorithms of Oppression" - Safiya Umoja Noble

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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... spending time with kids/family/loved ones and beach bumming.

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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

A basketball/football GM

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Guocong Song
Data Scientist
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong, but the English translation may lose some cultural meaning.

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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... a writer for Comedy Central.

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Victoria Sun is an Advisor at Playground Global. In 2021, she was named as one of nine women shaping venture capital by The Wall Street Journal. She is fascinated by markets where growing datasets are finally coming online and enriching companies’ unique “model” of the world, allowing insightful entrepreneurs to capture exponential value. She is drawn to commercializable scientific breakthroughs, data-as-an-asset software platforms, and products that solve some of the world’s most fundamental problems: food production and distribution, antifragile logistics and supply chain systems, preventing and curing diseases.

Shortly after joining Playground in 2018, she sourced and led investments in areas such as logistics (Pandion, and Leaf), software infrastructure (EraDB), aerospace (Universal Hydrogen), synthetic/computational biology (Strand Therapeutics) and is also a board observer for companies such as Relativity Space and Ultima Genomics.

Prior to Playground, Victoria worked on IPOs and mergers and acquisitions at Credit Suisse’s Global Technology Group in San Francisco. She received her bachelor's degree in Economics from UC Berkeley.

As a reformed investment banker, Victoria now spends all her extra time consuming dark comedies and training her Shetland sheepdog, who is a very good boy.

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Shinya Suzuki
Embedded System (HW & SW) Designer
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

It is what it is, be adaptable, live in the moment, and have no expectations.

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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age? 

Print at home clothes with reusable filament. Bespoke clothes - style, fit and color - that are benign to the environment.

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Sandy Taylor is the CFO for Playground Global. An entrepreneurial-minded finance executive with decades of startup experience, Sandy brings her passion for building high-performance teams and leading organizations through significant growth to the firm and its portfolio companies.

Drawn to tech from an early age, Sandy moved to Silicon Valley in the late 1990s to realize her dream. She first worked at Oracle as Director of Finance and Strategic Planning, where she relished the opportunity to build a new team at an established organization and developed a keen interest in early technology.

After spending time at early online marketplace Respond Networks, Sandy linked up with her future Playground colleagues at Danger, Inc. With Sandy in the VP of Finance role, Danger’s subscriber base grew from 60,000 to nearly 1.4 million. She helped secure funding from the likes of Redpoint Ventures and Softbank, and played a key role in the negotiation and execution of Microsoft’s $500M+ acquisition of the business.

Sandy stayed at Microsoft for another two years before assuming the CFO role at Zong, later leading PayPal’s acquisition of the firm. Sandy stayed on as CFO of PayPal after the deal, where she was responsible for the Finance and Operational Excellence for PayPal Mobile and the integration of Zong business functions into PayPal and eBay.

Next, Sandy spent over three years at Mocana, an IoT security platform overseeing 100 million devices. There, she oversaw strategy, sales operations, $30 million in VC fundraising, and general finance, among a wide array of responsibilities.

In 2018, she reunited with her former Danger colleagues and joined the Playground team. Sandy loves the energy of the startups combined with their potential longevity and impact, getting the best of both the entrepreneurial and finance worlds. At Playground, Sandy runs the finance team, human resources, and facilities teams, as well as supervises in-house events.

Sandy is married with one daughter and lives in Palo Alto, CA, where she spends most of her spare time working on the constant remodeling of her 100+-year-old home.

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Cici Tong
Assistant Controller
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

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Kim Watson
Finance Manager
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Honesty, integrity, hard work and the desire to have fun and make a difference every day.

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Greg Wilson
VP of Finance
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

Digital currencies and assets.

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Phyllis Whiteley
Venture Partner
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all the brains I can borrow”. Woodrow Wilson

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Daniel Yum
Principal, Software Engineer
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... taking the specifications from the customer and bring them down to the software engineers! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people!