Hailing from tech giants to upstarts, the folks at Playground bring deep technical, design and operational expertise to help grow companies and build ecosystems. Our cross-functional team knows how to execute and scale at every stage of a business.

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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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Peter Barrett is best known today as co-founder and general partner of Playground Global. He believes the computing revolution—and arguably even the industrial revolution—haven’t happened yet. He is drawn to the toughest challenges at the boundaries of deep tech and hard science.

Peter has been writing software since he was a teenager. At 19, his first security program caught the attention of the NSA. From his first company, Rocket Science Games, he’s had an adventurous career in technology from creating the first widely used video codec in the early 90s, building the world’s most popular IPTV platform at Microsoft, cloud intelligence for automotive at CloudCar and now quantum and optical computing, robotics and artificial intelligence at Playground. He holds over 100 patents.

At Playground, Peter delights in the opportunity to deeply collaborate with entrepreneurs and help create transformative companies with multigenerational impact. He thrives on technologies that lie somewhere between improbable and impossible and companies whose success will help move civilization forward.

Peter lives in Palo Alto with his wife, two children, a surly cat, and a friendly dog.

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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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Jory Bell is a General Partner at Playground Global, having joined the firm as Vice President in 2015.

Jory grew up in Rochester, N.Y. and went on to attend MIT where he earned three undergraduate degrees in architecture, literature and earth atmosphere & planetary studies. After graduation, Jory worked as a researcher as part of the joint MIT/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute climate change program where he designed, built and deployed autonomous deep sea robotics.

Drawn to the Bay Area by his passion for entrepreneurial technology, Jory spent six years at Apple as a laptop designer. In 2000, Jory left Apple to found OQO, a computer hardware and software manufacturer credited by the Guinness World Records as having created the world's smallest Windows PC.

Upon joining Playground, Jory discovered his passion for working with brilliant technical founders using science and technology to build massive companies to address large-scale societal needs. The first three investments Jory made at Playground are now unicorns and one has filed to become a public company via SPAC.

Jory sourced some of the firm’s earliest investments including Nervana Systems (acquired by Intel) and subsequently led the firm’s investment efforts in deep tech areas including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, genomics and synthetic/computational biology.


Outside of work, Jory and his wife can be found practicing acrobatics and tiger parenting their young daughter.

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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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Matt Hershenson, a Founding Partner at Playground Global, knew he was going to be an engineer from an early age. As a teenager, he had an after-school job at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, where his size made him ideal for running cables under the raised floors in labs and machine rooms and above the dropped ceilings in the offices. He also learned how to repair and maintain the Computer Science Department’s Xerox Altos.

His earliest professional experience was at Apple, where he worked first in manufacturing engineering in Apple’s “Mac Factory” and later worked in the PowerBook group on the design of Apple’s line of PowerBook laptops. In 2000, Matt co-founded Danger, which went on to produce the first consumer smartphone.

After creating nine versions of the T-Mobile Sidekick and beginning the process of going public, Danger was purchased by Microsoft. Matt stayed at Microsoft for two years after the acquisition, serving as a Partner in Hardware Engineering.

Leveraging his mobile hardware experience, Matt joined Google’s Android team as Director of Hardware. At Google, Matt built the Android hardware team to span all aspects of hardware development - from chip design to regulatory compliance and everything in-between. Matt and his team shipped over 10 generations of devices across phones, tablets, and streaming receivers.

In late 2014, Matt joined up with the founding team to start Playground. The idea was to invest in transformative companies with multigenerational impact, while working side-by-side with portfolio companies to help them advance faster than if they were on their own.

Today, Matt is still unafraid of technological risk. His reasoning is: if you’re going to go through the trouble, you might as well create something with significance.

Matt lives in the Bay Area with his wife of over 20 years and three children.

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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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Bruce Leak is a Founding Partner at Playground Global. From an early age, his intellectual curiosity led to a fascination with computers and emerging technology, and later informed his career path which took him from the frontier days of Apple and Microsoft, to entrepreneurship, to his time at Playground investing in complex ideas with the potential to change the world.

With a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Stanford, Bruce spent two summer internships at Microsoft. There, he tested an early prototype of Microsoft Word for the original IBM PC and later worked on the first versions of Microsoft’s Macintosh applications.

His first full time role was with Apple’s System Software team where he led the company’s efforts on 32-bit Color Quickdraw which became the foundation of true color display on Mac screens and led to the birth of QuickTime. Bruce spent five years at Apple expanding the QuickTime team, shipping several versions of the product and speaking at developer conferences.

Bruce was later recruited by Steve Perlman to General Magic, and they set out to build a color version of the platform for gaming. In 1993, Bruce joined forces with Peter Barrett and Steve Blank to form Rocket Science Games, where he hired many members of the Quicktime team, supported developers, and built the gaming platform.

Bruce’s next venture was WebTV, which he founded with two General Magic alumni, Steve Perlman and Phil Goldman. WebTV was acquired by Microsoft and the company went on to ship the first DVR products for Echostar and DirectTV.

After founding several startups selling technology and services to mobile phone operators and automotive OEMs and traveling the world, Bruce co-founded Playground Global—the venture capital firm he wished existed when he was building his own company. From robotics to quantum computing to groundbreaking medical advancements, Playground’s true north is leaving a lasting impact for generations to come.

Bruce lives in Palo Alto and can still be found adventuring outdoors by kayak and by land. He is passionate about wildlife conservation, preserving natural habitats, and supporting animal sanctuaries.

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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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Laurie Yoler is a General Partner at Playground Global. An ambitious problem-solver and prolific connector by nature, Laurie has decades of experience building, scaling, and advising companies from seed-stage startups to multinational corporations.

Previously, Laurie was a board member and active strategic advisor for autonomous mobility leader Zoox from its earliest days until it was acquired by Amazon in August 2020. Prior to that, Laurie was President of Qualcomm Labs at Qualcomm, focused on organic internal growth and inorganic growth for the world’s mobile technology leader. Before that, she was a founder and Managing Director at GrowthPoint Technology Partners, a pioneering technology investment bank, where she helped entrepreneurs and their boards complete strategic M&A transactions and fundraises.

The first years of her career were spent as a computer scientist in artificial intelligence developing and launching new innovations and products for Accenture, PwC, and Visa. At Visa, Laurie helped create a new division focusing exclusively on debit cards, which eventually yielded the groundbreaking Visa Debit Card.

Next, she was at Sun Microsystems, where she helped the company emerge as the go-to server platform for software in the internet age. Start-ups became increasingly important customers and partners for Sun and Java, so Laurie helped start and build Sun Microsystems Ventures, an early corporate venture capital group.

Laurie liked startups so much that she left Sun in 2001 to dive full time into early-stage ventures, learning company building, fundraising, and being part of a founding team at six companies, including Tesla, where she was a founding investor and board member for almost a decade. Laurie was also a founding executive at Packet Design, focused on building new networking and security companies. Packet Design created a network performance management software company which was later acquired by Ciena.

Throughout her career, Laurie has served as a director and advisor on more than 25 boards spanning public companies, startups and nonprofits. Currently, she serves on the boards of Bose, Church & Dwight, Leaf Logistics, Lacuna, Branch, Saltbox and the Computer History Museum, and on the advisory boards for Accenture, TTI/Vanguard, and AI4All.

Dedicated to a lifetime of learning, Laurie enthusiastically continues her education at Stanford in subjects such as board governance, biotechnology, biochemistry, neuropsychology, neuroscience, and geology. She also guest lectures for the Engineering, Law, and Business Schools at Stanford.


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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
Venture Analyst
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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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Allison Braley
Operating Partner
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Allison Braley is an Operating Partner focused on marketing at Playground Global, bringing nearly 20 years of marketing, brand-building and communications expertise to the firm and its portfolio.

Prior to joining Playground, Allison was head of marketing for Canvas, a Ford-owned car subscription company that was acquired by Fair in late 2019, where she then served as VP of Marketing.

Allison's previous experience includes running marketing for The Information (news) and Zoosk (dating), as well as leading communications and brand for ZocDoc (healthcare). She was also a Director of Media Strategy for OutCast Communications, where she helped build the firm's New York office. Allison's agency-side clients over her career have included Facebook, Amazon, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson and Cisco. Prior to joining Outcast, Allison spent three years as director of public relations for Conde Nast Digital's stable of digital media brands.

Business Insider named Allison to its annual list of the "top public relations pros in the tech industry" in 2020. PR News named her to its list of the Top Women in PR in 2016.

Allison resides in Alamo, California with her husband, two kids and an ornery dog.

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Brian Burton
Venture Associate
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Illness as Metaphor" by Susan Sontag. An important reminder that language matters, word choice matters. Our words shape the world we live in.

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Victoria Chernow
Venture 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
Head of Programs
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

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Justin Ernest
Venture 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
Head of Talent
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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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Benjamin Kim
Senior Venture Associate
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... a full time triathlete.

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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
Finance and Administration Associate
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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
Communications Manager
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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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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.

Quote icon Created with Sketch. Say there are 3 people in the world who are the experts on a certain technology, well all of them are sitting here at Playground. Alex Teichman CEO & Co-founder, Lighthouse AI
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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.

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Michael Nuñez
Senior Marketing Manager, Content Strategy
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

Working as a journalist in New York City.

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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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Sasha Ostojic is an Operating Partner at Playground Global where he works with portfolio companies on defining and executing technology and business strategies. The Playground founders benefit from Sasha’s decades of operating experience in scaling and motivating engineering teams to achieve product and bottom-line success.

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Sasha moved to the U.S. in the late-1980s where his technical expertise and appetite for knowledge generated an early opportunity at General Electric (GE). There, as a consultant, he was a lead software architect for IBM's innovative DirectTalk Voice Application platform.

At IBM, he found himself gravitating towards a career in entrepreneurship and founded Ultimate Technology, Inc with a colleague. The vision was to iterate on the speech recognition and text-to-speech synthesis technology they designed at IBM and deploy it to new industries. Sasha built the company from the ground up as the CEO and VP of Engineering, serving in the role for 14 years and achieving profitability each year.

Under his leadership, Ultimate Technology formed relationships with Fortune 500 companies including Fidelity, Cisco, and Sun Microsystems. Sasha guided the organization through all stages of growth overcoming the dot-com bubble among other shifting market conditions.

Sasha then spent close to 10 years at Nvidia where, as Vice President of Software, he was in charge of some of the key initiatives that contributed to the graphics company becoming a global leader in gaming, AI technologies, and visual computing.

His last stop before joining Playground was at Cruise Automation, where he led and scaled the engineering team for the General Motors autonomous vehicle subsidiary. But once he started spending time at Playground’s Palo Alto campus, there was no turning back.

Sasha initially played an advisory role where he immediately added value for the firm and its portfolio. One thing led to the next, and Sasha found himself in an Operating Partner role. The majority of his work is helping portfolio companies with engineering projects, advising on products, and growing the companies and their networks. Alongside his direct work with portfolio companies, Sasha organizes and leads various engineering leadership events as well as the acclaimed Robochat event series featuring prestigious guest speakers.

Sasha sits on the advisory boards of Samsung Electronics, Zoox, Deepen AI, Cognomotiv and HTEC. In his spare time, he is an avid tennis and basketball player and enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

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Richard Peretz
Venture Partner
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Richard Peretz is a venture adviser focused on global operations, supply chain management, logistics, and last-mile solutions at Playground Global, bringing nearly 40 years of experience as a career executive to the firm and its portfolio.

Prior to joining Playground, Mr. Peretz was the Chief Financial Officer of UPS, where he was responsible for accounting, finance, financial planning, taxes, and treasury, as well as audit and compliance activities. He served as the company’s senior liaison to the investor, finance, and analyst community. Mr. Peretz also served on the team responsible for taking UPS public in 1999, the largest IPO in U.S. history at the time.

Throughout his nearly 40 year career at UPS, Mr. Peretz has also served in a variety of leadership assignments, including several UPS transformation programs involving the consolidation of accounting in the U.S., and the realignment of the finance function in corporate and company-wide profitability improvement programs.

He led the Mergers and Acquisition department from 2007-2015, where he completed transactions totaling over $3 billion globally in transportation, technology, last mile and healthcare logistics. He also served as the International CFO from 2002-2007 while expanding operations in China and across Europe.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Peretz holds a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) from University of Texas - San Antonio. He has been named to serve on the board of directors of Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS). Additionally, Mr. Peretz served on the board of the American Red Cross Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter and currently serves on the Georgia Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.

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

Walking up the spider monkey bars without hands. Falling just teaches you how not to fall the same way next time.

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Nishant Singh
Venture Analyst
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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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Victoria Sun
Venture Principal
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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 a principal 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 a stealth unicorn gene-sequencing company.

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

Gravity can hurt, but don't let it scare you from swinging even higher.

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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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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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Phyllis Whiteley, PhD., is a Venture Partner with Playground Global where she provides hands-on leadership in building, investing, and creating companies in all areas of Healthcare where technology can improve access to healthcare, the patient experience, and improved quality and speed while reducing costs. Playground Global is a deep tech investor where we leverage our vision and deep understanding of technology to help build companies that will have multi-generational impact. Phyllis’ career is founded on her passion for personalized medicine, global healthcare, and transformative life science innovations. She has founded and built multiple companies in the United States and abroad.

Her executive expertise includes strategic planning, financing, partnerships, restructuring, building executive teams and M&A. Prior to joining Playground Global, Phyllis spent over a decade at Wildcat Venture Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures, leading to numerous successful exists. She was an Officer and Senior Vice President, Business Development, Licensing, and Alliance Management at Perlegen Sciences, Inc. Before joining Perlegen, she served as Vice President, Strategic Portfolio Management for Roche. Over her ten-year career with Roche she held various positions in Business Development based in Basel, Switzerland coupled with R&D leadership positions in the US. Phyllis also held a Senior Research Immunology role with Merck. Phyllis is a member of the Board of Directors for Lassogen Therapeutics, BodyPort (board chair), Alydia Health, a medical device company treating Post Partum Hemorrhage around the world and Nalu Bio.

Phyllis is dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs address the problems of poverty, empower women, and build resilience to climate change. She currently sits on the boards of the Personalized Medicine Coalition (Emeritus), UCSF Leadership Council for Global Health, University of Michigan School of Nursing Board for Science and Innovation and chairs the advisory board for the University of Texas Horizon Fund. Phyllis is also Global Social Benefits Mentor at Santa Clara University.

Phyllis holds a BA in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

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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!