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
Partner

Peter Barrett is a Founding Partner and CTO at Playground Global. He is constantly honing his deep technical skillset, making himself an invaluable resource for Playground’s portfolio companies. After co-founding Rocket Science Games, Peter spent 15 years between WebTV and Microsoft TV where he drove significant advances in video coding, advertising, TV browsing, and mobile communications. He reunited with founding members of the Playground team while serving as CTO of CloudCar, and together they formed the thriving VC firm as it stands today. 

 

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Full Biography

Peter Barrett is a Founding Partner and CTO at Playground Global. He is constantly honing his deep technical skillset, making himself an invaluable resource for Playground’s portfolio companies. After co-founding Rocket Science Games, Peter spent 15 years between WebTV and Microsoft TV where he drove significant advances in video coding, advertising, TV browsing, and mobile communications. He reunited with founding members of the Playground team while serving as CTO of CloudCar, and together they formed the thriving VC firm as it stands today. 

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Jory Bell
Partner

Jory Bell is a General Partner at Playground Global, having previously served as Vice President at the firm for three years. Jory sourced some of the firm’s earliest successful investments (e.g., Nervana Systems) and he leads the firm’s investment efforts in several deep tech areas including advanced manufacturing,  aerospace, genomics and synthetic/computational biology. Presently, he sits on the boards of Velo3D, Relativity Space, Strand Therapeutics and a stealth genomics company.

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Matt Hershenson
Partner

Matt Hershenson is a Founding Partner at Playground Global and epitomizes the firm’s comfort with operating somewhere between improbable and impossible. Previously. he co-founded Danger, a consumer smartphone company best known for creating the T-Mobile Sidekick. Hershenson has also held positions on Google’s  Android team, as well as at Microsoft, Philips Semiconductor, and Apple.

Bruce Leak
Partner

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 of Apple and Microsoft, to entrepreneurship, to his time at Playground investing in challenging ideas with the potential to leave a multi-generational impact. 

Laurie Yoler
General Partner

Laurie Yoler is a Partner at Playground Global. An ambitious problem-solver and prolific connector by nature, Laurie has decades of experience operating, scaling, and advising companies from seed startups to multinational corporations, including Tesla, Accenture, PwC, Visa, Sun Microsystems, Packet Design, Qualcomm, and GrowthPoint Technology Partners. She sits on several noteworthy boards including Bose, Church & Dwight, and Zoox, while passionately continuing her education and guest lecturing at Stanford. 

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Todd Austin
Advisor

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Forging an idea into a successful company is hard. Focus is essential, but the real fuel is the team​ ​of people that you build around your vision.

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Richard Becker
Prototype Machinist

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

Always bring appropriate footwear.

Allison Braley
Operating Partner

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 resides in San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighborhood with her partner and two children.

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Sylvia Donohoe
Head of Programs

What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

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Justin Ernest
Venture Associate

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
Head of Studio Experience

What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain .. Gives you a glimpse into the Hospitality world.

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Gabby Halberg
UX Software Engineer

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

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

Julia Huang
Software Engineer

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

I want to learn about anything and everything!

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George Ketigian
Director of Prototype Engineering

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Perfection to the fringe of a deadline.

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Benjamin Kim
Intern

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

... a full time triathlete.

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Clinton Lazzari
Senior Hardware Engineer

What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz & Hill

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Nancy Ly
Finance and Administration Associate

What's your "must read" book recommendation?

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Chika Nakasu
Executive Manager

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

How to create something out of nothing.

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Anh Nguyen
Design Principal

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 Principal

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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Isaac Nobel
Software Engineer

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Ideas are cheap and often easy, execution is hard and is what deserves the reward.

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Sasha Ostojic
Operating Partner

Sasha Ostojic is an Operating Partner at Playground Global where he works with portfolio companies on defining and executing technology and business strategies. He’s led and scaled engineering teams at Cruise Automation, Nvidia, Ultimate Technology, IBM and General Electric, driving revenue growth and product breakthroughs at every stop. Sasha sits on the advisory boards of Samsung Electronics, Zoox, Deepen AI, Cognomotiv and HTEC.

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Steph Rhee
Venture Associate

What's your "must read" book recommendation?

The "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. A story of beating the status quo and innovating against all odds.

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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Vilma Roa
Receptionist

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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Lucrecia Sandoval
Executive Assistant

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

How to collaborate and play well with others.

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Mel Sezto
Operating Partner

Mel Sezto is an Operating Partner at Playground Global, responsible for the firm’s talent network and assisting with talent acquisition on behalf of Playground and it’s portfolio companies. She helps meld Playground’s infrastructure into one that will continue to scale by identifying partners, executive talent, and diving in on projects within its portfolio. Mel formerly led recruiting, talent acquisition and people operations at Google, Google X, Greylock Partners, and Udacity.

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Guocong Song
Data Scientist

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 Associate

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

... a writer for Comedy Central.

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Shinya Suzuki
Embedded System (HW & SW) Designer

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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Sandy Taylor
CFO

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 Playground ecosystem. With stops at Mocana, PayPal, Danger, Inc., Oracle, and more, Sandy is a guiding force for companies of all stages and sizes. 

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Michael Tolo
Venture Principal

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

Bitcoin?

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Mark Valdez
Advisor

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"You can’t do the same things others do and expect to outperform" --Howard Marks

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Kim Watson
Finance Manager

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
Controller

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Learning is essential to happiness.

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Daniel Yum
Embedded Software Engineer

What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Keep on digging until you understand the core essence of the problem. You can only control things that you really, truly understand.