Stephen Leist, Managing Partner Stephen spent 20 years inside investment banks in Asia and the US. He ran the Asia Pacific Equity activities of Salomon/Citigroup from 1999 to 2001, after 12 years in Japan managing units at Morgan Stanley, UBS and Deutsche Bank. From 2005 through 2007 he built Merriman Curhan Ford’s asset management division as the group’s Chief Operating Officer in San Francisco. He is also active member of the Innovation Advisory Council of the Japan Society of Northern California. Stephen graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in History and attended the Falcon Program for Japanese Studies at Cornell University. He is an enthusiastic reader, skier, biker, coach, carpenter, dad, student and mentor.
Keith Powell, Partner - Consumer and Industrials Keith has held a variety of roles in finance and operations for operating companies for the last 20 years. Keith has managed global finance organizations, processes, and projects for over 10 years and has served with the senior executive team on strategy development and execution, governance & process deployment, executive compensation, communications, and people development. Keith was most recently the CFO of the Technology Solutions Group at Nortek, as well as the CFO/COO of Kodak Gallery (oFoto) for Eastman Kodak. Keith graduated from Virginia Tech and has an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University
Sheryl WuDunn, Venture Partner Sheryl has served in a variety of roles marketing, strategic planning and banking, raising capital in new media, media technology and healthcare. Previously, WuDunn has worked as investment advisor at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and at The New York Times both as an executive and journalist: in management roles in both the Strategic Planning and Circulation Sales departments at The Times. As the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, WuDunn was selected as one of 60 notable members of the League of Extraordinary Women by Fast Company magazine. In August 2015, Business Insider named her one of the 31 most prominent graduates of the Harvard Business School.
Roger Marshall, Venture Partner - North Asia Since 1975, Roger has been actively involved in business consulting and retained executive search consulting in Japan, Korea and APAC, and helping Japanese and Asian multinational firms to build successful organizations. Since 1990, Roger has been a Partner & Managing Director Global Business Development at Odgers Berndtson Japan, a London-based top-tier global consultancy. Prior to that, Roger was a director at KPMG Consulting, building and leading one of the firm's practices in Japan and Korea. Roger is fluent in Japanese, with a B.A. degree in Asian Studies from Sophia University. He also studied Biotechnology at Penn State University, College of Science.
William Banks, Venture Partner Bill has over 20 years of senior management and industry experience, focused on building businesses and long-term client relationships with financial services and technology firms. Prior to PPG, Bill was a Managing Director at Harvest Capital Strategies, a $1.3BN alternative asset management firm in San Francisco. Bill’s past experience includes President of MCF Wealth Management - a subsidiary of a boutique investment bank - focused on the acquisition and management of independent investment advisory firms. Prior to that he was Senior Vice President for Advisor Software (ASI) where he was responsible for all aspects of marketing, product management and sales. Bill is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Allan Young, Venture Partner - Technology Allan is the Founder of Runway, the largest technology incubator in San Francisco, and TopLine, a business accelerator in Richmond. Prior to Runway and TopLine, Allan built LaunchHear, a Y Combinator-backed press relations software venture. He has also worked as an associate at Sorenson Capital, a $1BN mid-market private equity fund, sourced and completed transactions in the industrial sector. Allan founded MediaForum, an advertising software venture acquired by Rakuten. While still at University Allan founded the University Venture Fund, a student-run venture fund with $20MM invested. University fund invested in 15 technology companies resulting in four IPOs. Allan is a native of the Bay Area.
Farshad Samimi, Venture Partner Farshad has extensive product technology & strategy, development, and launch experiences having served as a product lead for various companies at different stages of growth. He specializes in complex technology and partnership ecosystems that marry software, hardware, and networking to create best-of-breed disruptive solutions that improve our lives. Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2007, he conducted pioneering work on cloud and mobile computing at Michigan State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in computer science. Farshad resides in San Francisco with his lovely daughters and wife and is an avid Latin and Lindy Hop dancer, yogi, and hiker.
David Cooper, Venture Partner - Consumer & Retail David is an experienced CFO who is skilled at leading companies through significant change while maximizing value. He has taken six companies public, and completed $24B of M&A/debt/equity transactions for technology and food companies, including Agilent, Art.com, AvantGo, QRS, Satmetrix, PowerBar, Edison Brothers Stores, and Dole Food Company. Most recently David was CFO of Premier Nutrition where he helped lead the company through rapid growth before selling Premier to a strategic buyer (Post Holdings Inc.). David studied Economics at Yale and earned a MBA with honors in Finance at NYU. He loves staying fit and getting outdoors to enjoy the Bay Area.
David Strickler, Venture Partner - Healthcare David is currently the CEO of Peak Dental Services, a dental services organization operating in the Colorado Springs and Denver markets of Colorado. He has worked in a variety of ventures in the healthcare industry for over 15 years including McKinsey and Company and The Advisory Board Company early in his career. More recently he was a Senior Vice President at Accretive Health when the company went public and served as the CEO of MedAssist Inc - a $100MM company focusing in the Medicaid space. David holds a BA in history from Haverford College and an MBA/MA from Cornell University. David resides between Colorado and Washington, DC with his fiancé and one very disobedient but charming dog.
Leonard "Ben" De Somma, Venture Partner - FinTech & Cleantech Leonard "Ben" De Somma is venture partner of Piedmont Partners Group Ventures, LLC since 2013. In addition to his work with PPGV, Ben spends his time undertaking investments in a variety of asset classes on behalf of his immediate family and himself. From January 2001 to September 2012, Ben was a founding partner of Indus Capital Partners, LLC. Indus Capital is a preeminent Asian equities-focused long/short fund manager with approximately $5 billion under management. Prior to the establishment of Indus Capital, Ben worked as an equities analyst for Soros Fund Management out of their Hong Kong office. Ben graduated cum laude with a bachelor's in economics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Ben resides in Belvedere, CA with his four disobedient dogs, his three marvelous children and his one lovely, supportive wife.
Warren Mazer, Venture Partner Warren has handled a succession of key roles in Bay Area companies. Prior to 2011, Warren ran the e-commerce division of Cost-Plus World Market, and until 2009 he was the senior business strategist for Orchard Supply Hardware, a private equity owned company jointly managed by Sears Holdings and Ares Management. Warren joined Bain and Co. after completing his MBA, and later left for a role at DHL. He has a consistent record of unleashing value and growth in underperforming companies. Warren graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA and his Master's from Columbia University.