Meet the Panelists of the Women Innovators Initiative (WII): Investing in Women Entrepreneurs webinar
September 21, 2020
Beckie Robertson ’82, Co-founder and Managing Director, Versant Ventures
Beckie Robertson is a Managing Director specializing in early stage investing in medical devices and diagnostics at Versant. Beckie’s career encompasses 23 years of venture capital and operating experience in medical products as an engineer, entrepreneur, corporate executive and investor.
Before co-founding Versant, Beckie was a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).
From 1994-1996, Beckie served as Senior Vice President at Chiron Diagnostics, a division of Chiron Corporation, where she had responsibility for the $200 million Critical Care business unit. In addition, Beckie was Vice President of Business Development where she led numerous deals in support of Chiron Diagnostics business and technology objectives.
Prior to joining Chiron, she was a co-founder and Vice President at Egis, an IVP portfolio company, and held senior management positions in operations and finance at Lifescan, a Johnson & Johnson company. During her seven-year term at Lifescan, the company grew from an early stage venture-funded company to a worldwide market leader in diabetes diagnostics.
Priya Rajan, MBA ’16, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank.
Priya is Market Lead for India and UAE in SVB’s international market development team, Global Gateway. She provides market entry advice and insights on cross-border engagement focused on constituents in the innovation ecosystem – founders and investors.
Priya’s work with Indian entrepreneurs and venture capital funds has yielded tangible value with founders accessing leading programs in the U.S. like Y-Combinator and investors getting visibility of great founders and deals.
Priya calls on her experience, expertise and connections to champion a more inclusive innovation economy. She works closely with community leaders, including Change Catalyst, Kapor Capital, and YC Female Founders. She sits on the board of directors at non-profits Big Brothers Big Sisters and Women Who Code – an organization dedicated to helping women excel in technology careers. As a venture partner at Xfund, Priya connects VC firms with superior research universities and advisor at Entrepreneurship at Cornell University.
Priya co-created the Diaspora Community initiative at SVB and is a charter member of TiE, a nonprofit focused on nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs with Indian ties.
Prior to joining Global Gateway, Priya was a Director in our early stage practice (Startup Banking) where she led university programs and SVB Trek for student entrepreneurs. Leading to partnerships with Dorm Room Fund, The House Fund, Stanford Venture Studio and Rough Draft Ventures.
Priya’s career at SVB Financial Group began as a global group financial officer, a pivotal role in the Finance team. Earlier in her career, she held financial management positions at Charles Schwab and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from the University of Madras and a master’s degree in international business from Queen’s University, Priya holds an MBA in business administration from Cornell University and a California CPA in accounting and business administration.
Priya enjoys traveling the world, opening doors, and meeting new people. When not on a plane, Priya enjoys classical music – after studying music for over a decade, she passed on this passion and skill to her two children.
Carolina Huaranca Mendoza, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Scout & Former Principal Kapor Capital
Carolina Huaranca Mendoza is currently a scout for Lightspeed Venture Partners and serves on the Board of Directors for Latinas in Tech, a network of 10,000 Latinas worldwide. She was a former Principal & Director of LP Investments at Kapor Capital, an early stage seed fund. Carolina originally joined Kapor Capital as a Principal in 2016 and while there she was a generalist investor, but had a particular interest in the future of work, future cities, logistics, and education. During her last year at Kapor Capital she helped devise an investment strategy to deploy capital in emerging fund managers. This strategy resulted in investments in Equal Ventures and Operator Collective. Prior to becoming a Principal, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at Kapor working on a edtech platform for teacher professional development.
Carolina also has a personal interest in angel investing in Latin American based tech startups given that her family hails from the region. She is fluent in Spanish and continues to have close family ties to the region.
Carolina began her technology career as a Sales & Product Marketing Manager at SchoolNet; which was sold to Pearson for $230M. In 2012, she founded Spriggle, a marketplace that helped parents identify STEM inspired products for children ages 3-9.
To date, she has shared her investment experience on over 50 stages, including SXSWEdu, Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program, SOCAP, LTX Fest, and NPR: How I Built this Summit. Carolina has also been recognized by Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) as a Latino Leader and Cosmo Latina Fearless Award Winner alongside Jessica Alba. She has also been featured in TechCrunch, CNN Money, SF Chronicle, and USA Today.
Momo Bi, MBA, Director, New York Ventures, Empire State Development
Bio to come.
The Women Innovators Initiative (WII): Investing in Women Entrepreneurs webinar is happening on September 30 — 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
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