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Who We Are

Nearly a decade ago, we saw a significant rise in the number of leading global corporations that sought to collaborate with emerging companies to drive innovation and growth. 

As former founders, funders, advisors, and executives, we knew we could help.

The Challenge

A noisy startup ecosystem filled with thousands of companies made it hard for corporations to know which emerging players to engage with

Identifying emerging technology partners required peripheral vision—the ability to see past traditional industry boundaries to spot trends and opportunities—that large companies didn’t have

Navigating the innovation ecosystem required long-term relationships with trusted partners whose aligned incentives, deep expertise, and global reach enabled them to act as an extension of corporate teams

Silicon Foundry was designed to solve these challenges. We serve as a bridge between corporates, startups, investors, and other ecosystem players. We’ve spent our careers at the intersection of new markets, business models, and corporate-startup partnerships, so we know what it takes to drive innovation from all angles. By working with Silicon Foundry, organizations can anticipate change and navigate what’s next.

Our Team

Committed to Impact, Inspired by Curiosity 

We’re a group of seasoned, dedicated professionals with deep relationships across the innovation ecosystem and decades of startup, corporate, investment and advisory experience. Our core team is complemented by an active group of network advisors across industries and geographies. While San Francisco is our center of gravity and home to our hub, we live and work across the globe and span New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, and San Diego.

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Neal is the CEO and Managing Partner of Silicon Foundry, where he leverages over 25 years of venture capital, product management, technology operations, corporate development, and trusted advisory experience to lead the firm.

Prior to joining Silicon Foundry, Neal was Managing Director of the emerging markets technology training, investment, and incubation program at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), where he managed a global team of 150+ professionals, over twenty startup investments, and partnerships with Google, Samsung, and Vodafone.

Neal previously served as a General Partner at Rustic Canyon Partners (RCP), an early-stage focused VC fund with $500MM under management. He also worked in the Corporate Development group at Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR, acq. by ADBE), where he was responsible for global M&A transactions and strategic equity investments. In this role, he traveled extensively throughout Asia and learned firsthand the challenges and impact of building relationships and executing cross-border transactions.

Neal’s first exposure to venture capital was as an Associate at Technology Crossover Ventures, after which he learned the ins and outs of a fast growth software company as a product marketing director at webMethods (Nsasdaq: WEBM, acq. by Software AG). Neal first moved to the Bay Area and began his career as an investment banking analyst at Robertson Stephens & Co. during the original internet boom (and bust!). Originally hailing from the beaches of Southern California, he earned his BA from Duke University, studied at University College London, and received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children and when not at home, at Foundry’s downtown office, or on the road around the world visiting with our Members, he can be found driving his kids between sports practices or at one of the local surf breaks trying to catch a few waves.

Goran brings over 25 years of experience to the forefront of corporate innovation, business development, and digital transformation. Currently, as the Head of Venture Building at DIFC Launchpad and a Partner at Silicon Foundry, he accelerates innovation for corporate partners and government entities. With a strong entrepreneurial drive, Goran has a proven track record of transforming ideas into scalable digital ventures.

Before joining DIFC Launchpad and Silicon Foundry, Goran led as the Chief Corporate Venture Builder for MENA at Creative Dock, Europe and MENA’s premier independent venture builder. Preceding this, he significantly contributed to FoundersLane as interim CEO and Head of Corporate Venture Building, culminating in its acquisition by Creative Dock. These positions highlight a decade spent fostering startups and crafting successful digital products within Berlin’s dynamic startup hub.

Goran’s venture building prowess stems from his deep engagement with both traditional corporations and their innovation segments. His diverse career path has seen him excel in leadership roles across established corporates, strategic consulting firms, and innovative startups.

Notably, Goran’s strategic insights in B2B sales, business development, digital transformation, change management, and venture capital have been pivotal in scaling companies to meet ambitious growth targets.

A graduate in Business Administration and Management from the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Goran is bilingual in English and German. Residing in Dubai with his family, Goran cherishes downtime at the beach, balancing his professional dedication with a passion for family life.

Stuart has deep experience in blending people, process, and insight together to uncover and unlock the future of his clients’ business. At Silicon Foundry he advises their clients on how to discover, drive, develop, and integrate disruptive new technology adoption to not just understand the future, but to take a hold of it.

Prior to Joining Silicon Foundry, Stu has worked alongside, and within, some of the most innovative brands as a Partner at the globally recognized innovation consultancy Factory, as well as on the executive team at Pivotus Ventures, a venture studio setup by Umpqua Bank which was successfully acquired by Temenos.

Outside of his work at Silicon Foundry, Stuart is an avid speaker having lectured executives at organizations and institutions such as the prestigious MBA programs of Wharton Business School, and Insead, and is an active guest on numerous podcasts. When he’s not working, you can probably find Stu at the airport with his kindle on his way to travel the world (while visiting clients).

Doug serves as a Partner at Silicon Foundry, where he leverages 30 years of experience in technology operations, business development, product marketing and management consulting. Most recently Doug served as Chief Operating Officer at Grin Gaming, leading the team from pre-product to tens of millions in revenue and profitability. He joined Grin after working with the company as an EIR for their first investor, Operate Ventures. Prior to that, Doug initiated and built Nextdoor’s first entry into small business advertising as their Head of SMB/Local, a role that was created for him after he successfully started and exited two companies – MerchantCircle and Wanderful Media – at the intersection of the hyperlocal media, social, and online retail spaces. Doug began his career in professional services and management consulting, with roles at Acxiom Digital, A.T. Kearney, and J. Walter Thompson. Doug holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, and a BA from Northwestern University. In his free time, he coaches youth baseball and softball teams, and loves to travel with his wife and two children.

Janina has dedicated her career to helping organizations identify and execute their purpose and vision. She advises Silicon Foundry’s financial services clients and leads the firm’s culture and mentorship initiatives. Prior to joining Foundry, Janina led Product & Marketing at Grasshopper Bank, a digital bank serving start-ups and VCs. Janina previously worked as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Pivotus Ventures, a venture studio set up by Umpqua Bank, to build out an award winning digital-human banking solution which was successfully acquired by Temenos in 2018. Over her career, Janina has worked in product and marketing roles across a range of large financial services organizations and emerging start-ups in London, San Francisco, and New York. Janina earned her BA in Business & Mass Communications at London Metropolitan University and her MSc in International Management at King’s College London. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her husband and their beloved fluffball of a cat, Summer.

As a Partner at Silicon Foundry, Camille Manso is passionate about advising leading corporations on emerging technologies and trends that are disrupting industries, including financial services, supply chain and logistics, mobility, and consumer products. Previously, Camille practiced corporate law at a top global law firm, representing PE and VC firms as well as corporates and startups in various M&A, VC financing, and corporate governance matters. She holds a BA from the University of Miami and a JD from New York University School of Law. Camille lives in Austin with her husband and enjoys taking improv classes to “yes and” her way to collaboratively finding creative solutions.

Mark brings significant experience in venture capital, investment banking and operations to Silicon Foundry. He has spent over 30 years building, advising, and investing in great technology, media, and ecommerce companies. Most recently, Mark was a General Partner and led US growth equity investment at Partech Partners, a leading transatlantic technology investment firm. Earlier in his career, he was a co-founder and General Partner at Rustic Canyon Partners and a Venture Partner at Maveron, both early-stage focused VC funds. Mark was the founding COO and CFO of ShopRunner, a subscription service for online shoppers that provides benefits like free two-day shipping and instant checkout at many of the best online retailers. He also served as SVP of Business Development for Wanderful Media, leading its efforts to grow and serve the audiences of 12 major media companies with local discovery shopping solutions across the web, social, and mobile. Mark began his career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he served most recently as Principal and Co-Head of the Technology Mergers and Acquisitions Group in Menlo Park, CA. In that role, he advised on more than 50 completed transactions valued in excess of $150 billion. Mark holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and both a BS and MBA from Wharton. Outside of work, he is very active in the San Francisco Bay Area community. He has served on the board Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties since 2003 and is Regional Commissioner of Hillsborough AYSO.

Michele specializes in large scale innovation programs for public agencies and private sector organizations, working at the intersection of emerging technologies, public-private partnerships, and new market formation. His domain expertise covers the financial sector, space commerce and governance, energy services, health systems and public procurement.

Michele’s career spans between research and practice with over 20 years of international professional experience, primarily in Europe and the UK. Previously, he spent a decade at Ernst & Young working with clients such as the European Commission, World Bank, national and regional agencies to design and implement large scale economic development and innovation initiatives. He is also Associate Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford, teaching and engaging with world class executives and faculty, maintaining foresight on how markets, technologies and business models are evolving.

Michele co-founded the Oxford Space Commerce and Governance Initiative with other faculty members, where he leads research on the political economy of space, and co-leads a learning initiative for the European Space Agency. He has co-authored several articles and working papers on the use of technology for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, innovation ecosystems, and on teaching case studies.

When not working or teaching, you will find him with family at the beach.

Chad has over twenty years of entrepreneurial, venture capital, private equity, and strategic advisory experience. At Silicon Foundry, he uses his wide-ranging experience and network to surface relevant opportunities for our Member organizations. He also has had great success helping thriving startups form trajectory-changing partnerships with large corporations. Previously, Chad co-created and launched Capital Factory’s corporate innovation consulting practice, served as CEO of cloud accounting firm CollBox, worked in investment banking and private equity, and founded two residential services firms, where he served as president until their acquisitions. Chad holds a BA from Washington and Lee University. Outside of work, he enjoys eating Japanese food, creating chaos in pickup basketball games, and last second trips to beach and mountain locations with his wife and their two boys, Forrest and Banks.

Erik has spent his career turning groundbreaking clean technology research into commercial products that make our world cleaner and more efficient. At Silicon Foundry, he advises organizations on their cleantech adoption, commercialization, and investment strategies. Before that, he worked at Ionic Materials, where he negotiated partnerships to bring the company’s novel solid polymer technology to market in battery applications. He also led Qualcomm’s Halo program, which brought wireless charging technology to the electric vehicle market.  Earlier in his career he gained experience in venture investing at HarbourVest Partners and investment banking at Robertson Stephens. Erik holds a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton. When he’s not working, you’ll find Erik spending time with his family in San Diego and working on his electronic music production hobby.

Julie is a seasoned, entrepreneurial executive who thrives on the pace and purpose of accelerating growth for industries of consequence. From start-ups to public companies, Julie brings over 25 years of experience to her advisory work at Silicon Foundry, focused on the targeted solutions and partnerships that enable revenue diversification and acceleration. 
Prior to Silicon Foundry, Julie spent most of her career in media and technology, leading or advising on global market and media strategies for companies like EY, Disney, ESPN, NBCU, WarnerMedia, CBSi, HP, and Dell. She’s worked for ad agencies, raised capital for successful startups, and even advised on a presidential campaign. Julie holds a BA in Journalism and Business from Indiana University and an M.A., Marketing and Business from the University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not working, you’ll find Julie traveling, skiing, rowing, reading, hiking with the dog, or cheering at an embarrassing volume for her two sporting boys in stands around the Bay Area.

Zaki serves as a Venture Partner at Silicon Foundry, where he leverages over 20 years of global experience in technology entrepreneurship, innovation, product management, business development, venture investing and strategic advisory. Zaki has led tech innovation, partnerships and digital transformation for global iconic brands. As the Managing Director of McDonald’s SF Digital Hub, he opened and scaled up the company’s first Digital lab in Silicon Valley, focused on inventing the restaurant of the future, and established key innovation partnerships with Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Uber.

As global head of Digital innovation and GM of Volvo Cars Silicon Valley R&D Center he managed over 200 people across California, Sweden and Shanghai that were inventing within the industry megatrends of autonomy, connected vehicles, electrification, and shared mobility.

Zaki was also the Founding CEO and Board Member of the Volvo Car Tech Fund, where he built Volvo’s corporate VC arm from the ground up. During his tenure he led mobility-focused investments in Luminar, Freewire Technologies, Zum, Forciot, Varjo, UVEye and MDGo.

As SVP of Business Development and Innovation at MGM Resorts Zaki’s team explored the future of entertainment, sports and gaming and developed the first internal tech R&D model to co-create with start-ups defining the future of the experience economy and integrated resorts. He represented MGM as a Board member to Tempus Ex Machina (Infinite Athlete) and Sevenrooms.

Earlier in his career, Zaki led product management at PayPal/eBay Inc. and American Express. He is an entrepreneur at heart, co-founding his first start-up out of university, and continues to engage with the start-up community as an angel investor and advisor to Techstars and Plug and Play. Zaki has spoken at major global conferences such as Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Shanghai, SXSW in Austin, Collision in Toronto, and Cannes Lions in Cannes. He studied at MIT Sloan, Babson College and Georgetown University and developed and taught a graduate level course at UNLV’s Lee School of Business on Intro to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.

Miguel is a senior AI executive who holds a PhD in AI from MIT. Most recently he was the Vice President of AI & Data Science at Albertsons, one of the largest grocery retailers in the US, where he led strategy and value creation with Data & AI, and co-led the Generative AI program.

Miguel has been working with CEOs and C-Level executives to identify AI & Data Value creation opportunities for a decade. A seasoned tech executive and startup advisor with experience across North and South America, Miguel also works with VC funds and founders at the AI Fund (Andrew Ng’s VC Fund and Venture Studio) and Milemark Capital (MIT Professor Sinan Aral VC Fund) to help them create value through AI strategy and models. Miguel is also an angel investor and startup board member.

Before returning to the US, Miguel worked with a Peruvian billionaire family and economic group setting up the AI capabilities for their portfolio companies, such as banking, insurance, mining, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, etc.

Miguel holds a PhD in applied artificial intelligence and data science as well as masters’ degrees in engineering and economic development, all from MIT. Miguel is an alumni of Harvard Business School where he completed the General Manager Program (GMP) degree. He earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Lima and has completed several post graduate programs at Stanford, IMD, Columbia, and MIT.

John advises Silicon Foundry’s Members on navigating opportunities in financial innovation. Previously, he led strategy and operations at First Circle, a Series A-funded fintech start-up in Southeast Asia. He brings a background in investment management, global strategy consulting, and international development from his work at AllianceBernstein, Albright Stonebridge Group, and USAID. He is FINRA Series 7 & 63 licensed and is currently a Fellow at On Deck. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Global Business from the University of Southern California, where he was a first-generation college graduate and Questbridge Scholar. He enjoys traveling (30 countries explored so far) and Japanese cuisine (both cooking and eating).
Eli has spent his early career working in startups, venture capital, climate change, social impact, tech, and innovation. He advises Silicon Foundry’s Members on emerging technologies and trends that are disrupting industries, including mobility, financial services, and consumer products. Previously, he worked as a Social Impact Incubator Intern at Halcyon Incubator in Washington, D.C. and as a Sustainability Intern at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I in London. After completing his Bachelors, he participated in the International Graduate Program at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. He holds BSc degrees in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Bocconi University. Eli lives in New York and enjoys traveling, reading, yoga, and cooking.
Melvin advises Silicon Foundry’s Members on navigating and executing their cleantech initiatives and investment strategies. Previously, he worked as an associate at PwC in their M&A consulting practice, providing insights to private equity and corporate clients on M&A transactions, divestitures, and restructurings. He holds a Bachelors from UC Santa Barbara, a Masters from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and is a California-licensed CPA. Melvin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys spending his time connecting with the outdoors.
Prior to joining Silicon Foundry, Dustin was a senior research analyst at The Brattle Group in their securities practice, where he conducted quantitative analysis and qualitative research to support expert witness testimony and consulting engagements in a variety of industries, including financial services and alternative fuels. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Williams College and studied abroad at the London School of Economics, completing coursework in economics and mathematics. He is a Bay Area native and lives in San Francisco, where he enjoys watching films and rooting for the Golden State Warriors.

Lucas works with Silicon Foundry’s Members to explore cutting-edge innovations in a variety of fields. Prior to joining the team, Lucas developed significant entrepreneurial experience in multiple domains. He founded a cryptocurrency & blockchain education startup in 2017 and later ran a company in the design-build geotechnical engineering and construction space. Having also worked as an Associate at a hybrid PE/VC fund, Lucas is able to view every situation through the lens of both an investor and a founder. He holds a BA in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations from Brown University. In his free time, Lucas enjoys cooking, playing guitar, and exploring California’s natural beauty.

Emily Laufer works across industries with Silicon Foundry Members, planning and executing events with both a creative and an operational approach. She has a background in event and marketing strategy and program management within the sports industry. Previously, Emily worked with a global agency planning hospitality programs for the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup, in addition to facilitating executive meetings and summits. She also worked for the San Francisco Giants baseball organization managing membership services, marketing, and event logistics for a private Club. Emily earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and enjoys spending time in the outdoors, cooking, entertaining family and friends, and skiing.

Andrea serves as Chief of Staff and works in supporting the CEO on special projects, business development, market research and analysis, network building and more. Prior to joining SiF, Andrea was a venture fellow at Learn Capital and spent time working with startups. She was previously a professional golfer and spent six years competing on the European Tour and LPGA Epson Tour. She holds a BA from The University of California at Davis. She lives in San Francisco where she was born and raised. When Andrea is not in the office or at the golf course you can find her baking, on outdoor adventures, traveling or teaching her dog MoMo new tricks.

Dan oversees the office at Silicon Foundry to create a welcoming and productive environment, and also provides executive support to the CEO. His background is in tech, recruitment and financial services; he spent a number of years working for major UK financial institutions. More recently, Dan’s last role was as the Office Manager for Johnson & Johnson Health Tech. When he’s not supporting the team, Dan loves to explore the San Francisco Bay Area on one of his many bikes. His other passions are Formula 1 and music.

Steve is a systems-level thinker with a unique talent for spotting the industry fault lines and associated business opportunities that arise when new technologies, consumer expectations, and regulatory changes create entirely new ways of doing business. He advises Silicon Foundry’s clients on how to navigate near-term disruptions, embrace emerging technologies, and build more resilient institutions.

Over the course of his career, Steve has built and invested in FinTech innovations, launched startups in collaboration with large corporations, and served as Founding Director of the Design and Innovation Lab at Trinity College Dublin, a government funded research center developing leading-edge AI & ML technologies. He has advised senior executives on the development of emerging technologies, ecosystem strategies, and new venture creation at a range of international corporations and government agencies around the world.

In addition to his advisory work, Steve serves as a Venture Partner at MFV Partners, a DeepTech focused venture capital fund based in Palo Alto. He also teaches graduate courses on strategy and innovation at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, where he holds an honorary appointment as Distinguished Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Steve holds an MBA from the University of Oxford with a specialization in Technology & Innovation Strategy. Steve regularly discusses emerging technologies at organizations such as the United Nations, the British House of Lords, the NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting, Stanford University, Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University. When he’s not working, you’ll find Steve traveling, spending time with his wife and three boys, and staying up late creating art.