Grant Jordan



Grant is the CEO of SkySafe, a leading drone defense firm. His team builds cutting-edge systems that protect critical airspace—stadiums, prisons, critical infrastructure, military personnel and facilities—from drones. An MIT grad, Grant served as an officer in the US Air Force where he designed and built hardware systems for counter-IED missions and small UAVs at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), specializing in rapid product development for Special Forces units. As a UC San Diego graduate student, he conducted research on analyzing online illicit pharmaceutical sales by Russian criminal groups and anonymity on the Bitcoin network. As a respected expert in both hardware and software, Grant has spoken at security conferences including DEFCON and RSA Security. 

todd poling

Todd Poling


 Vantage Point Advisors & Savitch LLP

Todd Poling is the Founder and President of Vantage Point Advisors, Inc. Mr. Poling is actively involved in valuation engagements of all types and also leads the firm’s strategic planning and business development efforts.

Prior to founding Vantage Point, Mr. Poling was Managing Director of CBIZ Valuation Group, Inc., spending several years with the firm in the Dallas, San Diego, and Los Angeles offices. While at CBIZ, Mr. Poling managed large and complex valuation consulting engagements focusing heavily in the transaction arena. He participated in numerous engagements involving corporate re-structuring, initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, ESOPs and fairness opinions. In addition, he provided valuation consulting in litigation support situations and served as an expert witness in both deposition and trial settings.

Before joining CBIZ, Mr. Poling was the first employee and General Manager of the Antique Drapery Rod Company, Inc. a start-up manufacturer of drapery hardware and other fabricated furniture products based in Dallas, Texas where he was responsible for the company’s operational and financial activities. Today ADR, Inc. is an internationally recognized brand within its industry with over 150 employees, many of whom joined the company in its early years. Mr. Poling began his career with Arthur Andersen & Co. where he worked in the firm’s audit and business consulting practices.


Kris George

Tax Partner


sdvg san diego venture group board member ryan buell

Ryan Buell

Founder and CEO

 Sayva Solutions

Ryan started his career in public accounting with Ernst & Young, eventually becoming part of the national advisory services practice. His areas of specialization were merger compliance, revenue assurance, FCC and SEC compliance, operational audits, and process improvement. In 2014, Ryan founded Sayva Solutions, Inc. Sayva is an accounting, finance, and technology professional services firm that provides fractional CFO and outsourced accounting, specialized project consulting, and full-time recruiting services.


Mark Wicker


 Perkins Coie

Mark Wicker, a partner in the Technology Transactions & Privacy practice, advises clients in all aspects of acquiring, developing, commercializing and licensing new technologies and products. He has significant experience structuring strategic alliances, collaborations, joint ventures, licenses, and research, development, manufacturing and distribution relationships, often using novel approaches and pioneering methods that further his clients’ business objectives. His clients range from startups to well-established firms in the life sciences, technology, wireless, social media, clean technology, chemical and material sciences industries.

During his many years of practice, Mark has built a reputation for developing sophisticated business models and formulating business-centric legal solutions to the complex challenges biotechnology and life sciences companies face as they bring novel therapeutics and diagnostics to market. He also works in tandem with colleagues in the area of intellectual property and patent litigation to develop adversarial licensing programs and to negotiate settlement and key licensing agreements. Additionally, Mark has significant corporate experience in such areas as venture capital financing, public securities offerings, and mergers and acquisitions.

Mark regularly speaks and offers commentary on life sciences and technology issues, including startup capital raising and formation and licensing transactions.

sdvg san diego venture group board member gary benitt

Gary Benitt

Managing Director

 Social Leverage

Gary is a General Partner with Social Leverage, a seed stage venture capital firm. Gary is a seasoned serial entrepreneur, having been a part of four founding teams in both consumer and B2B companies over the past 20 years. Most recently, Gary spent 3 years as COO of after his company, Assistly, was acquired in 2011 by

Previously, Gary was with AOL after his company, Goowy Media, was acquired in early 2008. Gary has managed various technology and go-to-market teams including business operations, customer service, client implementation and success, engineering, and quality assurance. He brings broad knowledge across all facets of growing a business from startup into a mature organization.

Gary has been an active investor in early stage companies since 2011, with over 25 investments including Civic, Classy, Getaround, Gusto, Kustomer, and Stitch Labs.


Drew Spaventa

Managing Partner

Axon Ventures

sdvg san diego venture group board member wendy rogers

Wendy Rogers




Jay Lichter

Managing Director

Avalon Ventures

Jay Lichter is an entrepreneur and seasoned investor in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical arena with over 25 years of expertise in management, scientific research, and business development. He currently serves as president and CEO of COI Pharmaceuticals.

As managing director of Avalon Ventures, Dr. Lichter led investments in Carolus, Otonomy, Sova and Zacharon Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Lichter has served as CEO of many these companies, which has included leading both their business and scientific operations during the companies’ formative periods. He is on the board of directors for most of these companies and also served as Chairman of the Board of RQx, another Avalon company. He led the first life science investments for the Avalon IX portfolio, Sova Pharmaceuticals, and serves as its CEO and board member. He also led the investment in Aratana Therapeutics, where he serves as chairman of the board. Dr. Lichter took over the leadership of Avelas in order to turn that company around after a change in management and serves as a director on the board. Dr. Lichter is the inventor on over 260 patent and patent applications for six Avalon portfolio companies, including 78 issued patents. Dr. Lichter has been involved in licensing or merger and acquisition deals valued in excess of $1 billion.

In addition to his Avalon activities, Dr. Lichter serves as a director on the board of the John Wayne Cancer Institute and a trustee and Chairman to Pacific Ridge School located in Carlsbad.

Dr. Lichter held postdoctoral positions in Human Genetics at Yale University and pharmacogenetics at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Dr. Lichter obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.S. from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

sdvg san diego venture group board member kim kamdar

Kim Kamdar


Domain Associates

Dr. Kamdar is a Partner at Domain Associates, a life sciences venture capital firm, which she joined in 2005.

Kim is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Obalon (NASDAQ: OBLN). She also serves on the board of directors of several private companies including Epic Sciences, Omniome, ROX Medical, Sera Prognostics and Singular Genomics. Kim is also a founder and CEO of Truvian Sciences, a consumer focused health and wellness company. Past investments include Ariosa (acquired by Roche), Corthera (acquired by Novartis), BiPar Sciences (acquired by sanofi-aventis) and Achaogen (Nasdaq: AKAO).

Formerly Kim was a Kauffman Fellow with MPM Capital. Prior to joining MPM, she was a research director at Novartis, where she built and led a research team that focused on the biology, genetics and genomics of model organisms. Kim is the author of ten papers as well as the inventor on seven patents. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and genetics from Emory University. Kim serves as an advisory board member of Dr. Eric Topol’s NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science Award for Scripps Medicine and is also on the non-profit board for Access Youth Academy, an organization that is transforming the lives of underserved youth through academic enrichment, health and wellness, social responsibility and leadership through squash.


Beck Bamberger

Founder & Entrepreneur in Experience

 BAM Communications

I’m obsessed with experience. You can buy stuff, you can collect things, but experiences, great and hard, are gained with a life lived well. So far, I’ve collected a neat array of experiences, too, and I can’t wait for more.

BAM Communications rescues the world’s companies from anonymity everyday, and I’m honored to have the BAMily team run an otherwise demanding client services business that represents emerging technology companies around the world. In 2011, I started Bite San Diego, which became San Diego’s top rated and largest food tour company in the county and sold it in late 2016.


Killu Sanborn

Director of Business Development

 Oxford Finance Corporation

Life sciences specialty finance professional, venture capital investor, business development and operations executive, scientist, banker and consultant.

Expertise: Life science venture debt and equity financings, life science startup formation, strategy, business development and M&A, startup operations, and financing. Venture fund investment strategy, deal analysis, investment exit strategy identification and execution. Board roles for private companies.

Specialties:Startup formation, exit strategy identification and exit execution, and company financing, with direct experience in venture capital investing (VC equity and venture debt). Life Science business development, M&A and technology commercialization. Board representation. Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.


Mike Grey

President & CEO

 Pappas Ventures

Experienced biotech CEO and board member. Current board member at BioMarin and lead independent director at Horizon Pharma


Gerardo Godinez

Senior Manager

 San Diego Moss Adams

Nationwide, Moss Adams and its affiliates provide insight and expertise integral to the success of organizations across the globe.A leader in assurance, tax, consulting, risk management, transaction, and wealth services, Moss Adams has a staff of over 1,700 that includes more than 220 partners. We focus on serving public, private, and not-for-profit enterprises across the nation through specialized industry and service teams.


Andy Summers

Director, Corporate Development


Corporate Development, Illumina
February 2011 – Present (5 years 6 months)Greater San Diego Area

Senior Associate, Enterprise Partners Venture Capital
May 2006 – August 2010 (4 years 4 months)


Lori Steele

Founder & CEO

 Everyone Counts

Lori Steele Contorer is the world’s top expert in election modernization, pioneering the adoption of software as a service and bringing proven state of the art technologies, already proven in other mission–critical industries, to make elections more accessible, affordable, transparent and secure. The transformation has begun, and her visionary leadership in business, innovation and elections led to Ms. Steele Contorer being named in 2013 to Fortune Magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs List, a winner of San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award and her induction into the Bowling Green State University Dallas Hamilton Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame. Since founding Everyone Counts she has led successful election administration and voting projects in countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Australia, serving voters located in over 165 countries, as well as for the transition from vote by mail to secure online voting for the iconic Oscar and Emmy awards. Ms. Steele Contorer previously served as Vice President, Investments at Citigroup, specializing in searching out the most game-changing emerging and state-of-the-art technologies globally, and the companies that would lead industry transformation of those innovative technologies best. Steele Contorer’s election modernization expertise and insights is frequently called on by legislators from around the world, and the media, including Time, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Politico and The New York Times.


Derrick Oien



Seasoned technology executive in the wireless, online media and traditional media space.

Most of my focus is on user generated content and how this form of content creation and distribution is the most important trend in media in the coming years.

Specialties:User Generated Content, Content Licensing, Intellectual Property Rights, Wireless, Digital Media, Communities, Social Software


Allison Long Pettine

Founder & President

 Crescent Ridge Partners

Allison Long Pettine is an investor and entrepreneur who is passionate about finding and empowering visionaries uniquely destined to change the world. She recently founded Ad Astra Ventures, a fund dedicated to empowering founders of high growth startups with at least one female co-founder. She is President of Crescent Ridge Partners, Founding Partner at SEED San Diego, and co-founder of Lymber, which was sold to MindBody in 2017.

Allison began her career at Viscogliosi Brothers, a New-York based venture capital company focused on cutting-edge orthopedic medical device technologies. She was an early employee and Director of Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Paradigm Spine, a startup that developed non-fusion spinal implants to treat degenerative and deformity spinal disorders. Allison is a mentor at Tech Stars, sits on the advisory board of UCSD’s The Basement incubator, sits on the board of the San Diego Venture Group and is a committee member at San Diego’s Evo Nexus incubator.


Craig Lee

CEO & Biz Dev Manager


Seasoned executive with track record of delivering innovative products and solutions into technically demanding markets. Strong communications and leadership skills for developing adaptable, high performance teams. Proven ability to initiate sales, drive product marketing, and develop channels. Clear understanding of board and investor motivations and needs. Core business approach: use data-driven decision-making to execute disruptive, first-mover attack against incumbents and into new markets.


Cheston Larson


 Latham & Watkins

Cheston Larson serves as Chair of Latham’s San Diego Corporate Department and Emerging Companies Practice, and is Co-chair of the firm’s Life Sciences Industry Group. Cheston’s practice covers a broad range of general corporate matters, including counseling public and privately-held companies as well as representing venture capital and investment banking firms in private and public financing transactions.

Cheston advises clients on the formation of new businesses and their capital raising transactions, spanning the spectrum from angel and venture financings to IPOs, follow-on offerings, PIPEs and debt financing. He also regularly represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate partnering transactions, licenses and strategic alliances. Cheston’s expertise also includes SEC disclosure and reporting requirements, Nasdaq and NYSE compliance and management compensation and equity incentive matters.

Cheston routinely counsels clients in the life sciences, software, telecommunications, cleantech and other technology industries.


Kristi Jaska

Vice President


VP, ViaSat Inc.
July 1987 – Present (29 years 1 month), Carlsbad, CA

Member of Technical Staff, Linkabit Inc
August 1985 – July 1987 (2 years), San Diego, CA


Ken Hood

Managing Partner

 FusionX Ventures

During the last 10 years I have managed businesses involving the fusion of hardware devices, software, and cloud subscription services.

I have led 3 startups to an exit, and stayed on to lead and integrate 2 of these businesses into publicly traded acquiring companies. My P&L ownership roles have ranged from early stage to $100M+ in revenue.

My passion is investing in great teams to deliver products and services which create new markets or disrupt existing ones. I enjoy customer engagement, mentoring, continuous learning, and driving strategic value. I am fortunate that I get to do these things daily supporting portfolio companies at FusionX Ventures.


Kristina Hess


 Lockton Insurance Brokers

Risk Advisor & Insurance Broker, Lockton Companies


Scott Foote

SVP & Co-Founder

 Square 1 Bank

Scott oversees Square 1’s banking practice in the Pacific Southwest. Scott was a cofounder of Square 1, and has nearly 20 years of financial services experience, with over 15 in the life sciences and technology venture banking industries. Scott previously served as vice president for Comerica Bank and Imperial Bank, where he concentrated on providing venture financing for early-stage life science and technology companies. Scott is an active member of several venture capital and life sciences industry associations, including the San Diego Venture Group and serves on the board of BIOCOM.


Emad Fareed



CPA focusing mostly on life science companies ranging from start-up to public companies. Co-lead KPMG San Diego’s life science practice and venture capital practice. I service companies ranging from emerging growth IPO companies to mature public companies.


Stacey Davenport

Founder & CEO

 Davenport Executive Search

Dr. Stacey L. Davenport is the Founder and CEO of Davenport Executive Search as well as co-founder of DavenportMajor Executive Search. Her hands-on operational leadership in Life Sciences and Healthcare has been sought after by clients worldwide. Ms. Davenport brings a depth of clinical experience combined with a strong track record of executive search expertise which has made her a well respected public figure in the industry with numerous interviews in the Wall Street Journal, an interview on the NBC Evening News with Tom Brokaw and recent highlights in Forbes and Business Week, among many others.

She specializes exclusively in Life Sciences/Healthcare serving Fortune 500 global organizations as well as private equity and venture backed, emerging growth companies. Previously, she served as the Life Sciences and Board of Directors Practice Leader for AT Kearney Executive Search, the fifth largest retained, global executive search firm. Prior to her search career, she spent 10 yrs in interventional cardiology clinical practice in Dallas, Texas with the last 3 years leading the practice as Executive Director.


Neal Bloom



Top 5 Things to Know About Neal Bloom

1. I have launched 84 astronauts into space while working on the Space Shuttle program.
2. I am an ENTJ and high Influencer on the DISC survey.
3. I have run over 62 miles at once while climbing 12,000 feet on trails.
4. I am energized by helping others discover their calling.
5. I have always lived less than 20 miles from a beach.


Jeffrey Belk

Managing Director

 ICT168 Capital, LLC

Jeffrey Belk is Managing Director of ICT168 Capital, LLC, focused on developing and guiding global growth opportunities in the Information and Communication Technology space. Formerly, Belk spent almost 14 years at Qualcomm Incorporated (from when the company was $200M in revenue to $7B+), where prior to his departure in early 2008, he was Qualcomm’s senior vice president of strategy and market development, focused on examining changes in the wireless ecosystem and formulating approaches to help accelerate the adoption of mobile devices, applications, and services.


Stuart Starr


 Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.

I am a Shareholder of Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. I have been with the Firm since 1999 and have been in public accounting since 1992.

My technical expertise is in providing audit and consulting services to technology and life science companies, both publicly traded and privately held, including many backed by venture capital. I have served as the audit partner on initial public offerings, as well as on innumerable other registration statement filings and 34 act filings. I am also our office’s Attest Practice Leader.

I assist my clients with revenue recognition, purchase accounting, accounting for stock-based compensation, equity and debt instruments, derivatives accounting, and general business consulting enabling clients to make informed decisions on financial reporting matters.


Sureel Sheth

Vice President

 JMI Equity

Software and health care technology investor at JMI Equity, a growth-focused private equity firm with more than $3B of committed capital.

Sureel has been part of the JMI team since 2010 and focuses on the healthcare IT sector. He is responsible for sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities as well as providing strategic and operational support to portfolio companies. Prior to joining JMI, Sureel was a business analyst at McKinsey & Company. He also worked in sales operations and business development for DoubleDutch, a mobile software company focused on the events space.