Flying Fish Partners this week announced four new venture partners as the Seattle-based venture capital firm continues to raise its first $80 million fund for Pacific Northwest startups.
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The new partners — Adriane Brown, Steven Lawler, Vanessa Pegueros, and Bonnie Foley-Wong — bring decades of enterprise and technical expertise to Flying Fish, which focuses on startups building artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.
“We founded Flying Fish because we believe in the massive, untapped potential of the Pacific Northwest as a center of innovation, and the importance of a unique, diverse bench of talented people at the helm with world-class backgrounds and expertise,” Flying Fish Managing Director Heather Redman said in a statement. “Adriane, Bonnie, Stephen and Vanessa embody those qualities themselves. They are powerful additions to our brain-trust and network and will exponentially advance our mission to identify and fuel the growth of game-changing companies from the region that will have global impact.”
Flying Fish launched last year and already has nine companies in its portfolio, ranging from Element Data to Ad Lightning. It makes investments ranging from $500,000 to $5 million, with a focus on the region’s artificial intelligence and machine learning clout. The firm plans to invest in 20-to-25 companies with the first fund.
Redman co-founded Flying Fish with Geoff Harris, a Microsoft vet with a background in natural language processing, machine learning, and digital commerce, and Frank Chang, who brings expertise in machine learning from his experience at companies such as Amazon, Audible, Microsoft and Reef Technologies.
Here are brief bios on the four new venture partners, via Flying Fish:
- Adriane Brown joins Flying Fish Partners as a venture partner from Intellectual Ventures, where she was President and Chief Operating Officer. She is a board director at Raytheon, eBay, Allergen and the Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital. Prior to that, Ms. Brown was President and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems. Brown has been awarded numerous distinctions for her work in the advancement of STEM and diversity by institutions ranging from the University of Washington Women’s Center, The National Diversity Council, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Puget Sound Business Journal and Black Enterprise Magazine.
- Stephen Lawler, a tech entrepreneur, engineer and angel investor who has held several leading roles at Microsoft and Amazon is joining Flying Fish as venture partner. He is co-owner of Vexcel Imaging GmbH, the market leader in large-format digital cameras, automated 3D, imagery machine vision and software workflow for remote sensing that was spun out of and acquired from Microsoft. He is also managing partner at Seattle-based Ramp Equity Group and Ramp Catalyst Group. Prior to that, Stephen held roles as Chief Technology Officer of Bing Maps, Vice President at Amazon and Senior Vice President of Cyanogen, leading teams from startup size to 1,000-plus team member multi-billion dollar businesses around the world. Earlier roles included General Manager of Bing Mobile Search, MSN, Bing Maps, Virtual Earth and Mobile Internet Division. He started his career at MapInfo, leading software development before and after their initial public offering.
- Vanessa Pegueros is a cybersecurity expert and brings decades of expertise in Internet security, mobile and telecommunications to Flying Fish as a venture partner. She is currently Chief Information Security Officer and VP at Docusign, and previously held similar roles at US Bancorp, Expedia and JP Morgan Chase/Washington Mutual. Prior to that, she held leading management and engineering roles at AT&T, Nextel, Sprint and Pacific Bell. She is also lecturer in the Masters program at the University of Washington.
- Bonnie Foley-Wong is an accomplished financier and investor with 20 years experience of mobilizing capital for entrepreneurial businesses. She comes to Flying Fish having raised $1 billion dollars in alternative investments in Europe and North America. She is Chief Investment Innovator at Vancouver-based Pique Ventures and a founding board member of the Pique Fund. Prior to that, she was Chief Financial Officer for Crown Northcorp and remains active as leader in impact investing and mentor to women and underrepresented minorities in business.