Mark Suster, managing partner at Santa Monica-based Upfront Ventures Management Inc., is no stranger to high-profile deals.
A Silicon Beach veteran with an enviable venture capital track record, Suster has a history of shaping big deals for Upfront, which ranks as L.A.’s largest venture capital firm.
In October, Suster led his largest deal of the year, a $56 million investment in Santa Barbara-based call center analytics firm Invoca Inc. The company, which was founded in 2009, uses artificial intelligence to drive its call tracking and conversation analysis platform.
On a smaller scale, Suster and Upfront led a $6.5 million seed funding round for Santa Monica-based startup Aircam Inc., which aims to give anyone instant access to professional photos taken by photographers at events such as parties or weddings.
But Suster’s high-profile approach doesn’t just extend to dealmaking. He made quite an entrance at the annual Upfront Summit event in January, riding a Bird scooter on stage while Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” played over the sound system.
Both were less-than-subtle plugs for business affiliates, as Upfront is an investor in the Santa Monica-based electric scooter company Bird Rides Inc., while the rapper is Upfront’s “entrepreneur in residence.”
Suster, who joined Upfront in 2007 and became a managing partner in 2011, also occupies a place of note as a leader with a conscience. His stand against sexism in the tech world made headlines, and he has pushed companies backed by Upfront to adopt an “inclusion rule,” requiring them to interview members of underrepresented groups for executive openings.
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