New Enterprise Associates Inc has promoted Rick Yang to general partner and head of consumer technology investing. Also, NEA has upped Danielle Lay, Luke Pappas and Jai Sajnani to principal.
Menlo Park, CA — Nov. 7, 2019 — New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) today announced several key promotions on the firm’s technology investing team: Rick Yang has been named General Partner and Head of Consumer Technology Investing and Danielle Lay, Luke Pappas and Jai Sajnani have been promoted to Principal. Yang, who joined NEA in 2007 and was promoted to Partner in 2015, has played an integral role in building the firm’s consumer practice in recent years. He invests across the consumer landscape with particular focus on financial technology, esports/gaming and digital media.
“We have always been proud that the vast majority of our General Partners are promoted from within the firm, and I’m especially proud to recognize Rick’s outstanding commitment, judgment and leadership with this promotion,” said Scott Sandell, Managing General Partner, NEA. “From the day he joined the firm as an associate, Rick has embodied the values at the heart of everything we do at NEA, and I’m excited to work alongside him to build great companies and guide the next generation of leaders within our partnership in the years to come.”
Yang serves on the board of directors of numerous NEA portfolio companies including Drop, Gen.G, Lyric, MasterClass, Plaid and PlayVS. He also works closely with Omio, Opendoor and Stride Health. Historically, Yang was involved with Braintree (acquired by PayPal), Gaikai (acquired by Sony), and Pure Energies (acquired by NRG). Prior to joining NEA, he worked at Credit Suisse, where he advised on and executed a number of strategic financing initiatives for leading public and private tech companies as part of the Technology Group. Rick earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
“Rick has played a growing role in the evolution and execution of NEA’s consumer strategy over the last few years, and I’m thrilled that he will lead our consumer investing practice as a member of our general partner group,” said Tony Florence, General Partner and Head of Technology Investing at NEA. “I’m also pleased to recognize the significant contributions Danielle, Luke and Jai have made to our investing practices to date. All four of these promotions signify the tremendous energy and excitement within our partnership for the opportunities we see on the horizon, both in the consumer sector and across technology more broadly, and I look forward to the continued growth and success of these talented investors.”
Danielle Lay is focused on consumer internet and tech-enabled marketplaces and services. She serves as a board observer of Block, Burrow, Desktop Metal, Moda Operandi and The Well and works closely with several other NEA companies including Divvy, Formlabs, Hello Alfred, Simple Habit and Woebot. Lay also contributes to NEA’s investing activities in Asia, having assisted in the firm’s investments in MyDental, STX, ZuoYeBang, and XSky amongst others. Prior to joining NEA in 2017, Lay was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs advising consumer and enterprise fintech companies and asset managers such as FIS, Fiserv, Nasdaq, Bridgewater and Trupanion. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, with minors in Business Institutions and Chinese.
Luke Pappas joined NEA in 2017 and is focused on consumer and enterprise investments. He serves as a board observer of Aquabyte, goop, PlayVS, Sitetracker, Stockwell and Travelbank and works closely with a number of other companies in NEA’s portfolio including Banjo, Cleo, Datrium, and Gen.G. Pappas has also been involved in the firm’s investments in Bloom Energy, Cloudflare, Snap, and Uber and helped orchestrate the firm’s spinout of NewView Capital. Previously, Pappas was a member of the technology investment banking team at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions across the software, semiconductor, consumer internet, and hardware sectors, with companies such as Airbnb, Nutanix, Nvidia, Pandora, and Snap. Pappas graduated from Stanford University with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Management Science & Engineering.
Jai Sajnani is focused on fintech (both B2B and B2C) and enterprise investments. He works with companies including Divvy, Transfix, Zero, Drop, MindTickle, Lyric, WaterBit, and Logikcull at the board level. He is also involved with the firm’s investments in Sisu, Robinhood and Plaid and was closely involved with several recently exited investments including NGINX and Scout RFP. Additionally, Sajnani helped orchestrate the spinout of NewView Capital in 2018. Prior to joining NEA in 2017, Sajnani was a consultant in the San Francisco office of McKinsey & Company and held a variety of engineering and product management positions at companies including Airware and Microsoft. He graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With more than $20 billion in cumulative committed capital since the firm’s founding in 1977, NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm’s long track record of successful investing includes more than 230 portfolio company IPOs and more than 390 mergers and acquisitions. www.nea.com.