Next Coast Ventures taps Floreani as principal

Next Coast Ventures has named Zaz Floreani as a principal. Previously, she worked at Dropoff where she served as vice president of corporate development.


AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs on the ‘Next Coast’ of innovation, today announced that it is adding Zaz Floreani to the team as a principal.

Floreani has spent nearly a decade as a leader of business and corporate development at Austin technology companies and at Austin Ventures. She has dedicated her career to helping startups build growth-generating relationships with enterprises as well as creating M&A playbooks for fast-growing technology companies.

“I’ve worked with Zaz both on the investment side and as an operator at one of our portfolio companies, and I can’t think of a more natural fit for our rapidly-growing investment team,” said Thomas Ball, co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures. “She has spent her entire career working closely with entrepreneurs in Next Coast markets and has been instrumental in their scaling efforts, Zaz’s drive and expertise will make her an invaluable addition to our team and resource to our portfolio.”

Floreani previously served as vice president of corporate development at Austin-based Dropoff, where she was responsible for creating and overseeing strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies and ran their M&A practice, managing the acquisition pipeline through the entire investment lifecycle and generating millions in revenue for the company. Prior to Dropoff, Floreani helped build the business development practice at Spredfast (formerly Mass Relevance), coordinating their M&A efforts and launching and managing social network partnerships.

She was previously the director of business development at Austin Ventures, identifying and evaluating hundreds of early-stage investment opportunities in the greater Southwest region. Floreani earned an MBA from the McCombs School of Business, an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas in Austin, and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I was fortunate enough to see Tom and Michael build this fund and investor base from the beginning, and I knew right away that they were creating a firm dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in Austin and rising innovation hubs and that was going to have a substantial impact on these entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said Floreani. “I have been invested in NCV’s mission since the beginning and am thrilled to now be part of the team helping to source and support the best entrepreneurs in these markets.”

Floreani will be an integral member of the deal team, helping execute the firm’s strategy in its early stage investments with a focus on sourcing entrepreneurs and identifying investment prospects in markets outside the coasts. She will also support NCV’s portfolio companies by providing advice and introductions around potential hires, investors, customers and strategic partnerships.

“There are few people in our entrepreneurial ecosystem that understand NCV’s investment ethos and the potential of entrepreneurs on the Next Coast as well as Zaz,” said Michael Smerklo, co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures. “Her passion for identifying talent and growth opportunities in these markets make her a seamless fit for our deal team and a highly accretive addition to the resources we offer our portfolio leadership.”

About Next Coast Ventures
Next Coast Ventures is an Austin-based venture capital firm that partners with bold entrepreneurs building innovative companies in big markets. It provides early-stage capital to high-growth startups in ‘Next Coast’ markets, using macro trends and themes to guide their investment strategy. NCV provides hands-on, company building resources to its growing portfolio through its strong industry network, Entrepreneurs Council program and the founders’ own experiences as entrepreneurs. Learn more at