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Cafe IW: Find Your Investor Fit
August 30 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Finding the right investor for your startup can be hard. At Cafe IW: Find Your Investor Fit, we want to give you the tools to narrow your search and use your time efficiently. Join us at AlphaLab Gear on Wednesday, August 30 from 4 – 6 pm for a panel discussion with Ven Raju, CEO of Innovation Works and the Riverfront Venture Fund, and Sree Gadde, Managing Partner. Their conversation will be moderation by Lori Dunn, COO of Optimus Technologies. Hear their insight on working with venture firms as a start-up and ask them questions on how to know if an investor is really right for you.
About the Panel:
Lori Dunn is the COO of Optimus Technologies which decarbonizes heavy-duty fleets. As a recognized leader in climatetech sales and growth, she has worked with established companies and franchises to manage and reduce electric costs with smart energy platforms and demand response. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and winner of a Factor8 award in Sales Leadership. She holds a BA from California State University – Fullerton and an M.A. in Sustainability & M.A. in Conflict from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Lori has a passion for developing and mentoring up-and-coming talent and hiking with her dog.
Sreekar Gadde, Managing Partner at BlueTree Venture Capital & Executive Director for BlueTree Allied Angels, leverages his background in engineering, law, and business to identify and analyze early-stage companies for potential investment opportunities. In addition, he assists management teams of early- and mid-stage companies in developing an IP strategy that complements the company’s business strategy. Sree’s work experience spans various fields including Artificial Intelligence (Edge Case Research, Aspinity, TalkMeUp, and Ariel Precision Medicine), medicine (Lindy BioSciences and CytoAgents), data analytics (BlastPoint), and consumer goods (Aeronics, Anglr, and Crafty Counter). Independent of industry, Sree works with companies to identify what differentiates them from their competition and determine what forms of IP provide them the best strategic value to protect that differentiation.
Prior to joining BlueTree, Sree worked as an IP litigator and an IP prosecutor at two top law firms, Ropes and Gray and Sterne Kessler, as well as Assistance Chief IP Counsel for Dynamics, Inc. In addition, he was a validation engineer and team lead for Intel’s microprocessor design business unit.
Ven Raju is the President & CEO, Innovation Works and the Managing Director, Riverfront Ventures. Mr. Raju has more than 20 years of experience in venture capital and private equity investing having led/co-led all facets of the investment process, including origination, due diligence, transaction structuring and portfolio management with strategic and operational oversight via board of directors and executive-level participation.
Previously, Mr. Raju served as managing director at Northwell Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Northwell Health (one of the largest health systems in the country). At Northwell Ventures, Mr. Raju led the investment team to deploy capital to early and growth stage companies in health tech, digital health and med tech verticals. Prior to that, Mr. Raju served as partner at Chestnut Street Ventures, a vertical agnostic growth equity fund. At Chestnut, Mr. Raju led the investment team to deploy growth equity capital in health tech, internet of things (IOT) computing devices, software as a service (SaaS), AI/machine learning, robotics and life sciences companies. Prior to that, Mr. Raju served as partner at Choate Capital, where he led middle market direct investments totaling more than $800 million in equity. Over the course of his career, Mr. Raju has helped to shepherd a number of companies to a strategic/public exit including Domo, Bloom Energy, Accolade, Freshly, Relayr and Unity Biotechnology. Mr. Raju began his career as a strategy consultant, advising Fortune 100 clients in mergers and acquisitions.