ABOUT AVANTA VENTURES
As the venture capital arm of CSAA Insurance Group, Avanta Ventures invests deep industry expertise, resources, and financial support to create products and services that offer extraordinary value to the AAA Members of today—and those of tomorrow. As an affiliate of CSAA Insurance Group, Avanta Ventures is aligned with one of the top personal lines property and casualty insurance underwriters in the United States, and part of the AAA ecosystem that serves over 61 million members.
Avanta Ventures is committed to transforming how AAA Members manage their risks, and providing new solutions to life’s uncertainties.
David is a Senior Principal at Avanta Ventures. He is passionate about working with founders leveraging technology and unique insights to drive meaningful change across large industries, from mobility to financial services.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, David was a venture investor at Longitude Capital, where he invested in and partnered with growth stage companies. David also spent time at Pivotal Software, where he was part of the product operations team for the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform. He started his career in investment banking at Lazard, where David advised companies from early stage startups to multinational corporations on M&A transactions.
David received his MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and holds a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. In his free time, he enjoys rooting for the “San Diego” Chargers, exploring the great outdoors, and following the latest HBO shows.
Esther is Head of Avanta Studios. In this role, Esther will work to accelerate the next generation of innovative startups within Insurtech, Mobility, and Insurance-Adjacent markets. She is passionate about working hands-on with early-stage founders while advocating for inclusivity in the startup ecosystem.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Esther co-founded the Corporate Innovation arm of Techstars, building and launching product offerings for global corporations. Esther recently launched and led the Venture Studio Department at Techstars as a spin-off of the Corporate Innovation Department, offering corporate venture building and IP commercialization for corporate partners. Esther has created curriculums for founders who are now part of the Techstars Accelerator Program globally. Esther also angel invests in early-stage startups and is an advisor on several boards. Before Techstars, Esther worked with foreign public sector organizations to design and lead an expansion accelerator program to help selected startups from foreign countries test, launch, and expand their companies and products in the US. At her core, Esther is an entrepreneur. She’s founded several companies, mainly in the FinTech and LegalTech spaces, two of which exited through acquisitions. Before her startup journey, Esther worked in financial and legal services focused on real estate investment.
Esther holds a Bachelor of Science from Columbia University and an Executive Education in Corporate Innovation and Strategic Ecosystem Development from MIT Sloan School of Management. Esther enjoys cooking, watching sunsets, and experiencing other cultures through traveling in her free time.
Moha Shah is the Head of Portfolio Development at Avanta Ventures. Moha is focused on building mutually beneficial partnerships between CSAA Insurance Group and both Avanta Ventures’ portfolio companies and Avanta Studios’ companies.
Moha is passionate about the future of insurance, mobility and building relationships with innovative startups to foster transformation.
Prior to Avanta Ventures, Moha was an innovation leader at Liberty Mutual Insurance. During her tenure across multiple innovation teams, she launched new digital products and services. More recently, she managed future of mobility innovation initiatives and partnerships with leading mobility companies at Liberty Mutual.
Before entering the financial services industry, Moha worked at Harvard Business School on strategic projects worldwide. She was a lead advisor helping to launch ScaleUp, TiE-Boston’s award-winning program for Seed to Series A startups. Over the past decade, she’s worked with startup founders at Lloyd’s Lab, MassChallenge, LearnLaunch, and Harvard i-lab as a consultant, advisor, or mentor.
Moha earned her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and master’s degree from Harvard University. In her spare time, she’s an avid tennis player, BBC listener, and global traveler.
Paula is an Executive Assistant at Avanta Ventures.
She has 20+ years of supporting VP and C-level executives. Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Paula was an Executive Assistant with CSAA Insurance Group supporting Strategy & Innovation. Previously she was with AAA Club Partners/AAA Affiliates. Prior to AAA, Paula was an Executive Assistant at Mervyn’s corporate headquarters in Hayward.
Outside of work, Paula enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, her pets (a rescue Doberman named Bodhi and a rose-breasted cockatoo named Lola), traveling, and English-style horseback riding. She competes in hunter/jumper competitions.
Pooja is a Senior Associate at Avanta Ventures. Pooja is passionate about building stronger partnerships between startups and corporates in order to drive meaningful changes and innovation.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Pooja managed innovation initiatives at a homeowner’s MGU, working closely with startups to bring new products and services to the market as well as to improve internal processes. Pooja has also worked closely with startups and invested in them through both QBE’s corporate venture capital arm, QBE Ventures, and the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator. At both QBE Ventures and OnRamp, Pooja focused on insurtech investments and insurance-adjacent technologies, with a special interest in proactive risk management. Pooja began her career at Barclays as an analyst in investment banking and public finance where she worked closely with healthcare institutions.
Pooja earned an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Wisconsin – Madison as well as a SB from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. When she’s not reading, Pooja enjoys photography, rock-climbing, and baking.
Sanjiv is the Managing Partner of Avanta Ventures where he drives venture capital investments, incubation/acceleration and corporate development. Sanjiv has 25+ years of driving growth for corporations across the entire spectrum of growth and strategic investment initiatives. His strong operating experiences has led him to build businesses from the ground up with a solid technology foundation.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Sanjiv led acquisitions, business development, and investments for SK Telecom in the Americas across Cloud Infrastructure, IoT, Media & Content and Analytics. At SK Telecom Sanjiv developed a Cloud TV offering which grew to over 17 million subscribers and served on the Boards of several startups and venture funds. Previously, Sanjiv advised on software strategy for Ciena Corporation vis a vis SDN, NFV and Cloud Computing. Before Ciena, Sanjiv was Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sentilla Corporation where he helped turn-around and sell Sentilla to Ericsson. Formerly, Sanjiv was Corporate Vice President of Investments and Corporate Development for HTC and Managing Director of Corporate Ventures at Hewlett Packard. Prior to HP, Sanjiv was at Microsoft part of the predecessor team to Microsoft Ventures, accountable for Microsoft’s engagement with the innovation community globally. Sanjiv has a deep career history with large corporations, and has helped launch RightWorks Corporation; an enterprise software startup sold to Internet Capital Group for $1.25 B.
Sanjiv holds a Mechanical Engineering degree with a minor in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. On a personal note, Sanjiv is an avid sailor, having been sailing for over 40 years both competitively and for leisure. Sanjiv has sailed off the coasts of California, Maine, Maryland, Florida, and in the Mediterranean off the coasts of France, Italy and Greece.
Steve is a Partner at Avanta Ventures. Steve’s investment areas of focus include Mobility, InsurTech, AI, IoT/Connected Home and distributed ledger technology.
Prior to Avanta Ventures, Steve was a Partner at ONSET Ventures focusing on early stage B2B software in the enterprise SaaS application, AI/analytics, and cybersecurity spaces. Over his twelve years with ONSET, Steve worked at the board level alongside passionate entrepreneurs at over twenty startups, helping to craft lasting business models, forge strategic partnerships, and exit profitably. Steve came to ONSET Ventures from Microsoft, where he insourced innovation by building relationships with the venture capital community and venture-backed software startups. Before Microsoft, Steve led business development at ecommerce search startup Mercado Software (acquired by Omniture), was a strategy consultant at Accenture, a research analyst at Bailard, and a Eurobond hedging desk clerk at Citibank London.
Steve has a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business. In his spare time, Steve enjoys reading both non-fiction and science fiction, cycling, and traveling with his family.