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 53 million members.
Avanta Ventures is committed to transforming how AAA Members manage their risks, and providing new solutions to life’s uncertainties.
Chris is an Associate at Avanta Ventures. He looks for innovative startups backed by world-class entrepreneurs building disruptive and differentiated solutions within a large and growing market.
Prior to joining Avanta Ventures, Chris was a Senior Actuarial Analyst at CSAA Insurance Group, where he was responsible for insurance pricing, profitability analyses, risk management, and business growth optimization. Chris is currently earning a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Joseph’s University.
When not working or studying, Chris enjoys traveling with his wife, cooking authentic foods, and playing sports.
David is a Principal at Avanta Ventures, where he invests in mobility startups. David is passionate about working with great entrepreneurs leveraging technology and unique insights to drive meaningful change across large industries.
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.
Neda is a Principal Investor and Head of the Studios program at Avanta Ventures, where she focuses on investing and helping startups grow in the InsurTech and Mobility space. She has spent over seven years guiding and mentoring startup founders, and is passionate about all facets of innovation.
Neda’s path to entrepreneurship began at Stanford University, where she helped to build and run the Stanford Venture Studio program while working at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Neda went on to evolve and expand the StartX accelerator program, where her focus was helping founders maximize their potential through education and strategic relationships. She then joined Pear Ventures, where she funded and worked with incredible early stage founders to help them disrupt industries and incumbents. Neda went on to co-found Ziba Quest, a startup with a mission to help children lead happier and healthier lives by improving their Emotional Intelligence using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tools and Growth Mindset principles. Before joining Avanta Ventures, Neda was with WeWork Labs, the We Company’s platform for fostering and building early-stage startups, where Neda managed engagements and helped incubate startups.
Neda’s passion for helping children also extends into her volunteer work with the non-profit Moms Against Poverty (MAP), whose mission is to nurture and educate underprivileged children to their fullest potential, so that one day, they can contribute and lead within their own communities to break the cycle of poverty.
Paula is an Executive Assistant at Avanta Ventures. Paula is an integral part of the venture capital team.
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, going to the gym, horseback riding, training her parrot and cockatiel, and traveling to her native Ireland. Paula is an accomplished Equestrian and yes can jump on horseback.
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.
Vivian is a Principal at Avanta Ventures. She loves working with entrepreneurs and learning from new business models. She wants to influence change in large companies through adopting new technologies and new ideas.
Vivian started her career in management consulting at Deloitte Consulting, moved on to corporate strategy, acquisitions and venture capital at Hewlett Packard, Diebold and HTC working on challenges such as market entry, revenue expansion and technology adoption. She has also been an entrepreneur working in several operational roles at technology startups including VP of marketing at Retailigence, business intelligence at TopGolf and advisor to the chief innovation officer at CarVi. Vivian brings “4 legs of the stool”: strategy, investments, acquisitions and entrepreneurial experience. Vivian has an MBA from The University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.
On a personal note, Vivian is a travel junkie, dog lover, voracious reader, and a lifetime learner on a variety of topics. Her recent favorite books include Expanse, Imperium, Incognito, Einstein’s Cosmos, Sourdough, and the Future of the Mind.