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Advanced Venture Capital 2018

Speaker(s): Adam Schwenker, Becki DeGraw, Christie Branson Ma, Craig M. Schmitz, Curtis L. Mo, Danielle Naftulin, Daren Matsuoka, David A. Makarechian, Emily Hancock, Faisal Rashid, Georgia Wright-Simmons, Jennifer M. Kashatus, Kelly Warrick, Mark Boslet, Sarah K. Solum
Recorded on: Oct. 17, 2018
PLI Program #: 221562

Christie Branson Ma is responsible for managing the legal and regulatory aspects of fund formation, limited partner relations, corporate governance, and company and venture fund investments for SVB Capital and Silicon Valley Bank’s strategic balance sheet investments. In the past, Christie has advised Silicon Valley Bank on its public company SEC filings, international expansion efforts, employee equity and benefit programs, and warrant portfolio.  

Prior to SVB, Christie was an attorney at DLA Piper, focused on assisting venture funds, private and public emerging companies with IPOs and private financings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance in the high technology and bio-technology sectors.

Christie graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology and Communication, and holds a JD from the Santa Clara University School of Law. Christie is also a member of the California State Bar. Christie is native to California. 


Craig Schmitz is a partner in the firm’s Technology Companies group, where his practice focuses on representing emerging growth companies, particularly in the technology and life science sectors, venture capital firms and underwriters. He joined Goodwin in 2010.

Mr. Schmitz specializes in representing technology companies in a wide range of transactions. He works closely with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and underwriters in venture financings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and initial public offerings. Mr. Schmitz represents private and public emerging growth companies, issuers and underwriters involved in public offerings and companies involved in merger and acquisition transactions, as well as venture capital and private equity firms in buyout and recapitalization transactions.

Prior to joining Goodwin, Mr. Schmitz was a partner in the Silicon Valley office of Gunderson Dettmer. Before that, he served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and General Counsel at Ariba, Inc., a publicly traded enterprise software company. In this role, he was responsible for a number of functions including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic investing, partnering and licensing, and corporate governance.

Mr. Schmitz is consistently recognized as a national leader by The Legal 500 United States for his work on mergers, acquisitions and buyouts for venture capital and emerging companies.

• J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1994
• B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1991 (high honors, Phi Beta Kappa) 

Mr. Schmitz is admitted to practice in California.


Danielle Naftulin's practice focuses on the representation of issuers and venture capital investors in the formation and financing of emerging technology and life sciences companies. She also counsels emerging companies with respect to mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, spin-outs and general corporate matters, and she has experience representing companies with respect to their initial public offerings and various other public financing and strategic transactions. Danielle also advises public companies with respect to their reporting requirements and corporate governance obligations.

Danielle has been a guest speaker on venture capital transactions and other corporate matters at UCLA School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law and Stanford Law School.


UCLA School of Law 
JD, 2000

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 
AB, 1997, History, with honors 

Bar Admissions



David Makarechian, Chair of O’Melveny’s Emerging Technologies Group and Head of O’Melveny’s Northern California Corporate Department, is a boardroom-level corporate lawyer who has twenty-five years of experience working with entrepreneurs, executives, and investors to support the growth of innovative technology companies. His clients include public companies, private companies and start-ups, venture and private equity investors and investment banks. He also advises multinational companies and sovereign wealth funds in international transactions. David has represented some of the most prominent companies and investors in the technology sector, including Android in its sale to Google, Yahoo! and in various acquisitions, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in venture capital investments. His clients include Finisar Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of optical components, HID Global Corporation, a leading provider of secure identity solutions, and leading international multinational corporations, such as Mitsui & Co. and sovereign wealth funds, such as GIC.

David focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, growth and PIPE investments, 1934 Act counseling of public companies, and organizing and structuring venture-backed and emerging growth enterprises. In addition, he has significant experience in buy-outs, divestures and spin-outs, joint ventures, cross-border M&A, and technology transactions of all types.

David is recognized for his ability to provide experienced guidance and practical solutions on business and legal issues. Chambers & Partners describes him as a “professional and detail-oriented” lawyer who also is “very cool and pragmatic,” and Legal 500 cites clients who praise him as “responsive, diligent, and thorough.”

Emily Hancock is the Data Protection Office for San Francisco-based Cloudflare, Inc., where she consults with business and product teams on global data privacy and security issues. Emily has nearly 20 years of experience practicing data protection law. Before joining Cloudflare earlier this year, Emily was Vice President, Legal at Evernote. Prior to that, Emily held positions at Yahoo and in private practice working on a wide variety of data protection matters. She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Boston College.


Becki DeGraw practices corporate and securities law in the San Francisco/SOMA office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she serves as outside general counsel and advises technology and growth companies at all stages of development. She has extensive experience representing both companies and investors in private company equity and debt financings, and buyers and sellers in M&A transactions.


  • J.D., University of Texas School of Law, 2005
  • B.B.A., Finance, University of Texas at Austin, 2001


  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of New York

Faisal Rashid is a partner in the San Francisco, CA office of Fenwick & West LLP. His practice involves providing strategic counseling to private companies on day-to-day corporate matters as well as assisting clients in negotiating and managing financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. Faisal also provides ongoing advice to clients on general corporate compliance, SEC reporting and governance issues. 

Prior to joining Fenwick & West, Faisal was a corporate associate with a large international law firm based in Palo Alto, CA and New York, where he represented companies such as American International Group, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Goldman Sachs, Skype, Inc., and UBS. 

Faisal received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2008, where he was Senior Editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation and selected as a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. He received his B.A., with honors and distinction, in economics from Stanford University in 2004.

Jennifer Kashatus is partner in the Washington, DC office of DLA Piper LLP in the Privacy and Cybersecurity practice group. 

Jennifer routinely advises companies in all industry sectors on privacy and cybersecurity issues. In particular, Jennifer assists companies in:  developing comprehensive global and domestic privacy and data security programs, guiding companies in navigating the myriad state, federal and international privacy regulations; and preparing for and responding to security incidents. In addition, Jennifer devotes a significant portion of her practice to working with clients to address privacy/cyber issues in corporate transactions, including buy- and sell-side M&A transactions and financings.

Jennifer has been recognized by Chambers USA and the Legal 500 United States for her Privacy and Cybersecurity practice.

Jennifer graduated Cum Laude from Case Western Reserve University. After graduation, Jennifer worked as an Attorney Advisor at the Federal Communications Commission before going into private practice in 2000.

Mark Boslet is a long time technology and financial journalist, and currently a senior editor at the Venture Capital Journal and PEHub. His work has appeared in the Venture Capital Journal, The Wall Street Journal, the San Jose Mercury News, The Industry Standard, Greentech Media and newspapers nationwide. Before joining the Venture Capital Journal, he was a senior writer at Dow Jones. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Society of American Business Editors and Writers 2008 Best in Business award and three recent analytical reporting awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association. Prior to covering technology, he served as a business and general-news reporter at newspapers including The Times Union of Jacksonville Florida and The Waterbury (CT) Republican-American.

Mark received a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master's in journalism from the University of Florida.

Sarah K. Solum is head of US capital markets at Freshfields Bruckhaus and Deringer and managing partner of the firm’s Silicon Valley office. She has an active IPO practice and extensive experience in capital markets transactions, including investment grade and high yield debt offerings, convertible notes transactions and preferred stock offerings. She also regularly represents companies on mergers and acquisitions and advises on SEC compliance, disclosure and corporate governance matters.

Sarah is on the Global Advisory Board of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) and a Co-Chair of the Northern California chapter. She was also a member of HiPower, an executive leadership program for women. 

Sarah has been recognized as a leading lawyer by numerous industry publications, including Chambers USA and Super Lawyers. She was named Best in Capital Markets 2019 in Euromoney LMG Americas Women in Business Law Awards, among the 2016 and 2017 Women Leaders in Tech Law by The Recorder, “2017 Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and 2017 and 2019 “Top Women Lawyers in California” by the Daily Journal.

Sarah is a member of the Board of Visitors at Duke University School of Law. She is also on the Board of Trustees at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School. Prior to joining Freshfields, Sarah was a partner at Davis Polk.

Adam is the lead counsel of Qualcomm’s M&A legal team and for Qualcomm Ventures, Qualcomm’s venture capital arm.  Adam is a member of Qualcomm’s Corporate Legal department and his practice focuses on acquisitions, divestitures, investments and joint ventures.  Adam also manages Qualcomm’s Corporate Secretariat group which provides legal support for Qualcomm’s international family of subsidiaries.  Adam also provides legal support to projects in Qualcomm’s Government Affairs and Tax departments.

Adam received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Affairs from UCLA in 1992, and a Juris Doctor degree from Berkeley Law School (formerly Boalt Hall) in 1998. Prior to joining Qualcomm in 2004, Adam worked as an Associate Attorney in the Corporate and Securities Group of the San Diego office of Gray Cary Ware and Freidenrich LLP (now DLA Piper) focusing on merger and acquisition and venture capital transactions and work with start-up and early stage companies.


Curtis is recognized as a leading corporate and securities lawyer in Silicon Valley.

Curtis has represented emerging growth companies, major public companies,investment banks, venture capital funds and private equity funds in hundreds of public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, buyouts, venture capital financings and other complex transactions. He has extensive experience in corporate governance matters and regularly acts as general outside counsel to public and private companies at all stages of development, particularly in the technology, life sciences and consumer sectors.

Curtis was the founding and managing partner of the Palo Alto office of two different national law firms, and co-chair of the Corporate group in Silicon Valley for a third. He is a past co-Chair of PLI’s Annual Institute and founded and co-Chairs PLI’s Venture Capital series.

Georgia is an Associate on the Data Team at SVB Capital—Silicon Valley Bank’s venture capital group. Georgia works with both the Fund of Funds and Direct investment teams along with Investor Relations, Finance, and Legal to find innovative ways to leverage SVB’s extensive data platform and help move the firm forward.

Georgia graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies with a minor in Psychology from Middlebury College. Prior to joining SVB in 2016, Georgia worked as a software engineer at a venture-backed data analytics startup in Boston and prior to that was first hire at a bootstrapped crowdfunding company.

Kelly is Chief Investment & Associate General Counsel for Ventures, GE’s growth and innovation business comprised of GE Ventures, GE Licensing and New Business Creation. GE Ventures invests in and partners with the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Healthcare, Energy, Software and Advanced Manufacturing, and starts and grows companies via its New Business Creation unit. GE Licensing creates shareholder value through GE’s intellectual property. Kelly is responsible for the legal, transactional and compliance matters for equity investing across the Ventures business units. 

From 2006 to 2012, Kelly was Senior Counsel at GE Equity, GE Capital’s $6 billion strategic private equity portfolio. In this role, she was responsible for advising senior management on the day-to-day affairs of the business as well as leading direct investment, portfolio management and exits.  Kelly led the legal efforts to create Ventures in 2012 and joined it when it officially launched on January 1, 2013.

Prior to joining General Electric in 2006, Kelly practiced M&A, private equity, venture capital and securities law at Paul Hastings in their New York and Connecticut offices.

Kelly graduated from Boston College with a BA in History, and she received a JD from Georgetown University Law School.

Daren Matsuoka is a Data Analyst for the SVB Capital team in Menlo Park, responsible for managing a database that houses all of SVB Capital’s proprietary information. Daren works closely with the venture capital Fund of Fund and Direct investment teams, leveraging a robust analytics platform to help identify breakout companies and fund managers.

Prior to joining SVB Capital in 2015, Daren participated in a series of finance internships at Morgan Stanley as well as a fund accounting internship at State Street, one of the world’s largest custodian banks.

Daren graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis.