HQ Team

The full-time team at Village Global HQ activates the network in support of our founders.

Ben Casnocha
Partner         

Ben is Partner at Village Global.

He is a serial tech entrepreneur who started his first enterprise software business at age 14.

Ben is the co-author (with Reid Hoffman) of two New York Times bestselling books: The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, about how to recruit and retain entrepreneurial employees, and The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, a career strategy guide translated into over 15 languages.

Prior to co-founding Village Global in 2017, Ben spent two years working on special projects at LinkedIn and Greylock Partners. A native of San Francisco, he has spoken in front of tens of thousands of entrepreneurs in over 60 countries around the world.

Q&A with Ben

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

When I was 12 years old, a schoolteacher made me memorize Apple Computer’s “Think Different” television advertisement, and ever since, I’ve identified as an entrepreneur. I love challenging the status quo. I love invention. I’ve also always loved writing. Writing is uniquely intellectually stimulating to me. Writing and entrepreneurship — sometimes writing about entrepreneurship! — are the common threads in my career so far.

What’s one of your superpowers?

Building high trust, long term relationships with other humans.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Depends on the topic! The Blank Slate about human nature. The Mind Illuminated or Why Buddhism Is True about meditation. Zadie Smith or Rachel Cusk for fiction. I’ve reviewed a lot of other books on my blog.

In your spare time?

I love to read, travel, play with my dog Oreo, and scuba dive.

Anne Dwane
Partner         

Anne is Partner at Village Global.

Anne brings experience as a founder, venture-backed CEO, and public company executive.

Prior to Village Global, she was CEO at Zinch, a network connecting students with colleges and scholarships. Zinch was acquired by Chegg, where she served as Chief Business Officer, with P&L responsibility before and after the IPO.

Previously, Anne co-founded Military.com, a social and professional network for service members and veterans that was acquired by Monster.

She currently serves on the board of Harvard Business Publishing.

Q&A with Anne

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Embrace the joy of figuring things out. As the saying goes, “don’t wish things were easier, make you and your team stronger”.

Belief. People are generally capable of more than they think they can do. Believing in people early can help them realize their potential

What’s one of your superpowers?

Finding simplicity beyond complexity. Love working with founders to find the clarity that unleashes productivity and aligns teams so 1+1=11.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Endurance: Shackleton’s leadership through adversity puts entrepreneurship in perspective.

Letter to My Daughter: Maya Angelou inspires on leading a good life, not just a good business.

The Thin Book of Trust: Teams run on trust. It unleashes candor, courage, ingenuity, and fun.

Red Star Rogue: Truth is stranger than fiction, and many heroes go unheralded.

In your spare time?

Running or cooking.  One necessitates the other.

Erik Torenberg
Partner         

Erik is Partner at Village Global.

Prior to co-founding Village Global in 2017, Erik started or was a founding team member of Rapt.fm, Product Hunt, and On Deck, where he remains Chairman. 

Q&A with Erik

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Empowering founders at scale. Via Product Hunt, On Deck, and Village Global, I’ve aimed to build institutions that help founders access distribution, talent, and capital.

What’s one of your superpowers?

Putting people in business and building long-term relationships with them. One of my favorite things is finding people who are great and unknown — high aptitude, low credential — and amplifying, connecting, and working with them.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I try to keep my Goodreads up to date as well.

In your spare time?

I’m a big reader and podcast listener; I enjoy anything that keeps my mind stimulated.

 

Amy Palmer
VP, Finance       

Amy is VP of Finance at Village Global

Amy leads Village Global’s finance department, including reporting to limited partners, overseeing capital accounts, managing quarterly closes, tax, audit, and portfolio analytics.  She aims to be a valuable resource for Village Global’s portfolio companies, providing strategic counsel on industry best practices and building effective finance teams.

Prior to joining Village Global, Amy was the Director of Finance at JAZZ Venture Partners where she was responsible for LP reporting, financings, portfolio company valuations and monthly/quarterly closes.  Earlier, she worked for a venture finance consulting company providing similar services to a number of venture capital firms, and before that worked as a controller at a venture-backed life-sciences start-up.  Amy’s accounting roots are attributable to her early public accounting career at Arthur Andersen. Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts in accounting at The University of Washington.

Q&A with Amy

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

I am a “people first” person. Throughout my career I have always pursued working with the best people, as part of the best teams, doing something I love. Village Global is just that!

What’s one of your superpowers?

In a high pressure industry that moves fast, I bring equanimity and fun to those around me. A laugh and a smile go a long way.  

A book you commonly gift to people?

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  It has nothing to do with venture capital, finance or even business, but everything to do with living a fulfilling life.

In your spare time?

When not enjoying a good spreadsheet, I enjoy fly fishing, bee keeping, gardening and encouraging my teenagers to make good choices.  

Adam Corey
Operating Partner         

Adam is the Operating Partner at Village Global.

He was a Partner at QueensBridge Venture Partners and was Head of Investor Relations at 500 Startups. Before that, he was part of the founding team at SharesPost (now Forge) and led Business Development and Strategy at Evite.

Q&A with Adam

What’s the common thread that runs through your career? 

I’ve always been external-facing in my roles, starting with my first job working the counter at a baseball card shop at the age of 12, through other retail experiences, to corporate business development and investor relations roles. 

When interacting with internal parties all interests should largely be aligned to what’s right for the company. When dealing with external parties, competing interests are often more pronounced without that common goal. Finding the balance between company and external interests and thinking about the short-term and long-term impact of decisions made when partnering with someone are challenges I’ve embraced throughout my career. 

What’s one of your superpowers? 

I have a knack for numbers and find it valuable to try and “see around the corner” in thinking through financial ramifications of decisions. 

A book you commonly gift to people? 

Freakonomics. Incentives matter and can backfire if they aren’t structured properly. The book provides entertaining ways of conveying how the wrong structure can work against you. 

In your spare time?

You can find me rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, golfing with friends, or going to a concert.

Brett Bolkowy
Marketing and Operations         

Brett works in Marketing and Operations at Village Global. He also produces the Village Global podcast, Venture Stories.

Prior to Village Global, he worked on a number of personal, professional, and philanthropic projects for Reid Hoffman.

He has also worked on research, editorial, and marketing for the bestselling business books by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age and The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. He also did research for Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies, by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh.

He’s helped several entrepreneurs “navigate the idea maze” and has contributed at the earliest stages of their businesses.

Q&A with Brett

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Supporting entrepreneurs, helping spread entrepreneurial thinking, and distilling large amounts of information into key insights.

What’s one of your superpowers?

I think I have an above average ability to notice and pick up on things that haven’t been explicitly stated.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker, or almost anything by Alain de Botton.

In your spare time?

You can find me hiking, reading, spending time with family, or volunteering.

Debbie Li
Counsel and Head of Legal Operations       

Debbie is Counsel and Head of Legal Operations at Village Global.

She was a counsel at Atrium, a venture-backed startup, where she served as outside general counsel for emerging growth companies and advised on development of Atrium’s legal technology and other cross-functional initiatives. She was also a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter and Fenwick & West, where she advised startups, technology companies and investors in venture financings, M&A, and capital market transactions. In her career, she has represented over 100 startups and worked on transactions totalling over $2 billion in capital. 

Previously, as a member of the East Bay Community Law Center, she provided legal and business advice to low-income workers and entrepreneurs of color as part of its small business incubator. 

She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. from Yale University, with distinction.

Q&A with Debbie

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Supporting great companies and teams!

What’s one of your superpowers?

Seeing both sides of an issue. Also, I can fall asleep anywhere.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Moneyball

In your spare time?

Rooting for the A’s/Warriors, exploring Bay Area hiking trails, and eating tomatoes.

Ian Cinnamon
EIR and Investor         

Ian Cinnamon is an Entrepreneur in Residence and Investor at Village Global. 

He is a seasoned founder with deep experience at both consumer and enterprise companies. Most recently, Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) purchased the artificial intelligence security and defense company he founded, Synapse Technology Corporation. Before Synapse, Ian cofounded Superlabs and sold the firm to Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) where he served as Director of Product post-acquisition. 

A Forbes “30 Under 30” honoree, Ian received his B.S. from MIT, MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a Y Combinator alumnus. He is also the author of bestsellers Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius and DIY Drones for the Evil Genius.

Q&A with Ian

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

I’m a big believer in not just creating amazing technologies, but focusing on how and why they are used by people and societies as a whole. Cognitive science ties this all together by explaining the science of how humankind interacts with the emerging technologies that surround us.

What’s one of your superpowers? 

Rapid decisions and execution. I follow my instincts and move quickly to prosecute challenges in front of us. I’m always ready to dive right in. 

A book you commonly gift to people?

How to Raise the Perfect Dog (let’s just say my new office-mate Aries, a Havanese puppy, led to this choice).

In your spare time?

I’m an aspiring surfer, so I spend a lot of time in the water (as opposed to on my board).

Lucas Bagno
Investor         

Lucas Bagno is an Investor at Village Global.

Prior to Village Global, Lucas co-founded Noveus Capital and Atland Ventures, where he invested in companies such as Clubhouse, Akash Systems, Eight Sleep, Atmos, Mati, Mainstreet, Superplastic, Matter, Senti Biosciences, and many others.

Q&A with Lucas

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

I was born and raised in Brazil, and I made the decision to move to America when I was about 10. My entire family ended up relocating to the US later on in life. The passion and respect for entrepreneurship is entrenched in American culture, and it continues to inspire me to this date.

What’s one of your superpowers?

A founder I’ve worked with for many years once told me, “you have the gift of enthusiasm.”

A book you commonly gift to people? 

The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

In your spare time?

I have always loved video games… I taught myself to speak English by playing Warcraft, Dota, and other online games.

Mustafa Khan
Events and Community Manager       

Mustafa is Events and Community Manager at Village Global. 

He is also Lead Producer at DAYBREAKER, a morning dance party hosted in 10+ cities. He was previously Head of Events and Community at Plato, a mentorship platform for engineering managers. He’s produced events for tech brands including Salesforce, SoFi, and Zappos. He previously worked in operations and marketing for Facebook’s Platform team.

Fun fact: He helped organize (and danced in) the opening act for a 15,000 person event hosted by Oprah!

Q&A with Mustafa

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Building a strong community has been at the center of my professional endeavors. I’ve been lucky to help grow various communities over the last decade — from app developers on Facebook to thousands of people who wake up early to party before going to work.

What’s one of your superpowers?

I love figuring out how to turn something (like an event) from good to great. I actually enjoy obsessing over details (like how an event begins or ends) so it becomes an unforgettable highlight for whoever experiences it.

A book you commonly gift to people?

The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker! That book can help someone think like a good event planner or host.

In your spare time?

I spend most of my free time being silly with my 2 year old daughter, Nova. And I try to go to every art or science exhibit I hear about in San Francisco!

Olga Serhiyevich
Head of Investor Relations         

Olga is Head of Investor Relations at Village Global. 

She was previously SVP of Venture Platform/Business Development at Citi Ventures, where she built a value-add services program to accelerate growth of the portfolio companies. 

She was also Vice President at PIMCO, where she helped to grow the firm’s European business, and has held positions at Morgan Stanley and Evercore Partners.

She holds an MBA in Analytic Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Science at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Q&A with Olga

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

Intellectual curiosity is one of the key driving forces of my life and career. I enjoy entering new sectors, spending time learning everything I can about the subject and the industry and finding my unique niche in it. As I have progressed through my career and moved from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, I have enjoyed leveraging networks and expertise from different parts of my life to add value in my current focus area.

What’s one of your superpowers?

I find human nature to be the most interesting subject in the world.  My fascination with it helps me to be passionate about developing relationships and growing together with people  over time.

A book you commonly gift to people?

I typically personalize my book selection but some of the books I have gifted more than a few times are Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham Maslow as I love its focus on personal development and self-actualization; The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary for its sharp insights on the human nature and culture; and Moonlight Amid the Mountains by my good friend Erin Summe for the passion it inspires to not only travel but also to learn the local context and history.

In your spare time?

When I travel, I look for opportunities to meet interesting people and explore new places through the prisms of design, architecture, fashion, theater or music. When I am in San Francisco, I love spending time outdoors hiking or kayaking in Marin. I also love going to the theater, comedy or music shows, and hosting dinner parties.

Sheila Goodman
Director of Events         

Sheila is Director of Events at Village Global.

Prior to Village Global, she developed and scaled a work training and job placement program for adults experiencing homelessness at Community Housing Partnership. She also worked with youth and adults involved in the justice system at The Reset Foundation and The Last Mile.

Sheila also was Business Development and Events Manager at 500 Startups where she ran their conferences, demo days, and global world tours.

Q&A with Sheila

What’s the common thread that runs through your career?

I love creating spaces where people feel a sense of belonging and that has been a common thread throughout my career. I believe people do their best learning, growing, and connecting when they feel a sense of belonging.

What’s one of your superpowers?

Remaining calm in high stress situations.

A book you commonly gift to people?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

In your spare time?

I love camping, hiking, dancing, and cooking nourishing meals for friends and family.