We are scientists, engineers, operators, and designers who know how to execute and scale at every stage of a business. Our collaborations with world leaders in our fields give us insights to see around the next corner.

When we’re not publishing papers on AI, earning PhDs in pharmacology and bio-engineering, or filing for patents, we’re building transformative companies that deliver outsized returns and make positive impacts on society.

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Peter Barrett
General Partner
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What's your favorite thing about Playground?

 

I learn something new here everyday working with our team at the boundaries of hardware, software and AI. I'm inspired by entrepreneurs building watershed technologies that are challenging but consequential.

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Jory Bell
General Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Tetrascroll" by Buckminster Fuller

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Matt Hershenson
General Partner
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Why did you create Playground?

One of the greatest benefits we can provide to entrepreneurs is sharing what we learned in building our own companies.

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Bruce Leak
General Partner
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

The holodeck will be used for “in-person” meetings making the daily commute unnecessary. Decoupling where we live from where we work will obviate the need for many office buildings and transit systems.

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Laurie Yoler
General Partner
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

A tenacious, focused, interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and marketers with the right leadership can create extraordinary companies.

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Richard Becker
Prototype Machinist
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always bring appropriate footwear.

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Taggart Bonham
Venture Associate
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

“Skinned knees are temporary, play is forever” - GPT-3

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Victoria Chernow
Venture Associate
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -Teddy Roosevelt

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Sylvia Donohoe
Head of Programs
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

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Justin Ernest
Venture Associate
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always play like it’s your last game.

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Jeff Freburg
VP Real Estate & Operations
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Attention to details they matter...

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Gabby Halberg
UX Software Engineer
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... figuring out how to help fight plastic pollution.

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Marissa Huang
Operating Partner
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Everyone has something valuable to contribute, so take the time to listen to their story.

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Marissa Huang is an operating partner focused on full-cycle recruitment with more than a decade of experience spanning new graduate to executive search hiring. She specializes in building out and executing on hiring strategies for startups, specialized teams, and hard-to-source positions.

Prior to joining Playground, Marissa led the talent function at Niantic Labs, growing the team from 70 to 700 employees in four years. She changed the function, culture, and impact of talent operations across the company to support the company’s business goals and strategies as well as the needs and aspirations of its growing workforce.

Marissa's previous experience also includes executive search, managing talent teams, and managing talent and people operations at later stage companies like Asana, Facebook, and Google. Marissa was the first head of talent at Thumbtack and Figma. She has previously worked with many prominent leaders across Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, to build and manage talent operations that support and reflect their dynamic needs.

In her spare time, Marissa enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle, making pottery, flipping houses around the Bay Area, and spending time with her dog and fiancé at their home in San Francisco. She loves learning new things and is inherently curious about people and their stories. In her executive coaching practice, she supports startup founders, CEOs, and other senior executives on their journey to becoming stronger leaders who build diverse teams and successful products.

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George Ketigian
Advisor
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Perfection to the fringe of a deadline.

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Benjamin Kim
Venture Principal
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... a full time triathlete.

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Ben Kim is a Venture Principal at Playground Global where he helps identify the founders and companies that are revolutionizing engineered biology. At Playground, he has sourced and led investments into companies including Outpace Bio, Manifold Bio and Lassogen, where he also sits as a Board Observer. In 2022, Ben led investments into two breakthrough biotech companies, currently operating in stealth.

Prior to Playground, Ben was a PhD graduate student and an NSF Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering.

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Clinton Lazzari
Operating Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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Clinton Lazzari is an operating partner at Playground Global with a focus on electronics engineering, product design, manufacturing operations, and program management, bringing more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of shipping global products from architecture to manufacturing.

Prior to joining Playground, Clinton was a senior hardware engineer at Google, where he managed the launch of several consumer product designs from architecture to production including electrical design and specification, trade-offs between software features and thermal limitations, compliance certification, manufacturing test criteria, and processes, and more. Clinton designed the first consumer electronics to advance the Android operating system to devices beyond the smartphone and tablet.

He also designed, developed, and debugged the digital and RF systems for X Lab’s Project Loon, the ambitious skunkworks project that brought high-speed internet to remote areas in the world via weather balloons. Clinton managed external contractors, designed subsystems, and guided a team of junior engineers.

His professional experience often blends the most difficult elements of program management, operations, hardware engineering, and product design. As an engineering and business consultant, he has worked with a wide range of industries on projects that include medical devices, industrial power tools, consumer electronics, robotics, aerospace control systems, and much more.

Outside of work, Clinton lives in Medford, Oregon with his wife Brooke and three children, Neasa, Reid, and Teagan, where in his spare time he runs a company that designs, builds, and sells electronics for hobbyist building remote control model aircraft. He has a cat named Midnight that runs the house, and when he’s on vacation, he can be found using his airline miles and travel points from traversing the globe to take his kids to various renown zoos across the country.

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Nancy Ly
Finance and Administration Associate
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Be patient.

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Alex Mack
Marketing & Communications Manager
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." - Rumi

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Chika Nakasu
Executive Manager
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Never lose curiosity.

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Anh Nguyen
Design Director
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Play on, player.

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Hoang Nguyen
Design Director
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr Seuss. We often get caught up by logic & reason and don't take shots at the unusual. Try new things. Love the journey, not the destination.

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Sasha Ostojic
Venture Partner
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"The Joy of Engineering Leadership" by Sasha Ostojic. A thriller with real world engineering twists and turns. Sitting on the bookshelf in my head.

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Sasha Ostojic is an Operating Partner at Playground Global where he works with portfolio companies on defining and executing technology and business strategies. The Playground founders benefit from Sasha’s decades of operating experience in scaling and motivating engineering teams to achieve product and bottom-line success.

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Sasha moved to the U.S. in the late-1980s where his technical expertise and appetite for knowledge generated an early opportunity at General Electric (GE). There, as a consultant, he was a lead software architect for IBM's innovative DirectTalk Voice Application platform.

At IBM, he found himself gravitating towards a career in entrepreneurship and founded Ultimate Technology, Inc with a colleague. The vision was to iterate on the speech recognition and text-to-speech synthesis technology they designed at IBM and deploy it to new industries. Sasha built the company from the ground up as the CEO and VP of Engineering, serving in the role for 14 years and achieving profitability each year.

Under his leadership, Ultimate Technology formed relationships with Fortune 500 companies including Fidelity, Cisco, and Sun Microsystems. Sasha guided the organization through all stages of growth overcoming the dot-com bubble among other shifting market conditions.

Sasha then spent close to 10 years at Nvidia where, as Vice President of Software, he was in charge of some of the key initiatives that contributed to the graphics company becoming a global leader in gaming, AI technologies, and visual computing.

His last stop before joining Playground was at Cruise Automation, where he led and scaled the engineering team for the General Motors autonomous vehicle subsidiary. But once he started spending time at Playground’s Palo Alto campus, there was no turning back.

Sasha initially played an advisory role where he immediately added value for the firm and its portfolio. One thing led to the next, and Sasha found himself in an Operating Partner role. The majority of his work is helping portfolio companies with engineering projects, advising on products, and growing the companies and their networks. Alongside his direct work with portfolio companies, Sasha organizes and leads various engineering leadership events as well as the acclaimed Robochat event series featuring prestigious guest speakers.

Sasha sits on the advisory boards of Samsung Electronics, Zoox, Deepen AI, Cognomotiv and HTEC. In his spare time, he is an avid tennis and basketball player and enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

Quote icon Created with Sketch. Say there are 3 people in the world who are the experts on a certain technology, well all of them are sitting here at Playground. Alex Teichman CEO & Co-founder, Lighthouse AI
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Richard Peretz
Venture Partner
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Richard Peretz is a venture adviser focused on global operations, supply chain management, logistics, and last-mile solutions at Playground Global, bringing nearly 40 years of experience as a career executive to the firm and its portfolio.

Prior to joining Playground, Mr. Peretz was the Chief Financial Officer of UPS, where he was responsible for accounting, finance, financial planning, taxes, and treasury, as well as audit and compliance activities. He served as the company’s senior liaison to the investor, finance, and analyst community. Mr. Peretz also served on the team responsible for taking UPS public in 1999, the largest IPO in U.S. history at the time.

Throughout his nearly 40 year career at UPS, Mr. Peretz has also served in a variety of leadership assignments, including several UPS transformation programs involving the consolidation of accounting in the U.S., and the realignment of the finance function in corporate and company-wide profitability improvement programs.

He led the Mergers and Acquisition department from 2007-2015, where he completed transactions totaling over $3 billion globally in transportation, technology, last mile and healthcare logistics. He also served as the International CFO from 2002-2007 while expanding operations in China and across Europe.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Peretz holds a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (BBA) from University of Texas - San Antonio. He has been named to serve on the board of directors of Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS). Additionally, Mr. Peretz served on the board of the American Red Cross Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter and currently serves on the Georgia Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.

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Kendra Perlitz
Operating Partner
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

Self-driving cars.

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Kendra Leigh Perlitz is an operating partner focused on investor relations at Playground Global, where she is responsible for Playground’s capital formation and related operations. She partners with current and prospective limited partners to develop their investment strategy, targeting early-stage innovation through fund commitment and co-investments.

Prior to joining Playground, Kendra was managing director of investor relations and operations at SVB Capital, leading product strategy across venture capital fund of funds, direct equity, and private credit funds. Her previous experience also includes serving as vice president of capital formation and investor operations at Top Tier Capital Partners, a venture capital fund of funds located in San Francisco.

Before Top Tier, Kendra served as senior manager of financial planning and analysis for US pharmaceutical generic drugs at McKesson, the largest provider of distribution and technology solutions within the healthcare industry. In her early career, she worked at iRhythm Technologies, a venture-backed healthcare startup, and client services at Hall Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based investment advisory firm.

A native of Silicon Valley, Kendra holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development with leadership effectiveness and a minor in economics from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education in organizational leadership from Vanderbilt. When Kendra is not raising billions for venture capital, she enjoys hosting community events, traveling, skiing and pilates.

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Faith Petrie
Talent Apprentice
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Treat everyone like a friend.

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Robin Quattlebaum
Talent Principal
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Always be kind. You never know what someone might be going through.

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Akim Richards
Senior Talent Associate
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Algorithms of Oppression" - Safiya Umoja Noble

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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... spending time with kids/family/loved ones and beach bumming.

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Nishant Singh
Venture Analyst
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

A basketball/football GM

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Guocong Song
Data Scientist
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What's your "must read" book recommendation?

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong, but the English translation may lose some cultural meaning.

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Victoria Sun
Venture Principal
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... a writer for Comedy Central.

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Victoria Sun is a principal at Playground Global. In 2021, she was named as one of nine women shaping venture capital by The Wall Street Journal. She is fascinated by markets where growing datasets are finally coming online and enriching companies’ unique “model” of the world, allowing insightful entrepreneurs to capture exponential value. She is drawn to commercializable scientific breakthroughs, data-as-an-asset software platforms, and products that solve some of the world’s most fundamental problems: food production and distribution, antifragile logistics and supply chain systems, preventing and curing diseases.

Shortly after joining Playground in 2018, she sourced and led investments in areas such as logistics (Pandion, and Leaf), software infrastructure (EraDB), aerospace (Universal Hydrogen), synthetic/computational biology (Strand Therapeutics) and is also a board observer for companies such as Relativity Space and Ultima Genomics.

Prior to Playground, Victoria worked on IPOs and mergers and acquisitions at Credit Suisse’s Global Technology Group in San Francisco. She received her bachelor's degree in Economics from UC Berkeley.

As a reformed investment banker, Victoria now spends all her extra time consuming dark comedies and training her Shetland sheepdog, who is a very good boy.

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Shinya Suzuki
Embedded System (HW & SW) Designer
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

It is what it is, be adaptable, live in the moment, and have no expectations.

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Melissa Tam
Talent Apprentice
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What's the most valuable life skill you learned as a kid on the playground?

Gravity can hurt, but don't let it scare you from swinging even higher.

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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age? 

Print at home clothes with reusable filament. Bespoke clothes - style, fit and color - that are benign to the environment.

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Sandy Taylor is the CFO for Playground Global. An entrepreneurial-minded finance executive with decades of startup experience, Sandy brings her passion for building high-performance teams and leading organizations through significant growth to the firm and its portfolio companies.

Drawn to tech from an early age, Sandy moved to Silicon Valley in the late 1990s to realize her dream. She first worked at Oracle as Director of Finance and Strategic Planning, where she relished the opportunity to build a new team at an established organization and developed a keen interest in early technology.

After spending time at early online marketplace Respond Networks, Sandy linked up with her future Playground colleagues at Danger, Inc. With Sandy in the VP of Finance role, Danger’s subscriber base grew from 60,000 to nearly 1.4 million. She helped secure funding from the likes of Redpoint Ventures and Softbank, and played a key role in the negotiation and execution of Microsoft’s $500M+ acquisition of the business.

Sandy stayed at Microsoft for another two years before assuming the CFO role at Zong, later leading PayPal’s acquisition of the firm. Sandy stayed on as CFO of PayPal after the deal, where she was responsible for the Finance and Operational Excellence for PayPal Mobile and the integration of Zong business functions into PayPal and eBay.

Next, Sandy spent over three years at Mocana, an IoT security platform overseeing 100 million devices. There, she oversaw strategy, sales operations, $30 million in VC fundraising, and general finance, among a wide array of responsibilities.

In 2018, she reunited with her former Danger colleagues and joined the Playground team. Sandy loves the energy of the startups combined with their potential longevity and impact, getting the best of both the entrepreneurial and finance worlds. At Playground, Sandy runs the finance team, human resources, and facilities teams, as well as supervises in-house events.

Sandy is married with one daughter and lives in Palo Alto, CA, where she spends most of her spare time working on the constant remodeling of her 100+-year-old home.

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Kim Watson
Finance Manager
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

Honesty, integrity, hard work and the desire to have fun and make a difference every day.

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Greg Wilson
VP of Finance
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What invention will be ubiquitous when your kids are your age?

Digital currencies and assets.

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Phyllis Whiteley
Venture Partner
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What philosophy or vision guides your work?

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all the brains I can borrow”. Woodrow Wilson

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Phyllis Whiteley, PhD., is a Venture Partner with Playground Global where she provides hands-on leadership in building, investing, and creating companies in all areas of Healthcare where technology can improve access to healthcare, the patient experience, and improved quality and speed while reducing costs. Playground Global is a deep tech investor where we leverage our vision and deep understanding of technology to help build companies that will have multi-generational impact. Phyllis’ career is founded on her passion for personalized medicine, global healthcare, and transformative life science innovations. She has founded and built multiple companies in the United States and abroad.

Her executive expertise includes strategic planning, financing, partnerships, restructuring, building executive teams and M&A. Prior to joining Playground Global, Phyllis spent over a decade at Wildcat Venture Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures, leading to numerous successful exists. She was an Officer and Senior Vice President, Business Development, Licensing, and Alliance Management at Perlegen Sciences, Inc. Before joining Perlegen, she served as Vice President, Strategic Portfolio Management for Roche. Over her ten-year career with Roche she held various positions in Business Development based in Basel, Switzerland coupled with R&D leadership positions in the US. Phyllis also held a Senior Research Immunology role with Merck. Phyllis is a member of the Board of Directors for Lassogen Therapeutics, BodyPort (board chair), Alydia Health, a medical device company treating Post Partum Hemorrhage around the world and Nalu Bio.

Phyllis is dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs address the problems of poverty, empower women, and build resilience to climate change. She currently sits on the boards of the Personalized Medicine Coalition (Emeritus), UCSF Leadership Council for Global Health, University of Michigan School of Nursing Board for Science and Innovation and chairs the advisory board for the University of Texas Horizon Fund. Phyllis is also Global Social Benefits Mentor at Santa Clara University.

Phyllis holds a BA in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

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Daniel Yum
Principal Software Engineer
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If you weren't working at Playground, right now you'd be ...

... taking the specifications from the customer and bring them down to the software engineers! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people!