Founder and Managing Partner

Jeff Clavier

Jeff began advising and investing in early stage tech startups more than 20 years ago after first working as a CTO for a fintech startup in France. He founded Uncork Capital in 2004 (then called SoftTech VC) to serve an unmet need of startup founders: active support and capital for companies in their first 18 months of life. Over the years, Jeff brought on partners with diverse backgrounds and networks; together they have invested in 200+ companies.

With equal doses of humor, candor and hustle, Jeff works hard to help guide his companies through the most critical early stages. Jeff is often the first large check, as well as the longest relationship, for the founding team.

Jeff has supported multiple companies that have reached successful outcomes, including Fitbit (NYSE:FIT); Sendgrid (NYSE:SEND); Mint (Intuit); Kongregate (GameStop); Brightroll (Yahoo); LiveRamp (Acxiom); Milo (eBay); Wildfire (Google); Bleacher Report (Turner); and Gnip (Twitter). The founders of his most successful companies have a few things in common: a clear vision for their product or industry, an understanding of the dynamics of their market, smarts and determination. It was never easy: Each of them almost failed multiple times, but pushed through adversity to make it happen.

His current investments include Eventbrite, Vidyard, Hired, Postmates, Molekule, Shippo and Front. He is a board director at Handshake, DocSend, Molekule, Pi Charging, Scroll and a couple of still-stealth startups.  

Jeff was born, raised and educated in France. He graduated from Université Paris Descartes with an MS in Computer Science and a degree in Distributed Computing. He was an early employee at a fintech startup called Effix, where he started as a developer and became its CTO. Reuters acquired Effix and Jeff moved into product development and leadership roles across the company. In 2000 he immigrated to the U.S. and joined RVC, Reuters’ $450 million corporate venture capital fund, as a general partner in its Silicon Valley office.

 

FACTOIDS:

  • Board member of the National Venture Capital Association
  • Veteran of the Forbes Midas List, top 100 dealmakers in tech
  • Loves spending time with friends and family, whether hanging out, traveling, skiing or hiking
  • Dedicated oenophile/grape nut with an eclectic and diverse wine collection
  • Won’t call it a day until he’s logged 15,000 steps on his Fitbit — often at his walking desk


Partner

Stephanie Palmeri

Stephanie is a partner with Uncork Capital, making investments in seed stage companies that empower individuals, families, businesses, and communities. She seeks passionate communities builders and businesses with natural network effects.

Since 2011, Stephanie has led over 25 investments at Uncork in Consumer, Marketplaces, SaaS, EdTech, Health, and Hardware, including Poshmark, ClassDojo, Clever, Panorama Education, Survata, Thanx, Lantern, Phil, Fatherly, Pared, Wonderschool, and Carrot. She previously served on the boards of Chariot (acquired by Ford), Niche (acquired by Twitter), and Spoon University (acquired by Scripps Networks Interactive).

Stephanie is most excited about the power of technology to positively transform how we live, work, learn, and play. ClassDojo’s communication app helps children build social-emotional skills and creates thriving communities amongst teachers and parents. Lantern’s unique online therapy approach reduces costs and expands access to mental health services for individuals: directly and through employers and health systems. Chariot’s network of shuttles is reinventing mass transit for commuters, companies, and cities.

Prior to joining Uncork Capital,  Stephanie spent a decade working in New York City in roles that spanned technology, marketing, and startups. Her experiences varying from launching one of New York’s first accelerator programs at early-stage venture fund NYC Seed, to business development and marketing initiatives at wine ecommerce Lot18, to prior work with Accenture, Estee Lauder, and a startup building enterprise sales and marketing applications for customers including SAP and Diageo, have provided a wide array of industry knowledge and relationships that are put to work for Uncork’s portfolio.

Stephanie holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University with joint BS degrees in Marketing and Management Information Systems. She is a Lang Fund Board Member and sits on the Advisory Board for the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School.

“At their core, startups are all about the people. My proudest moments come when a founder entrusts me with the deeply human challenges they face running their startup. At the seed stage, I love helping founders craft their narratives. The end result helps us all become more passionate storytellers for the startups we support.”

 

FACTOIDS:

  • Lives in SF with her husband Adam and Kita, their senior rescue dog
  • Moved to SF from NYC with two suitcases and no job; joined the Uncork team a week later
  • Attended a STEM high school for marine sciences where she was in Navy JROTC
  • Loves foreign travel, especially with epic road trips and destination restaurants
  • Talks fast, runs at a reasonable pace, and skis so slowly she’s mistaken for skiing “up” the mountain

Select Previous Investments

Chariot, Niche, Spoon University


Partner

Andy McLoughlin

Andy advises and invests in seed-stage startups that help every business operate like the best companies in the world. The idea: productize the business management software and developer tools that tech-forward behemoths typically build internally for their own use; create lasting value by delivering productivity gains and cost savings to both nimble startups and large industrials that have been slow to embrace new technology. He loves investing in “unsexy” ideas and stellar teams who perhaps look a little different than the Silicon Valley standard.

A few examples: Launch Darkly, which helps companies control and measure feature releases and product updates; Captain 401, which makes it easy for small and medium businesses to provide their employees with retirement investment plans; and AI-powered Focal Systems, which helps traditional brick-and-mortar retailers bring their operations into the 21st century. Andy has also led Uncork’s investments in Appdiff, Fountain (formerly known as OnboardIQ), GreatHorn, Identify3D, Pattern (acquired by Workday), and Simplify, as well as a number of companies still in stealth.

As a former entrepreneur, Andy empathizes with the myriad challenges founders face each day. In 2006 he co-founded Huddle, a London-headquartered enterprise collaboration platform, which became one of Europe’s most awarded and well-known technology startups, raising more than $80M in venture funding before its acquisition in 2017. Over the years, Andy led technology, product, marketing and strategy, and oversaw the company’s US expansion.

Prior to joining Uncork in 2015, Andy was an active angel investor. Among the 40+ startups in which he invested are business software platforms such as Intercom, Pipedrive, Bugsnag, Apiary (acquired by Oracle), and Buffer, as well as consumer products including Secret Escapes, Calm, and Postmates, where he was each company’s first investor.

Born and raised in the UK, Andy holds a BA with honors in Economics from the University of Sheffield, a global top 100 university nestled in Yorkshire’s stunning Peak District. In 2010, he moved from London to San Francisco, where he has set down roots and is building a family.

 

FACTOIDS:

  • Awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s birthday honors list for services to the UK technology industry
  • Co-founder and US Trustee of the Founders Pledge, a non-profit which helps entrepreneurs pledge part of their personal liquidity upon exit to charity
  • Extremely proud dad to a beautiful and bubbly baby girl
  • Loves to ski but too easily bored for just one mountain; find him on black diamond runs across the Lake Tahoe area.
  • Loves hosting friends for dinner; mixes a mean cocktail — especially the classics: Manhattans; Negronis; and Gin Martinis (you know he’s British, right?)

Select Previous Investments

Postmates


Director of Operations

Ashley Cravens

Ashley is the operational lynchpin of Uncork Capital. She was the firm’s first employee, and helped establish all of its processes and systems. Her contributions and responsibilities touch every aspect of the business. For starters: She manages corporate accounting, developed and maintains the firm’s internal deal flow management system, oversees legal documentation, plans all events and manages branding and PR.

She gets a thrill from discovering the most efficient way to get from A to B, but her most treasured role at Uncork is fostering relationships. Ashley loves bringing people together, as seen by the passion she brings to planning our quarterly cocktail hours, partner-hosted dinners, the annual summer party and the Uncork Capital Summit — a 2-day event in which founders of Uncork companies come together to exchange ideas and learn from one another.

Ashley is also a valuable asset for our portfolio companies. She connects founders to vetted service providers and resources, whether that’s a law firm that can handle an IP battle, a venue that can seat 1,000 people in downtown San Francisco, a branding agency that can craft a differentiated, memorable identity, or a recruiting firm that can help a startup fill out its initial team.

Prior to joining SoftTech, Ashley spent more than a dozen years in the finance industry. She was a marketing director and registered insurance and securities assistant at Rosenbaum Financial in Portland Oregon. Previously she was a licensed broker at Morgan Stanley, where she managed accounts for two vice presidents and was a client relationship manager. She started her career at Smith Barney, where she conducted due diligence on mutual funds and became a specialist in client relations, running marketing campaigns, and special events for elite clients.

Ashley graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in business administration/marketing.

Factoids:

  • Opera trained. These days she prefers the seats to the stage
  • Happiest when hiking the Marin Headlands and Land’s End with her daughters and husband
  • Aspiring painter of portraits. Favorite medium: acrylics
  • Impressive quick-meal chef. All she needs to please a crowd is a half-stocked pantry and 20 minutes
  • Office Ninja member and event host

Office Manager

Caden Jennings

Caden is our in-house catch-all master. She manages the office day-to-day and runs point on pretty much anything related to logistics. Specifically: She makes sense out of the partners’ calendars, posts portfolio company articles and job listings to our website, wrangles our CRM, and handles logistics for Uncork events, including happy hours, roundtables and the annual CEO Summit.

Caden also runs our “cellar” — a floor of our office building that serves as temporary housing for the founding teams of our portfolio companies.

Before joining Uncork, Caden was a sales coordinator with NRG Home Solar, working in partnership with the sales team to improve the customer experience. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Conservation Resource Studies

 

FACTOIDS:

  • Avid sports fan (both playing and watching), especially baseball, hockey and basketball
  • Aspires to be a running maniac. Just signed up for her first 5K
  • Working hard to learn French and freshening up her Spanish via Duolingo
  • Nor Cal. girl through-and-through: surfs in frigid Pacific waters
  • Obsessed with hot sauce, especially Chunky Garlic Hot Pepper Sauce from The Pepper Plant