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, Twilio); Eventbrite (NYSE:EB); Postmates (Uber); Poshmark (NASD:POSH); Mint (Intuit); Brightroll (Yahoo); LiveRamp (Acxiom); Wildfire (Google); Bleacher Report (Turner); Sapho (Citrix) and Vungle (Blackrock). 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 Vidyard, Molekule, Shippo and Front. He is a board director at Loft Orbital, Arch Systems, Scroll, Messari, Menten AI, Groove, 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.
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: LaunchDarkly, which helps companies control and measure feature releases and product updates; Human Interest, which makes it easy for small and medium businesses to provide their employees with retirement investment plans; Coder, which provides open-source tools and an enterprise platform that makes it easier than ever to configure, secure and scale software development environments; 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 TailScale, neo.tax, Test.ai, Fountain, Crossbeam, Craft, Mutiny, GreatHorn, Bigfinite, Huckleberry Insurance, Torii, Fritz Labs, Koan, Dashbase (acquired by Cisco), MonkeyLearn, Identify3D, Pattern (acquired by Workday), and Simplify, as well as a number of companies still in stealth.
As a former startup 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 (acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1.5B), Tray.io, Bugsnag, Apiary (acquired by Oracle), and Buffer, as well as consumer products including Secret Escapes, Calm, and Postmates, where he was one of each company’s very first investors.
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.
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. Ashley’s responsibilities include all operational, financial, legal, funding, budgeting, HR, events to ensuring the firm runs at top-notch performance.
Ashley leads the Operations and Platform team at Uncork Capital, which is focused on one thing, adding value. She supports the portfolio companies by providing best practices, strategic partner introductions, cultivating the network, community knowledge sharing, curated high-impact events, recruiting support, and professional development opportunities.
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.
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.
Lisa Jo Cohen (aka LJ) is Air Traffic Controller and Calendar Tetris Master for the Partners.
She loves finding ways to iterate on processes in order to find the most efficient pathway or organization. If there is a bug in a system, she will find it, and enjoys the challenge of QA for new tech gadgets and apps. She tries to think 5 steps ahead and be thoughtful about priority and scheduling shifts.
Prior to joining Uncork, LJ was the Executive Personal Assistant to the CEO at Houzz, where she helped grow the company from 750 employees to over 1,800 and expand internationally while also overseeing the Co-Founder’s family estate. At Yahoo she supported the CDO with M&A process development and implementation from initial research of potential acquisitions to compiling deal presentations for quarterly Yahoo BOD and Comp Committee meetings. LJ began her career at a tech incubator supporting the Founder & CEO, where for 9 years she oversaw all logistics of multiple start-ups from initial engineering concept meetings and building core teams to developing the technology, funding and spinning out viable technologies.
LJ graduated Cum Laude from San Jose State University with a BS in Business Administration/Accounting.
Samantha (Sam) is the operational glue and voice of Uncork Capital. She enjoys wearing many hats, steps in whenever somebody needs an extra hand, and ensures nothing falls through the cracks. She really loves deep-diving into Airtable and streamlining workflows with Zapier.
As Operations and Communication Manager, Sam focuses on bragging about Uncork portfolio companies on the Uncork Capital social media pages as much as possible. She gets most excited about connecting with founders and plugging them into the Uncork resources.
Before joining Uncork, Sam was an avid humanitarian and nonprofit advocate. She has worked with Syrian and Iranian refugees in Jordan, the homeless population in Israel, displaced children in Belize, and natural disaster relief throughout the US. She ended her nomadic travels and landed in San Francisco, where she quickly fell in love with the tech ecosystem. She began by working with founders at Alchemist Accelerator (a B2B startup accelerator) and has taken her “founder-first” mindset to the venture capital world.
Sam holds a BA in International Relations from Oral Roberts University.