The New England Venture Capital Association Welcomes Five New Directors

With a commitment to gender diversity, Board composition exceeds 50 percent women

BOSTON — February 5, 2020 — The New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA), the leading advocate for the region’s venture-backed tech, healthcare, and life science startup community, appointed five new members to its Board of Directors. The new board members bolster the NEVCA’s deep bench of industry experts and further the organization’s commitment to gender diversity. With three new female board members, NEVCA’s board composition exceeds 50 percent women. Additionally, the NEVCA welcomes new members to the executive committee, in the roles of Board Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer.

Sara Nayeem, M.D., a partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), brings a focus on biopharmaceuticals. She is currently a director at six NEA portfolio companies and served in previous board or board observer roles with 11 others. She has been involved in nine IPOs and eight acquisitions over her 11 years at NEA. Nayeem concurrently earned her M.D. (cum laude) and her MBA from Yale University, where she was a Yale MBA Scholar. She received her AB (magna cum laude) in Biology from Harvard University. Nayeem is a frequent speaker and was named a Growthcap 40 Under 40 investor three times. She was also included on the FierceBiotech 2019 list of Fiercest Women in Life Sciences.

Kent Bennett, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, is a consumer and vertical software investor in Boston and beyond. Locally, Bennett is involved with Toast, Bevi and InsightSquared, and previously with Endeca (acq. by Oracle), Streambase (acq. by TIBX), Vertica (acq. by HP), Hadapt (acq. by Teradata) and nToggle (acq. By Rubicon). Before his career in venture capital, Bennett was a creative executive for an entertainment production company, where he developed and sold original material including a network television pilot and a feature film. Bennett earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar, and graduated summa cum laude in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar.

Deborah Palestrant, Ph.D, MBA, a partner at 5AM Ventures and head of 4:59 (the firm’s seed initiative), is a seasoned executive with more than 15 years of life sciences industry experience including drug discovery, company creation, operations, business development and strategy. Palestrant was previously vice president of corporate development & strategy at Relay Therapeutics, head of business development at Editas Medicine, a senior associate at Third Rock Ventures, and a lab head at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. While at Third Rock Ventures, she helped create and launch Blueprint Medicines and Editas Medicine. Palestrant holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Columbia University, an MBA from Northeastern University and was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute.

Holly Maloney, a managing director at General Catalyst, brings a growth equity perspective to the NEVCA board. At General Catalyst, Maloney focuses on investments in later stage, software-driven businesses that have achieved capital efficiency and high growth, with the potential to disrupt or create new markets. Maloney began her investing career at Guidepost Growth Equity (FKA: North Bridge Growth Equity), where she built a strong portfolio of software companies, cultivating trusted relationships with entrepreneurs and industry executives. She earned her AB in Economics from Bowdoin College. In addition to her investment work with GC, Holly is a founding steering committee member for AllRaise Boston, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of female investors and founders.

Gaurav Tuli, a partner at F-Prime Capital, focuses on enterprise technology investing and is involved with Threat Stack, Riskrecon, Protenus, OTA Insight, Risklens and Notable Health. Tuli spearheads F-Prime’s Founders Diaries series, an intimate forum for showcasing the personal stories behind the region’s most successful companies. Before F-Prime, Tuli was a principal at F Prime’s sister fund, Eight Roads Ventures Europe in London, where he invested in European software and online services businesses; he served on the boards of Appsflyer and Neo4j (Neo Technology). Previously, Tuli was at EMC where he drove new growth initiatives and product portfolio management for EMC’s largest business unit, Symmetrix. Tuli holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from MIT, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

In addition to the new Board Directors, the NEVCA announced changes to its Board Executive Committee. Maia Heymann, a founding partner at Converge, will assume the role of Board Chair, succeeding Kevin Bitterman, a partner at Atlas Venture, who will remain on the Board and serve as
Chair Emeritus. Moving from Treasurer into the role of Vice Chair is Yumin Choi, a partner at Bain Capital Ventures. Choi will be succeeded as Treasurer by Colleen Cuffaro, a partner at Canaan. Heymann and Cuffaro will be the first women to hold their respective roles on the NEVCA Executive Committee.

About the NEVCA
The NEVCA fosters an inclusive, collaborative, and prosperous innovation ecosystem in New England.Guided by the principle that venture capital returns are a function of the people, ideas, infrastructure, and political climate receiving investment, the NEVCA serves its 80+ member venture capital firms by championing the entrepreneurial ecosystem: Building relationships among VCs and founders; marketing the region as a destination for new companies and capital; engaging diverse talent in the thriving startup community, and advocating for innovation-friendly public policy.

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PR Contact:
Ashley Beine / Melissa Mahoney
Version 2.0 Communications for NEVCA

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