Experience, connections and commitment

Our team

Verizon Ventures combines Verizon’s collective technological expertise with a history of developing market-leading products to deliver a thoughtful approach to adding value. Verizon Ventures builds relationships that last so you can leap to the next level, navigate through the challenges and land on success. Learn about us to get a sense of how we can help you.

John Doherty

John Doherty

Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

John Doherty is a Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Verizon Ventures.  John is responsible for corporate-wide joint ventures, strategic investment activity, acquisitions and divestitures.  John is a longstanding leader in international finance, strategy, and corporate and business development with experience in fixed, mobile, broadband, video consumer and enterprise businesses spanning the globe.  John has been involved with Verizon and its predecessor companies since 1986, and has been the Chief Financial Officer of four different Verizon business units, developing strategy and driving financial results for each. John resided in the UK and Thailand for 7 years and conducted business in approximately 30 countries.  At Verizon Ventures, John focuses on early stage investments and is interested in supporting entrepreneurs through their initial business challenges in order to create prosperous established business units. John earned a BA in Economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Masters of Business Administration with a focus on Finance from City University of New York - Brauch College–Zicklin School of Business. He is based in the New York metro area.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Executive Director

Mark Smith is an Executive Director at Verizon Ventures. Since joining Verizon Ventures in 2007, Mark has been involved in strategy formation, business development, deal negotiation and due diligence, investing in BlueKai (acquired by Oracle), Kiip and Payfone, among others. Mark’s investments span across industries, but all focus on moving Verizon’s mobile products forward, from advertising tech to infrastructure. Mark has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, beginning his career as a CPA at Deloitte & Touche and later researched telecoms companies at Lehman Brothers before joining Verizon. Mark earned a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from New York University. He is based in Palo Alto, CA.

Jeffrey Black

Jeffrey Black

Director

Jeffrey Black joined Verizon Ventures in 2012. Prior to Verizon Ventures, Jeffrey joined Verizon in 2009 and was involved in numerous M&A and strategic investment transactions. Previously, he worked in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, structuring debt, equity, and M&A transactions. Prior to J.P. Morgan, he worked in the corporate finance department at Delta Air Lines. Jeffrey received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Roni Burrell

Roni Burrell

Director, Verizon Ventures Israel

Roni Burrell is a Director at Verizon Ventures.  Prior to joining Verizon Ventures, she was an Investment Director at Nautilus, Aol’s early stage investment arm in Israel, which she co-founded in 2014.  Roni has over 20 years of experience in Product Management, User Experience and Design where she held roles and led projects for brands like Nokia Design UK, Phillips CE, Aol Video (formerly 5min media), and an array of successful video and social media companies. Roni’s an active member of the Israeli Product and Design community, helping to grow the next generation of professionals.

Roni earned her MDes from the University of Westminster, London, and her BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem. She’s based in Tel Aviv.

Vijay Doradla

Vijay Doradla

Director

Vijay Doradla is a Director at Verizon Ventures and is currently a board member of seven portfolio companies.  Mr. Doradla has over 17 years of experience in the Technology industry, spanning a diverse set of roles including engineering, research, and investments. He started his career as an engineer at Bell Labs and then spent the next decade on Wall Street as an analyst and investor. Prior to joining Verizon, Mr. Doradla was Managing Partner at SilverString Capital, a crossover hedge fund he founded that specialized in technology investments. Mr. Doradla has two Masters degrees, one in Physics and Electrical Engineering.

Michelle McCarthy

Michelle McCarthy

Director

Michelle McCarthy identifies, evaluates, and closes strategic investments for Verizon’s venture capital group, in addition to overseeing the venture team’s operations and processes. She has been with Verizon and its predecessor company GTE since 1995. Before joining Verizon Ventures, Michelle headed acquisitions and asset management of a large portfolio of affordable housing tax credit investments and, prior to that, was involved in corporate strategy formulation and domestic and international business development. Michelle earned an MBA in finance from Georgetown University and a B.A. in International Studies from American University. 

Merav Rotem Naaman

Merav Rotem Naaman

Managing Director, Verizon Ventures Israel

Merav Rotem Naaman is a Managing Director at Verizon Ventures and leads our investment activities in Israel.  She brings over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, where she served in both transactional and strategy roles.

Prior to joining, Merav was the Managing Director of Nautilus, Aol’s early stage investment arm in Israel, which she co-founded in 2014. Before joining Aol, Merav was Head of Strategy and Operations at Better Place where she helped shape the company’s strategy and alliances from its earliest days. She started her career as the Head of Regulatory Affairs for Israel’s leading Telco - Cellcom, and also spent several years working from the San Francisco offices of Bain & Co., advising companies on subjects like strategy, business development and M&A.

Merav received an MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a law degree from Tel Aviv University.  She’s based in Tel Aviv.

 

Kristina Serafim

Kristina Serafim

Director

Kristina Serafim is a Director at Verizon Ventures. Kristina joined Verizon Ventures from Verizon’s Big Data and Artificial Intelligence product team. Prior to Verizon, Kristina was a Director at Intellectual Ventures, where she led investments in machine learning, media, advertising, and gaming technologies. Kristina’s entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding and leading two software companies, from their inception to acquisition. Kristina also spent several years on the strategy and corporate development teams at IBM and at NAGRA Innovations. She received an electrical and mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Samuel Chun

Samuel Chun

Manager

Samuel Chun joins Verizon Ventures from Verizon’s Corporate Strategy & Development group where he focused on a breadth of strategic initiatives and research topics that touched on connected cars, drones, logistics, e-commerce, and FinTech. Prior to Verizon, Sam was most recently at MUFG Union Bank, where he developed M&A strategies, executed acquisitions and divestitures, and advanced FinTech initiatives for the company. Prior to MUFG Union Bank, Sam was a research analyst at FactSet covering M&A and private equity activity in the U.S. Sam earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.

Marah Dudenhoeffer

Marah Dudenhoeffer

Manager

As a member of the venture development team, Marah Dudenhoeffer is responsible for sourcing new innovative solutions for Verizon Ventures, as well as strategic development of the Ventures portfolio. Marah joins the Verizon Ventures team from her role as technical lead for the Verizon Innovation Center in San Francisco, which is focused on fostering innovation in the IoT ecosystem. Prior to joining Verizon, Marah served as Junior Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General of Canada in Silicon Valley, where she was focused on finding venture capital and business development opportunities for Canadian technology companies. Marah has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz - Crown College of Science and Emerging Technology. Marah began working with Silicon Valley start-ups during her junior year at UCSC, and she has a real passion for helping cutting edge technology companies get their products to market.

Andrew Der

Andrew Der

Manager

Andrew Der joined Verizon Ventures in 2013 and focuses on strategic marketing and business development for the firm. Andrew has over 10 years of experience in innovation, strategy, digital marketing, and emerging technologies, focusing primarily on consumer products and web / mobile products. Before coming to Verizon Ventures, he was the Senior Manager of Digital Strategy & Innovation at American Express and worked at futurethink, Coty, EffectiveBrands, and Aon Hewitt.  Andrew received his BBA in Corporate Strategy & International Business from the University of Michigan. 

Leslie Epstein

Leslie Epstein

Manager

Leslie Epstein joined Verizon Ventures in 2017 and focuses on portfolio analysis and operations for the venture fund. She has been with Verizon since 2005 and was most recently part of the Wireless Marketing team where she worked on the development of a tech-savvy, millennial targeted wireless sub-brand product. Previously, she was part of the Investor Relations team and before that was an investment analyst at VIMCO managing Verizon’s pension and savings plan fund investments.  Leslie earned an MBA in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a dual major B.S. degree in Management and EMAC (electronic, media, arts and communications) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Paul Heitlinger

Paul Heitlinger

Manager

Paul joins Verizon Ventures with a track record of launching businesses and entering new markets for companies large and small in the technology, media and finance industries. He brings over 15 years of experience gained as an entrepreneur, product manager, strategy and technology consultant. Prior to joining Verizon Ventures, Paul was with Verizon Digital Media Services where he managed the launch of live streaming services supporting major Media & Entertainment clients such as ESPN and Verizon FiOS. He was also a lead negotiator on complex partner and vendor deals, and undertook due diligence on strategic acquisitions to enable Verizon to enter new markets and launch new products. Before Verizon, Paul founded and then sold a consumer-focused digital media company, worked for Citigroup, was a strategy consultant with Ernst & Young (then Cap Gemini) and IBM Global Services. A native of Australia, Paul has an MBA from Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor of Information Systems from Monash University.

Alden Mahabir

Alden Mahabir

Manager

Alden Mahabir joined Verizon Ventures in 2013 and supports its strategic marketing and venture development efforts, while also evaluating investment opportunities across industries. Alden brings over 12 years of experience in corporate venture capital, investment banking, and investment research, all focused on technology, media, and telecom. Prior to Verizon Ventures, he worked at Goodrich Capital, where he advised startups and private companies on their business strategies and helped them to raise growth equity capital. He has also held leadership positions at Utendahl Capital Partners, CIBC World Markets, Lehman Brothers, and C.E. Unterberg, Towbin. At a young age, Alden co-founded Vintage Research (age 25), an investment research & consulting firm, and Good Buy Realty (age 19). Alden received his B.A. in Economics at Rutgers University and his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Gal Ringel

Gal Ringel

Investment Manager, Verizon Ventures Israel

Gal Ringel is an Investment Manager at Verizon Ventures. He brings over 12 years of experience as hands-on technologist, an entrepreneur, and an investment professional.

Prior to joining Verizon Ventures, Gal worked at Nautilus, AOL's early stage investment arm in Israel. He started his career as a cyber engineer-turned-captain and then a cyber team leader (with honors) in Israel’s prestigious 8200 cyber intelligence unit. He then founded his first startup and later joined “Nielsen Innovate” as a Technology Director where he served as an investment professional and in advisory roles to portfolio companies. In 2017, Gal was named to Forbes’ prestigious “30 Under 30” list, which recognizes the world’s brightest entrepreneurs and innovators under the age of 30 who are disrupting science and technology.

Gal holds a BSc. in Computer Science from IDC Herzliya and is based in Tel Aviv.

Charles Szrom

Charles Szrom

Manager

Charles Szrom joins Verizon Ventures following five years of experience focused primarily on investments in growth-oriented technology, media, and telecommunication companies for the asset management division of Rockefeller & Co., most recently as a Senior Equity Analyst. In his role, he identified, advised, and built relationships with Internet, software, and telecommunication infrastructure companies. At the beginning of his career, Charles managed an open-source intelligence team at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, conducted research on transformative geopolitical events, and founded two non-profit organizations. He received a B.A. in Political Science and History from Indiana University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, and is a CFA® charterholder.