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.

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Head of Verizon Ventures

Chris Bartlett is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Head of Verizon Ventures. Prior to joining the team, Chris was Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, where he led North America media and communications mergers and acquisitions. He has also worked in media and communications M&A at Bear, Stearns & Co., and started his career at Arthur Andersen LLP. Chris holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Colleen Cunniffe

Colleen Cunniffe

Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Development & COO of Verizon Ventures

Colleen Cunniffe is COO of Verizon Ventures, and Sr. VP of Verizon Corporate’s Business Development group. She is responsible for Verizon Ventures’ investment operations, including alignment with internal strategic sponsors and overseeing diligence for new and follow on investments. As a leader in Corporate Development, Colleen also manages the end-to-end integration process for Verizon’s major acquisitions and divestitures.

Prior to her operations leadership at Verizon Ventures, Colleen served as a senior leader in Verizon’s Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis organization and ran the annual budget and 5-year financial plan. Other senior assignments have included CFO for the Enterprise Business Unit, financial planning & analysis for Verizon’s CIO, CMO, and Network leaders, and all financial integration associated with the MCI acquisition. Colleen earned a BA in Business Administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the College of William & Mary, and has her CPA certification.

Samy Ben Aissa

Samy Ben Aissa

Managing Director

Samy Ben Aissa is a technology and finance professional with extensive TMT industry expertise. He has over seven years of investment experience in private equity, investment banking, and corporate development, including transactions at AT&T, J.P. Morgan, and Verizon. He also spent nine years of increasing IT leadership positions implementing large-scale strategies for Fortune 500 and private companies, including GE Transportation Systems, K. Hovnanian Homes, and Avaya.

Samy joined the Verizon M&A team in 2016 and moved to Verizon Ventures in 2019. He holds an MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business, an MSc in Computer Information Science from Gannon University, and an MSc in MIS from the Université de Technologie de Compiègne (UTC). He is fluent in French and English.

Jeffrey Black

Jeffrey Black

Managing 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.

Alex Khalin

Alex Khalin

Managing Director

Alex Khalin has over 18 years of professional experience investing in public and private companies across Digital Media, Financial Services and Energy sectors.

Alex came to Verizon in 2015 with a background in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, and alliances. As part of corporate strategy and development team he worked on board-level strategy topics resulting in closing of several key M&A deals, including acquisitions of Fleetmatics (FLTX) and Telogis (privately held). Prior to joining Verizon Alex held leadership roles in strategy and corporate development at HP, the Boston Consulting Group, and Schlumberger.

Alex holds an MBA in Finance from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and attended Harvard Business School as part of his MBA. He is based in the San Francisco Bay area.

 

Michelle McCarthy

Michelle McCarthy

Managing Director

Michelle McCarthy evaluates, recommends, and closes strategic investments for Verizon’s venture capital group, in addition to overseeing the venture team’s operations, processes, and internal events. She was recognized as a Global Corporate Venturing Rising Star in 2016 and is a board observer for select portfolio companies in the areas of advertising technology and connected devices.  Before joining Verizon Ventures, Michelle headed acquisitions and asset management of a large portfolio of affordable housing tax credit investments at Verizon Capital and, prior to that, was involved in Verizon's corporate strategy formulation and domestic and international M&A. 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

Managing 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.

Robin Bruen

Robin Bruen

Head of Marketing

Robin Bruen joined Verizon Ventures in 2019 and focuses on the promotion of the brand and strategic objectives across multiple internal and external ecosystems. Previously, she spent two years in Verizon Corporate Marketing, where she managed integrated marketing planning and the launch of a new unified brand for all B2B business units. At the beginning of her Verizon career, Robin acted as CMO for an early stage gig economy start-up. Prior to Verizon, Robin worked in the telecommunications, energy, construction, and financial services industries, where she most notably was a member of the launch team for Virgin Mobile USA. Robin received her B.A. in Psychology from Rider University, graduating magna cum laude, and her M.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

Thomas Camp

Thomas Camp

Principal

Tom joined Verizon Ventures in 2017. He most recently was part of Verizon’s Innovation Program focused on developing partnerships with IoT companies (and took particular interest in working with a cross functional Verizon group on UAS issues and controlled technical trials of UAS on the wireless network).  

Prior to the Verizon Innovation Program, Tom worked for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.  Among his responsibilities; he cultivated interconnection agreements between Verizon, Google and Netflix to better serve FiOS and Wireless customers.  Before joining Verizon, Tom held various sales, operations and business development positions with Xerox, Cobalt Networks, Narus and First American Title.  

Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from National Louis University.

Marah Dudenhoeffer

Marah Dudenhoeffer

Principal

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.

Leslie Epstein

Leslie Epstein

Head of Operations

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. 

Ajay Patel

Ajay Patel

Principal

Ajay Patel joined Verizon Ventures in 2018 and brings ten years of financial valuation expertise across telecom, media, and healthcare industries. Prior to joining the team, he was a member of the Verizon M&A team. Ajay came to Verizon from Duff and Phelps, where he was a Vice President in the Valuation practice. He received a B.S. in Finance, cum laude, with minors in Political Science and Planning and Public Policy froRutgers University.

Gidon Azaryev

Principal

Gidon Azaryev joined the Verizon Ventures Tel Aviv team in early 2019. Gidon holds an MA in Economics from Tel Aviv University and a BSc in Applied Mathematics from Bar Ilan University. Gidon brings 5 years of experience in management consulting for the government, as well as experience in the Israeli startup ecosystem.

Terry Evans Jr.

Terry Evans Jr.

Principal

Terry Evans Jr. joined Verizon Ventures in 2019 with more than eight years of experience in business development, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and divestitures. 

Prior to joining Verizon Ventures, he was a core member of a high-impact corporate development team for the commercial division of United Technologies, where he led all aspects of M&A execution. Prior to United Technologies, he worked in business development at two financial service firms.

Terry holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.S. in Finance from Robert Morris University. He is based in Palo Alto, California.