NEA Makes Several Key Executive Changes

By Amit Chowdhry ● November 8, 2019
  • Venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) has announced several key promotions on its investing team. These are the details.

Venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates has announced a few key promotions on the investing team. Rick Yang has been named general partner and head of consumer technology. And Danielle Lay, Luke Pappas, and Jai Sajnani were promoted to the principal position.

Yang joined NEA in 2007 and the company was promoted to partner in 2015. And Yang played an integral role in building the firm’s consumer practice. Plus he invests across the consumer landscape with a focus on financial technology, esports/gaming, and digital media.

“We have always been proud that the vast majority of our General Partners are promoted from within the firm, and I’m especially proud to recognize Rick’s outstanding commitment, judgment, and leadership with this promotion,” said Scott Sandell, Managing General Partner at NEA. “From the day he joined the firm as an associate, Rick has embodied the values at the heart of everything we do at NEA, and I’m excited to work alongside him to build great companies and guide the next generation of leaders within our partnership in the years to come.”

Yang currently serves on the board of directors of several NEA portfolio companies, including Drop, Gen.G, Lyric, MasterClass, Plaid, and PlayVS. And he also works closely with Omio, Opendoor, and Stride Health. In the past, Yang was involved with Braintree (acquired by PayPal), Gaikai (acquired by Sony), and Pure Energies (acquired by NRG). And prior to joining NEA, Yang worked at Credit Suisse where he advised a number of strategic financing initiatives for leading public and private tech companies as part of the Technology Group.

“Rick has played a growing role in the evolution and execution of NEA’s consumer strategy over the last few years, and I’m thrilled that he will lead our consumer investing practice as a member of our general partner group,” added Tony Florence, General Partner and Head of Technology Investing at NEA. “I’m also pleased to recognize the significant contributions Danielle, Luke and Jai have made to our investing practices to date. All four of these promotions signify the tremendous energy and excitement within our partnership for the opportunities we see on the horizon, both in the consumer sector and across technology more broadly, and I look forward to the continued growth and success of these talented investors.”

Lay is going to focus on consumer internet and tech-enabled marketplaces and services. Currently, Lay serves as a board observer of Block, Burrow, Desktop Metal, Moda Operandi, and The Well. And she works closely with several other NEA companies, including Divvy, Formlabs, Hello Alfred, Simple Habit and Woebot. Plus Lay also contributes to NEA’s investing activities in Asia by having assisted in the firm’s investments in MyDental, STX, ZuoYeBang, and XSky, and several others. Before joining NEA in 2017, Lay worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs advising consumer and enterprise financial technology companies and asset managers like FIS, Fiserv, Nasdaq, Bridgewater, and Trupanion.

Pappas joined NEA in 2017 and is focused on consumer and enterprise investments. And Pappas serves as a board observer of Aquabyte, goop, PlayVS, Sitetracker, Stockwell, and Travelbank. Plus he works closely with a number of other companies in NEA’s portfolio, including Banjo, Cleo, Datrium, and Gen.G. Pappas was involved in the firm’s investments in Bloom Energy, Cloudflare, Snap, and Uber. And he helped orchestrate the firm’s spinout of NewView Capital. Pappas was previously a member of the technology investment banking team at Morgan Stanley where he worked on a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions across the software, semiconductor, consumer internet, and hardware sectors with companies like Airbnb, Nutanix, Nvidia, Pandora, and Snap.

Sajnani is going to lead the firm’s financial technology (both B2B and B2C) along with enterprise investments. And Sajnani works with companies including Divvy, Transfix, Zero, Drop, MindTickle, Lyric, WaterBit, and Logikcull at the board level. Plus he is also involved with NEA’s investments in Sisu, Robinhood, and Plaid and is closely involved with several recently exited investments including NGINX and Scout RFP. He also helped orchestrate the spinout of NewView Capital in 2018. Before joining NEA, Sajnani was a consultant in the San Francisco office of McKinsey & Company and held a variety of engineering and product management positions at companies like Airware and Microsoft.