Fireside chat: What Makes a Great VPE in Startups

about the speakers

Martin Casado

General Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz

Martin Casado is a general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz where he focuses on enterprise investing. He was previously the cofounder and chief technology officer at Nicira, which was acquired by VMware for $1.26 billion in 2012. While at VMware, Martin served as senior vice president and general manager of the Networking and Security Business Unit, which he scaled to a $600 million run-rate business by the time he left VMware in 2016. Martin started his career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he worked on large-scale simulations for the Department of Defense before moving over to work with the intelligence community on networking and cybersecurity. These experiences inspired his work at Stanford where he created the software-defined networking (SDN) movement, leading to a new paradigm of network virtualization. While at Stanford he also cofounded Illuminics Systems, an IP analytics company, which was acquired by Quova Inc. in 2006. For his work, Martin was awarded both the ACM Grace Murray Hopper award and the NEC C&C award, and he’s an inductee of the Lawrence Livermore Lab’s Entrepreneur’s Hall of Fame. He holds both a PhD and Masters degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. Martin serves on the board of the following Andreessen Horowitz portfolio companies: ActionIQ, Astranis, DeepMap, Imply, Kong, Pindrop Security, RapidAPI, SigOpt, and Yubico.


Sonal Chokshi

Editor in Chief @ Andreessen Horowitz

Sonal Chokshi is Editor in Chief at Andreessen Horowitz, aka "a16z", which she joined 5 years ago to build and run the editorial operation. Among many other things, this includes building and showrunning the popular a16z Podcast; assigning and editing pieces such as "When One App Rules Them All" on the case study of WeChat and China, which was selected in the New York Times' Sidney Awards 2015 as one of the best long-form essays (for "brilliantly marrying psychology, intellect and technology"); leading production of the a16z Crypto Canon; and many more.Before joining a16z, Sonal was a Senior Editor at Wired, where she built up the previously flailing expert opinion and ideas section into one of the leading sections there. She was one of the first mainstream editors to feature then-emerging trends such as ethereum, e-sports, the 'sharing economy', and others. Her work also started or shaped important conversations around the future of the internet, in some cases even influencing tech policy (such as software patent reform).Prior to that, Sonal was responsible for content and community at Xerox PARC, where she briefly covered bitcoin in early 2011 and went deep on domains such as automation, bioinformatics, cleantech, flexible electronics, natural language, networking, optoelectronics, ubiquitous computing, and many more. Before moving back to California from NYC, Sonal was doing graduate work in developmental and cognitive psychology at Columbia University's school of education, and worked as a researcher "ethnographer" on NSF grants around teacher professional development and early numeracy. She studied English and Psychology at UCLA, where she also briefly worked with autistic children and later worked in classrooms. She loves reading, arts of all kinds, and traveling between worlds, and can be found on Twitter at @smc90.


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