Team

ValorVC was born when three partners united from three disciplines: finance, operations, and technology. With 70+ investments between us, our diverse experience united around one vision: modernizing venture capital for sophisticated investors. The best days in venture capital are ahead.

Lisa Calhoun, General Partner

Lisa’s experience and entrepreneurship have contributed to over a billion dollars in exit value from emerging technologies. Lisa is known for pioneering platforms that connect capital to early-stage companies. She created the ValorCIO/CTO Innovation  Council that connects emerging startups to potential enterprise customers. Lisa founded the Startup Runway Foundation, the largest pitch event for minority and women founders seeking seed capital. She is a Kauffman Fellow, a member of the global network of top venture capital investors. Before Valor, Lisa founded a digital marketing agency recognized as one of the “Top 10 Agencies for Tech Startups.” She supported hundreds of tech startups through their exits to public markets and acquisitions. Prior, Lisa worked in IT consulting, helping large organizations solve complex problems with code. Lisa serves on the boards of SmartCommerce, Women Who Code, MyAgData, and the Woodruff Arts Center Women’s Giving Circle. She earned her BA/Baylor 1994 and MBA/University of Texas.

Robin Bienfait, Founding Partner

Former Chief Enterprise Innovation Officer at Samsung, Chief Information Officer / Chief Technology Officer / Chief Information Security Officer for BlackBerry, and Chief Compliance Officer at AT&T, Robin has 20 years of direct technical due diligence experience as Partner at Valor. She leads Valor’s technical diligence process, chairs our Innovation Council of CIOs, and coordinates portfolio alliances with major enterprise technology firms. She has 15 patents, many in use today. Robin has presented at the CIO Forum, Gartner and Forrester, and is sought for comment by Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. She is the founder and owner of Atlanta Tech Park, one of the East Coast’s largest innovation centers. Robin serves on the boards of Mitsubishi Financial (MUFG) and Great West Life Co. She holds a masters degree in the management of information technology from Georgia Tech.

Sarah O'Brien, Founding Partner

Sarah O’Brien runs partnership development and strategic alliances at ValorVC. Sarah learned corporate acquisition at GE, where she excelled in leadership roles for over a decade in M&A, specializing in acquiring firms under $500 million. Sarah leverages deep financial experience and a global network to support Valor across financial operations, financial diligence, and compliance oversight. Before joining Valor, she served as CFO of a $500 million-dollar division of $2.5 billion Carestream Health, a division of Kodak. O’Brien is the founder of The Executive Women of Goizueta and served on the Goizueta Alumni Board for 9 years.  She is a graduate of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2009.  Sarah earned her BBA at the University of Florida in finance, BSBA, and went on to earn an MBA at Emory University Goizueta School of Business.

María F. Suárez, Jr. Investments Analyst

A finance student at Emory University, María is active in analyzing pipeline opportunities for Startup Runway as well as Valor’s portfolio. María is a native of Costa Rica and speaks fluent Spanish. Meet her at the next Startup Runway. María@Valor.VC.

Demi Tega, Jr. Investments Analyst

An economics student at Yale, Demi supports Valor’s investment pipeline by helping to source early stage founders. Meet him at Startup Runway. Demi@Valor.VC.

Kevin Kwon, Jr. Investments Analyst

An industrial engineering student at Georgia Tech, Kevin supports Valor’s investment pipeline by sourcing and supporting early-stage founders as well as Valor’s networking of co-investors. A native of South Korea, Kevin speaks fluent Korean. Meet him at Startup Runway. KK@Valor.VC.

Zhaohan (Amanda) Li, Financial Analyst

A mathematics and econ double major at Emory, Amanda supports Valor’s funders and founders by working on our transparency platform initiative. She has direct startup experience as a co-founder and has previously worked at startups like Zoom. She speaks fluent Chinese. Meet her at Startup Runway. Amanda@Valor.VC.

Valor Board of Advisors and Venture Partners

Michael Kim, Kauffman Fellows Mentor

Michael is founder of Cendana Capital — which has backed venture firms Forerunner VenturesSoftTech VCIA VenturesFreestyle CapitalK9 VenturesBowery Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, among others. He just closed on $260 million in fresh capital across a network of five funds and is one of the foremost authorities on early-stage funds. He mentors Valor in the Kauffman Fellows program.

Elizabeth Halkos

COO at Purchasing Power, Elizabeth is a tech startup scale vet. Joining Purchasing Power in sales in 2006, she has led double-digit growth at one of the nation’s most successful fintechfirms, with oversight of sales, account management, client services, marketing and public relations. Halkos received the 2017 “Female Executive of the Year” Silver Award and is named among the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Top 40 Business Stars Under 40” and The Committee of 200 members, created to advance women’s leadership in business.

Michael Mansfield, Kauffman Fellows Mentor

Michael F. Mansfield, Sr. is Chairman/CEO of Mansfield Energy Corp. As a second generation owner, Michael has grown Mansfield from a regional 25 employee company into an $8B provider of diversified energy products and services. Today Mansfield employs 550 team members and ranks 46th on Forbes’ list of America’s largest privately owned companies. Michael is the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Southeast Manufacturing/Consumer Products Award winner. He remains active in the EY program and serves as a National judge. Michael mentors Valor in the Kauffman Fellows program.

Becky Blalock

Former Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Southern Company, Blalock spent nearly a decade directing IT strategy and operations for the 3rd largest utility company in the world. Under her leadership, Southern Company was recognized as one of the 100 Most Innovative Companies by CIO Magazine and one of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT.  Blalock has testified before the DOE and FCC on behalf of the utility industry regarding matters related to cyber security. She serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, is a Trustee of the Woodruff Arts Foundation and the Carter Center. She is also an advisor to the Mercer Business School.

Veronica Sheehan

Veronica Sheehan is a turnaround strategist with deep operational knowledge and leadership in mitigating risk within operations vital to revenue currently serving as COO at the Georgia Make a Wish Foundation. During her prior 16-year career at Time Warner/Turner, Veronica created the organization’s first centralized global television operations team with 1,600 direct reports in 200 countries.

David Cummings

One of most visionary serial entrepreneurs and investors on the East Coast and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, David Cummings bootstrapped  Pardot into one of the largest SaaS acquisitions ever.  David subsequently founded the Atlanta Tech Village, the largest technology entrepreneur center in the Southeast. It is hailed as a new model for building an urban startup ecosystem.

Mary Cahill

Mary Cahill is a seasoned investor and board member. As the retired Chief Investment Officer of Emory University, she built an investment organization of 25 and led a $6 billion diversified portfolio. She serves on numerous investment committees and boards including NCAA, Woodruff Arts Center, Robert Toigo Foundation and the Emory Center for Alternative Investments.

F.A. (Fran) Dramis

Fran has served as head of technology at 5 Fortune 500 companies and on the board of 8 midsize and emerging market companies, including RealOps Inc., US Oncology, Damballa, Nanolumens, and Catavolt. His investing experience includes 30 startups and counting.  He is most recognized for his tenure as CIO at BellSouth, and also  led technology transformation efforts at Citibank, Coopers & Lybrand, NASD and Bankers Trust.

Lynne Laube

Lynne is the co-founder of fast-growth fintech company Cardlytics, currently ranked #88 on the Inc. 5000. A senior executive with 20 years experience building, leading and developing businesses to achieve significant results.  She has raised over  $100 million in capital to build the proprietary technology and business model at Cardlytics. Cardlytics customers include  Bank of America and Lloyds. The platform touches over 70% of all credit card transactions.

Janine Lee

Janine is CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF), the nation’s largest regional associations of grantmakers, serving more than 330 foundations and corporate giving programs  representing more than $50 billion in assets active in the South. Janine has served in leadership roles at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Maryam Alavi

Maryam Alavi, PhD, is the Dean of Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.  She has consulted with organizations including AT&T, KPMG, IBM, Marriott Corporation, Sodexo, the American College of Physicians, the Aspen Institute, the General Accounting Office, International Association for Management Education, and the World Bank.

Tif Wilson, MBA

Executive director of largest medical device research lab in the Southeast, the Global Center for Medical Innovation, Tif Wilson is a leading national expert in healthcare commercialization.  Tif advises small business policy on a national level through her role on NACIE. Recent executive director of Southeastern Medical Device Association. Tif also brings private equity chops through her previous experience with Crosshill in DC. MBA Georgetown.