Alisa Yaffa founded Step Up Funding in 2013, where as Managing Director she leads the firm’s private-company technology investment and business advisory practices. Her experience as co-founder and chairman of Synplicity (holding various executive positions from 1994 to 2008), and afterwards as an angel investor and portfolio manager, brings valuable insights in choosing investments and advising technology companies. The firm focuses both on investing in early stage companies, and on helping entrepreneurs with up-front preparation to successfully approach investors, close funding, and get back to quickly growing their business. Advisory services include funding needs discussion, due diligence preparation, presentation deck assistance, and preparation for investment meetings, negotiations and win-win funding terms. Other advisory services include business and marketing strategy, governance best-practices, financial modeling and executive coaching. Clients and investment opportunities have included companies in consumer and enterprise software, education technology, social media and IoT.
In addition to running Step Up Funding, since 2008 Alisa has been an active angel investor and a part-time investment manager for a private, single-family-office’s investment portfolio.
In 1994, Alisa co-founded Synplicity, Inc., an engineering design automation software company, where she held for a period of 14 years the majority of executive positions including CEO, President, VP of Marketing, VP of Sales, CFO, VP of Intellectual Property and Chairman of the Board. She was at Synplicity from the beginning through the sale of the company, during which time she negotiated 4 rounds of increasing-value venture funding, and was instrumental in the company’s initial public offering in 2000 and its subsequent merger with Synopsys in 2008. Additionally, Alisa was Chairman of the Board and Corporate Secretary throughout the company’s history, with significant involvement in high-level strategy, governance and legal functions. These included corporate strategy, IPO and M&A diligence and determinations, board meetings and minutes, board committees, corporate governance, policies and procedures, executive employment decisions and executive compensation, succession planning, employee retention, stock option plan design and equity compensation, and interfacing with attorneys and auditors.
Prior to 1994, Alisa worked for 8 years in various technical and marketing roles in Silicon Valley companies. Alisa holds a BA in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.