Pathbreaker Ventures is a $13 million seed fund focused on specialized founders solving hard technical problems. AI/ML, Robotics, and VR/AR are core areas of activity. Pathbreaker is led by Ryan Gembala, a former acquisitions deal lead for Facebook (eg. Oculus, Privatecore), VC investor & operator at Azure Capital, and social entrepreneur.
Ryan is a seed stage technology investor. Most recently, Ryan served as a member of Facebook’s corporate development team as a deal lead for M&A execution and strategy.
Prior to Facebook, Ryan worked in a VC investing and operating role at Azure Capital, an early stage venture capital firm with $750 million under management, where he focused on consumer internet and mobile investing as well as worked within portfolio companies as VP of Business Development & Partnerships. Within the portfolio, Ryan ran business development & corporate development at Telly, the social video discovery network with 11M million users, and at Convercent, the SAAS leader in employee governance, risk, and compliance. As an investing Associate with Azure, Ryan sourced, analyzed, and supported investments in the internet, mobile, e-commerce and SAAS spaces. He worked closely with the management teams at Telly (Board Observer), Open Road Media (Board Observer), Tripit (acquired by Concur for $120 million), Cooking.com (acquired by Target), Get Satisfaction, BlogHer, and Education.com.
Prior to Azure, Ryan worked as Lead Associate for Hyde Park Angels, one of the 5 largest angel networks in the U.S. where he focused on consumer and SAAS investing.
Ryan is the co-founder of H.E.R.O. for Children, the first non-profit focused on quality of life care for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Ryan built HERO to $1M in revenue and 2,000 volunteers, and in 2013 HERO celebrated its 10th Anniversary with more than 3,000 children served. He currently serves as Board Chair.
Ryan earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he focused on finance, entrepreneurship, and early stage tech investing. While in business school, he and his team won the International Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) out of 56 MBA programs.