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The Team

Andrey Shirben
Location: Sydney, Australia

A founding partner of Follow[the]Seed, Andrey leads investment in Australia and Oceania, with a particular interest in security and network technology.
Andrey has been building companies, projects and ventures since he was 19. Andrey is a tireless investor and an experienced startup founder. He brings a wealth of practical experience to the companies he invests in, helping founders with everything from corporate strategy, deal making, to business development.

Andrey believes that great people working in interesting markets are essential to startup success, and his remarkable track record of success is proof that it works.

Achievements: Over the past 12 years Andrey has founded two venture funds and lead investments in 70+ early stage companies. With outsized investment returns, he has established himself as a leader in early stage investment in Australia and Israel. Andrey has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to build great companies, including several IPOs and 1 unicorn.

Expertise: Managing startups from seed or pre-seed to IPO. Deal making and investment structures for early stage companies. Product and market strategy. Helping startups get more done with less.

Ajoy Mallik
Location: Silicon Valley, USA

With deep experience in corporate venture and large professional network in Silicon Valley, Ajoy leads enterprise and Saas investments at Follow[the]Seed.
He is passionate about corporate development and works daily with portfolio companies to build relationships with strategic partners and execute deals with the world's largest companies.

Achievements: Ajoy founded corporate venture and innovation business units at brands like TATA and Cognizant. As a senior executive and global head of these businesses, Ajoy has overseen the growth of corporate venture for the past 13 years. He was also part of the core founding team at Odesk in early 2000s, now rebranded as Upwork with ~ 1.5B USD in gross revenues.

Expertise: Building, scaling, & managing an ecosystem of global Fortune 1000 corporates (buy side) and globally distributed startups (sell side) with deal flow, technology solutions, incubating and scaling new businesses, acquisitions, & strategic investment spanning five continents across Silicon Valley, Israel, India, Nordics, UK, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and NZ.

Curt Shi
Location: Beijing, China

Rainmaker, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Curt leads investment in TMT, sports, entertainment and gaming startups.
With over 10 years in the industry, Curt is an experienced investor and entrepreneur who is focussed on crossover opportunities in China, US, and South Pacific.
He works with portfolio companies to setup, access and compete in the world’s largest yet complex market.

Achievements: Since 1999, Curt has been actively participating in China’s TMT entrepreneurial community and as a typical entrepreneur-turned-investor, Curt has been successfully managing venture funds in China and Australia than a decade, with successful exits both on American and Australian capital markets. One of his recent successful cross-border investments was Catapult Sports which is a leader in wearable sports analytics technology and was listed on Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:CAT) Dec 2014 (15x return in 18 months). For his professional performance, Curt was the 2016 winner of “CPA Australia - Australia China Alumni Award for Banking and Finance” by Australia China Alumni Association and a finalist for the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Alumni Award” by Western Sydney University for 2017.

Expertise: Corporate development, deal engineering, venture capitalism, action sports lifestyle, cross border transactions.

Eliav Alaluf
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Eliav is a marketing and PR professional who leads Follow[the]Seed’s investment in Israel and Europe.
He has particular expertise in evaluating consumer, mobile internet, media and analytics technologies.
Eliav is passionate about human centered design and works with portfolio companies to better understand their customer’s and their market.

Achievements: With over 13 years experience leading PR and market strategy for technology companies, Eliav understands what it takes to build viral products. He lead the development of Raving Fans, a unique predictive analytics platform that uses behavioural psychology to identify habit forming products and services at their earliest stages.

Expertise: Product & market strategy, consumer internet, marketing and behavior analytics, social media strategy.

Chen Gabay
Location: Sydney, Australia

Chen is a highly creative, results driven, legal professional. As COO, she leads the fund’s operations and compliance activity across four international locations and works to support the diverse needs of the fund’s investment portfolio.
With a background in corporate governance and labor law, Chen is uniquely capable of traversing the complex legal environment encountered by fast growth companies.

Achievements: Chen holds a Masters Degree and Bachelor's Degree in Law from Haifa University, and has been a member of the Israeli Bar Association since 2011.
Previously, Chen worked as an Advocate at Feinberg & Co. providing counsel to companies and enterprises operating in Israel on diverse range of labor law issues. Chen was a legal intern at the District Attorney’s office, specialising in different areas of civil law.

Expertise: Labor law, civil law, corporate law, legal and financial compliance, operations management and strategy, business development and alliances

Yifat Shirben
Location: Sydney, Australia

Yifat is a marketing and business development professional who leads the fund’s marketing activity.
As CMO, she brings over a decade of international marketing experience from a variety of entrepreneurial ventures, and provides expert leadership on the design, implementation, and execution of high growth campaigns and product launches.

Achievements: An entrepreneur, speaker, blogger, and passionate thought leader; Yifat regularly appears in the media to discuss growth and entrepreneurial marketing strategy.
She is a mentor in leading accelerators such as Muru-D and Stone & Chalk; where she helps startups to better target their customers.

Expertise: Marketing startegy, Tech story-telling, Online Marketing, PR, Growth, Business Dev.,

Hugh Geiger
Location: Silicon Valley, USA

Hugh is a serial entrepreneur who has been building companies for 10 years.
As EIR, he offers practical product and strategy advice for companies operating in IoT and enterprise SaaS.
His passion is product strategy for emerging technologies, in particular machine learning and new human interfaces. Hugh works frequently with accelerators around the world.

Achievements: Hugh has founded 3 companies, received 25+ accolades for technology and product innovation, including the Qualcomm Prize, and is a Techstars Alumni. He is a mentor in dozens of accelerator programs around the world, including Techstars, 500 Startups, Blackbox, Muru-D, and Startmate.

Expertise: Product strategy, early stage funding strategy, behavioural economics, startup accelerators, mentoring, machine learning.
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