Valence & Upfront Ventures
Co-Founder & Partner
Kobie has been a partner at Upfront since 2016, with a core investing focus in SaaS, marketing technology, and emerging technologies including VR and AR. His notable Upfront investments include Bevy, Wave, Cordial and MetaCX. While at Upfront, Kobie also founded and incubated Valence, a platform to unlock economic opportunity, investment and community for Black professionals; he is also on the Advisory Board for PledgeLA, an organization working to increase diversity and equity in tech. Prior to Upfront, Kobie was an investor at Accel, helped found OpenView Venture Partners, and was an investor at Insight Venture Partners, with early investments including Exact Target and Oculus. He was also the Chief Marketing Officer at LA-based REVOLVE, one of the largest global fashion e-commerce players. Kobie graduated from Harvard College.
Isoken is an MBA graduate from The University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School. Prior to Wharton, Isoken started her career at Target in operations focused on driving in store process improvement, labor optimization, omni channel distribution and fulfillment strategies, where she developed an interest in last mile technologies. Soon after she moved to Amazon as the Regional Area Manager for PrimeNow, where she designed in-store fulfillment processes for their 1-2 hour delivery offering. After Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods Market, she moved to a PM role on the Whole Foods Operations Integration team, focused on scaling the delivery offering in new markets, and leading product strategy and development of enhancements to Amazon PrimeNow's order fulfillment and workforce management software applications.
Top 5 Inspirations:
Women Empowerment, Harry Potter, Community, Innovative Technology
Simone spent over 8 years building expertise in understanding customer experiences and needs through various process improvement, sales coaching, and customer insights analysis roles at Capital One. While growing her career there, she simultaneously launched and ran her own hair company benefitting women battling cancer, as well as a social media educational platform for influencers to organically grow their platforms. These experiences inspired her to pursue a marketing career while attending The University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with her MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from The Wharton School.
Top 5 Inspirations:
My daughter Kaia, Fenty, International Travel, Women Empowerment
Host, Author, Innovation Advocate
Chris Denson, innovation expert, Innovation Crush podcast host, and author of the #1 bestseller, Crushing the Box: 10 Essential Rules for Breaking Essential Rules, delivers keynotes that are informative, engaging and entertaining. He merges his experience advertising and marketing expertise, POV as an innovation expert, and his comedic talent to deliver memorable messages to audiences across industries, at home and abroad. He is also skilled at leading insightful conversations, moderating panels and providing continuity as the MC/host for conferences and workshops.