Team

Our direct entrepreneurial and operational experience allows us to

unlock value across all stages of a company's life cycle

Bobby Yazdani
Founder & Managing Partner
Babak Poushanchi
Founder & Managing Partner
Albert Azout
Partner
Pete Williams
Partner & COO
Rich Ellinger
Operating Partner
Bobby Yazdani is Founder and Managing Partner of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies. Bobby works full time on the development and support of entrepreneurs through Cota Capital. Through his family office Signatures Capital, Bobby has invested in over 100 private companies. In 2014, Bobby was ranked #1 out of 2000 angel investors for successful follow-on funding by CB Insights. Masimo Corporation was Bobby’s first angel investment in 1989.

In 2015, Bobby endowed the Signatures Innovation Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley to support data science projects with commercial promise. Bobby also serves as a founding member of the Persian Tech Entrepreneurs network, and a National Advisory Board Member of The Reset Foundation.

Bobby founded Saba in 1997, taking the company public in 2000. Today, Saba is the leading provider of Human Capital Development & Management Solutions, serving over 30 million people from 2,200 customers across 195 countries and in 37 languages worldwide. Prior to Saba, Bobby worked at Oracle in various R&D roles.

Bobby has successfully mentored entrepreneurs and invested in over 100 early-stage startups including Aardvark (acq. by Google), Addepar, Atheer Labs, Baarzo (acq. by Google), BaseHealth, Bina Technologies (acq. by Roche), Bonobos, Canary, AddThis (acq. by Oracle), CleverSense (acq. by Google), Dropbox, FundersClub, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), GuardantHealth, inDinero, InstaEdu (acq. by Chegg), KissMetrics, Klout (acq. by Lithium Technologies), Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI), Medialets, NextBio (acq. by Illumina), OpenGov, PassBan (acq. by EMC/RSA), Qwiki (acq. by Yahoo), Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), SoundHound, SweetGreen, ThinkBig Analytics (acq. by Teradata), Uber, Wash.io, Webs.com (acq. by VistaPrint), ZenPayroll and more.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Bobby completed high school in England and received a B.A. in Applied Mathematics at UC Berkeley.
Babak Poushanchi is Founder and Managing Partner of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies. Prior to founding Cota Capital, Babak was a Co-Founder and Co-Portfolio Manager of Newbrook Capital, a $1+ billion long/short equity fund. Previously, Babak was an Investment Analyst at Karsch Capital, a $2+ billion global long/short equity fund. He was also a Venture Partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a technology-focused accelerator with over 70 portfolio companies, and an Investment Associate at Indosuez Capital, a $3+ billion merchant banking fund, investing in private companies across the capital structure. Babak received a B.A. in Economics at Northwestern University.
Prior to joining Cota, Albert Azout was Senior Director of Product & Applied Engineering at AOL, where he was charged with leading a variety of AOL’s efforts in bidding and optimization. Prior to AOL, Albert was the Founder and CEO of Velos, a machine learning software platform, which Verizon/AOL acquired in March 2015. Prior to Velos, Albert was a Co-Founder of StyleCaster, which was sold to SheKnows Media, backed by leading private equity firm Great Hill Partners, and currently the largest media company in lifestyle category with over 90 million monthly uniques. Albert has invested in and actively advises a variety of companies, with a focus on the disruptive utilization of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in products and services. Albert received a B.A. in Finance & Economics at Babson College.
Prior to joining Cota, Pete served in a number of executive positions at Saba, including EVP of Corporate Development, General Counsel and CFO.  During his tenure, Pete played an instrumental role in Saba’s IPO, acquisition strategy and integration, transition from enterprise software to SaaS, and sale in a go-private transaction.  Today, Saba is the leading provider of Human Capital Development & Management Solutions, serving over 30 million people from 2,200 customers across 195 countries and in 37 languages worldwide. 

Previously, Pete was a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, a leading international law firm. Pete has extensive experience representing high-tech companies, as well as venture capital and investment banking firms.  In addition to private and public financings and acquisitions, Pete also specialized in technology and content development, licensing and distribution transactions.

Pete has BAs in economics and psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a JD, cum laude, from Santa Clara University.
Rich Ellinger is an Operating Partner at Cota Capital.

Prior to joining Cota, Rich was a serial entrepreneur with multiple successful exits.  Rich co-founded Saba in 1997. As a public company, Rich ran Saba’s 150 person global R&D organization. After Saba, Rich served as COO of Webs, which was acquired by Vistaprint in 2011. Most recently, Rich was Founder and CEO of Wealthminder, a financial technology company that was acquired by AdvisorEngine in 2017.

Rich has an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science as well as a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University.
Prashanth (PV) Boccasam
Operating Partner
Mariam Barar
Operating Principal
Marcella McColl
VP Finance
Dr. Shubhra Jain
Senior Associate
Cat Rauschuber
Investor Relations Associate
PV is an Operating Partner at Cota Capital. PV's experience encompasses being an entrepreneur, early stage venture capitalist, and an advisor to mid-market private-equity backed companies over the last two decades. He currently serves as an independent board director at Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN) and as the CEO of WealthEngine. 

PV started his career at Microsoft in 1990s. He co-founded Entevo in 1997, which was acquired by BindView/Symantec in 2001. PV then founded Approva in 2002 which was sold to Infor/Lawson in 2011. PV co-founded ClearStandards in 2007 that was acquired by SAP in 2009. PV has been a General Partner at Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a $600M early-stage technology fund, since 2009.

PV has successfully mentored entrepreneurs and invested in over twenty early-to-mid-stage startups. PV is Chairman and co-owner of CommuniKids since 2003. He serves on the University of Maryland's Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Science (CMNS) Board of Visitors and as well as the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship. PV is the founder of Pratham (DC-Chapter), India’s largest NGO focused on education. 

PV has a Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Pune and has executive management certificates from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Mariam is an Operating Principal at Cota Capital.

Mariam has experience providing guidance on strategic and operational planning to Venture and Growth stage companies. Prior to Cota Capital, Mariam spent her career in management consulting as a Director at KPMG. She has experience leading global transformation programs and developing innovative service offerings for Fortune 500 companies in the Technology sector.

Mariam has an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson school of management with an emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship. She has a Bachelors in Science in Finance and a Bachelors in Science in Economics from Santa Clara University.
Marcella joined Cota as VP of Finance in 2018. Prior to joining Cota, Marcella was the CFO/COO at Manifold Partners. She has extensive experience in the alternative investment space and held various senior finance roles including Controller at Hellman and Friedman, American Infrastructure Funds and Carmel Partners. Marcella began her career at KPMG, LLP where she was a manager in the Assurance Practice specializing in investment management and banking. She graduated magna cum laude from Pace University, New York with a BBA in Public Accounting. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California (active).
Dr. Shubhra Jain joined Cota in 2018 as a Senior Associate where she is responsible for sourcing, executing and analyzing healthcare investments. Prior to Cota, Shubhra was Associate Director of Commercial Strategy and Corporate Development at Natera where she focused on Biopharma Partnerships, the diligence of potential acquisitions, market research and competitive positioning. Prior to Natera, she led Product management for Acute care suite of products at Pieces Technologies where she led product development and launch of SaaS risk surveillance and prediction solutions for clinical outcomes and published peer-reviewed research on the subject. Prior to Pieces, Dr. Jain served as a consultant and an advisor to several health tech startups and Fortune 500 companies.


Dr. Jain is a Primary Care Physician from India, has her Masters in Engineering from Stanford with a major in Biodesign and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business.
Cat joined Cota in 2017 and supports Cota's community of investors. Prior to Cota, Cat worked in San Francisco government and politics, including most recently with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu across a wide range of policies and a broad range of constituents. Cat received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Public Policy from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was a recipient of the Public Service Fellowship.
Christina Hu
Team Administrator
Ashkan Marsh
Principal
Patrick Bischoff
Operating Partner
Christina joined Cota Capital in 2018 as a Team Administrator. She manages the office and serves as an Executive Assistant. Prior to Cota Capital, Christina worked as an Associate at Tiedemann Advisors where she assisted high net worth clients. Christina graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Education.
Ashkan Marsh is a Principal of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies.

Prior to Cota, Ashkan was an Investment Partner at Crimson Investment Partners making private equity investments in founder-led companies to accelerate growth through digital transformation and corporate processes. Prior to CIP, Ashkan was a public equity Investment Analyst at Newbrook Capital, a $1+ billion long/short equity fund. Previously, Ashkan was an Investment Analyst and Investment Associate at Goldman Sachs in private equity at the firm’s Special Situations Group, a $25 billion proprietary investment fund. Ashkan was Founder and CEO of SilverIP Communications, which became the leading gigabit internet service provider in Illinois and exited to private equity.

Ashkan received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Patrick is an entrepreneur with several successful exits. His experience ranges from private to public companies as an Operator, Investor, and Board Member. He has worked in Europe, North America, and Asia. 

Patrick was a Partner in Europe’s largest Systems Integration company (CompuNet AG), which he helped grow to over $1B in revenue. CompuNet was sold to GE Capital in 1996. He was a Co-Founder at Saba Software building the Professional Services, Training and Support Organization later building & running it’s EMEA Operations.

After Saba’s IPO, Patrick followed a dream and competed in several Ocean Races, including a circumnavigation.

Patrick was Chief Strategy Officer & Board Member at World Energy. He helped take the company public on TSX with a listing on Nasdaq (XWES) to follow. When he joined, Energy Storage Startup Greensmith Energy as CSO and Board member, he helped them become the dominant global Storage Solution provider facilitating its sale to Finnish Engineering Giant Wärtsilä. Recently, Patrick built the Professional Services, Data Science and Support Organization at Wealthengine.com, also serving as Chief Revenue Officer/GM for the Commercial and Luxury business. 

He studied Technische BWL in Germany, has a BA from Drury College (Magna cum Laude) and holds a Master of International Management with distinction from the American Graduate School in International Management (Thunderbird).
Bobby Yazdani
Founder & Managing Partner
Babak Poushanchi
Founder & Managing Partner
Bobby Yazdani is Founder and Managing Partner of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies. Bobby works full time on the development and support of entrepreneurs through Cota Capital. Through his family office Signatures Capital, Bobby has invested in over 100 private companies. In 2014, Bobby was ranked #1 out of 2000 angel investors for successful follow-on funding by CB Insights. Masimo Corporation was Bobby’s first angel investment in 1989.

In 2015, Bobby endowed the Signatures Innovation Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley to support data science projects with commercial promise. Bobby also serves as a founding member of the Persian Tech Entrepreneurs network, and a National Advisory Board Member of The Reset Foundation.

Bobby founded Saba in 1997, taking the company public in 2000. Today, Saba is the leading provider of Human Capital Development & Management Solutions, serving over 30 million people from 2,200 customers across 195 countries and in 37 languages worldwide. Prior to Saba, Bobby worked at Oracle in various R&D roles.

Bobby has successfully mentored entrepreneurs and invested in over 100 early-stage startups including Aardvark (acq. by Google), Addepar, Atheer Labs, Baarzo (acq. by Google), BaseHealth, Bina Technologies (acq. by Roche), Bonobos, Canary, AddThis (acq. by Oracle), CleverSense (acq. by Google), Dropbox, FundersClub, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), GuardantHealth, inDinero, InstaEdu (acq. by Chegg), KissMetrics, Klout (acq. by Lithium Technologies), Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI), Medialets, NextBio (acq. by Illumina), OpenGov, PassBan (acq. by EMC/RSA), Qwiki (acq. by Yahoo), Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), SoundHound, SweetGreen, ThinkBig Analytics (acq. by Teradata), Uber, Wash.io, Webs.com (acq. by VistaPrint), ZenPayroll and more.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Bobby completed high school in England and received a B.A. in Applied Mathematics at UC Berkeley.
Babak Poushanchi is Founder and Managing Partner of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies. Prior to founding Cota Capital, Babak was a Co-Founder and Co-Portfolio Manager of Newbrook Capital, a $1+ billion long/short equity fund. Previously, Babak was an Investment Analyst at Karsch Capital, a $2+ billion global long/short equity fund. He was also a Venture Partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a technology-focused accelerator with over 70 portfolio companies, and an Investment Associate at Indosuez Capital, a $3+ billion merchant banking fund, investing in private companies across the capital structure. Babak received a B.A. in Economics at Northwestern University.
Albert Azout
Partner
Pete Williams
Partner & COO
Prior to joining Cota, Albert Azout was Senior Director of Product & Applied Engineering at AOL, where he was charged with leading a variety of AOL’s efforts in bidding and optimization. Prior to AOL, Albert was the Founder and CEO of Velos, a machine learning software platform, which Verizon/AOL acquired in March 2015. Prior to Velos, Albert was a Co-Founder of StyleCaster, which was sold to SheKnows Media, backed by leading private equity firm Great Hill Partners, and currently the largest media company in lifestyle category with over 90 million monthly uniques. Albert has invested in and actively advises a variety of companies, with a focus on the disruptive utilization of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in products and services. Albert received a B.A. in Finance & Economics at Babson College.
Prior to joining Cota, Pete served in a number of executive positions at Saba, including EVP of Corporate Development, General Counsel and CFO.  During his tenure, Pete played an instrumental role in Saba’s IPO, acquisition strategy and integration, transition from enterprise software to SaaS, and sale in a go-private transaction.  Today, Saba is the leading provider of Human Capital Development & Management Solutions, serving over 30 million people from 2,200 customers across 195 countries and in 37 languages worldwide. 

Previously, Pete was a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, a leading international law firm. Pete has extensive experience representing high-tech companies, as well as venture capital and investment banking firms.  In addition to private and public financings and acquisitions, Pete also specialized in technology and content development, licensing and distribution transactions.

Pete has BAs in economics and psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a JD, cum laude, from Santa Clara University.
Rich Ellinger
Operating Partner
Prashanth (PV) Boccasam
Operating Partner
Rich Ellinger is an Operating Partner at Cota Capital.

Prior to joining Cota, Rich was a serial entrepreneur with multiple successful exits.  Rich co-founded Saba in 1997. As a public company, Rich ran Saba’s 150 person global R&D organization. After Saba, Rich served as COO of Webs, which was acquired by Vistaprint in 2011. Most recently, Rich was Founder and CEO of Wealthminder, a financial technology company that was acquired by AdvisorEngine in 2017.

Rich has an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Science as well as a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University.
PV is an Operating Partner at Cota Capital. PV's experience encompasses being an entrepreneur, early stage venture capitalist, and an advisor to mid-market private-equity backed companies over the last two decades. He currently serves as an independent board director at Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN) and as the CEO of WealthEngine. 

PV started his career at Microsoft in 1990s. He co-founded Entevo in 1997, which was acquired by BindView/Symantec in 2001. PV then founded Approva in 2002 which was sold to Infor/Lawson in 2011. PV co-founded ClearStandards in 2007 that was acquired by SAP in 2009. PV has been a General Partner at Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a $600M early-stage technology fund, since 2009.

PV has successfully mentored entrepreneurs and invested in over twenty early-to-mid-stage startups. PV is Chairman and co-owner of CommuniKids since 2003. He serves on the University of Maryland's Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Science (CMNS) Board of Visitors and as well as the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship. PV is the founder of Pratham (DC-Chapter), India’s largest NGO focused on education. 

PV has a Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Pune and has executive management certificates from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Mariam Barar
Operating Principal
Marcella McColl
VP Finance
Mariam is an Operating Principal at Cota Capital.

Mariam has experience providing guidance on strategic and operational planning to Venture and Growth stage companies. Prior to Cota Capital, Mariam spent her career in management consulting as a Director at KPMG. She has experience leading global transformation programs and developing innovative service offerings for Fortune 500 companies in the Technology sector.

Mariam has an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson school of management with an emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship. She has a Bachelors in Science in Finance and a Bachelors in Science in Economics from Santa Clara University.
Marcella joined Cota as VP of Finance in 2018. Prior to joining Cota, Marcella was the CFO/COO at Manifold Partners. She has extensive experience in the alternative investment space and held various senior finance roles including Controller at Hellman and Friedman, American Infrastructure Funds and Carmel Partners. Marcella began her career at KPMG, LLP where she was a manager in the Assurance Practice specializing in investment management and banking. She graduated magna cum laude from Pace University, New York with a BBA in Public Accounting. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California (active).
Dr. Shubhra Jain
Senior Associate
Cat Rauschuber
Investor Relations Associate
Dr. Shubhra Jain joined Cota in 2018 as a Senior Associate where she is responsible for sourcing, executing and analyzing healthcare investments. Prior to Cota, Shubhra was Associate Director of Commercial Strategy and Corporate Development at Natera where she focused on Biopharma Partnerships, the diligence of potential acquisitions, market research and competitive positioning. Prior to Natera, she led Product management for Acute care suite of products at Pieces Technologies where she led product development and launch of SaaS risk surveillance and prediction solutions for clinical outcomes and published peer-reviewed research on the subject. Prior to Pieces, Dr. Jain served as a consultant and an advisor to several health tech startups and Fortune 500 companies.


Dr. Jain is a Primary Care Physician from India, has her Masters in Engineering from Stanford with a major in Biodesign and her MBA from the Wharton School of Business.
Cat joined Cota in 2017 and supports Cota's community of investors. Prior to Cota, Cat worked in San Francisco government and politics, including most recently with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu across a wide range of policies and a broad range of constituents. Cat received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Public Policy from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was a recipient of the Public Service Fellowship.
Christina Hu
Team Administrator
Ashkan Marsh
Principal
Christina joined Cota Capital in 2018 as a Team Administrator. She manages the office and serves as an Executive Assistant. Prior to Cota Capital, Christina worked as an Associate at Tiedemann Advisors where she assisted high net worth clients. Christina graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Education.
Ashkan Marsh is a Principal of Cota Capital, a firm investing in private and public technology companies.

Prior to Cota, Ashkan was an Investment Partner at Crimson Investment Partners making private equity investments in founder-led companies to accelerate growth through digital transformation and corporate processes. Prior to CIP, Ashkan was a public equity Investment Analyst at Newbrook Capital, a $1+ billion long/short equity fund. Previously, Ashkan was an Investment Analyst and Investment Associate at Goldman Sachs in private equity at the firm’s Special Situations Group, a $25 billion proprietary investment fund. Ashkan was Founder and CEO of SilverIP Communications, which became the leading gigabit internet service provider in Illinois and exited to private equity.

Ashkan received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Patrick Bischoff
Operating Partner
Patrick is an entrepreneur with several successful exits. His experience ranges from private to public companies as an Operator, Investor, and Board Member. He has worked in Europe, North America, and Asia. 

Patrick was a Partner in Europe’s largest Systems Integration company (CompuNet AG), which he helped grow to over $1B in revenue. CompuNet was sold to GE Capital in 1996. He was a Co-Founder at Saba Software building the Professional Services, Training and Support Organization later building & running it’s EMEA Operations.

After Saba’s IPO, Patrick followed a dream and competed in several Ocean Races, including a circumnavigation.

Patrick was Chief Strategy Officer & Board Member at World Energy. He helped take the company public on TSX with a listing on Nasdaq (XWES) to follow. When he joined, Energy Storage Startup Greensmith Energy as CSO and Board member, he helped them become the dominant global Storage Solution provider facilitating its sale to Finnish Engineering Giant Wärtsilä. Recently, Patrick built the Professional Services, Data Science and Support Organization at Wealthengine.com, also serving as Chief Revenue Officer/GM for the Commercial and Luxury business. 

He studied Technische BWL in Germany, has a BA from Drury College (Magna cum Laude) and holds a Master of International Management with distinction from the American Graduate School in International Management (Thunderbird).