Laurie Yoler is a Venture Partner at Playground Global. An ambitious problem-solver and prolific connector by nature, Laurie has decades of experience building, scaling, and advising companies from seed-stage startups to multinational corporations.
Previously, Laurie was a board member and active strategic advisor for autonomous mobility leader Zoox from its earliest days until it was acquired by Amazon in August 2020. Prior to that, Laurie was President of Qualcomm Labs at Qualcomm, focused on organic internal growth and inorganic growth for the world’s mobile technology leader. Before that, she was a founder and Managing Director at GrowthPoint Technology Partners, a pioneering technology investment bank, where she helped entrepreneurs and their boards complete strategic M&A transactions and fundraises.
The first years of her career were spent as a computer scientist in artificial intelligence developing and launching new innovations and products for Accenture, PwC, and Visa. At Visa, Laurie helped create a new division focusing exclusively on debit cards, which eventually yielded the groundbreaking Visa Debit Card.
Next, she was at Sun Microsystems, where she helped the company emerge as the go-to server platform for software in the internet age. Start-ups became increasingly important customers and partners for Sun and Java, so Laurie helped start and build Sun Microsystems Ventures, an early corporate venture capital group.
Laurie liked startups so much that she left Sun in 2001 to dive full time into early-stage ventures, learning company building, fundraising, and being part of a founding team at six companies, including Tesla, where she was a founding investor and board member for almost a decade. Laurie was also a founding executive at Packet Design, focused on building new networking and security companies. Packet Design created a network performance management software company which was later acquired by Ciena.
Throughout her career, Laurie has served as a board director and advisor on more than 25 boards spanning public companies, startups and nonprofits. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of Bose, Church & Dwight, Leaf Logistics, Saltbox, and NACD Northern California, and on the advisory boards of Aptiv, Accenture, TTI/Vanguard, and AI4All.
Dedicated to a lifetime of learning, Laurie enthusiastically continues her education at Stanford in subjects such as board governance, biotechnology, biochemistry, neuropsychology, neuroscience, and geology. She also guest lectures for the Engineering, Law, and Business Schools at Stanford.