Buckner to co-lead Pacific Northwest venture fund
Laurel Buckner, a seasoned corporate venture capitalist, has joined WestRiver Group as a managing director of its Pacific Northwest Fund. Buckner, along with Anthony Bontrager, will now co-lead the fund, which launched last year and focuses on early stage investments.
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WestRiver Group Managing Director Laurel Buckner. Photo Credit: Dave Sizer
“I’m very excited to be joining WestRiver Group at this stage of the firm’s expansion. The Pacific Northwest fosters vibrant entrepreneurial talent and is an incredible place to build a company,” Buckner said. “WestRiver Group’s Pacific Northwest Fund is well positioned to support our region’s thriving ecosystem. I look forward to working alongside Anthony to expand our portfolio of high-potential technology companies.”
As an early stage venture fund, Buckner and Bontrager will work with companies at their formative stages, bringing capital, strategic relationships and operational guidance to help them grow and succeed.
“Our partnership broadens our perspectives and increases creativity,” Bontrager said. “Laurel’s background and expertise in venture investing, operations and mergers and acquisitions are invaluable.”
With more than 20 years of operational and investing expertise, Buckner has a successful track record investing in and growing companies, including local start-ups Blue Box (acquired by IBM) and ZipWhip. Buckner was most recently senior vice president, managing director, at ATN Ventures, where she invested in new technologies and business models that benefited ATN’s domestic and foreign subsidiaries.
Buckner has a long history in the Seattle venture and tech community, previously working at Seattle start-up Aventail and as a lead mergers and acquisitions attorney for Dell. She started her legal career at Seattle’s Davis Wright Tremaine.
“Laurel comes at a time of increasing momentum here at WestRiver Group,” said Erik Anderson, WestRiver Group founder and chief executive officer. “She’s a fantastic cultural fit and exemplifies our commitment to gender-diverse leadership, which has proven to generate greater returns for investors. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join our firm.”
More about Laurel Buckner:
Laurel Buckner co-leads the WestRiver Group Pacific Northwest Fund and serves on the Board of TeraGo (TSX:TGO) in Toronto, Canada. Before WRG, Buckner was senior vice president, managing director, of ATN Ventures, where she focused on value creation through investments in new technologies and business models that benefited ATN’s operating subsidiaries in the United States and abroad. Before founding ATN Ventures, she created and ran GCI’s corporate venture fund and was on the Board of the Blue Box Group (sold to IBM); Telesphere (sold to Vonage); and ZipWhip. Buckner has extensive experience in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions. She was previously a lead M&A attorney at Dell and the general counsel of SonicWALL, a network security company based in San Jose, Calif., (sold to Dell). She began her career at the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle. Buckner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Colorado College with Distinction, a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver, and an LL.M in Taxation from the University of Washington. She is an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors.
About Anthony Bontrager:
Anthony Bontrager co-leads the WestRiver Group Pacific Northwest Fund and serves on the boards of WRG’s portfolio companies Viewpath, Wicket Labs, Tectonic Audio Labs, Igneous Systems and PTO Exchange. He is a board observer for the Riveter and a strategic advisor to Madrona Venture Labs. Prior to WRG, Anthony founded Soda Media, Inc., a strategic advisory firm for family offices in the Pacific Northwest, managing such select venture investments as Make.TV, Pendrell, Mindbloom and ContentGuard. He was president of Onecast, a mobile video news aggregation platform that was launched via Craig O. McCaw’s Eagle River Investments. Bontrager was co-founder and CEO of IPTV transport-provider Broadstream Communications, where he negotiated $36 million in capital and infrastructure funding from various investors, including the world’s largest satellite operator, Intelsat. Bontrager holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, from Seattle University. He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Interactive Media Peer Group, and he was a co-author of Washington State’s Wireless Siting Policy.
About WestRiver Group:
WestRiver Group is a collection of investment funds providing integrated capital solutions to the global innovation economy. The Seattle-based venture-debt and equity firm has a growing portfolio of investments in technology, life sciences, energy and experiential sectors.