Marketer In Residence
Sheila Gulati is a seasoned software expert with a wide range of industry experiences. She blends her financial and strategic acumen with her deep knowledge and passion for software businesses. Prior to founding Tola Capital, Sheila was the business and marketing leader for the Enterprise Application Platform for Microsoft. This responsibility included the company’s Database and Developer Platform and Tools businesses, contributing $5 billion in annual global revenue.
She co-owned the Enterprise IT strategy for Microsoft, leading a successful major business shift to capture more revenue share and seize new computing trends, including the advent of cloud computing. Sheila spent over a decade at Microsoft in other roles, including Developer and Platform Evangelism, Business Management, Corporate M&A, and Strategy.
Prior to Microsoft, Sheila was an investment banker for Robertson Stephens, where she closely partnered with her clients to drive financing, acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures. Early in her career, she spent time as a web developer for public and private sector organizations. Sheila is a second-generation software entrepreneur, and she grew up alongside her family’s software company in New York.
Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, BSc in Finance and Entrepreneurship and BA in International Studies
Aaron Fleishman is a technology strategist and entrepreneur, with experience as a Strategy Manager at Microsoft and as an eCommerce startup CEO and Founder. Having been on both sides of the investment table, Aaron leverages this dual perspective along with his financial, strategic, and operational expertise to identify compelling technology companies and investments.
Prior to starting his own company, Aaron worked as a Corporate Strategy and M&A Manager at Microsoft. His responsibilities included strategic planning, product strategy, market analysis, deal evaluation, due diligence, and post-deal integration. Aaron evaluated acquisition targets ranging from $2M – $50B valuations, including product strategy and synergy analysis that resulted in the eventual $26B acquisition of LinkedIn. He also worked with executives at Microsoft to devise the company’s strategy in enterprise SaaS, cloud, and search.
As the CEO and Founder of his own eCommerce startup, Aaron conceived of a new business model for the $7B high-end apparel market and built a revenue-generating business in nine months. He built the user experience and back-end systems, managed marketing efforts, forged partnerships with multi-million dollar designer labels, and directed the long-term strategy and vision of the company.
Aaron worked at a hedge fund in New York earlier in his career.
University of Washington, BBA in Finance
Jake Nibley has a background in business planning, applying financial and metrics-based views to strategic business and product decisions. As an investor he applies this experience to do deep financial forensics to understand the underlying health and drivers of businesses and to identify strategic growth opportunities. Jake initially joined the Tola team as a Finance Manager, managing metrics and revenue forensics across the portfolio and supporting deal diligence.
Prior to Tola, Jake was the finance lead for the Customer Experience product line at Qualtrics where he supported both revenue and OPEX planning. Before joining Qualtrics, Jake was part of Microsoft’s Commercial Office 365 business where he supported M&A, strategic partnerships, addressable market analysis, and product roadmap planning. He joined Microsoft as an analyst in the Finance Rotation Program, working with the sales, accounting, strategy, and engineering organizations.
While completing his undergraduate degree, he interned at both private and public companies, including Amazon where he supported the launch of their app store business.
Yale University, BA in Economics and Mathematics
Will Coggins has a background developing growth strategies and building new products, bringing a deep product and customer needs perspective to investing.
Will was previously at Microsoft where he had two sets of experiences. He spent four years as a Corporate Strategy and M&A Manager at the company, focusing on organic growth strategy as well as M&A explorations. While at Microsoft, Will also worked as a Program Manager to develop a new enterprise security product within the Microsoft 365 suite. In this role he gained operational experience across the product development lifecycle and built a deep appreciation of customer needs.
Prior to his time at Microsoft, Will worked at the TMT consulting firm Altman Vilandrie & Company on investor diligence and product strategy engagements.
Pacific Lutheran University, BBA in Accounting and Finance
Tashi Schmidt is an experienced CFO with a track record of success in leading the financial management and operations of firms in the financial sector. Tashi was a member of the founding Tola executive team, joining Tola as the CFO in 2015.
In 2018 Tashi left Tola and lived in Bhutan, establishing the first private qualified accounting and auditing firm in Bhutan, responsible for auditing large corporations, state-owned enterprises, and the central bank. In 2020 Tashi returned to Seattle and rejoined Tola Capital as the CFO.
Tashi started her career with PwC in their Seattle office and then moved to Benchmark Plus, an alternative investment manager and advisor, where she was the Controller. Tashi is an active CPA licensed in the State of Washington.
Georgetown University, BS in International Politics
Akshay Bhushan applies his experiences in product management to identifying and investing in enterprise software companies.
Akshay was previously an Associate at L.E.K. Consulting, a global management-consulting firm with Fortune 500 and private equity clients. During his time at L.E.K., he worked on strategic issues for a range of clients in the software, aviation, and healthcare industries. His primary focus was on investment diligence and growth strategy. He also worked directly with several L.E.K. practices to define their internal data and technology initiatives.
Prior to this, Akshay completed a rotation with the Hasso-Plattner Institut, a German research institute and enterprise software incubator.
During his undergraduate studies, Akshay served as a product manager for Fedcentric Technologies, where he partnered with researchers on development of new algorithms and products at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. When he wasn’t studying, he spent his time teaching himself to code.
Arizona State University
Stacey Giard is an expert in the marketing and sales of software. She has spent her career scaling software businesses with a focus on delivering global go-to-market strategy, positioning, customer offers, technical partner and developer ecosystem enablement, and enterprise selling models. She applies her expertise to help portfolio companies strengthen their market presence and customer engagement.
Prior to co-founding Tola Capital, Stacey worked for Microsoft where she held roles within the Server and Tools business. She established and managed a cross-company team to deliver a unified message and global marketing and business plan to drive premium enterprise IT offerings focused on mission-critical customer needs.
She created marketing and sales campaigns to drive developer tools revenue and adoption with enterprise and mid-market customers. Stacey was also responsible for growing and engaging the Microsoft development tools partner and ecosystem and developer community.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Stacey held a marketing and community engagement role with an online education startup.
University of North Texas, BBA, MBA, Management, Marketing
Phil is a seasoned revenue leader and has grown depth and breadth businesses at scale. He is part of the Tola investment team, serves on boards, and guides companies on their sales and growth strategies.
Most recently, he was the Chief Revenue Officer for RingCentral where he led the company’s global sales and partner organization.
Prior to this role he spent decades at Microsoft, most recently as a Corporate Vice President, leading Microsoft’s U.S. Enterprise Commercial Group, an organization responsible for helping the company’s largest commercial customers in the U.S. navigate digital transformation.
Previously, Phil held several leadership roles with Microsoft which included leading the channel strategy for the worldwide partner network, running the Small and Mid-Market Solutions and Partners business where he was responsible for sales, marketing and partner management, managing the Dynamics and Service Provider businesses across all customer segments, as well as serving as President of Microsoft Canada.
MBA from the University of Bremen in International Management
Karolin Beck is an internationally experienced business and marketing executive with a proven track record of bringing new products and services to a global market and developing, managing, and executing results-driven go-to-market plans and strategies.
Most recently, she was the Chief Marketing Officer at Munich-based Thinkproject, the leading European SaaS provider for construction and engineering projects, where she transformed the Marketing Team into a modern, data-driven organization.
Previously, she was responsible for the self-service business at Sauce Labs in San Francisco, and later VP Marketing EMEA based in Munich, where she led the company’s growth strategy for Europe.
At the open-source company Chef Software, she held various marketing leadership positions and worked with large enterprise customers to leverage continuous automation that drove digital transformation.
From 2002 to 2013, she worked at Microsoft in Germany and at its headquarters in the US on new and emerging technologies and programs for the developer ecosystem.