ABOUT US


john morris headshotA former venture capitalist, John brings over 30 years of diverse and substantive experience to the Optimize team. Since 2010, he has chaired an advisory board comprising CEOs located in Greater Los Angeles and a second board for a variety of C-level executives.

John is Chairman Emeritus of the Tech Coast Angels (TCA), the largest angel investor network in the country, and the cofounder of TCA Los Angeles, its largest member network. From 2001 to 2009, he managed a VC fund focused on later-stage venture capital financings.

For twelve years, John served as an adjunct faculty member at UCLA Anderson School of Management. His principle role consisted of advising MBA teams working on their field study projects for the Global Access Program (GAP).

John began his career with his MBA degree at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Since then he has enjoyed a successful journey in various leadership roles including public accounting, financial management, investment banking and venture capital. His venture capital career commenced in 1988 with First Interstate Venture Capital where, as a partner, he led a wide variety of successful venture capital financings. This experience included a number of director roles for both public and private companies.

John has consistently been an active member and often a director of the Los Angeles business community, including the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA). He is a cofounder of several well-known professional networking groups including the VC Alliance, Southern California Technology Networking Group, Tech CEO Network, Launchpad LA and Mentor Night.

When not working with his CEO members, John and his wife Teddi enjoy adventure travel. Both are avid scuba divers, and John also enjoys golf, fly fishing and digital photography. He is the proud father of daughter Elise and son Tyler, as well as three grandchildren.

Professional background:

  • Chair, Vistage Worldwide, 2010 to May 2018
  • Faculty Advisor, UCLA Anderson School of Management, 2005 to May 2018
  • Managing Director, GKM Ventures, a later-stage venture capital fund, 2001 to 2009
  • Member, Tech Coast Angels, 1999 to present
  • Chairman, Tech Coast Angels, 2004 and 2005
  • President, Tech Coast Angels, 1999 to 2003
  • Managing Director, Sutro & Co., 1996 to 1999
  • Managing Director, Wedbush Morgan Securities, 1995
  • Managing Director, NewCap Partners, 1993 to 1995
  • Managing Director, First Interstate Venture Capital, First Interstate Bancorp, 1988 to 1993
  • Managing Director, Paine Webber, 1987
  • Managing Director, Wedbush Noble Cooke, 1984 to 1986
  • CFO and VP, Finance with two public companies including Wynn’s International and Phone-Mate, Inc., 1978-1983
  • Audit staff with Arthur Young and Co., 1973 to 1975
  • CPA license for California, 1974

Education:

  • BA, Economics, UCLA
  • MBA, Tuck School of Management, Dartmouth College

Boards and Organizations:

  • Presently serving as Director for three private angel and VC-backed companies
  • Past Member of Board of Directors, Tech Coast Angels
  • Past Director of Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA)