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Introducing: The Newest Assembly Ventures Operator Advisors

At Assembly Ventures our mission is to partner with, and strategically support, those at the forefront of building the next generation of mobility. We believe that the global mobility sector is on the verge of a generational transformation. We understand that existing transport systems no longer fully reflect the needs of passengers and are not sustainable over time. We are convinced of the enormous opportunity that exists to invest in the entrepreneurs and technologies that will move the world.

Perhaps most importantly, we know that success in the mobility sector requires collaboration and constant dialogue between a diverse set of actors. By exposing our team and our portfolio companies to a plethora of relevant and expert perspectives we can maximize our impact and potential.

Earlier this year we introduced our first wave of Operator Advisors, a dynamic group of experts that will act as advisors to our team and our portfolio companies. Today, we are proud to announce the second wave of Assembly Ventures Operator Advisors. All are powerful additions on an individual basis and in sum represent a group of thought-leaders, executives and entrepreneurs that we believe is unmatched in the mobility sector. David, Jody, John, Kathleen, Michael, Reuben, and others, welcome to the Assembly Ventures platform! Let’s get to work and move the world.

David Brophy is a Professor of Finance at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Director of the UM Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance. David’s research focuses on structuring and valuation of venture capital, private equity, and initial public offerings of common stock and characteristics of the global venture capital and private equity market. He is a founding director of two leading international private equity conferences: the University of Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and the University of Michigan Global Private Equity Conference. David was the principal investigator on “Prospects for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century,” a White House Conference on Small Business. He is a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Private Equity and the International Journal of Venture Capital. David’s consulting activities in the public and private sectors include his advisory work with funds such as Compass Technology Partners, Plymouth Ventures, and BioStar Ventures, as well as with various corporations and government agencies in the United States, China, Australia, and France. He holds an MBA from University of Detroit and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.


Jody Kelman is the Head of Lyft Autonomous, where she leads self-driving vehicle deployments for the rideshare company. She previously spent nearly half a decade as the product executive responsible for Lyft’s consumer self-driving efforts. Prior to Lyft, Jody worked at McKinsey & Company, focusing on public-private partnerships and technology-driven infrastructure investments. In 2008, Jody served on President Obama’s Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform (TIGR) transition team, advising the incoming administration on using technology to improve government performance. Jody graduated magna cum laude with highest honors in field from Harvard College. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Sydney, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

John Moavenzadeh is an experienced mobility operator, advisor, and educator. He currently serves as Executive Director of the MIT Mobility Initiative where he co-designed and co-instructs the graduate-level course Mobility Ventures. John is Founder and Managing Partner at Mobility Nexus LLC, which provides strategic advisory services to drive innovation in transportation systems, and serves as Senior Advisor to Deloitte’s Future of Mobility practice. Prior to MIT, John was a member of the Executive Committee and Head of Mobility at the World Economic Forum for over 15 years in Geneva and New York. In this role, he led a team focused on all aspects of the movement of people and goods and gained a global perspective across the entire mobility ecosystem working with CEOs and government leaders. John has held numerous other roles focused on the transformation of the global transportation system, from his early days as a design engineer at Ford to strategy consulting to academic research. John holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Melon University and holds graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Kathleen Ligocki is an experienced operator and automotive executive currently serving on the Board of Directors at three public companies: Lear Corporation, PPG, and Carpenter Technology. She is also Board Chair at Farmers Business Network, a venture-backed agtech company. Kathleen’s prior roles include serving as CEO of Agility Fuel Solutions, LLC, a leading manufacturer of natural gas solutions for medium and heavy-duty vehicles in North America, and Harvest Power, Inc., a leading organic waste management company in North America. She also worked as an operating partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a top venture capital firm. Prior to these positions, Kathleen held a number of leadership roles with a variety of start-up companies, as president and chief executive officer of two start-up automobile manufacturers, and CEO of a Fortune 1000 automotive supplier. She has also held senior management positions at Ford Motor Company, United Technologies Corporation, and General Motors. Kathleen holds an MBA from the Wharton School along with a number of honorary doctorate degrees.

Michael Dunne is an Asia-Pacific mobility expert and advisor who currently serves as the CEO of ZoZo Go, a firm that advises automakers, tech companies, and investors on how to win in Asia. His career spans 26 years in Asia Pacific where he’s founded multiple companies and consulting firms. He also led JD Power China and General Motors Indonesia operations. Michael is an author of American Wheels, Chinese Roads and creator of the Winning in Asia podcast. He has been featured as a keynote speaker at conferences hosted by the Council of Foreign Relations, Financial Times, and JP Morgan. After graduating from the US Marine Corps Platoon Leadership Training, he went on to study at the University of Aix-en-Provence and earned two graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in business and Chinese history. Michael speaks Mandarin Chinese, Thai, French, and Indonesian.

Reuben Sarkar is an experienced energy and infrastructure executive whose experience includes roles in both the private and public sector. He currently serves as the president and CEO for the American Center for Mobility where he acts as a liaison between OEMs, technology developers, and policy makers and leverages the Center’s leading-edge facilities and resources to move business and economic growth forward in Southeast Michigan. Reuben brings more than two decades of experience in transportation innovation in corporate, government, and entrepreneurial roles including serving as Chief Product Officer for Forge Nano and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation for the U.S. Department of Energy. He also held senior leadership roles in business development and engineering at Proterra and General Motors. Reuben is a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. He holds both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering, as well as an MBA with high distinction, all from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

About Assembly Ventures

Assembly Ventures invests in and strategically supports the entrepreneurs and mobility companies moving the Western world.

Posted: October 13, 2021

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