Sakti Leadership and Board of Directors
The leadership team at Sakti has over 100 years of collective startup, big company, manufacturing, equipment, finance and R&D experience. Our investment team is committed to development of clean, scalable technologies and brings global experience to our efforts. Together, we aim to bring better batteries to into global production.
Ann Marie Sastry brings over 25 years’ technical and leadership experience at the University of Michigan, National Laboratories, and public and private sector corporations, to her role at Sakti. Under her guidance, Sakti’s battery technology was recognized by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies (2012) and World’s Top Ten, representing the “energy” category (2011).
Prior to leading Sakti, Sastry was the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM). Tenured and promoted early, she founded and led two research centers in batteries and bioscience, and a global graduate program in energy systems engineering. Her laboratory originated the technical work that underpins Sakti technology, and was continuously funded by the DOE for over 17 years. She also led work sponsored by public and corporate sources (NSF, NIH, Army, ONR, DARPA, General Motors, Ford, LBNL, ORNL). She has received several of the highest technical honors in her field, including the 2011 ASME Frank Kreith Energy Award, 2007 ASME Gustus Larson Award and the NSF’s PECASE (1997). Her UM recognitions included the Henry Russell and 1938E awards. She holds PhD and MS degrees from Cornell University, and a BS from the University of Delaware, all in Mechanical Engineering.
Board of Directors
Samir Kaul is a Founding General Partner at Khosla Ventures.
At Venter’s Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Samir served as the chairperson of the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative (AGI). The project completed years before schedule and well under budget, culminating in a historic publication in Nature, December 2000.
Samir then joined Flagship Ventures where he was involved in starting and investing in a number of companies and as CEO of Codon Devices, raised the Series A financing, built the technical and advisory teams, and booked significant revenues in the company’s first year of operations.
Samir left Flagship for Khosla Ventures in 2006, focusing primarily on renewable energy, clean technologies, and life sciences investing.
Samir has since been a cofounder/founding investor in several companies including Sakti and a number of early-stage science projects.
Charles Rothstein is the Founder and Senior Managing Director of Michigan-based Beringea LLC.
Beringea is the largest provider of venture and growth capital in the state of Michigan. The Firm also has an office in London and more than 70 portfolio companies in the U.S. and UK.
Charles has more than 20 years of investing experience. He has been a board member of a number of Beringea’s portfolio companies and sits on the investment committees of Michigan Growth Capital Partners, Michigan Growth Capital Partners SBIC, Global Rights Fund II and InvestCare Partners.
Charles also served on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Strategic Fund, one of the State’s leading economic development and finance authorities. He is also currently a board member of Venture Michigan Fund I and II, fund-of-funds investing in Michigan-based venture capital firms. Charles graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.B.A. and a MBA.
Jon Lauckner is General Motors VP and Chief Technology Officer. In addition to CTO, Jon is President, GM Ventures and responsible for leading GM’s Global Research and Development.
Lauckner was responsible for forming General Motors Ventures, LLC, a separate subsidiary started in July 2010. As president, Jon leads a team making equity investments in startup companies that are developing next-generation automotive technology.
Lauckner previously held the positions of VP, Global Product Planning and VP, Global Program Management.
Jon joined General Motors in 1979 and held a number of positions in product/powertrain engineering and product development, including assignments in South America and Europe from 1992-2005.
Lauckner received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1979. He earned a Master of Science degree in management from Stanford Business School in 1990 through the Sloan Fellowship program and attended the GM-Harvard Senior Executive Program in 2001.
Shinji Asada is currently Director of ITOCHU Technology Ventures, Incorporated (ITV), and has deep experience investing into US technology based companies and helping them enter Japan.
At ITOCHU, Shinji is in charge of strategic planning, business development, and investments and M&A.
Shinji joined ITOCHU Techno-Solutions (CTC) during 2005-2009, and was responsible for providing system consultation towards finance customers. He has extensive knowledge and experience with hardware and software technology.
He recently completed a successful M&A at ITOCHU by merging three companies and restructuring the new company, a SaaS service in the talent management space. He grew that business to be recognized as “Best Partner in Japan” by SAP, for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012).
Shinji has since been a cofounder/founding investor, board member and adviser in several startup companies. Shinji majored in economics at Keio University and received a MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Chester “Chet” Farris is Chairman of the Board, President / CEO of Stion Corporation.
Chet has 30+ years of management experience in the semiconductor industry and 15+ years experience running leading global solar manufacturers.
Chet has hands-on experience running both Operations and Sales & Marketing and strong technical expertise along with extensive familiarity with fundraising and strategic partnerships.
Chet’s background and experience includes: Rockwell International, Test Department Head; Hughes Aircraft Company, Division Manager | National and Regional Sales & Marketing Manager; Litel Instruments, VP Sales & Marketing, Siemens Solar Industries, President & CEO.
Chet has completed various courses in electronics and business administration. He is an independent board member of SolarEdge, has served as President of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and a founding member of the US Department of Energy’s national Center for Photovoltaics as well as a Board Member at Sakti.
Richard T. Ogawa is a U.S. patent attorney specializing in high technology companies. He is founder and owner of OGAWA, P.C., which is a boutique high technology law firm involved predominately with venture-backed start-ups. Mr. Ogawa has been involved in high technology for over twenty five years, represented over two-hundred companies, and has been associated with over a thousand patents and transactions.
Mr. Ogawa serves as General Counsel for MCube, Inc. funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mr. Ogawa also serves as Chief Intellectual Property Officer for Stion Corporation, Soraa, Inc., Topanga Technologies, Inc., PVT Solar, Inc., Sakti, Inc., and others, which were funded by Khosla Ventures in Silicon Valley. Through OGAWA, P.C., Mr. Ogawa represents many other Silicon Valley companies.
His practice specializes in intellectual property and transactions. The intellectual property work includes procurement of U.S. and foreign patents, strategies, portfolio development, counseling and opinions in the fields of semiconductors, integrated circuits, networking, Internet, memory disks, fishing lures (e.g., swimbaits), batteries, solar, lighting, and other related technologies. Mr. Ogawa has successfully prosecuted to issue hundreds of U.S. patents, some of which have been successfully litigated and licensed.