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TEAMMATES

We’re the teammates that match your mindset and work ethic.

Our Team

Ben Gardner

Partner, Head of Portfolio Success

Ben joined the Will Ventures team following a 5+ year stint at Andreessen Horowitz, where he built out the a16z consumer team’s go-to-market platform. During that time he worked as a strategic advisor for portfolio companies like Instacart, Lime, Sleeper, Substack, Levels Health, and Dapper Labs, among many others. He also built and managed a16z’s network of corporate executives and influencers across sports, media & entertainment, consumer brands, gaming, and talent agencies.

Prior to his time at Andreessen Horowitz, Ben graduated from Stanford and was a captain of the Rose Bowl-winning football team. In 2014, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and played 3 years in the NFL with the Cowboys and Chargers.

Isaiah Kacyvenski

Co-Founder, Managing Partner

“Willpower is the common denominator we look for in entrepreneurs — the relentless pursuit of success in the face of uncertainty. Our name is a nod to those entrepreneurs that display the power of human will day in and day out.”

With two degrees from Harvard, several technology patents, and an 8-year stint playing in the NFL to his name, it’s safe to say Isaiah took an uncommon path to success as an entrepreneur and investor.

Following his career with the Seattle Seahawks, Isaiah acted as Global Head of Business Development at MC10 and co-founded the premier sports tech research and advisory firm, Sports Innovation Lab. Prior to founding Will Ventures, Isaiah was the Managing Partner at Blue Star Innovation Partners where he led the firm’s sports technology investment practice.

His personal investment ethos is informed by his experience in product conceptualization and development as well as business development and operations. He is an investor and advisor to more than 25 companies across sports, technology, biotechnology, consumer, media and sports medicine. Isaiah also serves on more than 10 industry advisory boards, including the Executive Board of the USC Center for Body Computing, the Sports Advisory Board for the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at Northwestern University, the NFLPA Health and Safety Committee, and the National Advisory Board for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

Isaiah grew up in Endicott, New York. He was once the subject of an NFL Films profile about his rise from poverty to the NFL that received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Long Feature, and he was also featured on an Oprah Winfrey show titled, "Why They Beat the Odds.” Isaiah received a cum laude pre-medicine bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and graduated from Harvard Business School’s MBA program.

Kris Martin

Principal

Kris is a versatile venture professional with an analytical mind, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a collaborative approach to problem solving. Kris comes to Will Ventures from TrueBridge Capital Partners. As an investor, he sourced and analyzed direct venture deals as well as seed and early-stage venture capital fund investments. Prior to TrueBridge, Kris gained operating experience in the financial technology space at Ipreo (acquired by IHS Markit in August 2018) after spending three years as a listed derivatives sales trader at Morgan Stanley in New York.

Kris grew up on Marine Corps bases across the country before attending high school in Chantilly, Virginia and then completing the Wharton School's undergraduate program in 2014. Kris also played football at Penn, was a starter on the 2012 Ivy League championship team, and currently competes on the D10 amateur decathlon tour.

Kelsie Mayo

Director, Finance

Kelsie is responsible for the firm and fund financials and provides in-depth strategic direction in managing the firm.

Previously, Kelsie was an Accounting and Operations Manager at B-FLEXION, a private equity firm based in Boston, MA. Prior to that, Kelsie was a Fund Controller at Standish Management, working as the fund administrator for many venture capital firms.

Kelsie graduated from University of New Hampshire, where she majored in Finance.

Brian Reilly

Co-Founder, Managing Partner

“I’ve always admired the willpower of my parents. Neither have college degrees, but both were willing to do whatever it took to set our family up for success. Their sacrifices taught me the value of grit and determination at an early age.”

Brian brings a diverse professional background to bear on his work, with experience spanning the sports, fitness and healthcare sectors and across technologies (wearables, disposables, artificial intelligence, machine-learning) and business environments (VC-funded startups and investment firms).

Prior to founding Will Ventures, Brian served as Vice President at Blue Star Innovation Partners, where he was responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence and execution of growth equity investments.

In addition to his investment expertise, Brian has deep technology experience, gained as a Founding Member and the Director of Product and Research at the Sports Innovation Lab, the premier sports technology research and advisory firm, and as a product manager at MC10, where he was responsible for the development and commercialization of next-generation sports, fitness and healthcare wearables and software systems for big data storage and machine-learning.

Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and was a member of the college’s varsity football team. He is from East Windsor, New Jersey.

Lisa Romano

Executive Assistant

Lisa comes to Will Ventures from MC10, a wearable device company, where she was the HR and Administration Manager. Lisa has more than 15 years of combined experience in providing operations leadership and administrative support.

Lisa is from Malden, MA, and graduated from Bridgewater State University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Alexis Scalise

Vice President, Operations & Investor Relations

At Will Ventures, Alexis oversees all firm operational matters and is responsible for managing the firm's investor relations. Her responsibilities also include oversight of the fund administration, finance, accounting, compliance and tax reporting functions.

Alexis joined Will Ventures at the start of the firm, becoming the first hire to join the team. She joined in 2019, coming from Morgan Stanley, where she worked in the Equity Sales & Trading division. In her role at Morgan Stanley, she conducted market research, managed strategic relationships with hedge funds and asset managers, and advised clients on investment opportunities in the consumer, healthcare and technology markets. Alexis also worked closely with executives at large publicly-traded corporates to help raise external capital from various investment firms across New York and Boston.

Alexis is from Cold Spring Harbor, NY, and graduated from Harvard University, where she concentrated in psychology and was a member of the Women's Lacrosse team.