In Memoriam: David Ladd

David LaddAll of us at Mayfield Fund are mourning the passing of our friend and colleague, David Ladd.  David passed away on Friday, August 24th after a long struggle with cancer.  After a distinguished career as an investor and advisor, David will be remembered and missed by the many entrepreneurs he mentored, supported, and encouraged along the way.  As an engineer and innovator, David had a major impact on the telecommunications industry and held numerous patents.  Our thoughts are with David’s wife Kathleen, daughter Monique, grandson Gus, and his family and friends.

A service to celebrate David’s life will be held at the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park, California on Saturday, September 1st at 10:00 am.

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David was a Managing Director at Mayfield Fund from 1999 until 2008, focusing primarily in the telecommunications and semiconductor sectors that included notable investments in Inphi [IPHI], LGC Wireless (acquired by ADC), Orative (acquired by Cisco), and Pure Networks (acquired by Cisco).  Starting in 2008, as a Venture Advisor he represented Mayfield Fund on the boards of Pixim and T-RAM, and served as an independent board member of Inphi.  Most recently, David was an Executive Director for SRI Ventures at SRI International, helping develop future technology companies.  He also represented SRI on the boards of Tempo and Desti.

At the start of his career David worked as an engineer at Bell Laboratories and at ROLM Corporation, a leading manufacturer of digital phone switching systems for businesses.  He was the inventor or co‑inventor of 12 patents in voicemail and automated call processing.  David reluctantly admitted to being the inventor of automated attendant.  After deciding to become an entrepreneur himself, David co‑founded Opcom/VMX.  In 1994, VMX merged with Octel Communications and David became the Chief Technology Officer.  After Lucent Technologies acquired Octel in 1997, David formed spin-out companies based on Bell Labs technology prior to joining Mayfield Fund.

David held an M.S. in Math from Stevens Institute of Technology and a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from the University of California at Berkeley.  David recently gave the commencement speech at Steven Institute of Technology and received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Engineering. 

In business, David will be remembered for his many contributions to the telecommunications and semiconductor industries – as an innovator, an engineer, an entrepreneur, an investor, and as an advisor.  He related closely to entrepreneurs, giving them time, technical, and business advice in his distinct straightforward and honest manner.  Always ready to help, David was a great member of any team or board.

In his personal life David was a traveler, an explorer, a pilot, and a sailor.  As a vibrant and caring couple, David and his wife Kathleen experienced many adventures together.  David was incredibly proud of his daughter Monique and his grandson Gus was a source of great joy and fun.

David established the Ladd Discovery Award at St Andrew’s Episcopalian School in Saratoga, in memory of his son Geoffrey Andrew Ladd.