Eric Risley founded and is Managing Partner at Architect Partners. Eric has guided senior executives and corporate boards through strategic transactions for over twenty-five years.

Eric led Global Software Corporate and Investment Banking for Banc of America Securities, building the practice into a $50mm business while advising some of the firms’ largest clients. Eric also co-founded the Silicon Valley technology investment banking practice for Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (subsequently CIBC World Markets) where he eventually led both the Internet and Software Investment Banking business units. Eric was also Head of Investment Banking at Rutberg & Company, the well regarded wireless research and investment banking boutique.

Eric’s brings clients executive and Board-level relationships built over two decades at dozens of important acquirers across the technology, internet, mobile and digital media sectors.

Eric starts his day early with a potent latte and fruit at Coupa Café next door to Architect Partners in downtown Palo Alto. Pain inducing endurance sports have long appealed to Eric. He still tries hard to find time to run or cycle more days than not and occasionally throws a race on the calendar to test his fitness and reality check his ego. Eric lives in Portola Valley with his wife and three sons.

Eric F Risley

Founder and Managing Partner

Steve Payne co-founded Architect Partners in 2009 alongside Eric who he has known for twenty years.

Steve has been a senior operating executive, a venture investor and a dealmaker in Silicon Valley for over two decades.

Most recently, Steve was Managing Partner of the Ignite Group, a trans-Pacific venture capital partnership with funds in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. Prior to that, he headed New Products at Sega and was EVP Product Development and Marketing at SegaSoft. Two bubbles ago, Steve left management consulting to head product marketing for a Kleiner Perkins/Sequoia Capital startup. He has been a Director of two dozen private and non-profit boards.

What ties this background together is a strong understanding of technology and bringing a senior, strategic perspective to connecting startups with world-class partners for business development, investment or M&A. Steve holds an engineering degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Harvard.

Steve races sailboats on the San Francisco Bay, cycles throughout the Santa Cruz mountains and drives his two kids to water polo, volleyball, basketball and lacrosse practice.

Steve Payne

Co-Founder and Partner

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