LinkedInLeo Polovets

Leo Polovets

Partner at Susa Ventures + Angel Investor and Software Engineer

Menlo Park, California
Venture Capital & Private Equity
  1. Rockbot,
  2. Susa Ventures,
  3. Jack Mobile Inc
  1. Factual,
  2. Google,
  3. LinkedIn
  1. California Institute of Technology
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Board Observer

– Present

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I am a software engineer turned VC. I'm currently one of four partners at a seed stage fund (Susa Ventures; that's focused on data. If your early-stage company is building valuable datasets or tools for working with data, please let me know!

My AngelList profile:
My blog:

My software engineering experience: 10 years of working on consumer-facing websites and data-intensive problems at LinkedIn, Google, and Factual. My strengths are in algorithm design, creative problem solving, performance tuning, and writing good, clean code. I love working on projects that are challenging and meaningful.


Board Observer

– Present (4 months)

General Partner

Susa Ventures
– Present (1 year 11 months)

Screening, technical due diligence, advising, etc.


Jack Mobile Inc
– Present (11 months)Palo Alto, CA

Angel Investor

Angel Investor
– Present (1 year)

Personal investments: Boomtrain, DataFox, Friend Trusted, Hackers and Founders Incubator, Lumoid, Momentum Machines, OLSET, SimpleLegal, Spacebar, Spark, Upshot Data, Workalytics.


– Present (1 year 6 months)

Panel member

FundersClub Panel
– Present (1 year 2 months)

Member of FundersClub panel, which vets and votes on prospective FundersClub investments.

Sr. Software Engineer

(3 years 11 months)Greater Los Angeles Area

• Designed, implemented, and Hadoopified most of Factual’s data processing pipeline, including the data extraction, data cleaning, and entity resolution frameworks. The entity resolution implementation is a key piece of Factual’s dataset curation process, as well as the basis for Factual’s flagship Crosswalk and Resolve APIs (TechCrunch coverage: ).

• Designed and implemented a distributed in-memory search engine. The search engine indexed 500m documents, ran across 10 machines, and had a continuous uptime of almost one year before being decommissioned for business reasons.

• Non-technical accomplishments: did recruiting outreach, which was eventually responsible for 20% of Factual’s engineering hires; was heavily involved in the interview process; wrote company blog posts and answered questions on Quora; helped shape company culture (started annual happiness survey, influenced recruiting process and performance reviews, etc.); co-presented talk at O’Reilly’s Strata Conference (

SW Eng

(3 years 5 months)

• Designed and implemented most core infrastructure for payment fraud detection. Projects included the signal and model computation frameworks, configuration manager, and automated model definition generator.

• Implemented various fraud signals, including tumbling detection and gibberish detection.

• Designed and implemented a generic ETL framework to get raw data from external sources (files, databases, logs, etc.), transform that data using the signal computation framework, and save results to the fraud data warehouse.

• Rewrote the exception handling system, which reduced the production exception rate by 90%.

• Aggressively refactored the codebase, reducing its size by 50 KLOC.

• Introduced performance-boosting features like signal evaluation caching across multiple requests, signal definition caching across models, and optimal signal evaluation ordering.

• Developed sandboxes for fraud signal and model testing.

• Implemented Blogger integration and several new styles for Google Docs.

• Non-technical accomplishments: maintained internal wikis; wrote numerous design docs and code tutorials; mentored interns and full-time employees; conducted dozens of interviews.

SW Eng

(1 year 11 months)

• Worked on most website features released between late 2003 and late 2005. Wrote code for the DB, business logic, and GUI tiers for projects that included PayPal integration, address book parsing, enabling users to select request routes, LinkedIn Groups, and LinkedIn Jobs.

• Designed and implemented a new algorithm for finding paths between members that was faster than the previous algorithm by a factor of over 200.

• Tuned performance of graph algorithms and other bottlenecks in the system as LinkedIn grew from 30,000 users to 3,000,000 users. Rewrote several JDK classes to improve performance.

• Non-technical accomplishments: mentored new developers; wrote design specs for new features; conducted dozens of interviews.

SW Eng

(6 months)

Intern Java Developer

(2 years)


Technical Book Reviewer

– Present

Technical reviewer for various books by Manning Press, including:
- "Big Data: Principles and best practices of scalable realtime data systems" by Nathan Marz
- "Practical Data Science with R" by Nina Zumel and John Mount
- "Single Page Web Applications" by Michael Mikowski and Josh Powell


Olympic Weightlifting Instructor

– Present

Kettlebell Instructor

– Present

Level 1 Trainer

– Present


  • Algorithms
  • Hadoop
  • MapReduce
  • Distributed Systems
  • Scalability
  • Start-ups
  • Algorithm Design
  • Clojure
  • Code Review
  • Interviews
  • Java
  • Data Mining
  • Performance Tuning
  • Angel Investing
  • Software Design
  • OOP
  • Recruiting
  • Big Data
  • Fraud Detection
  • Deduplication
  • Entity Extraction
  • Technical Advisory
  • Technical Due Diligence
  • Technical Recruiting
  • Interviewing
  • General Awesomeness
  • Awesomeness
  • See 12+  See less


  1. English

    Native or bilingual proficiency
  2. Russian

    Professional working proficiency
  3. French

    Limited working proficiency


California Institute of Technology

BS with Honors, Computer Science

Overall GPA: 3.6
GPA in major: 3.8

Activities and Societies: ACM Programming Team

Honors & Awards

* Top 50 in the world in Topcoder 2003 Open.

* One third of Caltech's 2002 ACM Programming Team, which placed in the top 30 at the World Finals.

* 5th place nationally in Topcoder 2001 Programming Invitational.

* Various national-level awards in high school math, science, and business competitions.

* One of Quora's Top Writers in 2012 and 2013.

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