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Sam Yagan, Annual Luncheon Co-Chair & Start Early Board Member

Sam Yagan

Annual Luncheon Co-Chair; Start Early Board Member

Sam Yagan serves as co-founder and managing director of Corazon Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. He recently served as the chief executive officer of ShopRunner, Inc., which provides its millions of members with free two-day shipping, free returns, and seamless checkout at over one hundred leading online retailers; in 2020, he led the sale of ShopRunner to FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX). Prior to ShopRunner, Sam served as vice chairman of Match Group (Nasdaq: MTCH), a position he assumed after leading the company as chief executive officer through a period of explosive growth – driven by over $1 billion in acquisitions and the launch of Tinder – that culminated in its IPO in 2015.

In addition to its three early-stage funds, Corazon Capital also manages a fund-of-funds and two crypto-focused special-purpose vehicles. Sam’s prior entrepreneurial ventures in the consumer internet sector include SparkNotes, still the dominant brand of study guides and eDonkey, once the largest peer-to-peer, file-sharing network in the world. He sold SparkNotes to iTurf, Inc. and then to Barnes & Noble, Inc., where he served as president and publisher and oversaw the expansion of the digitally-native brand into an expansive multi-platform media business. He also co-founded OkCupid, which he led as its CEO through its sale to Match Group in 2011.

Outside of work, Sam devotes himself to civic leadership and mentoring technology entrepreneurs.

In 2009, he co-founded Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago), a leading start-up accelerator, and served as its first chief executive officer. Sam sits on the board of several private companies, including SpotHero, Brilliant Worldwide and Grindr. He serves on the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy Fund Board, and previously served on Target Corp’s Digital Advisory Council, the Stanford Graduate School of Business Management Board, Chamberlain Group, Leaders in Tech, and as an advisor to Procter & Gamble. He also sits on the boards of the nonprofits Start Early and the Rush University Medical Center.

Sam has earned recognition on TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50,” and “40 Under 40,” Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” D Magazine’s “Dallas 500,” and ranked #19 on Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.” He has received the Chicago Innovation Awards’ “Visionary of the Year Award,” IMSA’s “Distinguished Leadership Award,” the DCIA’s “Pioneer’s Award,” and admission to Chicago Innovation’s Hall of Fame. Sam has testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and has spoken at the CATO Institute, Digital Hollywood, IRCE, the Federal Trade Commission, and numerous other industry events.

Sam has a bachelor’s degree with honors in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he earned distinction as a Siebel Scholar, an Arjay Miller Scholar, and the Henry Ford Scholar, the award granted to each class’s valedictorian. Sam lives in Chicago with his wife, Jessica, and three kids, Maggie, Jack, and Max.