Susan Paley

Susan Paley

Founding, Venture Partner

Founder DropLabs, Former GM & EVP Product Development, Beats By Dre


Susan Paley Experience

Susan Paley is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 22 years of experience leading teams at the intersection of entertainment and technology. She has a strong track record of driving innovation and growth and is skilled at product and category creation, strategic business development, consumer experience and technology licensing.

Susan began her career in entertainment working for playwright David Mamet which brought her to LA to work on Hollywood films. In LA she fell in love with technology and the creativity that it unleashed. Since then her career has been shaped by capitalizing on emerging opportunities at the intersection of entertainment and technology.

 Susan started working with early stage companies. She helmed licensing and strategic partnerships for a UCLA technology spinout that created the first in-vehicle digital media platform integrated into aftermarket and OEM systems. There Susan completed multi-million dollar development and technology licensing deals with Kenwood, VW, Audi and GM. She created the first automotive digital content licensing model, inking deals with Capcom, Universal, Audible and eMusic to offer in- vehicle digital games, music and movies for purchase. The company was acquired by Harman International. 

 At Harman International Susan was responsible for identifying and developing new markets for global brands across the Harman consumer products portfolio. There she created a new category of co-branded audio products through a  partnership with youth lifestyle brand Quicksilver Inc., driving $40M of annualized growth.

After her work at Harman, Susan went back to the startup world as the initial employee and CEO of Beats By Dr. Dre. At Beats, Susan strategically and operationally guided all aspects of the company's unparalleled growth, making it the #1 headphone globally and the fastest-growing brand in consumer electronics. Susan also spearheaded the development of “Beats Audio,” a proprietary audio technology deployed in millions of mobile phones, automobiles and PCs through licensing partnerships with HTC, Chrysler/Fiat, and HP respectively. Susan also oversaw the initial 350m HTC investment in Beats.

Following her tenure at Beats, Susan focused on the intersection of entertainment, digital health and human performance. She worked with Bill Gross from Idealab on a wearable device platform designed using principles of machine learning and neuroscience. She co-founded a company that used haptics and audio frequencies to create immersive experiences for digital entertainment, with applications in health and human performance. She worked closely with the deaf and hard of hearing community, to create an adaptive platform based on this technology.

Today Susan sits on the advisory board of Exos, the global leader in human performance innovation through technology.  She sits on the board of several companies in the audio space and is an active advisor in the startup ecosystem mentoring at Techstars and Mucker Labs.  Susan is also a limited partner in the Fund, a founder-led investment vehicle.

Susan lives and works out of Los Angeles. She has a BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She embarked on a PhD program at Boston University but left after 18 months to pursue opportunities in entertainment. 

Outside of work you can find Susan on a beach volleyball court, skiing, practicing yoga, or spending time with her family and rescue dogs—often in a Sprinter van where she is researching the best undiscovered local food offerings.

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