who we are

The Pathbreaker team has helped build, fund, and acquire companies solving critical challenges facing industries & communities.

Many of the firm's Advisors and Investors are currently building product or working on deals at large technology companies, including at Facebook, Google, Uber, Linkedin, Square, Twitter, and Twitch. They are eager to support the founders with whom we work.

Ryan Gembala photo - picture.jpg

Pathbreaker is led by Ryan Gembala,
Managing Partner

With experience co-founding and operating, investing from pre-seed to series B, and acquiring venture-backed companies, Ryan seeks to work with specialized founders building products that push the limits of possibility and impact.

Prior to starting Pathbreaker, Ryan was a deal lead on the corporate development team at Facebook where he spent time working with product and engineering teams to landscape technology ecosystems and execute acquisitions. Acquisitions worked on include Oculus, PrivateCore, LiveRail, Teehan Lax, and NimbleVR. Areas of focus included virtual reality, security, language technologies, and product design.

Ryan was an investor and operator at Azure Capital, an early stage venture firm with $750M+ under management where he focused on consumer and enterprise problems. Companies in which Ryan operated, invested, or with which he worked include TripIt (acquired by Concur for $120M), Cooking.com (acquired by Target), Get Satisfaction (acquired by Sprinklr), Telly -- VP of Business Development, Convercent -- VP of Business Development, Education.com, Open Road Media, and YikYak.

Ryan bootstrapped and co-founded H.E.R.O. for Children, a non-profit focused on psychosocial, quality of life support for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. H.E.R.O. recently celebrated 13 years of programmatic support, and he continues to serve on the board.

Ryan holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he and his team won the Global Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC). He graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. He and his wife live in San Francisco with their toddler.