Founder & Managing Partner
William Lee is a Founder and Managing Partner of Pilot Growth Equity and is based in San Francisco. Will has been creating software for 32 years and investing in technology companies for 22 years. He is a visionary technology entrepreneur, operator, systems architect, and investor. Will is the creator of NavPod, Pilot Growth’s Artificial Intelligence based Automated Deal Sourcing and Workflow Engine. Will currently serves on the boards of r4 Technologies, Tailwind, Velocidi and Webgility. Will’s other active investments in the funds include Bizzabo, CB Insights, Metabiota and Perthera. Will’s previous investments include Zenedge (acquired by Oracle), where he served on the board, FirstBest Systems (acquired by Guidewire), Counsyl (acquired by Myriad Genetics), CUJO AI, and PMC.
Will began his career at Motorola, where he led the development of mobile-based operating systems and award-winning component-based software. Will was then a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of The Theory Center, where he was the visionary and architect behind the company’s Enterprise JavaBeans component-based products. The Theory Center was a bootstrapped enterprise software company that was acquired by BEA Systems. Will stayed on at BEA as Senior Director of Technology in BEA’s WebLogic eCommerce Applications Group. He led and executed the group’s technology sales strategies for worldwide markets. He was awarded two United States patents for his work on enterprise software components that ultimately became part of Oracle Fusion Middleware.
Beginning in 2000, Will served as a Co-Founder and Managing Director of NextStage LLC, a private investment firm. At NextStage, he brought together a network of entrepreneurs and investors with a focus on building early-stage technology companies. There, he seed-funded and was a Co-Founder of FirstBest Systems in 2006 (acquired by Guidewire), where he initially lead Business Development, responsible for corporate strategy, finance, and business partnerships.
Will has also worked on academic research projects including, but not limited to, first-generation wearable computers for the United States military, robotics for space exploration, pre-Internet HTML, and fault-tolerant distributed multimedia encoding systems.
Will holds a Bachelor of Science with University Honors and Research Honors from Carnegie Mellon University in Mathematics / Computer Science, and Computer Engineering. He also earned a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Cornell University as a Motorola Fellowship recipient.
Will is an avid sailor and has captained in the North Sea, Mediterranean, Adriatic Sea, Caribbean, Atlantic, Sea of Cortez, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Andaman Sea. He competed in the 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race with the Perseverance Award for finishing the 2200-mile solo voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii by overcoming insurmountable challenges at sea.