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playground.global

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Investments

93

Portfolio Exits

15

Funds

6

Service Providers

1

About Playground Global

Playground Global is a venture firm that partners with entrepreneurs working at the intersection of atoms, bits, and AI.

Headquarters Location

380 Portage Ave

Palo Alto, California, 94306,

United States

650-427-0000

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Latest Playground Global News

Hopes dim for restoring former Fry's building

Dec 1, 2022

Poor condition, new codes challenge city's efforts to preserve Portage Avenue property Uploaded: Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 9:19 am 0 Time to read: about 5 minutes The commercial building at 200-400 Portage Avenue in Palo Alto was once used as a cannery. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber. When Palo Alto leaders struck a deal with The Sobrato Organization in June to redevelop the large Ventura property that used to house Fry's Electronics, the developer agreed to preserve and enhance a portion of the building that a century ago stood out as the world's third largest cannery of fruits and vegetables. The development agreement specifically calls for Sobrato to "facilitate public appreciation of the interior historic elements of the cannery building," which was constructed by Thomas Foon Chew in 1918 and which for three decades has been considered as a potential site for accommodating hundreds of apartments. Terry Holzemer, a member of the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan working group, called the building an "irreplaceable historic resource." The group had been working since 2019 on developing a new vision for a 60-acre portion of Ventura, which includes the Portage Avenue cannery. "It's time to look at this first and prioritize the historic structure and look at that before any of the processes move forward," Holzemer told the Planning and Transportation Commission last month during a public hearing on the Ventura plan and the development agreement. Since then, however, the prospects of preserving the cannery have dimmed. On Wednesday night, the Planning and Transportation Commission learned that portions of the building were in worse condition than was previously believed and that the structure cannot retain historic features while complying with modern building codes. Help sustain the local news you depend on. Your contribution matters. Become a member today. The roof, for example, would be unable to accommodate solar panels and would need to be reconstructed, project planner Claire Raybould told the commission. The walls between the monitor roof area in the former Fry's space and the neighboring space at 380 Portage Ave. that houses Playground Global would also need more reconstruction than the city and Sobrato had expected when they struck the deal over the summer . "It came to staff's attention that there may be more modifications to this building than we were originally envisioning," project planner Claire Raybould told the commission. "We wanted to make sure the public and the planning commission were aware of that." The commercial building at 200-400 Portage Avenue, which once was used as a cannery, would be partially demolished to make way for townhomes. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber. One area that's unclear is whether the building's corrugated metal exterior could be reused. A report from the Department of Planning and Development Services notes that some of the cladding "has holes that have been patched over time" or is "otherwise in disrepair." Sobrato, the report states, proposes to "salvage the corrugated metal where feasible and to replace all materials in-kind that cannot be replaced." Whether or not the development agreement advances, the building is set to undergo major renovations that would render it ineligible for possible inclusion on the state Register of Historic Places. Sobrato plans to demolish about a third of it to construct a townhome development . Stay informed If the city approves the agreement, the development would consist of 74 townhomes. Sobrato would also donate to the city 3.25 acres of land to make room for a park and a future affordable-housing development. If the city rejects the development agreement, Sobrato is expected to advance a housing project that it applied for more than two years ago, which includes 91 townhomes. To advance the project, Sobrato relied on Senate Bill 330 , which freezes in place the design standards that were in place at the time of the application submission and restricts the city's ability to request modifications. After a long discussion, the commission voted 5-1, with Vice Chair Doria Summa dissenting, to advance the development agreement process (Chair Ed Lauing, who will join the City Council in January, recused from the commission's discussion). In doing so, however, numerous commissioners indicated that they are unlikely to support the agreement when it returns to the commission for a formal decision early next year. For Sobrato, a critical component of the proposed agreement is commitment from the city that the cannery building would be able to retain its existing research-and-development use. The site is zoned for multifamily housing and council members had for decades envisioned it as a place that can accommodate more than 200 housing units. Commissioner Bryna Chang noted that converting the cannery to housing could potentially generate more than 400 housing units, particularly if the city follows suit with planned zone changes that increase density in multifamily neighborhoods. Allowing commercial use to continue at the Fry's building, as the development agreement would do, also runs counter to the city's goal of narrowing its jobs-to-housing imbalance. Most Viewed Stories "To me, it doesn't seem like the greatest deal given our housing and jobs challenges in the city," Chang said. Commissioner Keith Reckdahl said he is casting his vote to advance the development agreement "grudgingly." Like Chang, he said he was concerned about continuing commercial use at the former Fry's building. "We're giving up a lot of housing and that just seems wrong so close to the train station," Reckdahl said. Summa also objected to the deal, particularly in light of the recent information about proposed modifications to the building. She said she is concerned about the prospect of iconic portions of the building, such as the monitor roof, getting demolished. "I'm really worried that we're going to get to the point with this where that portion of the building cannot be saved," Summa said. "And If we promised them that it's going to be commercial at a very high FAR (floor-area ratio) and they can't save the building, where are we and how have we come out ahead?" A breakdown of the framework to redevelop the former Fry's Electronic site under a tentative agreement reached by the city of Palo Alto and The Sobrato Organization in June 2022. Map by Jamey Padojino. The development agreement between Sobrato and the city followed years of negotiations that fluctuated between cooperative and acrimonious. Various council members have indicated in the past that they would like to see housing at the Portage Avenue site, a position that appeared to become more viable after Fry's departed in 2019 . Sobrato, for its part, threatened to sue the city over its interpretation of a zoning provision that could have required Sobrato to renegotiate leases with tenants to meet the required ratios of land uses. The proposed development agreement, which came out of meetings between Sobrato and a committee consisting of Vice Chair Lydia Kou and council member Tom DuBois, represented a truce. The council unanimously approved last summer a tolling agreement with Sobrato that keeps both the potential litigation and the application for the 91-townhome project at bay while the city formally reviews the development agreement. Some commissioners highlighted on Wednesday the benefits of the proposed deal. Commissioner Bart Hechtman noted that the project development agreement would provide more park space than the SB 330 project as well as land for affordable housing. Commissioner Cari Templeton emphasized the practical benefits to pursuing a development agreement: a willingness from the property owner to actually build the proposed project. The same cannot be said about the 400 dwellings that other commissioners said they would like to see at the site. "Zoning is theoretical housing," Templeton said. "It's not there yet and it may never be there. And there's no guarantee it will be there. We can't coerce the property owner into doing something with it that they don't want. They own the property." Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining? Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter. Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >> Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly , Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more. Your support is vital to us continuing to bring you city government news. Become a member today. Poor condition, new codes challenge city's efforts to preserve Portage Avenue property Uploaded: Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 9:19 am When Palo Alto leaders struck a deal with The Sobrato Organization in June to redevelop the large Ventura property that used to house Fry's Electronics, the developer agreed to preserve and enhance a portion of the building that a century ago stood out as the world's third largest cannery of fruits and vegetables. The development agreement specifically calls for Sobrato to "facilitate public appreciation of the interior historic elements of the cannery building," which was constructed by Thomas Foon Chew in 1918 and which for three decades has been considered as a potential site for accommodating hundreds of apartments. Terry Holzemer, a member of the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan working group, called the building an "irreplaceable historic resource." The group had been working since 2019 on developing a new vision for a 60-acre portion of Ventura, which includes the Portage Avenue cannery. "It's time to look at this first and prioritize the historic structure and look at that before any of the processes move forward," Holzemer told the Planning and Transportation Commission last month during a public hearing on the Ventura plan and the development agreement. Since then, however, the prospects of preserving the cannery have dimmed. On Wednesday night, the Planning and Transportation Commission learned that portions of the building were in worse condition than was previously believed and that the structure cannot retain historic features while complying with modern building codes. The roof, for example, would be unable to accommodate solar panels and would need to be reconstructed, project planner Claire Raybould told the commission. The walls between the monitor roof area in the former Fry's space and the neighboring space at 380 Portage Ave. that houses Playground Global would also need more reconstruction than the city and Sobrato had expected when they struck the deal over the summer . "It came to staff's attention that there may be more modifications to this building than we were originally envisioning," project planner Claire Raybould told the commission. "We wanted to make sure the public and the planning commission were aware of that." One area that's unclear is whether the building's corrugated metal exterior could be reused. A report from the Department of Planning and Development Services notes that some of the cladding "has holes that have been patched over time" or is "otherwise in disrepair." Sobrato, the report states, proposes to "salvage the corrugated metal where feasible and to replace all materials in-kind that cannot be replaced." Whether or not the development agreement advances, the building is set to undergo major renovations that would render it ineligible for possible inclusion on the state Register of Historic Places. Sobrato plans to demolish about a third of it to construct a townhome development . If the city approves the agreement, the development would consist of 74 townhomes. Sobrato would also donate to the city 3.25 acres of land to make room for a park and a future affordable-housing development. If the city rejects the development agreement, Sobrato is expected to advance a housing project that it applied for more than two years ago, which includes 91 townhomes. To advance the project, Sobrato relied on Senate Bill 330 , which freezes in place the design standards that were in place at the time of the application submission and restricts the city's ability to request modifications. After a long discussion, the commission voted 5-1, with Vice Chair Doria Summa dissenting, to advance the development agreement process (Chair Ed Lauing, who will join the City Council in January, recused from the commission's discussion). In doing so, however, numerous commissioners indicated that they are unlikely to support the agreement when it returns to the commission for a formal decision early next year. For Sobrato, a critical component of the proposed agreement is commitment from the city that the cannery building would be able to retain its existing research-and-development use. The site is zoned for multifamily housing and council members had for decades envisioned it as a place that can accommodate more than 200 housing units. Commissioner Bryna Chang noted that converting the cannery to housing could potentially generate more than 400 housing units, particularly if the city follows suit with planned zone changes that increase density in multifamily neighborhoods. Allowing commercial use to continue at the Fry's building, as the development agreement would do, also runs counter to the city's goal of narrowing its jobs-to-housing imbalance. "To me, it doesn't seem like the greatest deal given our housing and jobs challenges in the city," Chang said. Commissioner Keith Reckdahl said he is casting his vote to advance the development agreement "grudgingly." Like Chang, he said he was concerned about continuing commercial use at the former Fry's building. "We're giving up a lot of housing and that just seems wrong so close to the train station," Reckdahl said. Summa also objected to the deal, particularly in light of the recent information about proposed modifications to the building. She said she is concerned about the prospect of iconic portions of the building, such as the monitor roof, getting demolished. "I'm really worried that we're going to get to the point with this where that portion of the building cannot be saved," Summa said. "And If we promised them that it's going to be commercial at a very high FAR (floor-area ratio) and they can't save the building, where are we and how have we come out ahead?" The development agreement between Sobrato and the city followed years of negotiations that fluctuated between cooperative and acrimonious. Various council members have indicated in the past that they would like to see housing at the Portage Avenue site, a position that appeared to become more viable after Fry's departed in 2019 . Sobrato, for its part, threatened to sue the city over its interpretation of a zoning provision that could have required Sobrato to renegotiate leases with tenants to meet the required ratios of land uses. The proposed development agreement, which came out of meetings between Sobrato and a committee consisting of Vice Chair Lydia Kou and council member Tom DuBois, represented a truce. The council unanimously approved last summer a tolling agreement with Sobrato that keeps both the potential litigation and the application for the 91-townhome project at bay while the city formally reviews the development agreement. Some commissioners highlighted on Wednesday the benefits of the proposed deal. Commissioner Bart Hechtman noted that the project development agreement would provide more park space than the SB 330 project as well as land for affordable housing. Commissioner Cari Templeton emphasized the practical benefits to pursuing a development agreement: a willingness from the property owner to actually build the proposed project. The same cannot be said about the 400 dwellings that other commissioners said they would like to see at the site. "Zoning is theoretical housing," Templeton said. "It's not there yet and it may never be there. And there's no guarantee it will be there. We can't coerce the property owner into doing something with it that they don't want. They own the property."

Playground Global Investments

93 Investments

Playground Global has made 93 investments. Their latest investment was in Saltbox as part of their Series B on November 11, 2022.

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Playground Global Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

11/29/2022

Series B

Saltbox

$35M

No

20

11/28/2022

Series A - II

Strand Therapeutics

$45M

No

12

11/14/2022

Series C

Owl Labs

$25M

No

18

10/25/2022

Series D

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$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

9/13/2022

Series D

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$99M

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10

Date

11/29/2022

11/28/2022

11/14/2022

10/25/2022

9/13/2022

Round

Series B

Series A - II

Series C

Series D

Series D

Company

Saltbox

Strand Therapeutics

Owl Labs

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Amount

$35M

$45M

$25M

$99M

$99M

New?

No

No

No

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Co-Investors

Sources

20

12

18

10

10

Playground Global Portfolio Exits

15 Portfolio Exits

Playground Global has 15 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was Inscopix on November 08, 2022.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

11/8/2022

Acquired

$99M

6

10/5/2022

Acquired

$99M

13

3/10/2022

Acq - Fin

$99M

1

9/29/2021

Reverse Merger

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$99M

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10

7/13/2021

Acquired

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$99M

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10

Date

11/8/2022

10/5/2022

3/10/2022

9/29/2021

7/13/2021

Exit

Acquired

Acquired

Acq - Fin

Reverse Merger

Acquired

Companies

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Valuation

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

Acquirer

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Sources

6

13

1

10

10

Playground Global Fund History

6 Fund Histories

Playground Global has 6 funds, including Playground Global - A.

Closing Date

Fund

Fund Type

Status

Amount

Sources

1/11/2017

Playground Global - A

$40M

1

10/8/2015

Playground Ventures

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$99M

10

4/6/2015

Playground Global

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$99M

10

Playground Ventures II

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10

Playground Ventures Affiliates II

10

Closing Date

1/11/2017

10/8/2015

4/6/2015

Fund

Playground Global - A

Playground Ventures

Playground Global

Playground Ventures II

Playground Ventures Affiliates II

Fund Type

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Status

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Amount

$40M

$99M

$99M

Sources

1

10

10

10

10

Playground Global Service Providers

1 Service Provider

Playground Global has 1 service provider relationship

Service Provider

Associated Rounds

Provider Type

Service Type

Counsel

Service Provider

Associated Rounds

Provider Type

Counsel

Service Type

Partnership data by VentureSource

Playground Global Team

5 Team Members

Playground Global has 5 team members, including , .

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Peter Barrett

Founder

Current

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Name

Peter Barrett

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Work History

Title

Founder

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Status

Current

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