LEGAL · COMPLIANCE · STRATEGY
I’ve forever been fascinated with the dynamic nature of the law and its power and impact on people’s lives. Too many in the legal field start with a “no” and what can’t be done. What works for me is to start with a “yes” and figure out how.
Moujan Kazerani is a founding partner of Bryant Stibel, a platform that provides strategic, financial and operational support to businesses with a focus across technology, media and data.
Previously, Kazerani served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer & Head of HR and Culture at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation and later served as Leader of Global Corporate Strategy for D&B (NYSE: DNB). Prior to D&B, Kazerani served as General Counsel & Secretary at TrueCar, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRUE) and advised on the company’s compensation and audit committees of the board.
Kazerani started her career at Gibson, Dun & Crutcher LLP where her practice included mergers & acquisitions, reorganizations, corporate securities and intellectual property and other general business law matters.
Kazerani currently serves on the board of RingDNA, an enterprise sales acceleration engine and voice communications platform.
She received her JD from UCLA School of Law and has her BA in Psychology from University of California at Berkeley.
An Early Observer
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by human behavior and what motivates individuals to act, think and feel one way or another. I witnessed this in my early childhood in Iran when the newly established government sought to change people’s behavior and thought process and regulate everything from dress code to family dynamics to ideology. New laws were established and widespread marketing of it all began through radio, television and the education system itself. This was a defining moment in my life – everything changed around me. Because of this, the psychology behind human nature; what motivates people; how their experiences shape them; and how their behaviors change in light of condition and their environment, became a great passion area for me.
Putting My Passion to Practice
As an undergrad at University of California at Berkeley, I studied Psychology and found its intersection with business and law to be profound – one of the reasons I headed straight to UCLA School of Law upon graduating. My practice soon began at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, a global law firm, where I gravitated toward corporate law and focused on securities, IP, M&A and contracts law. During my time there, the convergence of psychology and law grew to be even more compelling – especially in regard to negotiations, communications in general, and the drafting of documents. It was then that I first learned how to strategically think through corporate deal structures to represent the best deal and accomplish win-win scenarios.
While at Gibson Dunn, I was also fortunate to gain interdisciplinary experience by dabbling in labor and employment, litigation, and real estate law to expand my sphere of expertise in ways that would prepare me for the future. Shortly thereafter, I had the opportunity to hone my counseling and human development skills while giving back to UCLA Law School by counseling students and alumni on their career development and practices. Around this time, I began assisting a start-up as it gained momentum and advanced to start working with customers of Fortune 500 companies – a telling precursor and experience that would drive the next stage of my career.
A Drive for Business
Having definitively gotten the start-up bug, I went to work for Zag, an affinity car-buying platform and tech company run by Scott Painter (former CEO and founder of Carsdirect.com), an automotive technology entrepreneur and master financier. As EVP, General Counsel, head of compliance and secretary, I reveled in the strategic side of the business, working with the rest of the executive team to close deals with the likes of USAA, eBay, AAA, many banks and credit unions – while also helping to market our platform, secure our IP, sell vehicles, gain valuable data, create analytics and more.
Eventually, we were able to create and launch the new negotiation-free, car-buying site (and newly established business), TrueCar (NASD: TRUE). While there, I sat on the compensation and audit committees of the board, ran HR and Culture for a time, and advised the business development team on negotiation practices and relationship management. Oh, and we raised millions of dollars and bought and sold companies along the way…
It was quite a ride.
As my expertise continued to diversify, it became time to join the wonderful executive team at Credibility Corp to take one of Dun & Bradstreet’s most undermanaged businesses and lead it down the path of becoming a successful technology company. It was a pleasure to do it all over again – but with a new group of people – from building a team, to creating new products, to launching new lines of business. Our small yet powerful team of operators acted with the agility of a start-up, having each team member contributing across the organization. My focus was to define our legal and corporate strategy while advising business initiatives.
Another main area of focus grew to be compliance on the legal and sales side – more specifically, identifying compliance patterns among rule followers and rule breakers. By quantifying the behaviors of each, I helped develop a scoring system that was designed to protect customers, employees and the company. This new system gave us the foresight to look into employee behavior so they could be coached in advance of any compliance violation. A similar system is used today by our Bryant Stibel team in our efforts to affect greater compliance where possible, reduce risk and ensure companies are getting the best people for the job.
Giving Back and Getting Ahead
At Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp, and later Dun & Bradstreet, my duties extended far beyond the traditional legal and compliance role as I helped create IP as a named inventor and also had the opportunity to run all of HR and head up Culture.
Reaching beyond the workplace, I helped launch EdAhead, establishing a 529 College Savings Plan for our employees and matching an amount of their funds. We then matched the match amount at the local school districts where our offices were located. Ultimately, we helped raise hundreds of thousands in local funding for programs in the L.A. and Santa Monica/Malibu school districts.
Later, my skills and duties expanded further as I had the opportunity to serve as Leader of Strategy at Dun & Bradstreet. I worked alongside the executive team and the board on company initiatives, dissecting alternative strategic options for the business, and looking at corporate development opportunities and divestiture options.
These experiences all gave me the chance to leverage my skills on so many different fronts, have fun with close friends, build a business, give back to the community and learn from each and learn and grow on each turn.
Launching Bryant Stibel
Eager to spread our impact, it was then time for the team to take on a new venture. While our team had been investing in companies together since 2013, we decided to devote more time to building and growing out Bryant Stibel to provide value to other businesses, the community, and entrepreneurs whenever we can. As a Founding Partner, I’m proud to say I’ve been able to leverage all my professional pursuits and interests thus far in this pursuit.
In that vein, it’s also been a pleasure to sit on the board of one of our portfolio companies, ringDNA, an inside sales software and enterprise voice communication platform, whom I’ve assisted with everything from GDPR to serving as an advisor with regards to compliance on the product side of the business.
Committed to Community
I love spending time with my family, engaging in health and fitness activities, attending cultural events and giving back to the community. On that front, I’ve served as a judge for a class on venture initiation at USC Business School – and, with my husband, have enjoyed being a member and supporter of the Center Theatre Group, a nonprofit theatre company that uses the art of theatre to broaden horizons and illuminate new perspectives. As a family, we also support and give our time to The Giving Spirit, a charity that packs and distributes survival kits to homeless women, children and families across the City of Los Angeles. We are most passionate about education and continue our efforts to provide for and assist our local school district and families however we can.