Karen Roter Davis '94

Director, Early Stage Projects - X (fka Google X)

Karen is passionate about driving innovation that energizes and transforms companies, enabling growth and capturing new business while successfully guiding companies of all sizes -- from early-stage startups to global leaders -- through periods of change and uncertainty. She currently serves as Director, Early Stage Projects at X (formerly Google X), where she grounds moonshot projects in business and ESG objectives, ensuring that the technologies of tomorrow make the transition to profitable and purposeful “10x” (versus 10%) ventures today.

Karen returned to executive leadership at Google through Alphabet’s acquisition of Urban Engines, a SaaS geospatial analytics platform where she was the company's first business hire, establishing foundational business development, strategy, and operations functions. Prior to joining Urban Engines, Karen was recruited by GE Digital to build software and analytics venture investing, M&A, and strategic partnerships to advance GE’s “Industrial Internet” (IoT, Industry 4.0) capabilities across its multi-billion dollar industrial businesses. Previously at Google, she oversaw internal operations for Google’s groundbreaking 2004 IPO and scaled early-stage businesses.

Karen has held multiple board advisory engagements, partnering with Boards and executive teams on critical technology investment decisions, go-to-market product and partnership strategies, and M&A. Past Board roles include DataArts (acquired by SMU) and Innovyze (acquired by Autodesk for $1 billion). She currently serves as an advisor to EQT, a Stockholm-based global private equity firm managing over $80 billion in assets. She also serves on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Carbon Initiative Impact Committee.

Karen earned her M.B.A. from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, and her B.A.s from Princeton University’s School of Public & International Affairs. She is a former Adjunct Professor of Business of Innovation at Northwestern University, a frequent author and speaker on a variety of innovation topics, a patent inventor, and a singer and songwriter.