Forté Ventures Expands Team with Stephen D. Johnston as Operating Partner

Stephen D. Johnston, Operating Partner at Forte Ventures

ATLANTA, GA (May 1, 2018) — Forté Ventures ( is pleased to announce that Stephen D. Johnston has joined the firm as an Operating Partner to support the continued growth of the firm and its expanding portfolio of high-growth technology companies. Stephen’s background, capabilities and principles align well with the unique value proposition that Forté Ventures provides to its limited partners and extensive network of corporate strategic co-investors – one of privileged access to diversified investment opportunities across North America that are positioned to deliver exceptional financial returns in a risk-mitigated manner.

Stephen’s executive career is marked with success in leading progressive technology companies and building strategic corporate partnerships. He grew venture-backed SmartSynch from a start-up in 2000 into one of the most influential companies in the build-out of America’s smart grid, which culminated in SmartSynch’s acquisition by Itron, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) in May 2012 for $100 million.  Under Stephen’s leadership, SmartSynch successfully leveraged principles of Open Innovation to create industry-changing partnerships with global technology leaders including Qualcomm, Motorola Solutions, Siemens, General Electric and AT&T.  At Itron, Stephen served as Vice President of Corporate Development and managed global business strategy, mergers and acquisitions and innovation.  Since 2015, Stephen has managed private investments in technology, entertainment, real estate and venture capital as Founder and President of SDJ Investment Co., LLC.

“Stephen’s operational expertise, industry knowledge and extensive professional network, combined with our impressive roster of corporate venture capital partners at globally recognized companies, enables Forté Ventures to deliver additional value to its portfolio companies and limited partners in a unique manner,” said Tom Hawkins, founder and Managing Partner of Forté Ventures. “Stephen will contribute immediately to enhancing the growth trajectories of several of our existing portfolio companies and will provide operating leverage to the firm as it continues to expand with Fund II and beyond.”

“I am thrilled to be joining Forté Ventures as an Operating Partner after having worked closely with the team as an Executive Advisor and limited partner for the past six years.  Forté Ventures has differentiated itself as a next-generation leader in the venture capital ecosystem and has built a successful track record with its portfolio companies and co-investors,” said Johnston. “I look forward to joining this great team and assisting the firm wherever needed to execute its strategy and deliver exceptional returns to its limited partners.”