Valla Vakili

Valla Vakili

Head, Venture Innovation

"It’s moments of change – in technology, society, and industry – that inspire me to search for and create the possibilities that only the unexpected can bring."


Digital Product, Venture Incubation, Growth Strategy, Strategic Partnerships, Team Building


As Global Head of Venture Innovation, Valla leads the development of products and services that drive growth and differentiation for Citi. His global team combines a deep entrepreneurial bench with end-to-end digital capabilities to deliver forward-looking solutions and capabilities in the areas of Institutional Innovation, Wealth, Blockchain & Digital Assets, Public-Private Innovation, Technology & Racial Equity, and Next-Gen Talent.

Previously, Valla founded Citi Ventures Studio, where he led the creation of two online platforms that support economic growth for people (Worthi® by Citi) and cities (City Builder® by Citi) and oversaw the Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) program to help embed diverse students from leading universities in innovation efforts across Citi. Prior to that he helped create the D10X® program as its first Entrepreneur in Residence, mentoring Citi teams in entrepreneurial principles to help them reimagine consumer financial services.

Valla began his career at Yahoo, creating revenue-driving products and teams that anticipated shifting online customer behavior. He is a former digital startup founder and CEO, experience that gave him valuable insight into the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship.

A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Valla has conducted doctoral research at the University of Oxford and holds patents for inventions in interactive television content delivery and commerce. He also is a fan of fine whisky, great fiction, and good movies.