When I was starting and growing my company, Care.com, raising capital was something I took very seriously—not just when and how much, but from whom. After all, taking on a new investor is like marrying into a family so it’s important to get to know the in-laws well! Tony Florence was one of Care.com’s early investors and he supported us all the way through (and well beyond) our public offering. As in-laws go, NEA is an awesome family. They gave us the room to grow, take risks, and learn, while steadily guiding us, mentoring us and connecting us to those who could help.
I marveled then at the expertise, dedication and value Tony and the firm brought to entrepreneurs and founders. So perhaps it is not surprising that when NEA invited me to join their team as a Venture Partner and bring that same level of support to founders and entrepreneurs across the portfolio, I embraced the opportunity. I am beyond excited to work alongside a new generation of leaders and help consumer and marketplace businesses solve real problems at scale.
My entrepreneurial roots go all the way back to my childhood in the Philippines, where my parents were involved in a bevy of family-owned businesses before moving to the US, and have been a dynamic and driving force throughout my career. I love everything about company building—from the moment an idea becomes a business, through the early days of building team and culture, from hurtling through hyper-growth, to the simultaneous exhilaration and exhaustion that accompanies operating a global, publicly traded company—and I know well that NEA shares that ethos.
A memorable dinner for NEA's Tony Florence with his family of founders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, March 2018
The nearly 15 years I spent founding and building a global company adds up to a lot of valuable experience and lessons learned. These learnings span strategy, operations, leadership, and culture, but are also specific to markets and themes that are very much still unfolding today, such as digital transformation.
Care.com was at the forefront of a transformation of the entire care industry, and its rapid growth was fueled by two core trends: the enabling technology to build and operate an online marketplace, and the remarkable shifts in consumer behavior and adoption that enabled that marketplace to thrive. This trend continues to play out today across many sectors where innovation is a steeper climb, whether due to technological limitations, consumer preferences, societal factors or, most likely, a combination of these elements.
Today we talk a lot about the increasingly blurred lines between consumer and enterprise (as well as consumer and healthcare); like digitalization, this trend has been accelerating for well over a decade, and it played a significant role in Care.com's strategic growth initiatives as the business scaled. For example, we quickly became both a B2B and B2C business when we realized that our service would be a compelling benefit for employers to offer their own teams, with so many families struggling to find care for their loved ones.
The opportunity now to take that experience and learning and share it with fast-growing companies in NEA’s portfolio hits on all the passion points that bring me joy and fulfillment: coaching founders to be true to their vision; helping them navigate and scale; and honing their leadership style as they are growing, evolving and learning on the job. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside the team at NEA in service to entrepreneurs with a vision and passion to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives, and to be the kind of partner to entrepreneurs that NEA was to me over the years.