by Ann Bordetsky
If I could pick a week in which to start off a new chapter, I couldn’t imagine one better than the historic week we just lived through in America. With the inauguration of President Biden and our first woman Vice President, we opened a new page in our collective history and I couldn’t be more optimistic.
This backdrop is a poignant reminder that we can create the world we want to live in. It’s also a humbling one, as we consider the challenges ahead and the opportunity for Tech as a community of innovators, investors and instigators to step up to the plate with scalable solutions. In securing our health, helping businesses adapt and individuals to thrive, unlocking economic opportunity and de-carbonizing our economy — we have a lot of work to do!
Necessity is the mother of invention and we are early in a decade of incredible technology-enabled transformation of how we work, live, play and relate to each other. In 10 years, I hope to look back and say that I spent these years empowering entrepreneurs with the brightest ideas and solutions.
After 12 years of building tech startups, I am excited to share that my new chapter will be in venture capital as a Partner at NEA.
Anyone who has worked with me before can tell that what gives me energy and optimism is working with entrepreneurs who dare to dream, dare to try to new things, dare to push through brick walls and glass ceilings to make things happen. I love working with people who just can’t stand the status quo and are compelled to create something better, even when it’s unpopular and against the odds. That pretty much explains every career choice I’ve made.
What you see up close when you build startups is how insanely HARD it is. I have infinite admiration for founders and teams who take on the challenge of creating and building. And I have a special spot in my heart for builders who are no-nonsense problem solvers and will go to bat for their teams.
“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is… You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”
— from The Martian (but really about startups)
Startups are also insanely fun and the greatest craft there is! I’ve spent most of my career working in service of founders — from early stage pioneering startups (Rival, Wheelz, BetterPlace) to hyper-scale unicorns (Uber, Twitter), helping founders build category defining products, scale fast, broker strategic partnerships and cultivate diverse, high-performing teams. It gave me a lot of gray hairs but I am so grateful for that breadth of experience, from the trenches to the c-suite.
As a Partner at NEA, I’m still serving founders every day, just with more capital and resources to bring to the table. 😁
For all the snarky comments about venture capital, the truth is entrepreneurs need high integrity, trustworthy and committed capital partners to build and scale their products into world-changing companies. It’s a long road to overnight success. Who your investors are matters.
I’ve seen up close how founder / investor relationships can play out, in good times and in challenging moments, and the way committed investors can make a difference in a company’s trajectory. Learning from that experience, my intention is to be the kind of investor I believe is most helpful to entrepreneurs — trusted partner, honest broker, strategic sounding board and constructive problem solver. Also, your cheerleader and confidence booster!
That brings me to why I’m so excited to join NEA.
In Tech, we are so used to short attention spans and fast-moving hype cycles. What I admire so much about NEA is it’s built on taking the long view and serving many generations of entrepreneurs. As Scott Sandell said to me, “we set out to be a 100+ year firm.” In this noisy, hype-driven world, it’s refreshing to work with a team that is motivated by serving founders over the arc of their companies, long-term value creation and enduring relationships.
Impact happens at scale and over time.
NEA has supported >65 $B companies, 230 IPOs, and helped companies to create 600,000 jobs. That’s just the beginning! More recently, the firm has backed companies like Robinhood, Plaid, Masterclass, CRISPR, Databricks, and breakout women-led companies like Cloudflare, Houzz, ThirdLove, Tamara Mellon, and Mejuri. Working across 5 continents and multiple U.S. tech hubs, I like that NEA doesn’t need to be convinced that exceptional entrepreneurs can come from anywhere and build $B+ companies outside of Silicon Valley. That’s a given.
Founders are the architects of tomorrow. Let’s have them show us the way!
I’m looking forward to working with Rick Yang, Liza Landsman, Vanessa Larco, Tony Florence, Jonathan Golden, Pete Sonsini, Forest Baskett, Aaron Jacobsen and the rest of the NEA team. Thank you for the warm welcome!
Finally, it’s not lost on me that venture is a blackbox kind of industry. It was that way for me too. I have a steep learning curve ahead but I am committed to bringing as much transparency as possible and sharing what I learn along the way. Whether as Founders, CEOs, Operators or Investors, we must strive to throw open the doors of the tech ecosystem. It only gets better with more diversity of backgrounds, experiences and voices at the table. LFG!
Originally published here.