Carmen joined NEA in 2012 and serves as a Partner and Head of Asia, focused on building NEA’s global organization and portfolio in China and other emerging markets in Asia. She is also involved in NEA’s investments in the US and Europe. Her sector focus includes the EdTech, mental health, AI, and semiconductor spaces. Before NEA, Carmen was a partner at a major Silicon Valley law firm, where she specialized in corporate and securities law, and led the firm's China practice. Carmen holds a JD from Stanford Law School.
What do you find most interesting about your role?
I’ve always been fascinated by people and what makes them tick, how they make decisions, and what motivates them. I also think a lot about impact and the potential for technology to affect positive, wide-reaching change. To me, venture represents the intersection of these two lines of interest.
How do you approach relationship-building?
You earn trust and build relationships one day—one problem solved together—at a time. In every situation, I aim to do right by founders and their companies. Above all, I believe the relationships you build are the foundation not only for a good career but for a meaningful life.
As an investor, what’s an important quality you look for in a founder?
There are a lot of qualities I look for, including drive, determination, perseverance, humility—and especially compassion. Compassion is the starting point for empathy. You need empathy to be an effective leader.
What’s a problem you’re excited to see being addressed with technology?
I’m passionate about mental health, and I’m excited to see technology being leveraged to make services in this space more accessible and affordable for more people. It’s such a pervasive issue, yet traditional methods of delivering support are out of reach for so many. I think technology has the ability to shift this paradigm.
You’ve also spent much of your career focusing on the semiconductor industry. How have you seen that space evolve?
I’ve been involved in the semiconductor industry since the early days of its development. I witnessed the beginnings and worked with both TSMC and UMC, and then saw the creation of the tools that enable semiconductor design and manufacturing. Now I’m watching as the AI revolution sparks a massive demand for chips—driving the growth of fabless design houses and other semiconductor companies in the US. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with, and continue to work with, companies at the forefront of innovation in this space, driving its evolution.
What makes NEA a valuable partner?
We have a long-term view, so we embrace the ups and the downs of company-building as part of the journey. Instead of contributing to the pressure or abandoning a company when it’s faced with a challenge, we seek to help by working alongside a founder or team to get through it.
What keeps you grounded?
My family keeps me grounded and focused on what’s truly important. It’s important to have that counterbalance to my work life.