Jonathan Golden


Jonathan Golden is a Partner at NEA, where he focuses on consumer, marketplaces, fintech, and application-layer software. He leads NEA's investments in Ledge, Ledgy, Metabase, and Patreon. Before joining NEA, Jonathan was Director of Product at Airbnb. Prior to Airbnb, Jonathan worked in product at both Dropbox and HubSpot, and was a venture investor at Greylock Partners. Jonathan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Stanford.

You were at Airbnb during a pivotal growth period. What did you learn from that experience?

My time at Airbnb taught me the importance of being able to adapt and evolve as an organization. When you experience significant growth, it’s important to understand that the processes and team that got you to where you are today will need to evolve to get you to where you need to go in the future. That doesn’t mean that what you were doing in the past was wrong—evolution is just a necessary part of growth.

What’s a quality that best describes how you work?

Deep thinking. I think hard about the questions and problems brought to me because I recognize that there are often many frameworks to consider when going about solving a particular issue. Knowing which one to use (or not use) is the most important part.

When it comes to building a company, what matters most in your opinion?

People. The ability to recruit top talent is a key differentiator in any great startup.

What’s a childhood trait of yours that’s still present in your personality today?

Relentless curiosity has been ingrained in me since I was young. I’ve always wanted to take the slightly different path, look around the corner that no one else is paying attention to. When you keep your mind open, there’s always something new to learn and be energized by.

In what way does NEA deliver value (beyond capital) to their founders?

We’ll jump in whenever we’re needed. Whether it’s serving as initial design partners, assisting with hiring, providing go-to-market expertise, or offering financing and capital support, we have over 40 years of experience growing companies, and I believe we know what great looks like. We want our founders to only make original mistakes—not ones we’ve seen before.

What’s a cultural artifact that’s shaped who you are today?

My father was a huge science fiction fan, so I had a library of hundreds of science fiction books to read in my youth, from Foundation to Ender’s Game, and just about everything in between. They were all about the hero’s journey and pushing forward in a new world where they had to understand systems to win. I’ve been a fan of the genre ever since, and I appreciate that it constantly forces you to expand your outer-worldly view.

At NEA, we want our founders to only make original mistakes—not ones we’ve seen before.

Jonathan Golden, Partner