Lila Tretikov

Partner, Head of AI Strategy

Lila joined NEA in 2024 as Partner, Head of AI Strategy. She most recently served as Deputy CTO at Microsoft, driving large-scale AI transformation. Previously, Lila was SVP Engie, CEO & Vice Chair Terrawatt at Engie (EPA:ENGI) where she led the company's transition to renewable energy sources. Lila was also CEO at Wikipedia Foundation & Endowment, reversing its decline, and introducing AI strategy. Lila has been named a Forbes' Top 100 Most Powerful Women, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and a distinguished alumni of the University of California, Berkeley. She completed graduate programs at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and Stanford University's Director's College.

What inspired you to pursue a career in venture?

I feel that I have circled this role from all sides: as an entrepreneur, a CEO buying companies, an individual investor, and as a CTO helping products scale. Venture investing is at the center of everything I have done in my career thus far, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to utilize my holistic experience to work closely with founders and help build the next generation of transformative companies.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work?

The people. Helping humans better navigate our future inspires me everyday. There is an incredible spark when bright minds and big ideas connect — the feeling is indescribable but those who have felt it are sure to become addicted to it!

What qualities do you value most in a founder?

The ability to listen, absorb and integrate external stimuli from a multitude of sources — this creates the aptitude for constant learning and growth. Being able to prioritize and focus intensely is also extremely valuable in order to cut out noise and potential distraction. And finally, grit — the role of a founder is not for the faint.

How do you approach relationship-building?

I aim to be truly, deeply interested and caring about what others are doing, what they believe, and what drives them. I also leave room to learn and be surprised by things I don’t know about — the people we surround ourselves with can be our greatest teachers.

What is a story from your childhood that helped shape you?

My father is a theoretical mathematician with over 500 papers to his name. Growing up, I felt he was always lost in thought solving algorithms in his head, often with a strained expression on his face. Once I asked him what was wrong. He looked at me in self-frustration and said: ‘If anyone ever tells you humans are the crown of creation, they are a fool. Our minds are so insanely limited and it is a struggle to push against those limits every day.’ 

I  pursued AI as my education precisely because it offers us a chance to process many more computations than any single mind can imagine and perhaps even extend our own biological capabilities one day.

What is a unique perspective you bring to venture?

I believe venture space is at a crossroads. We need to rethink the core value proposition of relationships between founders and investors as founders are navigating the increasing abundance of choices and pressures associated with fundraising. Venture must bring more value to all parties, offer different products and services, and rethink how we work given the data and AI power at our fingertips.

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