Luke Pappas


Luke is currently a Partner on the Technology team focused on consumer and enterprise investing. He serves as a board observer at Aquabyte, Wiith, Modyfi, DJUST, Sana, Bliq, and PlayVS, and is closely involved in several other early-stage companies. Luke also works on Connect Ventures—NEA’s joint investing venture with CAA. Before joining NEA, Luke was a member of the Technology Investment Banking Team at Morgan Stanley. He graduated from Stanford University with dual BS degrees in computer science and management science & engineering, and also played four years of varsity baseball.

Give us three words someone might use to describe what it’s like working with you.

Optimism. Honesty. Energy.

What’s a philosophy that guides your approach to investing and/or relationship-building?

At a retirement ceremony for one of my college baseball coaches, someone asked him which of his many wins over the years he would remember most. His response was, “The wins were never my currency. Relationships are my currency. The players, the coaches, the friends I made along the way—that’s what I’ll remember.” This really stuck with me, and it helped me realize that relationships are what matter most. To this day, this idea very much guides my approach to my work with founders and other investors.

What excites you about the region you’re focused on?

I think Europe today is where the US was in the 2010s. There have been several big exits here over the last two decades that have helped elevate the perception of entrepreneurship in Europe to where it’s now celebrated. This has helped unlock a massive amount of talent for European startups. At the same time, European governments are becoming increasingly pro-entrepreneurship, with regulatory tailwinds and public investment funds. It is incredibly motivating to witness the quality and genuine enthusiasm of European founders today.

What’s a not-so-obvious skill that you think entrepreneurs should practice?

Great storytelling. When you’re in the early days of building a company, you need to be able to clearly communicate your idea in a compelling way—absent an actual product. It can be a hard skill to learn, but it’s essential for getting people to see and understand your vision.

How does NEA show up when a company is struggling?

We seek to do what’s best for the company and its employees, which may include thinking about the long-term potential of those employees going on to found companies themselves. We want to keep ourselves in a position to consider those future opportunities. For us, doing the right thing for our LPs and portfolio companies for the long term will usually win over doing what’s most convenient in the short term.

Describe a cultural artifact that’s influenced who you are today.

I absolutely love rom-coms—they’ve turned me into a hopeless romantic, which is why I find it so easy to fall in love with great ideas. My top five  rom-coms are About Time, Notting Hill, 10 Things I Hate About You, Dan in Real Life, and Serendipity.

of Taylor Swift's top listeners on Spotify
Miles cycled along the entire West Coast of the United States
Attendee of the ABBA Voyage concert in London