Mia joined NEA in 2023 as an investor on the Technology team. Prior to joining NEA, she worked as a Private Equity Associate at Permira. She previously spent time at McKinsey as a Business Analyst in the Digital Practice and at Microsoft as a Software Program Manager. Mia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in economics and mechanical engineering and a master of science degree in robotics engineering.
What’s one word you want founders to use when describing their partnership with you?
Strategic. At NEA, I’ve seen us act as strategic partners to many founders, including those at companies we did not invest in. The most rewarding part of our job is getting the privilege to act as trusted advisors to clients and industry-defining teams and companies, regardless of whether we get to fund them. Capital is table stakes; we have to earn the right to invest in such disruptive companies.
What’s an important quality you look for in a founder?
A great leader is inspirational and motivational but is also driven to execute. Ideas are of course important, and I love seeing a founder passionate about their vision, but what really gets me excited is seeing them demonstrate the ability to bring said vision to life. Execution can take the form of developing an excellent product strategy, scaling the GTM function, efficiently acquiring customers, attracting and hiring talent, etc. I look up to strong executors in the public markets and identify similar patterns in private market founders—and those are the founders I believe we would love to partner with.
In what ways does NEA’s ethos align with your personal ethos?
NEA’s founding partners anchored our firm around “shared goals, shared values, and shared rewards.” Our business is shaped—and constantly reshaped—by public market volatility, rapid pace of innovation, and evolving geopolitical trends. To achieve long-term success, we have to collectively align our goals by working as a team—within NEA and with our LPs and the entrepreneurs we work with. This ethos of sharing really resonates with my values and strengthens the social fabric of society, allowing us as individuals, and as NEA, to build a stronger VC-entrepreneur ecosystem.
What’s the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received from a colleague?
A GP once asked me, “What does your gut tell you?” as I was staring blankly at a financial model we’d put together overnight. The question served as a reminder that, at the end of the day, what we’re really investing in is people. I see NEA as representing a marriage of early- and growth-stage investors, ex-bankers and all-star operators, veterans and new joiners—allowing us to have an unparalleled balance of the art and science that constitute investing.
Which aspect of your personality makes you well-suited for your role?
Pushing the limits of how scrappy I can get. The scrappy adventures I embarked on as an investor are many—and the more passion I develop about a particular domain, the more I immerse myself. This has taken the form of going deep in conversations with my plumber about his POS system, disguising myself as a restaurant accounting consultant to attend an industry conference, and calling data integration companies to “evaluate” their products as an IT key decision-maker. I’ll take any opportunity I can to gain insight about a domain we’re excited about.
If you hadn’t found your way into venture capital, what would you be doing?
I’d be a winemaker. Despite being raised in Bordeaux I’m pretty clueless about wine, but I’m drawn to the intellectual challenge of wine making. Winemakers invest years in growing and aging their product. Just as successful investors are passionate about the companies they support, a winemaker’s passion for the craft often translates into the quality of the final product, which takes time to create. From understanding consumer preferences to making strategic decisions about harvest time and managing risk of weather conditions—the long-term view is enthralling.
“The most rewarding part of our job is getting the privilege to act as trusted advisors to clients and industry-defining teams and companies, regardless of whether we get to fund them.”