Vanessa Larco


Vanessa joined NEA as a Partner in 2016 and focuses on enterprise and consumer investing. She has led investments in Assembled, Kindred, Rewind AI, Cleo, Evernow, Rocket.Chat, and Mejuri, among others. She is also a board observer at Forethought, SafeBase, Orby AI, Granica, Modyfi, and HEAVY.AI. She was a board observer at Robinhood until its IPO in 2021. Prior to Venture, she led product teams at Box, Twilio, Disney, and Xbox. 

You’ve been at NEA for nearly seven years. What’s kept you here?

Two things, the first being the team and culture we have. NEA has been an amazing place to learn venture capital. From incredible mentors to supportive teammates, I can’t think of a better place to be. The second is the immense sense of loyalty I feel toward the founders I work with here. They’ve taken bets on me, brought me into their boardrooms, and trusted my guidance. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to play a small part in writing the story of their companies.

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

Working and learning alongside founders. I love to help people accomplish things, and I love to build products. The best part of my role is getting to help founders build amazing products in whichever way I can. With early-stage startups, the teams are getting signals, making decisions, and learning from them at a rapid pace. Getting to learn alongside them is what makes my work endlessly interesting.

From your perspective, what matters most when building a company?

Passion and focus. They may seem at odds, but when balanced correctly, they are incredibly powerful. Take recruiting, for example. Hiring the best talent is essential to building a great company. You need focus to target and evaluate the right people, and then you need passion to convince them to follow you on the journey. You need passion for the problem you're solving in order to build a strong roadmap, a compelling value proposition, etc. And you need focus to pick the right set of things for your limited set of resources.

What’s a subject you’re curious about?

At my core I'm a product manager, so I love trying out new software products and thinking about why it was designed the way it was, why certain features were included, which features drive which behaviors—it’s sort of like reverse engineering a product requirements document or product roadmap.

What advice would you give to a founder when considering an investor?

You want to find someone that’s truly aligned with you—with the vision you have for the company, with how you want to hire and build out the team, with how you make decisions and prioritize the opportunities ahead. Alignment from the beginning is key to reducing friction, building trust, and working efficiently together.

What do you most appreciate about how NEA operates?

NEA has a long-term view in regard to the way we make decisions, the way we build and nurture relationships, and how we structure our teams and processes. We believe that with the right long-term focus, things can fall into place correctly. I believe that the relationships I build and the investments I make here will be supported by a long-term perspective.

Tell us about someone who has influenced you and your career.

I grew up with a very strong female role model. My mom immigrated from Colombia to the US to study computer science in the ’70s. There weren't a lot of software opportunities in Miami for engineers, so she began her career as an entrepreneur. She built and sold several successful technology companies throughout my childhood, while raising two kids on her own. She juggled all the craziness of kids and career with the best sense of humor and a ton of energy. Watching her made it feel possible to take on any challenge as long as you’re having fun and working hard.

I love to help people accomplish things, and I love to build products. The best part of my role is getting to help founders build amazing products in whichever way I can.

Vanessa Larco, Partner