Over the last few years a number of us in the firm have been sharpening our focus on investing categories that promote “American dynamism.” These categories include defense, national security, public safety, and what we’ve referred to as the “slow sectors”: housing, education, and healthcare, the three sectors of the American economy where the costs to consumers are rising the fastest. Over that time, two things became very clear.
First, as a firm, our belief in the opportunity to invest in these areas has become a core belief. Not only do we believe these areas represent tremendous venture-scale opportunities, but they also tend to be the categories whose success and growth serve as a critical foundation to making America the country people want to be from, to immigrate to, and to build a life and career or company in.
Second, when we would meet with the best companies in these areas we were always asked if we knew Katherine Boyle. Founders would talk about having already spent time with Katherine to better understand the market landscape, to sharpen a strategy, to brainstorm on fundraising, or to just have an enthusiastic mind to talk about the future with. These founders leaned on Katherine for advice and counsel, regardless of whether she was an investor (yet) in the company or not.
What we came to discover in talking to founders and getting to know Katherine over the years is that she does this because it’s the right thing to do and because she is so passionate about these areas. As we started to talk to Katherine about how we could deepen our focus in these areas, we would leave every conversation with an even deeper belief in the opportunity, and an excitement that just wouldn’t go away. And this kind of thing happens over and over when talking to Katherine – ideas and explanations and enthusiasm just radiate from her in a positively infectious way. We knew that if we were serious about these opportunities, we had to find a way to work with Katherine.
Katherine has spent over a decade sharpening her thesis, with a four-year tour of duty at The Washington Post as a reporter, and most recently as a partner at General Catalyst, where she led investments in companies seeking to help solve America’s biggest problems, from the opioid epidemic to 21st century national security. She’s only getting started in investing in these areas.
On behalf of the entire a16z team, I am thrilled to welcome our friend Katherine Boyle as our newest General Partner. She will have much more to share on investing in America once she starts later this year.
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