They say time flies when you’re having fun. And in what felt like a blink of an eye, I look back and realize I’ve spent over 12 years at a16z. And what an unforgettable ride it’s been. When I joined, there were fewer than 30 employees. I knew everyone’s kid’s name, I knew their dog’s name. Back then we had to work hard to introduce ourselves to founders as some hadn’t heard of us, and the operating value add model was still unproven on Sand Hill Road. Restaurants aren’t plentiful on Sand Hill, most of us had frozen or microwaved lunches. But I remember those days fondly, even back then we all were excited to work because we each knew we were building something different. Today the firm is over 500+ with 6 office locations, its operating value-add has raised the bar for all venture capitalists, and the firm continues to grow in vision and impact.
For me, it all started when I first joined a16z, I had won the lottery and was paired with the one and only Jeff Jordan who taught me how to evaluate ideas even before they’re launched. He modeled how to work with integrity, competitiveness, curiosity and humility and I could not have picked a better venture investor to learn from. A few years later, I learned how to communicate from the queen of marketing herself Margit Wennmachers, who alongside her team helped me find my voice and gave me the courage to use it. And I am grateful for the entire partnership, especially Marc and Ben, for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime when they promoted me to be General Partner, ending the firm’s long standing rule of 9 years to only hire general partners who had been CEO’s or founders.
I remember right after the promotion was announced feeling like I had won a slot on the olympic team. I now had a chance to compete on the world stage, but I still had to run the race to win, and I could not let my teammates down.
In the last 5 years I’m so grateful to have partnered with visionary founders who imagine the world to be better. I’ve developed my own method of investing and have learned to trust my insights even when they aren’t obvious.
I’ve come to see working with startups as truly exciting and impactful work, startups push boundaries of what’s possible, they can improve life so fast for so many. I love seeing a startup grow from a dream to a global phenomenon. I love seeing founders mature in their leadership, finding themselves in the process. I love seeing hope in someone’s eyes.
So what’s the announcement? There comes a point after 12 years where you either double down or figure something else out. I have an adventurous streak in me so after a lot of thought, I’ve landed on the latter. I’m still a loyal a16zer but will embark on something new. I will keep all my board seats and companies, and I’ll be there to help any of my partners, but I’m going to step back and spend some time forming theses for my next chapter.
There are many folks that I’m grateful to…