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- Meet 100 rising-star venture capitalists who specialize in funding early-stage startups and are changing the face of the venture industry.
- These VCs include those who left the classic Silicon Valley funds to strike out on their own and hungry angel investors starting rolling funds as a new way to finance venture firms.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
This year has been a whirlwind — with no exception for the venture-capital world.
But amid the turmoil of a pandemic and seesawing fortunes for startups, a number of early-stage venture capitalists working outside the long-established Silicon Valley VC firms have made a name for themselves.
They’ve done this with bold investments, gutsy fundraising, and gambles that have sometimes put their careers at stake.
With that in mind, we present 100 rising star VCs of 2020 based on a list of highly rated venture capitalists created by VC Guide, the site where startup founders can leave anonymous reviews and ratings on venture capitalists. We threw in a few picks of our own too.
Read on for Business Insider’s 2020 picks for the rising-star VCs who specialize in seed and early-stage funding, organized alphabetically by their firm’s name.
11.2 Capital’s Shelley Zhuang
Shelly Zhuang was a software engineer and research scientist before becoming a VC.
She founded 11.2 Capital, named for the speed required for a rocketship to escape Earth’s gravity, to invest in deeply technical startups in the AI, cybersecurity, robotics, synthetic biology, and space industries.
Her biggest win to date was the self-driving-car company Cruise, which sold to General Motors in 2016. Her firm has also backed Hinge Health, Ginkgo Bioworks, and Forter.
122 West Ventures’ AJ Solimine
AJ Solimine is cofounder and managing partner at 122 West Ventures, a pre-seed VC firm in San Francisco that aims to be a founding team’s first lead check. He is an active investor in over 70 early-stage companies, including data-privacy infrastructure company Transcend.io.
Solimine was previously a partner at Anideo, a Singapore-based venture studio and investment office, and was also CEO and cofounder of Ntrious.io, a cloud-development platform.
122 West Ventures’ Evan Tana
Evan Tana is a cofounder and general partner of 122 West Ventures.
Tana was formerly a cofounder of Shopkick, as well as an early advisor to Patreon and Shift, and is perhaps best known for his days leading product teams at Dropbox.
122 West Ventures has invested in Transcend, Material Security, and RunTheWorld, among others.
Acrew Capital’s Theresia Gouw
Theresia Gouw is a founding partner at Acrew Capital, which debuted its first fund of $250 million last year and named Melinda Gates as an investor.
She’s a first-generation immigrant who built her VC reputation at Accel, where she was the firm’s first female partner and led successful investments in real-estate site Trulia and cybersecurity firm Imperva.
She went on to cofound Aspect Ventures, one of the first women-led venture funds in Silicon Valley and five years later also formed Acrew. This new firm has a goal of building a multigenerational team that takes a more flexible approach to investing, it says.
Acrew Capital’s Lauren Kolodny
Lauren Kolodny cofounded Acrew Capital after cutting her VC teeth at Aspect Ventures, which she joined at the firm’s very start.
Kolodny views Theresia Gouw as her mentor. She’s known for investments in Cheim, Divvy, and Evident ID, among others.
At Acrew, she and Gouw plan to build a diverse and egalitarian VC team, focusing on areas like fintech, cybersecurity, and the future of work.
Afore Capital’s Gaurav Jain
Gaurav Jain is a cofounder and managing partner of Afore Capital, one of the largest venture funds dedicated to pre-seed investments.
Afore’s sweet spot is the $300,000-to-$1 million round, where it often leads a pre-seed round as a VC investor alongside individual angel investors. The idea is to identify talented founders often before they’ve even garnered any traction with their product, according to a 2017 Forbes profile of the fund. Afore has recently made investments in Modern Health and Flatfile.
Alumni Ventures Group’s Catherine Lu
Catherine Lu is a managing partner at Alumni Ventures Group, a fund that has distinguished itself for embracing individual, rather than institutional, LPs.
A Stanford grad, Lu made the leap into venture via Spike Ventures, the Stanford alum fund run by AVG. She’s helped AVG make investments in Lily AI and Mighty Buildings.
Alumni Ventures Group’s Marco Casas
Marco Casas is one of the world’s most active pre-seed and seed investors, holding dual roles at Alumni Ventures Group (AVG) and the Basecamp Fund, which is part of AVG. AVG is one of the top 25 most prolific seed firms of 2020.
Casas has an unconventional background, having grown up in Venezuela and worked in finance in Moscow and South Africa. He’s led AVG’s investments in the real-estate unicorn Compass as well as remote-collaboration platform CoScreen and Undock, a cooperative meeting network. He’s now turning to emerging-markets investing, having completed five investments this year in Latin America.
Arboretum Ventures’ Jan Garfinkle
Jan Garfinkle founded Arboretum Ventures in 2002 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has grown it into a powerhouse healthcare venture firm.
Arboretum has raised $700 million, including a new $250 million fund last year, making it the largest venture firm in Michigan history, Crains Detroit Business reports.
Garfinkle previously spent 20 years at healthcare companies, in roles ranging from sales to clinical research and consulting. She’s backed a list of startups that were acquired or went public like NeuMoDx, CardioMEMS, Esperion Therapeutics and HandyLab and is currently on the boards of portfolio companies like Cardiac Dimensions, Ebb Therapeutics, Strata Oncology.
She just finished five years on the board of the National Venture Capital Association, most recently as chairperson.
Atelier’s Li Jin
Li Jin is the founder of Atelier, an early-stage firm focused on what Jin calls the “passion economy.” By that she means she likes to back companies like newsletter platform Substack, which allow users to monetize their non-commoditized skills.
She was previously an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where she focused on the consumer sector. Before that Jin was a product manager at Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Shopkick and also worked for Capital One.
This year, Jin has invested in startups Streamloots, Dumpling, and Stir. Other notable investments from her fund include Luma, Substack, and Patreon.
Aux21 Capital’s Chinedu Enekwe
Chinedu Enekwe is the general partner at Aux21 Capital, which he runs alongside Mark Fleming.
Before Aux21, Enekwe was managing partner at AffinitVC and also cofounded Tiphub, an investment fund that focused on African and African-diaspora founders.
Aux 21 Capital’s Mark Fleming
Mark Fleming’s background ranges from Evanston, Illinois, where he got his MBA from the Kellogg School in 2016, to Hangzhou, China, where he worked for Alibaba after graduating.
This year he cofounded Nomi Group, a tech company helping influencers and content creators develop and operate their own companies.
His early-stage fund Aux 21 is run in partnership with Chinedu Enekwe and focuses on immigrant entrepreneurs and startups with a global flare.
AK Capital’s Avlok Kohli
Before becoming a venture capitalist, Avlok Kohli founded multiple companies. He created FastBite, which was bought by Square, and then Fairy, the cleaning-services company, which landed AngelList founder Naval Ravikant as an investor.
Ravikant later hired Kohli to become CEO of AngelList’s investment arm, the program responsible for launching AngelList’s super successful “rolling funds” program, where anyone can launch a fund and raise money via subscription payments.
And now he’s got his own rolling fund, AK Capital, which has backed Momentus and b8ta.
Backend Capital’s Dave Fontenot
David Fontenot dropped out of college to spread the hackathon movement after starting the largest hackathon in the world, MHacks, back in 2013. Now, he’s a general partner at Backend Capital, a new fund that invests in talented engineers as early as possible.
It has made investments in 21 companies like Secureframe, Popshop, and koodos.
Fontenot, who lived in various Airbnb rentals for 17 months as he started hackathons across the country, also runs HackMatch, which introduces top engineers to up-and-coming startups.
Backstage Capital’s Christie Pitts
Christie Pitts is a cofounder of Backstage Capital, which targets companies founded by underrepresented founders, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ people.
“I think an initial perception was that the reason for the lack of diversity in venture is because there was a lack of diverse founders to fund,” she said in a 2018 interview with Move the Dial.
“What we’re doing is busting that myth. There’s thousands of great, diverse founders building venture-capital-backable businesses,” she said.
Backstage Capital now has more than 140 companies in its portfolio, including in The Juggernaut, Freeman Capital, and Sekr.
Basis Set Ventures’ Chang Xu
Chang Xu is a partner at Basis Set Ventures, where she focuses on investing in developer-led products.
Her VC career started at Upfront Ventures, the oldest SoCal-based early-stage VC firm. Before that she was a founder and COO of a venture-backed ed-tech startup in China, BCG consultant, and product manager at the Minerva Project.
Basis Set Ventures’ Sheila Vashee
Sheila Vashee is a partner at Basis Set Ventures, an early-stage VC firm focusing on investing in the future of work.
She met Basis founder Xuezhao Lan at Dropbox, where they were both early employees. Prior to her venture career, Vashee ran the growth team at Opendoor, helping take the company to 21 markets. Vashee has also backed some enterprise startups still in stealth.
Basis Set Ventures’ Xuezhao Lan
Xuezhao Lan is the founding and manager partner at Basis Set Ventures, an early-stage venture firm focused on artificial-intelligence startups hoping to redefine the future of work.
Lan has always been interested in human and machine intelligence, having studied AI for her Ph.D. Through Basis, she’s made early investments in Rasa, Workstream, and Path, and also put money in Scale as an angel investor.
Ben Tossell’s Rolling Fund
Ben Tossell was at Product Hunt when it was acquired by Angel List. He did a short stint at the seed fund Earnest Capital while launching his own no-code startup MakerPad, which Earnest Capital backed.
He recently launched his own early-stage rolling fund dedicated to supporting other startups in his niche of no-code and low-code companies, which are companies that allow ordinary people to create computer programs without knowing how to code.
Bling’s Ben Ling
Ben Ling is the founder and general partner of Bling Capital. He is also an active angel investor, with an impressive list of early stakes in Airtable, Lyft, Square, Palantir, Quora, and Udemy.
Ling gained extensive operating experience early on in his career at Facebook, Google, and YouTube, and got his VC chops as a general partner at Khosla Ventures, where he led investments in Wattpad, Tapingo, Gitlab, True Accord, and Plastiq.
Bloom Venture Capital’s Bart MacDonald
An Australian best known for growing General Assembly in that region, Bart MacDonald also launched a couple of startups of his own, including successful HR startup Sapling, before launching Bloom Venture Partners.
MacDonald has styled Bloom as part investment firm, part startup studio. One notable investment the new VC firm has made recently is in Virtually, a Shopify for online schools.
Boom Capital’s Celestine Schnugg
Celestine Schnugg earned her VC stripes at Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors before striking out on her own with Boom Capital in 2017.
Her firm focuses on supporting deeply technical and under-networked founders. It was, for instance, the first investor in the seed round of Mammoth Biosciences, a health tech startup founded by Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna.
Browder Capital’s Josh Browder
Josh Browder graduated from college in 2018, and he’s one of the youngest VCs in the industry. Yet he’s already garnered his reputation as a founder as the creator of DoNotPay, the first website that allows motorists to appeal their parking tickets automatically.
Nicknamed by the BBC as the “Robin Hood of the Internet,” DoNotPay is backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners. He’s been an active angel investor in companies, including Luminous Computing, Very Good Security, and Profitboss. Now he’s moved on to a more formal venture firm and recently finished fundraising for his fund Browder Cpaital.
Buckley Ventures’ Josh Buckley
ProductHunt CEO Josh Buckley is one of the rising stars of the early-stage VC world, and is currently raising his second capital fund, according to a Wall Street Journal report this month.
He recently co-led a $100 million Series A round for social-gaming startup Playco Global alongside Sequoia, and sits on the boards of Clearbit and NexHealth. He’s also invested in Rippling, supersonic aircraft maker Boom Technology, and space-transportation startup Momentus. Buckley is a Y Combinator alum, with his gaming startup Mino Games, which he left in September 2019.
CapitalX’s Cindy Bi
Cindy Bi founded and sold a company that sold hunting cameras online all while working at Accenture. She then convinced her next employer to let her run a fund called Zillionize, and did a bunch of angel investing herself. Now she’s running her own rolling-fund firm, CapitalX.
Bi is best known for her seed investments in unicorns Cruise, Rippling, and Zapier, as well as her bets on LambdaSchool, UpKeep, and Armory, all of which she made through Zillionize.
Chapter One’s Jeff Morris Jr.
A former VP of Product at Tinder, Jeff Morris Jr. is now the managing partner of Chapter One, an early-stage seed fund he founded in 2017.
At Tinder, helped build Tinder Gold, a subscription function on Tinder that allows users to see who “liked” them without first having to swipe.
As an angel investor Morris made investments in Lyft, Lambda School, Superhuman, and Roman. And now, through his fund Chapter One, he’s backed Balsa, Blockfolio, Branch, Coinmine, and Cookdash.
Chingona Ventures’ Samara Hernandez
Samara Hernandez is a founding partner of Chingona Ventures, a pre-seed fund focused on backing “badass founders,” she said in a Medium post she wrote announcing the fund.
Chingona has made 13 investments to date, including in Reel, Encantos, and Tiny Organics. Prior to founding the firm in 2019, Hernandez was an early-stage investor at MATH Venture Partners and also worked at Goldman Sachs.
Cleo Capital’s Sarah Kunst
Sarah Kunst is a managing director at Cleo Capital, an early-stage venture firm that has invested in female scouts to improve representation in funding decisions. Kunst is also a contributing editor at fashion publication Marie Claire Magazine and has served as a senior advisor at Bumble, where she focused on the company’s corporate VC arm Bumble Fund.
In 2013, Kunst was named in Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Tech.
Collab Capital’s Barry Givens
Barry Givens is a cofounder and managing partner of Atlanta-based Collab Capital, described as “a new institution for Black entrepreneurs.”
The firm, which functions as both a venture fund and an accelerator where founders receive close guidance and resources, launched earlier this year with a $50 million fundraising target, TechCrunch reported. Givens is also known as the founder and developer of the robotic bartender startup Monsieur and the managing director of Techstars’ Social Impact Accelerator.
Collab Capital’s Jewel Burks Solomon
Jewel Burks Solomon is managing partner of Collab Capital, which she cofounded last year with the goal of closing the funding gap for Black entrepreneurs.
She is well known in the venture world as the head of Google for Startups in the US. Prior to that, she was the founder and CEO of Partpic, a startup acquired by Amazon in 2016 that streamlined the purchase of maintenance and repair parts via computer-vision technology.
Collab Capital’s Justin Dawkins
Justin Dawkins is cofounder and managing partner of Collab Capital. He also helped create Goodie Nation, an entrepreneur development program focused on creating more diversity among tech founders.
In a recent blog post, Dawkins explained that Collab Capital will focus not on the “deficiencies” within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but rather on building “financial and educational tools” to help Black businesses grow.
Combine’s Adam Michela
Adam Michela is the cofounder and CEO of Combine, a venture firm that combines early-stage capital with a team of design partners who help portfolio companies with digital product design.
The fund launched in 2017 and has since made nearly 40 investments, including in Haus, Tia, Built Robotics, and Parsley Health. Prior to Combine, Michaela was an early product designer for companies like Airbnb, Facebook, and Dropbox.
Combine’s Soleio Cuervo
Facebook’s second-ever design hire, Soleio Cuervo, cofounded Combine in 2017 with Adam Michela. He’s now a managing partner at the firm.
Cuervo has also worked at Dropbox and served as an early investor and advisor to Figma, a collaboration startup for designers valued at $2 billion.
D20 Capital’s Sungjoon Cho
Sungjoon Cho is a general partner at San Francisco-based D20 Capital.
An engineer by training, Cho has spent time as a product manager at Samsung and a consultant at McKinsey before entering the VC world in 2015. He helped launch D20 Capital last year, after four years building his VC chops at Formation 8 and Amasia. D20 has backed startups like fitness tech Whoop and construction-software startup structionSite.
Day One Ventures’ Masha Drokova
Masha Drokova is the founder and general partner of Day One Ventures, which invests in early-stage startups while also helping lead their communications.
That unique combination stems from Drokova’s own background working in public relations at Runa Capital, as well as her role leading global communications at tech company Acronis. Day One’s portfolio companies include DoNotPay, Atoms, Truebill, Yumi, DuckDuckGo, and Superhuman.
Diaspora Ventures’ lan Abehassera
Ilan Abehassera is the cofounder and general partner of Diaspora Ventures, a pre-seed fund focused on backing French entrepreneurs building tech companies in the US. He’s also a prolific angel investor, with investments in Checkr and Algolia and over a dozen others.
Abehassera comes to venture as a startup founder himself. Most recently, he cofounded Willo, a Kleiner Perkins-backed startup focused on advancing oral health technology and previously founded Ily, acquired by Nucleus and Producteev, bought by Jive.
Dream Machine’s Alexia Bonatsos
Alexia Bonatsos is a general partner at Dream Machine, a fund focused on the consumer-software sector. Bonatsos is well known in Silicon Valley for her years as a reporter and editor at TechCrunch, as well as her marriage to another Silicon Valley VC, General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos.
She left TechCrunch in 2015 to launch her VC career and founded Dream Machine in 2018 with the goal of helping “exceptional founders make science fiction non-fiction,” according to her bio page on TechCrunch. The firm has made investments this year in Somewhere Good, Playbyte, YOLO, and Squad.
Drive Capital’s Chris Olsen
In 2012, Chris Olsen left Silicon Valley and his job at major top VC firm Sequoia to found Drive Capital, a Columbus-based VC firm focused on investing in tech companies being built outside of Silicon Valley.
Olsen famously has a picture of his then baby daughter on his profile page on the Drive website crying in front of moving boxes the day they moved. It symbolizes the moment when his new firm almost collapsed, right before it started, when a major investor backed out at the last minute.
But Drive has survived, and since thrived, with stakes in companies like Root, Insurance, DuoLingo, and Olive.
Earnest Capital’s Tyler Tringas
Tyler Tringas is the founder and general partner at Earnest Capital, which makes seed investments in “bootstrappers, indie hackers, makers and real businesses,” as he describes it.
Tringas formerly bootstrapped and sold a SaaS business, was the CEO of travel and photography website Maptia.com, and founded SolarList, which connected people seeking solar power with solar installers and project developers. Earnest Capital has made investments in Makerpad, Memberspace, and Firstbase.io.
Essence Ventures’ Timothy Chen
Timothy Chen is a general partner at Essence VC, a firm made up of former startup founders/execs who invest in technical founders. It’s made investments in Transform, Iterative.ly, and Noteable.io.
Prior to Essence, he was the CEO and cofounder of HyperPilot, an enterprise infrastructure software company acquired by Cloudera in 2018.
Evolve VC’s Kamal Ravikant
Kamal Ravikant is a managing partner at Evolve VC, a Silicon Valley-focused venture fund with investments in ZCash, Teachable, Carta, Poshmark, and Clearbit.
Ravikant also has a new rolling fund under his name, and it holds the same investing philosophy Evolve VC does: to cherry-pick deals from the best investors, which Ravikant says, include Tim Chang at Mayfield, his brother Naval Ravikant, and Tinder Chief Product Officer Brian Norgard.
Form Capital’s Bobby Goodlatte
Bobby Goodlatte is a general partner at Form Capital, a design-focused early-stage venture fund launched earlier this year.
Goodlatte was previously a product designer at Facebook and then a designer in residence at Greylock Partners. Goodlatte, who graduated from Duke University, is an active angel investor who has made personal investments in over 50 startups, including Coinbase, Envoy, Linear, and Gowalla.
Form Capital’s Josh Williams
A designer by training, Josh Williams helped found Form Capital earlier this year with the goal of supporting early-stage startups not just with seed funding but also with design expertise. Formal Capital has made investments in Figma, Almanac, Local Laboratory, Components AI, and Along.
Williams is also cofounder and CEO of Gowalla, which relaunched this year after shutting down in 2012 when it was acquired by Facebook.
Fuel Capital’s Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the founding partner at Fuel Capital, a firm he launched in 2013 after spending almost six years as a principal with Ignition Partners.
Fuel closed its third fund last year with $75 million in capital commitments and has invested in unicorns Katerra, Flexport, Convoy, and Figma. Howard leans toward investing in first-time founders who have built their product or service through lived experiences, he told Techcrunch last year.
Fuel Capital’s Leah Solivan
Leah Solivan joined Fuel Capital as a general partner in 2017 and invests in early-stage companies in the consumer tech, hardware, education, marketplaces, and retail areas.
Solivan founded TaskRabbit in 2008 and helped the company, which matches freelance labor with local demand, grow to 44 cities and raise more than $50 million before being acquired by Ikea in 2017. She’s made investments in Dumpling and Feather through Fuel.
Future Africa’s Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is cofounder and general partner of Future Africa, which provides capital, coaching, and community for African entrepreneurs. The fund has investments in Andela, which Aboyeji cofounded, and payments company Flutterwave, of which Aboyeji was the former managing director.
Future Africa’s portfolio also includes Smile Identity, Bamboo, Releaf, and Tambua Health. Aboyeji was on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for enterprise technology in 2018.
Gelt Venture Capital’s Turner Novak
Turner Novak is a general partner at Gelt Venture Capital.
Prior to joining Gelt in 2019, Novak was a member of Afore Capital’s investment team, where he invested in pre-seed companies. He’s led investments in 24 companies, including Muze, Offsight, and WeeCare.
Heron Rock Fund’s Tom Williams
Tom Williams started his rolling fund with the value proposition of always being “non-consensus right,” where he doesn’t invest in the hot startup all VCs are piling into, but rather those he believes in.
Williams, who founded professional networking service BetterCompany and manages two other venture funds, has invested in Toi Labs, Coral, NorthOne Business Banking, Helaina, and Jumbotail.
Homebrew’s Satya Patel
Satya Patel is a founding partner at Homebrew, a seed-focused venture capital firm based in San Francisco. Prior to starting Homebrew in 2013, Patel was VP of Product at Twitter, a partner at Battery Ventures, and a product management leader at Google.
Through Homebrew, he’s made investments in Chrime, Finix, Noyo, Plaid, and Shield AI.
Hustle Fund’s Eric Bahn
Eric Bahn is cofounder and general partner at Hustle Fund, an early-stage firm that invests in software startups and draws its name from its goal of backing founders who can execute at a fast pace.
Prior to Hustle Fund, Bahn was an angel investor and venture partner at 500 Startups. He’s made personal investments in Boom Supersonic, NerdWallet, and Webflow.
Hustle Fund’s Elizabeth Yin
Elizabeth Yin is cofounder and general partner at Hustle Fund, focused on pre-seed investing in the US, Canada, and Southeast Asia.
She helped to launch the fund in 2017 with a personal strategy to invest in “hilariously early” startups and make decisions on companies within 48 hours of meeting with founders, she told Nathan Beckord in FounderSuite’s “How I Raised It” podcast.
Yin is an active investor in women’s health startups, including birth-control provider The Pill Club, which she first put money in as an angel investor before rolling it into Hustle Fund.
Immad Akhund’s Rolling Fund
Immad Akhund operates a rolling fund and has also cofounded four companies, the most recent of which is Andreessen Horowitz-backed Mercury, a banking service for startups.
He was formerly a part-time partner at YCombinator and has made angel investments in more than 150 companies, including in unicorns Rappi, Airtable, Rippling, and Momentus.Space.
Interlace Ventures’ Vincent Diallo
Vincent Diallo launched Interlace Ventures last year with Joseph Sartre. After 10 years in China, he started his investment career in 2015 as the cofounder of Bleu Capital, the venture arm of Jean-Pierre Chessé’s family office.
While in China, he worked for Deloitte in Shanghai and became the CFO of Sinodis, the largest independent distributor of Western food in the country. Diallo is now based in San Francisco and is fluent in French and Mandarin.
Jude Gomila’s Rolling Fund
Jude Gomila was first a founder before an angel investor, having helped start mobile developer tools platform Heyzap before founding his Andreessen Horowitz-backed knowledge company Golden, of which he is currently the CEO.
As an angel, Gomila has backed over 200 startups, including big names like Airtable, Carta, Boom, Ginkgo Bioworks, Benchling, and Superhuman, and now has his own rolling fund.
Leadout Capital’s Ali Rosenthal
Ali Rosenthal is the founder and managing partner of Leadout Capital, an early-stage firm that backs founders that come from or work on behalf of underserved communities.
The $27 million fund counts Melina Gates as an early investor and has made investments in Arc, blooksloth, Near Space Labs, and walrus.ai. Rosenthal herself was an active angel investor from 2011 to 2018, with over 30 investments in companies like Envoy, Artillery, and Privacy.com. In 2015, she was also appointed by President Obama as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.
LGF’s Lachy Groom
Early Stripe employee Lachy Groom began raising money for his second fund, called LGF II, with a target of $100 million earlier this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That comes after successful investments this year in hot startups like Snapdocs and mmhmm. He’s also made early angel investments in Notion (for which he also co-led the company’s Series A funding round), Figma, Origin, WorkOS, and Ethyca, to name a few.
Lightship Capital’s Brian Brackeen
Brian Brackeen is a general partner at Lightship Capital, which he runs with his wife, Candice. It targets startups in the Midwest led by underrepresented founders.
Brackeen is also the founder of Kairos, an AI facial-recognition startup. Lightship completed its first investment earlier this year in FreshFry, food-technology company in Louisville, Kentucky. It focuses on the healthcare, consumer products and services, e-commerce, sustainability, and AI sectors.
Lightship Capital’s Candice Brackeen
Candice Matthews Brackeen is a general partner at Lightship Capital alongside her husband, Brian Brackeen.
Lightship is currently raising a $50 million VC fund, which makes it one of the largest venture firms in the US run by a Black woman. Matthews Brackeen is the founder of Hillman Accelerator, the Midweest’s first tech accelerator focused on supporting BIPOC and female founders. She’s made investments in Undock and Proov.
Liquid 2 Ventures’ Michael Ma
Michael Ma is the founding partner of Liquid 2 Ventures, which has backed companies like Applied Intuition, Truepill, and Mercury.
Ma is a YCombinator alum and founder of business feedback platform TalkBin, which was acquired by Google in 2011.
Long Journey Ventures’ Cyan Banister
Cyan Banister is a partner at Long Journey Ventures, where she joined in March after spending four years at Founders Fund.
Banister left Founders Fund to return to her early-stage roots, she said in a Medium post earlier this year announcing her decision. Previously, she was a cofounder of Zivity and also made early angel investments in a who’s who of startups, including Uber, Postmaters, SpaceX, and Affirm.
Mango Capital’s Robin Vasan
Robin Vasan is founder and general partner at Mango Capital, which focuses on seed and early-stage startups in enterprise software.
A former Mayfield partner, Vasan launched Mango Capital in 2018 with the goal of supporting early-stage technical founders.
He believes the technology industry is in the “midst of another tectonic shift” with the move to the cloud, and has now raised two successive $40 million funds, and used those funds to back companies like HashiCorp, Netlify, Rasa Technologies, and NS1.
Maple’s Andre Charoo
Andre Charoo is founder and general partner at Maple VC, an early-stage venture firm which has made investments in Ritual, Clay, Virtual Kitchen, RenoRun, and Aalto.
Charoo was famously one of the first 25 employees at Uber.
He built Maple while venture investing at Inovia and serving as a vice president at job marketplace company Hired. Earlier this year, he led a seed stage investment in PlaceHolder, a marketplace for unused commercial space.
MJC Collective’s Jason Jacobs
Jason Jacobs cares about climate change, which is why he hosts a podcast called “My Climate Journey” and manages a 1,000-person Slack community of the same name.
He’s been an avid climate tech angel investor and recently raised a climate tech fund called MCJ Collective, using AngelList’s new rolling-fund structure. Prior to venture, Jacobs was best known as the founder and CEO of Runkeeper, which was acquired by ASICS in 2016.
Moxxie Ventures’ Katie Jacobs Stanton
Former Twitter VP Katie Jacobs Stanton founded Moxxie Ventures in 2019 with the goal of backing “exceptional founders who make life and work better,” she wrote on a Medium post when launching her fund.
The firm’s first fund raised $25 million and was backed by big-name investors like Marc Andreessen and Laurene Powell-Jobs.
Stanton, who made Forbes’ 2015 list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women while at Twitter, is an experienced angel investor: She cofounded an investment collective called #Angels with her Twitter colleagues in 2015 and has also personally invested in Airtable, Cameo, Carta and Literati, to name a few.
New Age Capital’s Ivan Alo
Ivan Alo is cofounder and managing partner of New Age Capital, a seed-stage firm focused on investing in Black and Latino-led tech startups.
Alo is also an investment scout for Lightspeed Venture Partners, where he deployed $500,000 alongside fellow New Age founder LaDante McMillon into 12 companies, including Oui The People and Pienso.
This year, Alo was also selected as a featured honoree for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Venture Capital list.
New Age Capital’s LaDante McMillon
LaDante McMillon cofounded New Age Capital alongside Ivan Alo, and is a managing partner at the firm.
McMillon got his VC chops as an investment scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where he invested in 12 companies alongside Alo. He also spent three years working at formal wear company Black Tux.
Next Big Thing’s Nikhil Basu Trivedi
Until earlier this year, Nikhil Basu Trivedi was a general partner at Shasta Ventures, where he led investments in ClassDojo, Lattice, and Literati, among others.
Trivedi, who focuses on consumer-tech companies, left the firm in July to search for the “next big thing” (also the name of his newsletter) as an independent venture capitalist. One of his big recent investments is in design-software platform Canva.
NOEMIS Ventures’ Simeon Iheagwam
Simeon Iheagwam is the founder and managing partner of NOEMIS Ventures, which focuses on early-stage companies in fintech, AI/machine learning, and ecommerce.
The Brooklyn native, raised by parents who immigrated from Nigeria, began his career in investment banking. So far his fund has made investments in Trigger, Gitlinks, Squire, Petal, and Markable.
Operator Collective’s Leyla Seka
Leyla Seka is famously one of the former Salesforce executives who led the tech giant’s move to equal pay, giving her a reputation as a fighter for gender equality in Silicon Valley.
She is now a partner at Operator Collective, a venture fund led by women and people of color LPs. Seka is also the cocreator of the Black Venture Institute, a recently launched educational initiative aimed at creating a new network of Black angel investors. Operator Collective has made investments in Cube, SetSail, and Spekit, to name just a few.
Operator Collective’s Mallun Yen
Mallun Yen is the founder and partner of Operator Collective, a $50 million fund whose LPs are 90% women and over 40% people of color, in addition to being experienced operators from companies like Zoom, Stripe, Salesforce, and Slack.
Previously a Cisco vice president, Yen has also been part of the founding teams of venture-backed RPX and SaaStr.
Otherwise’s Terrence Rohan
Terrence Rohan is an angel investor and managing director of Otherwise, an investment network specifically created for founders who want to invest in other founders.
Prior to Otherwise, Terrence led Index Venture’s seed practice and worked in product marketing and development roles at Google and YouTube. His portfolio companies include Figma, Front, Notion, Patrron, and Robinhood.
Outlander Labs’ Leura Craig
Prior to setting up Outlander Labs in September with her husband, Leura Craig was best known as the founder of interior design startup Laurel & Wolf.
Her new VC firm focuses on startups across the Southeast, a region Craig holds dear as an Alabama native. It’s already made investments in Talli, Inirv, Vericrypt, and Chip11.
Outlander Labs’ Paige Craig
Paige Craig spent the first half of his career in the Marine Corps and US intelligence, an unconventional background for a successful venture capitalist.
Since becoming a VC, Craig has invested in over 100 startups in the last seven years, including companies like Bird, Clover Health, SpaceX, Lyft, and AngelList. In September, he cofounded Outlander with his wife, Laura Craig, to focus on startups in the Southeast.
Plug and Play’s Alireza Masrour
Alireza Masrour is a general partner at Plug and Play, the early-stage firm that was among 2020’s most active seed venture funds.
Masrour has spent more than a decade at the company, where he’s led more than 100 investments, including in Kamcord, FiscalNote, Shippo, VisbyMedical, CreditSesame, Matcha (acquired by Apple), and LoungeBuddy (acquired by American Express).
Prior to Plug and Play, he was founder and CEO at NekaTel.
Pomp Investments’ Anthony Pompliano
Anthony Pompliano is a serial investor, having backed more than 100 early-stage companies — several of which are now valued at more than $1 billion.
He also cofounded investment firm Morgan Creek Digital, which helps public pensions, university endowments, and private foundations invest in blockchain technology and other digital assets.
A former operator at Snapchat and Facebook, Pompliano now has his own rolling fund and writes a popular daily email newsletter on investment and crypto.
Precursor Ventures’ Charles Hudson
Charles Hudson is the founder and managing partner of Precursor Ventures, which he started in 2015 after earning his venture stripes at Uncork Capital (formerly known as SoftTech VC).
This year Precursor Ventures has invested in mmhmm, Carrot, and The Athletic.
He was also the cofounder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-focused mobile games startup. Hudson recently signed on to help form the Black Venture Institute, an organization which aims to support Black entrepreneurs looking to become angel and venture investors.
RareBreed Ventures’ McKeever (Mac) Conwell,II
Mac Conwell is a software engineer who founded a number of startups, including one that went through the famous accelerator for PoC, NewMe, before he turned to venture.
Prior to launching his own fund this fall called Rarebreed, he ran a pre-seed fund at the Maryland Technology Development Corp (TEDCO) which backed companies like ScholarMe, Remodelmate, and Elite Gaming Live.
Reform Ventures’ Tara Hernandez
Tara Hernandez is a fund manager for Reform Ventures, the venture firm founded by NBA star Thaddeus Young, which has put money into companies like Airbnb, SpaceX, Pinterest, and Draft Kings.
Hernandez’s background comes from real estate, and she is also president of JCH Properties+, a company that redevelops underused real estate.
Reform Ventures’ Thad Young
Chicago Bulls player and NBA star Thaddeus Young started investing in tech in 2015, and started his own VC firm Reform Ventures two years later.
His first investment through the fund was in Claim It!, an app that develops a marketplace around buying and selling free stuff. Since then, Reform Ventures has landed stakes in tech giants like Lyft and Coinbase. Young’s goal, he told Forbes earlier this year, is to “build my own empire and run it when I’m done playing.”
Remote First Capital’s Andreas Klinger
Andreas Klinger founded Remote First Capital last fall with more than 100 other remote founders, operators, and early investors.
The firm funds early-stage startups that improve remote work, and has made investments in companies like Hopin.to, Remote.com, and Mainstreet.us.
Prior to Remote First Capital, Klinger worked at AngelList, was the CTO of Product Hunt and spent time as a VP of Engineering at CoinList. He has also cofounded several startups.
Roger Dickey’s Rolling Fund
Roger Dickey began angel investing back in 2010 and has since backed five unicorns, including Nest Labs and OpenDoor.
While Dickey’s full-time role is at Made Renovation, the Founders Fund-backed home-renovation company he started in 2019, he also runs a rolling fund on the side.
Prior to Made Renovation, he cofounded software-development company Gigster, which received funding from big names like Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, and Michael Jordan.
Rucker Park Capital’s Wesley Tang-Wymer
Wesley Tang-Wymer is a general partner at Rucker Park Capital, an early-stage venture firm set up by SoftBank alumnus Marissa Campise.
Tang-Wymer made the move in 2018 after spending three years at SoftBank as well, during which he was an investor in Uber, Lemonade, DiDi, and SoFi.
Scribble Ventures’ Annelies Gamble
Annelies Gamble is a partner at Scribble, the new early-stage venture firm founded by ex-Twitter exec Elizabeth Weil.
Gamble built a VC reputation for herself at Western Technology Investment, where she was the firm’s first female investor and helped leads investments in Kobo360, mPharma, Klar, and WeFarm, to name a few.
Scribble Ventures’s Elizabeth Weil
After working as an early executive at Twitter and a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz and 137 Ventures, Elizabeth Weil founded Scribble Ventures in March.
The goal with the new fund is to work more directly with early-stage founders. The move follows a career in which she’s made over 100 tech investments across all stages, including in big-name companies like Slack, Figma, Coda, SpaceX, Coinbase, Hipcamp, and Carta.
So far, Scribble has backed startups including BuildBuddy, Digits, Run the World, and Warmly.
Shaan’s All Access Fund’s Shaan Puri
When Shaan Puri sold Bebo to Twitch last year, he had only dabbled in a handful of angel investments. But when AngelList unveiled its new rolling funds product earlier this year, he was one of the first 10 people to embrace the new fundraising opportunity.
He now runs Shaan’s All Access Fund alongside his role as senior director of product at Twitch. Puri has made angel investments in Lambda School, Deel, Volansi, and Dukaan.
SHL VC’s Sahil Lavingia
Sahil Lavingia started his own rolling fund earlier this year, following a successful career in angel investing where he’s put money in startups like HelloSign, Movable Ink, Lambda School, Figma, Clubhouse, and Notion, to name a few.
Investing is his side gig. His full-time job is CEO of Gumroad, an e-commerce site that pays creators for their work. Lavingia is famously Pinterest’s second employee, and left to found Gumroad in 2011 at age 19.
SKU’D Ventures’ Kofi Ampadu
Kofi Ampadu is the founder and general partner of SKU’D Ventures, a pre-seed fund that focuses on consumer-product startups.
A two-time startup founder himself, Ampadu has also called for the startup world to have a “Black Minds Matter” awakening and has invested in startups such as Blackstock & Weber, Pyur Solution, Sock Fancy, and Caraway Home.
SteelSky Ventures’ Maria Velissaris
Maria (Toler) Velissaris is the founding partner of SteelSky Ventures, a venture fund investing in companies focused on improving women’s health.
She got a first taste of the startup world in college, when she founded a shipping company that was acquired by U-Haul.
SteelSky, which Vlissaris started in 2017, has investments in Twentyeight Health, Lark, Joylux, Mahmee, and Motivo.
Stone Bridge Ventures’s Jake Seid
Jake Seid is the managing director of Stone Bridge Ventures, which has made investments in Abnormal Security, Blend, Brex, People.ai, and Virtual Kitchen.
Prior to Stone Bridge, Sied pioneered bringing real-estate transactions online as president of Auction.com, which rebranded as Ten-X and was then acquired for $1.6 billion.
He’s also worked at Cisco and got much of his VC experience as managing director of Lighspeed Venture Partners, where he worked for over a decade.
The Club’s Ben Hassler
Ben Hassler launched the Community Club Fund, an AngelList rolling fund, earlier this year with the goal of backing community-driven companies.
Hassler was already an investor prior to creating the Club: he was a program developer at GoingVC, a professional development program for aspiring VCs. He also recently cofounded Polymath Capital, an early-stage micro VC fund.
The Club’s Mac Reddin
Mac Reddin launched the Community Club Fund alongside Ben Hassler earlier this year with the goal of backing community-driven companies.
Before entering the VC world, Reddin was a serial founder, creating the gaming network and community Chunk in 2011, as well as Commsor, an operating system for community management he cofounded last year. He’s made investments in Zebra IQ, Start Playing Games, and Toucan.
The W Fund’s Allyson Kapin
Allyson Kapin is a founding partner at the W Fund, which invests in women and underrepresented founders.
She also started Women Who Tech, one of the largest networks of engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders. A big investment she made for the W Fund was in FORTË Fit, a platform that allows users to stream live and on-demand fitness classes.
TnT’s Matthew Tillman
Matthew Tillman learned how to code in the 1990s, which allowed him to avoid the trucking career of his previous family members. Since then, he’s been an engineer, executive, and founder across the tech industry.
He founded OpenEnvoy this year at around the same time he helped found TNT Ventures, which aims to back enterprise, software-as-a-service founders.
TnT’s Parker Thompson
Parker Thompson founded TNT Ventures alongside long-time friend Matthew Tillman after serving as a partner at both AngelList and early-stage VC firm 500 Startups.
He’s also been a long-time angel investor, having put money in companies like Rippling, AirPair, Breather, and Shippo.
Todd and Rahul’s Follow-on Fund’s Rahul Vohra
Rahul Vohra decided to hop on the rolling fund mania earlier this year, joining Todd Goldberg in creating Todd and Rahul’s Follow-on Fund, which invests in B2B and consumer startups.
Vohra is well known in the Valley as the founder and CEO of email app Superhuman, and also created Rapportive, which was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012.
The new rolling fund follows a $7.3 million angel fund the two launched at the beginning of the year, which has invested in Clearbit, Clubhouse, Descript, Levels, and NexHealth.
Todd and Rahul’s Follow-on Fund’s Todd Goldberg
Earlier this year, Eventjoy founder Todd Goldberg closed his first fund alongside Superhuman founder Rahul Vohra, raising over $7 million. He touted the benefits of the fund, telling TechCrunch that it’s backed by active founders and operators, as opposed to more traditional LPs, is attractive to founders. The duo are now raising a new fund.
Goldberg is known as the founder of mail-design company Mailjoy and has invested in over 60 startups, including Clearbit, Tandem, Mercury, Superhuman, and Clubhouse.
Upside Partnership’s Kent Goldman
Kent Goldman founded Upside from the deep belief that early investing could help cultivate great leaders.
He created the firm after serving as a partner at First Round Capital, where he led investments in companies including Airware, Hotel Tonight, and MemSQL. At Upside, he’s backed companies like Commonstock, Digit, Ease, Textio, and Tonal.
Vamos Ventures’ Marcos Gonzalez
Marcos Gonzalez is the founder and managing partner of Vamos Ventures, an impact VC fund that seeks to back early-stage tech companies led by Hispanic and other minority founders.
The fund has made investments in pro bono services matching platform Paladin, digital news network MundoHispano, and FiveRun, a commerce platform that streamlines retail operations. Prior to his own fund, Gonzalez worked at the Boston Consulting Group and in private equity.
Weekend Fund’s Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover started Weekend Fund in 2017, shortly after AngelList acquired his startup Product Hunt.
He’s particularly interested in audio tech, tools for creators and makers, distributed and remote working, and no/low-code infrastructure, according to a Medium post he wrote about the “startups with crazy ideas” he wants to back. So far, his fund has made investments in Deel, Ready, Blueland, Pipe, and MainStreet.
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