Why I Joined Origin Ventures: Linda Watchmaker

  • April 26, 2022
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I am pleased to share that in March, I joined Origin Ventures as its first in-house CFO. I am excited to take on the responsibility as Origin Ventures scales its operations and broadens its investor base.  I would like to share why I joined Origin Ventures. 

The vast majority of my 27-year career was spent working as a CFO with a venture firm. Prior to joining Origin, I was working with a boutique fund administrator that provides consulting and fund administration services to 1,500 funds with $250 billion in assets under administration. There I had the chance to see the variety of ways funds operate their finance function and interact with investors. I know the venture capital business from both sides: as a service provider and an operating CFO.  

I was intrigued when I met the Origin Ventures team. The firm was bringing on its first CFO after being in business for 23 years. My natural tendency when faced with a big decision is to go through a methodical process, gathering lots of information, talking to colleagues and mentors and scrutinizing each option. I did all that, and concluded it was a great opportunity.  

Here’s what made me take the leap.

 

Quality of the People

 

Venture capital is a people business, and the Origin Ventures’ team understands this. During the process, Origin Ventures insisted I meet with every single person on the team, and each conversation was overwhelmingly consistent:

  • Smart people with a defined investment thesis focused on investing in software and marketplace businesses in the digital native economy 
  • Commitment to firm values and clear articulation of those values:
    • We have your back
    • Genuine partnership
    • People first
    • Together we win
  • Dedicated to the success of entrepreneurs, management teams and investors
  • Respect for each other, high level of collaboration, demonstrate humility and listen closely. At the same time, they manage to have fun along the way.

In my experience working with many venture funds, it’s unusual to see such a large team articulate the mission and values with such precision. This told me the firm had a strong and effective culture. 

 

Opportunity to Contribute to the Success of Origin Ventures

 

Since its founding in 1999, Origin Ventures raised six funds with investments in 65 companies. The Origin Ventures team is composed of  former founders, operators, and engineers who only invest in companies in which they believe they can add significant value. While the firm had done a good job building its own internal infrastructure, it recognized that the administrative and operational areas of the firm were taking time away from what it does best: identifying opportunities and working with portfolio companies. It recognized the importance of adding a CFO, and it was clear I would be valued and would have an impact. In addition, it was evident the investment team had ambition, and my role was going to be critical in unlocking the next phase of growth and scale for the firm. 

 

Developing the Infrastructure for the Next Generation of Funds

 

As Origin Ventures continues to broaden its investor base, the partners are seeking to operate Origin Ventures according to best in class standards in all functional areas. With that mandate, I am excited to use my prior experience to scale operations, enhance the accounting and financial functions, and provide best in class investor communication and reporting. 

I am happy I made the leap and thrilled to be part of the Origin Ventures team. Believing in Origin Ventures’ values and mission makes every day inspiring.

 

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