Venture capital is a team sport. A great team makes better decisions, wins more deals, and provides more resources to companies. Investing in startups is like whitewater rafting. A great team navigates rapids by playing different roles on the boat. There is a navigator, the paddlers, and the fearless souls in front surveying obstacles while getting drenched. Should the adventurers harness the current of the river at the right spot, it propels the crew downriver. Miss, and the team can capsize or take forever to get to the destination.
In venture, all this gets done with relatively modest-sized teams. That means the impact of each team member can be huge.
We are really lucky to have a talented and dedicated team of ten at Origin Ventures. That includes Scott Stern and Prashant Shukla who are being promoted to Partner as we celebrate the impact that both have had on Origin Ventures and its portfolio.
Scott joined Origin Ventures in 2016. Since then, he’s proven his ability to discover, win, lead, and assist incredible companies. He’s in the boardrooms of Idelic, Fountain, Kidizen, Tovala, Anthill, Voxpopme, and an as-yet-unannounced deal. He was an integral part of our team on BacklotCars before it was acquired by KAR Global. Scott is trusted and relied upon by founders.
Scott’s background as a quantitative energy trader and fearless wrangler of intimidating datasets has added a new dimension to our team. Scott’s ability to digest the data exhaust from startups into a true barometer of the company has been crucial in our decision making. Scott is also a self-taught software developer, and he engineered our quantitative sourcing software. As if that wasn’t enough, he also launched a startup in his time before joining Origin Ventures.
In Scott’s role as a Partner, he’s looking to expand the portfolio of investments aimed at deskless workers, the creator economy, and novel uses for data.
Prashant joined Origin Ventures in 2017. Prashant sourced and completed his first Origin Ventures deal when he was still in business school, and so it comes as no surprise that founders seek him out as a financial partner. Prashant works in the boardroom with BlackCart, Hammoq, 15Five, Blueboard, Glimpse, Everee, Pronto, Measured Insurance, and Trala. He also serves on the board of Art in Action, which is a non-profit bringing visual arts curriculum to K-8 students.
Prashant was the first product manager at Metromile in its formative stages and also advised tech titans while a consultant at Bain. That combination of experience has brought clarity, insight, and attention to detail that has been invaluable. Prashant has also helped Origin Ventures expand into deals with insurtech and fintech dimensions.
As a Partner, Prashant will be focused on finding deals in the “picks and shovels” of e-commerce infrastructure, no/low-code software companies, and B2C marketplaces.
Both Scott and Prashant continue Origin Ventures’ tradition: we are all former operators, founders, and engineers. We’ve all built companies and products before, and that not only gives us deeper insight to what it takes to create successful startups, but provides us with empathy for what founders face.
Scott and Prashant also share the distinction (or stigma?) of being my former students. They both stood out in a sea of incredible talent at Chicago Booth. This adds another measure of delight as they achieve this milestone.
Scott and Prashant, we are happy to call you partners, and here’s to our collective, continued success.