I initially approached the Origin Ventures team out of curiosity: I wanted to learn about venture investing and I was impressed with their portfolio, thesis, and values. I asked if I could volunteer my time in exchange for being a fly on the wall in their meetings and discussions. They agreed, and after a few weeks I was hooked. The fit was mutual, and, shortly thereafter, I joined the investing team.
I have spent most of my life “Between the Coasts” (BTC). I grew up in Toronto, but never heard this term until I started working in New York. After two years at business school on the West Coast, I’m back BTC in Chicago and am proud to join a firm that has been investing in these markets for over 20 years. (It’s also fun to see the world finally recognizing the incredible talent that exists outside of NY and SF!) I’m particularly looking forward to spending time in Canada again: Origin Ventures is bullish on the Canadian ecosystem and has made two investments north of the border in the last 6 months.
I started my professional career at Goldman Sachs covering consumer companies in equity capital markets. In that role, I was fortunate to advise entrepreneurs on one of the most important days of their companies’ lives: their IPO. The IPO process can be daunting for even the most seasoned executives, but the excitement when a management team rings the opening bell at the NYSE is unmatched. Having lived this process up close, I’m eager to join Origin Ventures and support entrepreneurs in their journey to build businesses of scale.
Before going to business school, I was fortunate to work for Michael Beber, CEO of Exiger: a leader in the governance, risk management, and compliance spaces. In that role, I learned firsthand the delicate balance that all CEOs must strike: driving company strategy and vision while putting out fires every day. Exiger scaled to 400+ employees with no outside capital, and I helped lead the fundraising process which brought its first financing partner. In doing so, I learned about the trade-offs that raising money entails: unlocking growth and creating new stakeholders – with both expertise and expectations. I have immense respect for founders who bootstrapped their businesses and understand the weight of their decision to partner with Origin Ventures.
At Stanford Graduate School of Business, I worked on my own startup and raised venture funding from Pear VC and an angel group. Two key learnings from this experience shaped who I am as a venture investor:
- Humility. Being a founder is HARD WORK and sometimes lonely. Raising money is time consuming, daunting, and can feel never-ending. To early-stage founders (especially women) – I have sat on your side of the table. I’m available as a resource if you want help navigating your first raise or need a thought partner to bounce ideas off of.
- Investors are people. It’s easy to get along with your investors when things are going well, but having people in your corner when they aren’t is more important. I experienced both. When a confluence of factors – including COVID – led me to decide not to continue as a founder, Mar and Pejman at Pear VC were incredibly supportive, helpful, and kind. I want to follow their example of how to support founders through all stages and decisions.
A similar culture of support drew me to Origin Ventures. The Origin team consists of former operators, founders, and engineers. We publicly post our values (which isn’t common across VC) that guide the way that we do business. Our firm is “People First,” and the entrepreneurs we back – regardless of the outcome – are our best references.
I was also attracted to Origin’s flat structure and collaborative culture. Our firm seeks out diversity of thought and is better off because of it. In my first 6 months, I sourced and led our investment in Vivrelle: a membership club that provides access to a shared closet of luxury accessories. I love that the first deal I led was a female-founded fashion tech business, and that I was empowered and had the team’s trust to lead investments from day one. My passion for and knowledge of luxury accessories and resale was unique on our team (although my fellow investors now hear more about handbags than they ever thought possible!) I was able to contribute immediately because of my diverse experience and perspective.
In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to see the full spectrum of a company’s lifecycle: raising pre-seed dollars, leading a Series A investment, helping scale a business to 400 employees, and advising companies on IPOs. At Origin Ventures, I’m thrilled to be partnering with founders at the earliest stages to help them grow their businesses and achieve their goals.