Relationships & Networks

Yesterday I wrote my first post on the Union Square Ventures blog announcing I am joining the firm as a Venture Partner. I've been reading everything on USV since I started in the NYC startup ecosystem in 2009, so it was a special experience to see my own words on the page. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity.

Even though I just joined the firm, I've been connected to it for my whole career. At tumblr I had the privilege to join board meetings as a 22 year old where I watched and learned from Brad where he was a board director. That's when I learned that "good board members listen first, then talk." I have worked with Andy since 2010 when he became GroupMe's first lead investor at betaworks. For the past decade I've continued to learn from him on the board of Splice which was founded by my dear friend and longtime business partner, Steve Martocci, who is a two-time USV founder. So much of what I wrote about in this Helpful Boards post I picked up from working (and seeing Phish shows) with Andy for nearly 15 continuous years. Over the past year, I've been fortunate to spend time with Rebecca and Nick and see how they work with Founders - and I've listened to those Founders proudly sing their praises. I have also co-invested with USV in numerous startups and have been an LP since 2014. This is a special firm filled with remarkable people.

Earlier in my career I'd often look at people in the valley that I admired (ie Founders, CEOs and Investors) and wonder how they got where they were. What I've come to understand is that they were active participants in growing networks that constantly paid it forward and deeply invested in relationships over long periods of time. It's a very unique thing to come of age in a growing ecosystem. When I started at tumblr, most everyone in NYC tech could get together at the OG Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. The community was tight-knit and a lot of people who were actively engaged in it are still around today. I fondly remember how Steve and I would run around trying to meet smart people while carving out a space for ourselves as hungry entrepreneurs. A lot of the connections I made back then are some of the most special relationships I have now. In many ways, every opportunity I've had is a function of the relationships I've built along the way. And as this NYC (and now global) tech ecosystem has grown, so too has the surface area for fun and serendipitous things to happen.

I'm looking forward to this new chapter and continuing to invest in the relationships that make life fun and rewarding while building new ones with great people inside and outside this special ecosystem. Over the past year when I was prioritizing the things that were most important to me when considering what to do next, number one was making sure I was working with people I could continuously learn from and have a ton of fun with along the way. I'm lucky to make that a reality thanks to the entire team at USV and the important relationships in my life that have supported me on this journey.

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