Welcome Hayley. Welcome.
By Phin Barnes
My partners and I are excited to announce that Hayley Barna will be joining the First Round team as a Venture Partner in our New York office.
While she’s new to investing — and the transition to the dark side is a strange feeling for any entrepreneur — working with Hayley could not be more natural for us. She has been a member of the First Round Community since 2010 as the co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. We led the seed investment in that business, and over the last five years, we’ve watched her grow as a leader and company builder. She has also established herself as a sought-after advisor and rising angel investor in the New York community. In short, she brings tremendous experience and a great network to the Venture Partner role at First Round.
As Birchbox grew from a business school idea to a global company with over 1 million subscribers, Hayley gained expertise in operations, strategy, product, technology and marketing. Together, Hayley and her co-founder Katia found product-market-fit, managed through hyper-growth hiring, and negotiated an acquisition to drive international expansion. They also learned how to very effectively fundraise and secured capital from seed stage to growth equity.
Sitting on Birchbox’s board, we had a front row seat to this growth. Hayley emerged as a deeply analytical thinker with horsepower for days. She attacks challenges with tremendous curiosity and the unshakable belief that a solution is available to those willing to apply the required focus and effort. She’s a fierce advocate for her beliefs but values data above personal conviction. This allows her to operate with an outcome-oriented approach that fits First Round perfectly. Hayley’s instincts, insights and lessons learned will serve her well as she moves from player to coach, engages in new ideas, taps into new markets, and forms partnerships with the next wave of exceptional New York founders.
We know our investment decisions will benefit from her point of view, and we’re certain our community will benefit from her guidance. We could not be more excited to have her join the investment team at First Round.