Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Over the past four years since co-founding #ANGELS, I’ve had the privilege of investing in more than 50 early stage companies across a wide range of industries.
Leveraging my operating experiences helping build high growth companies like Twitter and Netflix, I’ve invested in consumer companies like Cameo, Prefer and Pray and enterprise companies like Mutiny and Buoyant. I’ve gone deep in transportation by backing companies like Bird and invested in healthcare companies like Forward, Nurx, Color and Visla. Being a mom has helped me see the opportunities in Lovevery, Winnie and Carrot. I’ve explored my passion for fashion, retail and music by working with Sarah Flint, Re:store and Rival. As a former hardware engineer, I’ve enjoyed investing in hardware companies like eero and Nebia. I’ve also invested in literal rockets like Vector Space and Ubiquitilink.
I’ve loved working closely with a diverse set of inspired founders, many of whom are still in stealth and heads down building.
So why join Lightspeed and why now? As anyone who follows me on Twitter (@janamal) knows, I’ve referred to this period of my life as “rewirement, not retirement.” I’ve used this downtime to thoughtfully investigate the next step in my career. I wanted to find a team that was a great complement to my strengths, weaknesses, interests and values; one that would help me be the most effective, impactful investor I can be.
Lightspeed is a strong and storied venture firm, with 20 years of history and a proven track record including 8 IPOs in the past two years alone — Snap, MuleSoft, and StitchFix to name a few.
Three other factors were critical in my decision to join Lightspeed:
1) Team model. Most of my friends in venture had warned me that the hardest part of transitioning from operating to investing was that it can be really lonely and isolating. Lightspeed makes investments in investor pairs — which creates a team mentality and culture and is a model loved by founders.
2) Mentorship.Even though I’m joining with many years of operating experience and multiple angel investments under my belt, investing with a firm will be new and different — mentorship matters. I’ve been impressed by how thoughtful the Lightspeed team has been about what they want the firm to look like in future years, and I’m excited to learn from such respected and experienced partners. I’ve talked to numerous founders in the industry to understand, from a founder’s perspective, what is it like to work with Lightspeed, and feel confident that this is a team I want to influence and shape my growth as an investor.
3) Complementary Skills. The team at Lightspeed brings a diverse set of skill sets and experiences to the partnership. Jeremy Liew is one of the savviest consumer investors of this generation, making early bets in companies like Snap, Honest Co., GIPHY and Affirm. Nicole Quinn’s brand and marketing experience through both banking and operating has helped her lead investments in companies like Goop and Lady Gaga’s Haus Beauty. Alex Taussig has had a career in venture investing — Zola, Daily Harvest and more — and is one of the most impressive data driven investors I’ve met. This team complements my operating background — and founders get the benefit because we work as pairs.
Investing is an incredible privilege and responsibility. You get to work with brilliant founders, see their vision of the future, and join them on their journey of building a company. Yes, you write a check and give them capital — but more important than any check are the ways you can make an impact in helping entrepreneurs build their business. Whether you’re lending an ear during the inevitable ups and downs of building a business, or helping founders find the elusive product market fit, or making intros to potential first customers or critical hires — this is the real impact of an investor and I’m delighted to spend the next chapter of my career doing the work.
As an investor, you have a hand in what types of products will shape the world. You have the privilege to ask, “What is this founder’s and company’s impact on the world if these products exist?”
And in return, always at the top of my list of questions for the entrepreneurs I back. “What can I do for you? How can I help?”
If you’re a founder, looking for investment, I encourage you to answer that question…and I look forward to talking to you from my new home at Lightspeed.
*We started #ANGELS as investors and with a broader mission to get more women on the cap tables of successful companies (#TheGapTable). We launched the #ANGELS Access program to build community and networks for women in the industry. While my investing will be mostly focused on Lightspeed, I’ll continue building #ANGELS and making various personal early stage investments when it makes sense.