My Next Task: Building a VC Firm Founders Can Trust
Today, after a year-long process of exploring my next career move, I’m thrilled to announce that I joined FUEL Capital as General Partner this past summer.
Building things has always been my passion. I love the early stages of a company, when there is a seemingly impossible yet pressing problem to solve. I couldn’t be more excited to work closely with early-stage founders and their teams as they take on world-changing ideas — much like I did during my early days at TaskRabbit. I am hopeful that my operating experience can be helpful as they meet the daily challenges of building a company.
How I got here
A little over a year ago, I decided to move into the executive chairwoman role at TaskRabbit and take some time to think about the next stage of my career. I’d spent the previous decade fully immersed in an idea and a team that I’m still incredibly passionate about. What would define my next decade and beyond?
When I looked back, some of the most cherished times in my life were in TaskRabbit’s earliest days. Our team was fewer than 10 people, and we were all working as a unit to build something no one else had built before. There was no playbook. Times were tough, but it was so exhilarating and rewarding. The people who had the most profound impact on me at that time were TaskRabbit’s seed investors. To this day, I count many of them as my mentors and dear friends.
I realized that the next chapter of my professional life needed to be working in venture capital at the seed stage. I want to provide founders with the kind of support and insight that had been so life-changingly valuable to me.
Bringing outsiders in
When I started TaskRabbit back in 2008, my background didn’t look like that of a typical tech founder. I grew up in rural Massachusetts, attended Sweet Briar, a small women’s liberal arts college in Virginia, and spent the first seven years of my career as a software engineer at IBM in Boston. When I arrived in Silicon Valley, I was an outsider, and had to navigate the gatekeepers and barriers along the way.
Building companies and growing brands isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s an endlessly challenging and lonely journey — even more so for those who don’t fit the typical mold.
As an investor, I want to help carve a shortcut for first-time founders so their energy is spent on building the future, not knocking on doors. FUEL’s Founder, Chris Howard, and I are intent on building the type of venture firm that founders can depend on: A firm rooted in trust.
Why FUEL Capital
Over the past year, I’ve talked to countless people in the industry, learning about the venture landscape. Everyone I asked shared the same sentiment about Chris and FUEL Capital: They’re a trusted partner for founders and investors alike.
When I first met Chris, in late 2016, I was immediately struck by his realness. Like me, he didn’t start as an insider. He worked his way up in VC through years of hustle. He’s not big on pretense or self-promotion — he has an unrelenting sense of humility, and he puts all his energy towards helping founders shine. It was clear in our early conversations that we shared the same philosophy for the type of firm we wanted to build.
I’m also really excited to partner with Chris to build this stage of FUEL. Since FUEL was founded in 2013, it’s achieved significant wins: raising two funds to invest in more than 75 startups. Now that the firm’s foundation is solidly in place, FUEL is shifting gears into a growth phase. Chris and I will be equal and complementary partners in this journey. I’m excited to learn from his expertise as an investor, while I bring my own experience as a founder, operator and brand builder to this new challenge.
The trust that founders deserve
These are interesting times in venture capital and technology. Unfortunately, many people who don’t fit the industry’s typical mold still face discrimination and exclusion. As a founder who started out as an outsider myself, I am committed to doing everything I can to build a better future in VC.
All entrepreneurs deserve transparency, authenticity, and trusted partners in their corner. As an investor, my goal is to help open doors for founders who have the potential to change the world, no matter where they come from — and provide them with the personalized resources and support that are so crucial in a company’s early days.