How our crew became Acrew

The Acrew Team
Dec 18, 2019 · 4 min read
The founding team. Left to right: Asad Khaliq, Theresia Gouw, Lauren Kolodny, Vishal Lugani, and Mark Kraynak.

Today, our team is psyched to announce the closing of the first Acrew Capital early stage fund.

We want to take this moment of our launch to share with you, our community, a bit about our vision for what we hope to build. But first, a little background on who we are: We are a group of five founders who represent three generations, a diverse set of backgrounds and unique professional experiences. We worked together previously at Aspect Ventures and we’ve learned a great deal from our time at other organizations like Accel, Bain & Company, Brown University, Check Point Software, the Clinton Foundation, Ernst & Young, Google, Greycroft, Imperva, Kairos and of course, both McDonald’s and Burger King. Three of us are first or second generation immigrants; we’ve lived and worked in 16 countries; three of us have engineering degrees; one of us is a trained poet; one of us has a design degree; one of us has traveled to 49 of the 50 states. We embrace our differences by giving each of us an equal voice in decision making from day one. On that basis, we believe we will build an enduring firm that helps our industry to operate in a more collaborative, inclusive and authentic way.

One of the most common questions we get is: “How did you come up with the name?” It grew out of an idea we’ve all agreed on, namely that venture investing (like company building) should be a team sport, not an individual event. And that team should be broadly defined to include all of the people working together toward a shared goal. For us, this includes our founders and their teams, our operational team, our own investors, as well as our co-investors. We believe each of us wins when all of us win.

So when the five of us spent several days together away from our normal routines reflecting on what we what we wanted to build, one thing was clear: we all felt the name should reflect our mutual commitment to team. But more prosaically, we, like so many of our companies, struggled to find a name that adequately reflected the meaning we wanted to convey and was not already in use. So a few of us sat down in a white-boarding session and got creative. We like that Acrew can be read first and foremost as “a crew” and, maybe sometimes, as “accrue” in the sense that we’re engaging in partnership to accrue meaningful value. We pronounce it “Ay crew” as opposed to “uh crew,” but either will work.

In addition to coming up with our name, we used our period of reflection to define our core values — a practice we’ve learned from so many of our entrepreneurs. These are the core tenets that came out of those sessions.

We engage in long term partnership with teams uniquely suited to solve big, hard problems. We consider the people we back to be part of our team.

As a team…

We believe depth of conviction and diversity of perspective drive success

We seek to be the most trusted and authentic partners to one another

We are committed to ongoing development of ourselves and those we serve

These core values directly translate into commitments we make to our founders and the value we bring to your company-building journey. When you work with Acrew:

Your crew are conviction-led investors who will become an extension of your team.

Each of our team members offers help and resources to our portfolio companies. We are able to do this because our team builds deep conviction for each investment we make. Similarly, as you continue to choose other investors to join your team through future fundraising, we help you navigate when, how and whom to approach for investment so you can get back to building your business quickly.

Your crew will tailor an investment to your specific needs.

Acrew approaches investing with focus, but also with flexibility. We eschew fixed ownership targets and rigid check sizes for investments that fit the needs and goals of the founders and companies whom we back

Your crew is a trusted adviser who is committed to your ongoing development.

We deeply admire the journey our founders choose to take. We actively help our founders navigate the personal and professional ups and downs by facilitating ongoing development and coaching. We apply these same resources internally at Acrew to ensure we are becoming better partners to you.

We couldn’t be more excited for the entrepreneurial journey we’re on here together. If you’re building a company and would like to be part of our crew, we’d love to talk to you.

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