Fireside Chat with Kira Noodleman from Bee Partners
It’s one thing to be a venture capitalist; it’s another to be an adventurous one. Kira Noodleman, partner at Bee Partners and advisor at SkyDeck, is both. A Haas MBA and former project manager at Google, Noodleman has experienced the “seven stages” of an entrepreneur’s life-cycle. From struggling with deep-rooted cultural differences during her time in Buenos Aires to standing up for gender equality in the traditionally male-dominated VC world, and now to being a seasoned investor at a premier VC firm, Noodleman has evolved into a venture capitalist, but above all, an adventurous one.
This week, Noodleman addressed the Berkeley community and shared her life experiences in a fireside chat with Luke Kim, CMO at Vite Labs. Her story resonated with the growing Blockchain community at Berkeley and below are the key insights from her story.
Growing up as a Bay Area native, Noodleman was a unique teenager. Her room was always neat, her schoolwork always completed on time, her goals clearly defined; yet, as a growing teen, she had never thought of becoming a VC as an adult.
However, soon enough, Noodleman’s uniqueness led her to matriculate in Haas for her MBA and she learned about the VC field during this time. Then, having landed her internship at Bee Partners, she received a return offer to join the company as a senior associate, something for which she took the “whole fall,” since she hadn’t experienced being a VC before.
This attitude of taking the “whole fall” is something that Noodleman embodies and looks for as an investor as well. She says, “We’re looking for missionary founders, not mercenary founders.”
We’re looking for missionary founders, not mercenary founders.
In other words, she looks for founders driven to take the whole fall for the greater social wellbeing, not founders driven by short-term monetary profits. Her passion, then, as is clearly stated in her Haas MBA blog post, is clearly solving problems that matter.
Noodleman’s second key insight was about the field of entrepreneurship in particular. She says that “entrepreneurship is a team sport,” and strives to find no only entrepreneurs, but also ecosystem-builders — the first ones to disrupt an ecosystem (and the ones to create an entire ecosystem.) At Bee, her mission is to identify the right startups, provide them with the most optimal resources, but above all, share valuable insights when needed. She recalls how she stepped into the shoes of an entrepreneur when she assisted a founder with intense research on preparing a market-sizing slide, which then snowballed into a bigger role for herself in the startup, something that shows how Noodleman approaches entrepreneurship as a “team sport.”
Entrepreneurship is a team sport.
Lastly, a major deciding factor in Noodleman’s investing philosophy is the “founder-problem fit,” which specifically means, to notice whether the founder themselves fit the problems they describe, and whether the problems themselves fit into Bee’s prioritization criteria. Thus, should you want to successfully pitch to Bee, it’s imperative that you are a missionary founder, driven by a socially meaningful change, one who is ready to take the “whole fall,” one who realizes that entrepreneurship is a team sport, and finally, one who fits the problem well.
We look for a founder-problem fit.
With a recent $43 million round and a funding success rate of 70%, the third year-on-year increase, Bee Partners continues to emerge as a premier VC firm. And as aspiring Blockchain enthusiasts that belong to a vibrant startup community, the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator continues to share such insightful lessons with you, with Berkeley, and with Silicon Valleys of the world.
Apply here to be part of the Fall 2019 cohort of talented startups.