When we’re not obsessing about investing, we’re obsessing about hiring.
Welcome Jana Messerschmidt, Ashley Brasier, and Neetzan Zimmerman to the team.
Today, Lightspeed is adding to its consumer team. We know that the more diverse view points and experience we can collectively bring to bear, the more additive we can be to the entrepreneurs and companies we serve. The three new members of the consumer team we are welcoming today do just that. We’re excited to see what they do at Lightspeed.
One is an engineer with over 50 investments to date. One is a product manager/anthropologist. One made Gawker and The Hill household names. We welcome Jana Messerschmidt, Ashley Brasier, and Neetzan Zimmerman to Lightspeed.
The first and most notable addition to our team is Jana Messerschmidt.
Jana’s portfolio is impressive and includes Bird, Eero, Color, Forward, Vector Space, Winnie, Lovevery, Visla, Carrot, Re:store, TruStory and Cameo. We got to know Jana a year or so ago when we invested in Vector, and later in Cameo. As we got to know her better we came to understand why she tweets under @janamal. Her instincts are incredible, her energy is intense, and she is an unstoppable force.
Jana is first and foremost an engineer. She holds an engineering degree from UIUC, one of the top engineering schools in the country, and has appeared on lists like Business Insider’s most powerful female engineers. She has spent a career in a variety of engineering and business roles at Twitter, Netflix and DivX, having seen from the inside and from the beginning what success looks like for fast growth technology companies. In her last role, she was Vice President of Global Business Development and Platform at Twitter, responsible for strategic partnerships, enterprise sales, developer relations, partner engineering and platform marketing.
Jana is a co-founder of #Angels, a group of senior operators who met at Twitter and began making investments in early stage technology companies. In addition to investing in great companies, the broader of mission of #ANGELS is to get more women on the cap table of successful companies. There are four groups of people who have significant ownership on Silicon Valley cap tables: founders, investors, senior executives, and early employees — and women are underrepresented in each area. In a recent #ANGELS + Carta study, it was determined that women hold just 9% of the equity value in tech companies. Jana looks forward to continuing to build community etc to bridge that gap.
Jana has begun to address this personally at #Angels and will continue to do so at Lightspeed. She will continue to build community, diversify networks, and include and promote women in technology.
Having marked up Jana’s investments on a couple of occasions now, we are excited to have her on our team, leading investments in the next generation of inspiring entrepreneurs.
Also joining our consumer investing team is Ashley Brasier.
Ashley joins us from Stanford Business School. Ashley brings the heart of a product manager to our investing team. She combines the design sensibility of an architect, the prototyping approach of a designer and the test-and-learn methodology of a scientist and the acute people observation of an anthropologist in her interactions with consumer startups.
Before Stanford Business School, Ashley was a Category manager at Thumbtack, running the Events & Weddings category P&L, which generated tens of millions of dollars in GMV. She began her career at Bain.
Neetzan Zimmerman is joining Lightspeed as Vice President of Growth. He will spend all of his time working with our portfolio companies.
Growth is not to be hacked. True organic growth comes from building great content and products that people enjoy and love to share. It comes from understanding an audience of users, and delivering them meaningful, engaging information and products.
Neetzan has done this time and time again. After starting and selling his first company, Neetzan first came to fame as the man who put Gawker on the map. He followed that up at Whisper, where we got to know him at Lightspeed, and joins us after three years at The Hill. There, he transformed an inside-the-beltway trade journal with 3M monthly visits into a pop culture powerhouse with 80M monthly visits.
Neetzan will be working with our portfolio companies to deliver the same sort of results for their growth.
With the addition of Jana, Ashley and Neetzan, Lightspeed is doubling down its commitment to finding, funding and helping the next generation of pop culture consumer technology flourish.
If you’re building such a company, reach out to one of them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know.
They can help your company become the next unicorn.
For more on Lightspeed’s recent hires, my Partner Chris Schaepe has a post up today about welcoming Merci Victoria Grace, Jerry Ye, and Jay Madheswaran to the firm.