Meet Allison Baum, Trinity’s newest Principal

Allison Baum, Principal @ Trinity Ventures

At Trinity, our mission is to recognize and realize entrepreneurial magic. We seek this rare kind of magic not only in the founders we back, but also in our own internal team. Our newest Principal Allison Baum is no exception. A former entrepreneur herself with experience identifying, investing in and scaling startups worldwide, Allison is exactly the sort of intellectually curious, whip-smart, values-driven individual who represents the ethos of the firm.

Allison joins associate partner John Lin as members of the investment team, collaborating closely with our general partners to discover and support early-stage founders as they build enduring tech companies.

Read on for more about Allison’s background, investment focus and passions outside of work.

What is your investment focus and why?

I am focused on working with entrepreneurs who are fundamentally reshaping the future of work. I grew up watching my parents’ jobs being slowly replaced and devalued by technology, and as soon I started working on Wall Street during the Financial Crisis, I saw the same thing happening to me. In fact, it’s happening all across America, and it is creating irreparable tears to the fabric of our society. Work does more than just provide a means to live; it provides a source of identity, security, community, and meaning. I truly believe this is the most important challenge of our lifetimes.

We can let technology determine the future for us — or we can reimagine it ourselves. I would rather be in the driver’s seat; therefore, I’m focused on what shapes the future of work, like automation services, people and workforce management, enterprise software, data infrastructure and services, and security and identity management. As we live in an increasingly digital, distributed, and data-driven world, these are the areas that will matter the most.

We can let technology determine the future for us — or we can reimagine it ourselves.

What unique contributions do you make to companies as a VC?

In the venture world, we all want to believe we are unique. Yet at the end of the day, it’s not about us: It is about the entrepreneurs we back. I truly believe the most important contribution we can make is to listen, empathize, hustle when we know we can make a difference, and shut up when we know we can’t. Having been a co-founder and an early startup employee myself, I get that.

In the venture world, we all want to believe we are unique. Yet at the end of the day, it’s not about us: It is about the entrepreneurs we back.

Prior to joining Trinity, I co-founded a global seed fund called Fresco Capital, which is focused on helping companies expand internationally. I spent time living in China and Japan, where I invested in seventy companies globally and helped over thirty of them with international expansion. I truly believe every world-changing company needs to build a global business, so I look forward to leveraging my cross-border experience and network for our portfolio wherever I can.

How and why did you decide to become a VC?

I never intended on becoming a VC. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was until I joined the startup world! As an early senior employee in a high-growth, VC-backed business (coding school General Assembly, later sold to Adecco for $412 million), I saw the impact investors had on product, culture, and growth trajectory. Plus, I have always loved working with people who are smarter, faster, and better than me, and I want to play a role in building the future, so venture is an exciting and impactful place to be.

What do you love most about your job?

I have always been a combination of creative and quantitative; idealistic and pragmatic; curious and cynical; and I love that venture is an industry that allows me to leverage both sides of my brain. I love dreaming with our founders about what’s possible, and then breaking it down into what (and who) it actually takes to get there. There is nothing more rewarding than working with amazing, ambitious people to create something that never existed before. That’s what gets me out of bed every day.

There is nothing more rewarding than working with amazing, ambitious people to create something that never existed before.

What are you most excited about in terms of working at Trinity? What is the most rewarding thing about being here?

Over my years in venture, I have worked with over 600 co-investors, so I’ve gotten a good sense for how different funds operate and how much culture and incentives matter. Trinity’s culture of respect, collaboration, and hard work is not only special, but truly authentic.

Though I really enjoyed building a venture fund from the ground up, it’s hard to replicate the strength of relationships that come with years of experience and a rich 30+ year legacy of success. I have a deep appreciation for the history and depth of Trinity’s team and portfolio. I am so excited to be part of that history, and hopefully to play a role in building the future of the firm.

What are your interests and passions outside of work?

I am a nerd at heart, so most of my interests involve learning new things. I spend my free time traveling, hiking, writing, reading, painting, and seeing movies. I minored in film in college and I absolutely love anything related to film. I even spent some time working on a documentary about microfinance!