Humba Ventures is excited to announce our investment in GovForce, a Washington D.C.-based startup powering performance, compliance, and collaboration for the government contractors (GovCons) who keep America on track. We co-led the round with QED Investors, with participation from Cambrian and NextGen Venture Partners. We’re thrilled to welcome Tonio, Brendon, and Jason to the Humba Family. GovForce Co-Founders: Tonio DeSorrento, Brendon DiBella, Jason Mitchell As an ex-engineer and a VC, I’m a big fan of applying software […]Read More
Introducing the 2022 Susa Venture Fellows Class Susa Ventures [#item_author]
By Courtney Buie Lipkin, Partner at Susa Ventures
Since we launched the Venture Fellows Program in August 2020, twenty five aspiring investors and technologists have joined the Susa Family. We’ve known all along that the fellows are extraordinary. Now that many of our fellows have successfully transitioned into venture by joining the teams at A16z, Afore Capital, Corazon Capital, OnDeck and Techstars (to name a few) we have the data to confirm this sentiment!
Susa started the Venture Fellows Program to open a career in venture capital to a more diverse talent pool. Venture outcomes are driven by companies that break the mold. However, the venture capital industry is built on deep and often impenetrable personal networks that reward sticking with the status quo when it comes to building investment teams. We’ve been very encouraged by the enthusiasm with which the broader venture community has embraced the Fellows Program and we thank every investor, angel, founder and LP who has volunteered their time and expertise to each cohort.
This year’s fellows cohort includes a security and defense specialist, three founders, and operators with experience in urban design, crypto, and zero-emission electric vehicles. We love the variety of lenses the fellows bring to each investment as they join our pitches and support our diligence process. Fellows also work with our portfolio companies on support initiatives and join bi-weekly curriculum sessions with the Susa team to cover topics like structuring a fund, conducting diligence, angel investing, and building LP relationships.
As you’ll see below, the new group of Venture Fellows is incredibly talented. We feel lucky to be a small part of their story and couldn’t be more excited to welcome the 2022 cohort to the venture community!
Alex leads the post-sales customer organization at Zeal. As the first non-engineering hire, he has built 0 -1 programs across sales, operations, marketing, implementation, and account management. He also leads the Crypto GTM strategy. Before joining Zeal, Alex worked in consulting. Outside of work he enjoys exploring books, traveling, and being active. Alex graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in Political Science and Finance.
Angeline is a product manager at Bolt working on payments and 0->1 products. Previously, she spent three years at Airbnb helping scale the B2B2C business after stints in investment banking and machine learning. Angeline grew up in Houston and is always down to talk about basketball and traveling.
Betty is the Chief of Staff at Capable Health, a software company democratizing access to digital health infrastructure. She’s passionate about partnering with founders from Day 0 who are building technologies that solve the thorniest challenges we face — from affordable healthcare to climate resiliency. Previously, Betty managed an investment fund to improve women’s and children’s health in developing countries at UNICEF, created national STEM education and COVID-19 response programs at Luminary Labs, and researched novel urban design practices to develop smarter cities at Sidewalk Labs.
Danh is currently the Founding Product Manager at Turnstile, a startup building a usage-based revenue platform to help companies price however they want. Previously, he was an early employee/PM at Blend ($BLND), Growth PM at Mux, investor at Bridgewater, and Chief Business Officer at Breathe For Change. Danh earned dual degrees in Finance and Computer Science from Wharton and UPenn. Danh was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and hopes to elevate the ideas and perspectives of underrepresented entrepreneurs. Outside of work and when not playing with his 1-year-old daughter, Danh is trying to get back into his prior running and badminton form (7x Boston Marathoner, 2x Gold Medal in Para-Badminton for Team USA)
Isabella is excited about all things cybersecurity, industrials, and defense. She studied CS with a focus on AI at Stanford, and spent the past two years diving into the cybersecurity industry with the Krebs Stamos Group. Most of her client work at KSG was focused on threats facing the manufacturing and industrial automation sectors. Recently, Isabella took a new position with the investment team at Bridgewater. Outside of work, Isabella enjoys long runs and arranging charcuterie boards.
Prateek is the founder and CEO of Plutoshift. He has authored 13 books on machine learning and has a readership in 200+ countries. He writes a weekly newsletter on machine learning and hosts a podcast where he interviews world-class machine learning practitioners. He has been featured on Forbes, CNBC, TechCrunch, and Bloomberg. You can visit prateekj.com to learn more about him.
Rufaro Makanda is the VP — Strategy & Operations at ZEVV, a startup that is electrifying the mobile food industry with zero-emission food carts, trucks, and container kitchens. Prior to this role, she spent six years in Investment Banking at Bank of America and Independence Point Advisors (IPA), where she mostly worked with private equity clients on acquisition financings, M&A, and IPOs across a broad spectrum of industries. Rufaro started her career in wealth management at AllianceBernstein, serving high net worth individuals. Outside of work, Rufaro serves on the Steering Committee of Alvin Ailey American DanceTheatre, the National Cathedral School Alumnae Advisory Group, and serves as the Treasurer ofEyebeam, an intersectional arts and technology non-profit founded by John Seward Johnson III. She is also an alumna interviewer for Dartmouth College, primarily interviewing students from Sub-Saharan Africa, and in her spare time is committed to facilitating opportunities for Zimbabwean high school students to obtain acceptance into US universities. Previous board and junior board commitments include the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Eastern MetroRegion, Dartmouth Club of New York, FC Harlem, and Indego Africa. Rufaro received a B.A. from Dartmouth College, majoring in Intellectual History, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Rufaro was born in Zimbabwe, raised in the DC Suburban Area, and currently lives in Brooklyn with her partner. She enjoys playing and watching tennis, and is learning how to play the drums.
Shre recently left his start-up, which was in the employee engagement space for remote companies after leading it to $40k+ in sales. He works part-time as Head of Community for Lenny Rachitsky and is building a bootstrapped business for Julia Lipton’s Awesome People fund. Before his start-up, he worked in Product for Upwork and Strategy & Analytics for LinkedIn. Shre is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, and grew up in multiple countries. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick. Outside of work, he is a passionate soccer fan and an avid all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ diner.
Having grown up in the Bay Area, Victoria is a startup enthusiast who’s hacked on early-stage products across ed-tech, consumer, and B2B SaaS. Outside of work, she enjoys playing soccer, going on long runs, and learning new languages. Victoria received a BA in Economics and MS in MS&E, both from Stanford, and is taking leave from a PhD at MIT in Operations Research.
Applications Open For 2022 Susa Venture Fellows Cohort Susa Ventures [#item_author]
By Courtney Buie Lipkin, Partner at Susa Ventures
It’s that time of year again! The Susa team is excited to open applications for our third cohort of Venture Fellows. This unique program is designed to give aspiring venture investors an all-access experience sourcing and evaluating deals alongside our investment team as well as supporting Susa portfolio companies.
When we first envisioned the Venture Fellows Program more than two years ago, we did so with the goal of opening up access to a career in venture beyond the well-trod paths of network and pedigree already established in the industry. While we were optimistic, none of us predicted the amount that the Susa team and our portfolio would benefit in return. The Venture Fellows bring a diversity of ideas and experiences along with a fresh enthusiasm for our industry that makes us work harder every day.
In addition to the positive impact on our firm and portfolio, many Venture Fellows have made exciting career moves into venture since joining the program. We’ll let them speak for themselves in the video below 👇
Needless to say, the Venture Fellows are incredible. We feel lucky to be a small part of their story and couldn’t be more excited to invite the next cohort of Fellows to join our family.
If you are interested in the Venture Fellows Program, please consider the following requirements. We’ve found that the most successful fellows are deeply engaged with the work and eager to make a career transition.
- Fellows should be actively looking to enter venture capital as their next job.
- Fellows should be available to attend bi-weekly Tuesday evening sessions.
- Fellows will engage in completing deliverables between sessions. At the end of the Fellowship, each Fellow will have a body of work they can draw from when engaging in VC interviews. Deliverables may include a market map, blog post, and investment memo.
- This program is not passive. Fellows are expected to work alongside us on such items as sourcing, diligence, and post-investment support within the Susa portfolio.
We can’t wait to meet you and see how you change our industry for the better.
While there are many amazing programs for angel investors, this will be the most dedicated and involved program for people who know they want to be a venture capital investor.
How long will the program be?
Five months, September 20, 2022 — March 7, 2023
When is the application deadline?
August 21, 2022 at 11:59pm PT
Where can I find the application?
Who should apply?
Any aspiring venture capital investor, within the US or Canada, regardless of educational background, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, upbringing, or professional experience.
How many Venture Fellows will there be?
What is the time commitment for this program?
This is a part-time, but very involved, program. The more Fellows put into it, the more they will get out of it. Fellows will meet as a group once every other week for one hour, in addition to one-off diligence meetings with the Susa investors based on the pace of deals, likely 5 hours per week during PST working hours. This program will be entirely virtual.
Will Venture Fellows be compensated?
Venture Fellows will receive a monthly stipend to compensate for hours they may need to take off from work.
If you’d like to learn more, you can read about the origins of this program here.
Applications Open For 2022 Susa Venture Fellows Cohort was originally published in Susa Ventures on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.Read More
Lightning Struck Twice: Introducing the 2021 Susa Venture Fellows Class Susa Ventures [#item_author]
By Courtney Buie Lipkin, Partner at Susa Ventures
Last year was unprecedented on almost all fronts. 2020 pushed us to reinvent how we ran our business, supported founders, and stayed connected with the broader venture community. While many of the adaptations we made turned into permanent elements of the Susa experience, nothing was more transformative for our firm than the Venture Fellows Program. The fellows who joined us last year are now deeply valued members of the Susa Family. While many have gone on to join other firms, companies, or transitioned into or out of graduate programs, in many ways the 2020 fellows feel closer to us than ever as we continue to co-invest and support Susa founders together.
It’s hard to imagine topping last year’s cohort, but as you meet the 2021 cohort below, it’s clear how they just might do it! This fellows class includes a leading podcaster, sponsored ice climber, lifelong teacher, and medical doctor. We were incredibly fortunate to receive hundreds of qualified applicants for just a handful of slots.
The fellows will learn from the Susa team and other mentors within the VC community on a paid, part-time basis. We pair each Susa partner with three to four fellows to create a smaller group environment for feedback and collaboration. The fellows are also encouraged to source, evaluate, and participate in the economics of the fund’s deals. They join founder pitches, support in our diligence process, and have a front-row seat in the operations of our firm. All of this is supplemented with bi-weekly curriculum sessions designed to deepen their understanding of these day-to-day experiences with our team.
We are thrilled to welcome the 2021 Susa Venture Fellows Class into the Susa Family. Sincere thanks to everyone in our community who has supported this program and made it possible for us to open the door a bit wider to the world of venture capital.
Fuad is a recent graduate from McMaster University in Canada. His passion for using software to solve hard problems led him to internships at Tesla, SpaceX, and the CIA. He just moved to SF to work at Twitter, where he’s building tools to combat hate speech and misinformation on the platform. Fuad also hosts the Next Iteration Podcast, where he interviews leaders in tech and business tackling challenges from new perspectives. When he gets a bit of a break, Fuad’s favorite things to do are trying new food with friends or curling up with a good book.
Grant is an investor on MetLife’s Private Capital team, where he invests in companies and credit funds. Grant was the first Student Athlete to graduate from Boston University’s Kilachand Honors College. In his spare time, Grant explores essays, books, and podcasts spanning everything from history to biology; he shares his learnings on Embers. The world isn’t one bright person away from solving its problems. What it needs are groups of people that come together to achieve something special. Grant wants to help these people turn their visions into reality.
Hamna is currently a Business Operations Manager at Robinhood. She helps scale key initiatives across Marketing and Growth teams, and she helps the company explore new business opportunities. Before Robinhood, she worked in FinTech and financial inclusion in Colombia. She’s lived in multiple countries, speaks four languages, and has a continued interest in exploring new business models and start-ups in emerging markets. Hamna’s originally from the Midwest and graduated from Harvard. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, backpacking, and reading fiction.
Kia is a Product Compliance Manager at Square, where she manages relationships across the organization to build tactical roadmaps, design go-to-market strategies, and identify product requirements for the launch and growth of Square in domestic and international markets. Before Square, she spent most of her career in the financial services industry, including roles at JPMorgan and Credit Suisse, where she was responsible for business and technology solutions for portfolio management, underwriting, and risk reporting. Kia’s interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies led to her working at Omega One, an early-stage startup, where she served as the Senior Risk and Compliance Officer. Kia is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she majored in International Relations and Political Science.
Most recently Natalie was Head of Product at Trustworthy AI, where she built systems to evaluate the risk of safety-critical autonomous systems (acquired by Waymo July 2021). She’s a systems-oriented product builder that thrives on complex problems at the intersection of hardware, software and research. In the past she’s developed location-based platforms for robots, built virtual worlds for self-driving cars, coded autonomous drones at NASA and deployed robots in the Arctic to collect ice cores. Outside of work, she decompresses by climbing frozen waterfalls as a sponsored ice climbing athlete.
Nicholas grew up in Italy & Greece before moving to California for university. After graduating UC Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science, he spent 2 years at Airbnb in SF and two years at Petal in NYC. Nicholas has a passion for cooking and hospitality, which brought him to intern in the kitchen at Noma in Copenhagen for three months at the end of last year. He is currently at Creative Juice as one of the first engineering hires building financial tools for the next generation of creators. Nicholas loves meeting people, learning new things and skills (latest obsession is kite surfing), and playing with bold new ideas.
Nina was most recently Vice President and Chief of Staff for an inclusive growth equity and advisory firm. Prior to this, she worked as an investor with Baird Capital with a focus on Industrial Technology. Prior to Baird, Nina was an Associate with a consumer tech angel investment fund (Black Angel Tech Fund), an Associate with a generalist private equity fund (RLJ Equity), and an Analyst with an African mezzanine debt fund (Vantage Capital). Nina began her career in investment banking with Credit Suisse, focusing on industrial businesses.
Nina graduated with honors from Spelman College and received her MBA from Stanford University.
Oliver is banking lead at Mos, where he works across product, partnerships, and operations on Mos’ banking solution for student financial health. Previously, Oliver worked on strategy and analytics at Aura, a consumer lending startup, and at Andela. He has also worked in consumer protection, helped build a nonprofit fintech product, and organized volunteer civic technology projects. Oliver is interested in expanding opportunity at scale through building companies in fintech, education, and policy-adjacent spaces. He graduated from Princeton with a degree in public and international affairs. Outside of work, Oliver enjoys endurance sports and discovering new music.
Paloma is a career educator and lifelong learner dedicated to advancing best practices across the education sector. When Paloma entered the classroom a decade ago, the ingenuity and resiliency of young learners solidified her commitment to social emotional learning and academic excellence. After delivering on her promise and supporting 100% of her students in passing state wide exams, Paloma left the classroom to expand both her impact and understanding of the education landscape. She has since been providing instructional management and professional development to educational professionals across the United States at the Lavinia Group. Paloma is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Relay Graduate School of Education.
Sanchay is interested in early-stage investments in the healthcare sector. Prior to Susa, he co-founded a VC backed medtech company and worked across multiple healthcare verticals including digital health, biotech, and payer/provider. Sanchay completed his Bachelor’s in biochemistry at Stanford University and later moved to Boston to complete his MD and MBA at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School. Outside of work, Sanchay enjoys performing/teaching dance, cooking with his fiancé, and traveling.
Sonya’s life mission is to improve healthcare access and equity. Currently, she is at Verana Health, where she partners with biopharma companies to use real-world data for evidence generation and drug development. Previously, she was a strategy consultant at ClearView Healthcare Partners, specializing in commercialization of novel drugs and digital therapeutics. Sonya is a New York native who recently moved to Oakland, CA. She can be found hiking in national parks and exploring local farmers’ markets. Sonya graduated from Columbia University where she studied Biochemistry and East Asian Studies.
Stephanie is the co-founder and CTO of a seed-stage YC-backed healthcare company focused on telenutrition. Prior to starting her own company, Stephanie built underwriting and partnership products at Ethos Life, a life insurance startup, and student-focused products at Handshake, an early-career recruiting platform. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science with a minor in Spanish from Princeton. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys dancing, surfing, and skiing.
Lightning Struck Twice: Introducing the 2021 Susa Venture Fellows Class was originally published in Susa Ventures on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.Read More
We have some bittersweet news to share: Natalie Arora, our Head of Operations, will be departing Susa Ventures after almost five years. During her tenure, we scaled from two to six funds, added 100 portfolio companies, and doubled our team size — all while keeping the train on the tracks. Internally, she scaled firm operations (finance, HR, legal, IR, marketing, office) & quarterbacked fundraising for 4 new funds. Externally, she worked to productize the Susa founder experience at […]Read More
By Courtney Buie Lipkin, Partner at Susa Ventures Since we launched the Venture Fellows Program in August 2020, twenty five aspiring investors and technologists have joined the Susa Family. We’ve known all along that the fellows are extraordinary. Now that many of our fellows have successfully transitioned into venture by joining the teams at A16z, Afore Capital, Corazon Capital, OnDeck and Techstars (to name a few) we have the data to confirm this sentiment! Susa started […]Read More
By Chad Byers (General Partner and Co-founder) and Derick En’Wezoh (Investor) at Susa Ventures Susa Ventures is excited to announce our investment in Journey, a remote-first startup building a digital storytelling product for salespeople and founders. We led their pre-seed round with participation from Y Combinator, Sahil Lavingia, Adam D’Angelo, the founders of AdRoll (Adam Berke & Aaron Bell) and Udemy (Eren Bali & Oktay Caglar), CapitalX, GTMFund, and others. Additionally, over 100 Journey users invested […]Read More
By Hammad Aslam, Investor at Susa Ventures “You can drop a tilapia in the tank, and they all start to behave the same… which is actually pretty similar to VCs with new data technologies.” — The Data Stack Show As much as I hate to admit it, this statement is not too far from the truth. For all the talk of being contrarian, it usually pays to be part of the consensus. If you see something hot in the […]Read More
By Courtney Buie Lipkin, Partner at Susa Ventures It’s that time of year again! The Susa team is excited to open applications for our third cohort of Venture Fellows. This unique program is designed to give aspiring venture investors an all-access experience sourcing and evaluating deals alongside our investment team as well as supporting Susa portfolio companies. When we first envisioned the Venture Fellows Program more than two years ago, we did so with the goal […]Read More
By Chad Byers, General Partner and Co-founder at Susa Ventures Susa Ventures is excited to announce our Seed and Series A investment in Better Stack, a European-based startup building a powerful stack of observability tools, making it easier to ship better and more reliable software faster. We led the unannounced Seed in 2019, with participation from fellow Susa founder Ryan Peterson, CEO & Founder of Flexport, and we’re excited to continue our partnership in the Series […]Read More