I joined 500 Startups at the beginning of 2017, after more than 12 years working at enterprise data startups. By then, I’d tried my hand at nearly every role one could imagine in a startup - from programmer to professional services, sales ops to CEO (and late-night janitor more times than I could remember). With two exits under my belt and experience as an advisor and angel investor, I wanted to see if I could contribute to the ecosystem on a larger scale.
As a Canadian whose personal journey has included working with talented women and men from around the world, the 500 Startups mission - to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs - really resonated with me. Soon after joining the San Francisco-based accelerator team as an EIR, I met the incredible people around the world who live and breath that mission at the firm's global retreat (I naturally felt right at home in the snow at Lake Tahoe).
In the months that followed, I had the privilege of working alongside many of these unicorns as we collectively sought out and invested in founders from all corners of the globe. I later became a Venture Partner and led the development of a new track within 500's flagship Seed Program focused on big data, machine learning and AI startups. The 500 Startups Data Track launched as part of Batch 22 of the 500 Startups Seed Program, with 7 startups from 7 different countries receiving investments as part of the inaugural cohort. Although this was a turbulent time for 500 Startups, I'm incredibly proud of the work we did and of the founders who chose to partner with us.
I am thankful to everyone at 500 Startups, both in San Francisco and around the world, for the opportunity to invest in and work alongside them and for welcoming me as a part of the #500Family, and to the founders for allowing me to be a part of their journeys. I am particularly grateful to Marvin Liao for his support and mentoring during the development of the 500 Startups Data Track and to the San Francisco-based accelerator team with whom I walked hand-in-hand on this adventure.
As for what’s next, I plan to continue investing in and working with passionate, determined founders around the world who are leveraging data and AI to tackle challenging problems. Founders like Kyle Campbell of CTO.ai.
But first, into the wilderness I go.
I'll see you all soon.