Everyone knows that I love startups. I love working up logic models and key metrics on a whiteboard. I love brainstorming on product. I even love sitting on the floor with a stickered laptop at SXSW. All of which is precisely the work I've been enjoying at First Round Capital. So I have a surprise play to announce....I'm changing jerseys to Intel Capital. I’ll join the team next month to drive consumer and Internet deals from here in the Bay Area, and to deepen the fund’s exposure to early-stage opportunities.
Having told a handful of very surprised people this news in the past 24 hours, it's obvious that I need to tell more of the story. Back in July, the seriously kick-ass Lucy McQuilken reached out to me to see if I would consider working with her and the rest of Mike Buckley's investment team. I don't know that Lucy expected me to take her up on the breakfast invitation - I was at First Round Capital, after all - but it is an incredible rarity for a female investment professional to get recruited by another female investment professional. Don't worry if you don't get this...just take my word that it's very cool, and gets your attention.
From that unique starting point, here's what made Intel Capital so compelling:
1. I'm joining the Consumer Internet team to take point on investments I love, in spaces I know well, and with a high degree of flexibility. So while I clearly will continue working with US-based, seed-stage companies, I will also be able to consider investments based anywhere in the world that folks buy products with a chip. And I will certainly drive some investments into later rounds of funding, since there's nothing more frustrating than missing your shot at the brass seed-stage ring. This means more chances to work with the best entrepreneurs, and better odds that I'll be part of something meaningful.
2. Building structural value is something that First Round works on obsessively for its portfolio, so I know it well. Intel Capital is digging in to this area. If you are a venture business with a large portfolio, offering structural value is a change that you need to make. The Intel Capital portfolio has a deep bench, with great companies such as Betaworks, Joyent, OpenFeint, Skyhook Wireless, and Vostu on the roster, to name just a few. (Not to mention, we at First Round Capital were happy to work with Intel Capital as a coinvestor in both iovation and Transpera.) Given what we've been able to deliver with the FRC network, I'm excited to work on programs with the reach that Intel Capital needs in order to help its startups.
3. A big part of my job will be getting Intel Capital more active within the quirky and wonderful startup ecosystem that I currently inhabit. And working with these folks is what I love to do. I suspect there are a lot of missed opportunities (or misperceptions) because of a lack of familiarity. For example, does the investment process get bogged down in corporate hooha? Not in my experience. (This fall, they only spent two weeks from first meeting to final approval on a yet-unannounced deal I worked on at FRC.) Does Intel want to invest strategically? Of course. Happily, this includes apps and services that leverage a broad range of computing platforms, from PCs to connected devices.
Given this amazing opportunity, I'm proud to start wearing the Intel Capital badge next month. Though it's bittersweet as well, given my tremendous respect and affection for the team at First Round.
BONUS! There's a second personal announcement. I'm also excited to share that I will keep one foot firmly planted in the land of ramen as a venture advisor to 500 Startups. Hanging a bit with Dave McCure should ensure things stay lively! (If anyone can bring Yin to the new Yang in my professional life, it's Dave.) Though their approaches differ, both 500 Startups and Intel Capital have an intense commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. I expect this will be the start of something great.
Those are all of my surprises for today, I swear...