Being a successful venture capitalist requires various skills, but we believe that the ability to empathize with founders separates the good from the great. The first years of a startup are a rollercoaster of stress for founders where success is unpredictable and sometimes seems out of reach. Most investors have no idea what operating under that level of ambiguity is like, but Amanda Herson does.
When we hired Amanda as a Principal for our NYC office, we knew she’d excel in the practical aspects of the job. However, her first two years with FC demonstrated that she possessed those intangible qualities of grit and resilience as well. She joined the firm in January 2020, resigning a senior leadership role at an ecommerce company with thousands of employees. Then COVID hit.
Unable to leave her native South Africa due to travel restrictions, she joined the team virtually. This situation would have been unworkable for many people. Instead, it was a speed bump for Amanda. She spent the next year talking to founders time zones away at midnight and forging bonds with fellow VCs into the early hours of her morning. When people learned she was living in Cape Town, they were often astonished to know she was operating seamlessly from a different hemisphere.
Amanda has been in the trenches of leadership, built valuable businesses, and brings that depth of experience and empathy for the challenge to our daily discussions. Here’s a bit more about why we are so excited to have Amanda join the partnership:
Fuses analytics with humility: Amanda has seen retailers at scale, and she leverages these hard-fought lessons into actionable advice for many of our startups. As she describes in her post, her consumer-facing background has given her a deep understanding of supply chains, SaaS, and financial services (she’s even had to implement enterprise software products). We believe she’ll be an invaluable ally to startups in our portfolio by being open and humble about what she knows and doesn’t.
A natural connector and supporter of founders: Beyond her impressive operational background, Amanda has a knack for bringing people together. She continues to find new ways to convene entrepreneurs, VCs, angels, executives, and operators to strengthen the NYC tech ecosystem. She’s led and elevated our event calendar, including CMO forums, VC breakfasts, angel groups, and more inside and outside of FC.
Trustee of the values: Most importantly, we believe she will be an exceptional partner because of something far more profound and important. Amanda is a true custodian of our firm’s mission — to build the most aligned fund for founders at the seed stage. We don’t take this lightly or mean it as a marketing hook for the firm. The tradeoffs we’ve made are deliberate and core to our promise to our founders. Amanda embodies this spirit: to focus on what we do best (invest and work with founders at the seed stage) and keep their interests first and foremost in any decision we make.
Please join us in welcoming Amanda to the Founder Collective partnership! You can also follow her on Twitter at @amanda_herson.