I couldn’t be more excited about joining the partnership at Founder Collective. The last two years on the team have been energizing, and I am even more bullish about the next 20.
Founder Collective is open for business, and I am eager to invest! Here’s what I’m excited to bring to the venture ecosystem:
A belief that everything is ultimately a consumer experience
I’m the great-granddaughter of a dry goods merchant. My grandfather ran an army surplus store. My father built a chain of outdoor gear shops where I grew up selling socks. On the surface, we sold dresses and denim. In the background, every parcel was made possible as the result of sourcing manufacturers that could supply hundreds of stores, scaling customer service, and training programs for thousands of FTEs. We brought the business into the ecommerce age and made it one of the largest specialty retailers in the Southern Hemisphere. Deeply understanding the customer, whether in the store or online, B2B or B2C is core to my DNA.
A passion for NYC
My first job after college was in New York. I met my life partner between the Lower East Side and West Village — our first few dates were rollerblading on the West Side Highway. Some of my closest friendships began in this city. But when I left a dozen years ago, startups were still a developing part of the culture — now, they dominate the scene in many ways.
Founder Collective now has two full-time partners on the ground in NYC, plus four fantastic founder partners and an active MBA program (with a pair of somewhat trained puppies in the mix, too!). We’re also incredibly proud of our 40+ active portfolio companies in NYC and notable alums like StackExchange, Moat, Codecademy, IAS, BuzzFeed, as well as many others. We’re committed to building out our presence in the greatest city in the world.
A global vision
While our base of operations is in SoHo, and we make most of our investments in the US, we’ve backed startups across the globe. For example, we’ve recently invested in a grocery shopping startup in Kenya and BNPL in Brazil. We’ve backed SaaS tools in Transylvania and auto marketplaces in London. We believe there are great entrepreneurs in every corner of the globe, and we’d like to support them wherever they live.
A commitment to paying it forward and being human
My prior journey in venture in the late 2000s was lonely, with few female role models or peers. I feel fortunate to have rejoined a thriving community of female VCs and angels in 2020, but there are still more doors to be opened and networks to be shared. I am quite literally welcoming aspiring female angels to the table with a bi-monthly lunch, so if you are in NYC, feel free to reach out.
Conviction to lead at the earliest stages
We’re going through a challenging moment in the startup world. Some firms are retreating. Founder Collective is not. While some may see our time as one of uncertainty and upheaval, I am a huge believer that unpredictable moments in history bring out resilience, grit, and creativity — traits that typify the best entrepreneurs.
I graduated college in a recession and embarked on my first stint in VC in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis. I built a large ecommerce business amidst droughts and rolling power outages in my native South Africa. A jittery stock market doesn’t worry me. During periods of upheaval, the most remarkable change is possible.
From the start, Founder Collective’s mission has been to build the most aligned fund for founders at the seed stage, and I hope to be a custodian of the firm’s core values.
In closing, I don’t take for granted that I love what I do with a team that I adore. I couldn’t be more excited to continue working with David, Eric, Micah, Brent, and the rest of the Founder Collective team for years to come. Partner is a prestigious title within a firm, but the opportunity to partner with founders for the long haul is the real prize. We are stage-specific (pre-seed/seed), sector agnostic, and founder driven. If you’d like to chat, please reach out on Twitter at @amanda_herson!