At the start of the summer, I moved to San Francisco with NVCA to establish a full-time presence for our organization here. The journey West has brought me back to the place I called home for six years before my four-year stint in DC, but more importantly it’s been the start of a new chapter and exciting time for NVCA to engage more closely with the venture ecosystem in the mecca of the industry.
Just one month in and I’ve already had the chance to meet with a range of VCs and startups. Some highlights from June:
SoftTechVC’s Summer Party was a warm welcome my first week in San Francisco, where I met founders at many SoftTech portfolio companies.
UPWARD, founded by The Westly Group Managing Partner Lisa Lambert, hosted a fireside chat with Jess Lee. Jess is the first female partner at Sequoia Capital, and she shared insights on her journey from working at Google to being an entrepreneur at Polyvore and now making investment decisions at one of the largest VC firms in the world.
Perhaps the most excitement and energy in June came at the NVCA+SVB Seed Manager Workshop at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center where more than 100 emerging managers learned from industry leaders on challenges and lessons learned when fundraising, the legal aspects of fund formation, and how LPs approach emerging managers. NVCA President & CEO Bobby Franklin also flew out to San Francisco to attend the event, speak to public policies impacting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and meet with a new generation of VCs.
Our friends at VentureBeat held a small kickoff event for their new BLUEPRINT initiative, a “conversation on how the technology industry can close the opportunity gap in America.” At NVCA, we’ve been focused on showcasing emerging venture ecosystems across the country and better understanding their challenges and opportunities, particularly related to public policies. Speakers at the event included SoftBank cofounder Ron Fisher and Udacity CEO Vish Makhijani (interviewed by Bloomberg Senior Executive Editor Brad Stone in the photo below).
The final highlight of my month was a visit to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where Staff Director Doug Fairbairn gave me a VIP tour of the museum’s timeless artifacts. From seeing the intricate web of Fairchild Semiconductor founders and employees who had a hand in more than 92 Bay Area public companies to the visual depiction of Moore’s Law in the evolution of actual wafers from the 1960s to today, my visit to the museum was a pleasant reminder of the outsized—yet seemingly understated—impact venture capital has had on business and society.
But having a new base has come with hurdles. In addition to miss seeing the rest of the NVCA team in-person, adjusting to the geographic spread of the venture ecosystem even in the Bay Area has also taken some getting used to. Relying on my bike as my primary mode of transportation as I did in D.C. hasn’t quite cut it in the Bay Area. I mapped out the locations I’ve been bouncing around over the past month, which of course includes making time to fit in a few In-n-Out, Sushirrito, and Off The Grid trips and spending some days working from NVCA member offices along the way:
If you’re a VC firm or startup in the area, or are just interested in the venture ecosystem, please reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org) – I’d love to connect with you. Plus, I need a good excuse to leave my home office for an hour!
And not to worry, Washington – I will be back working out of NVCA headquarters the last week of July.