USV added a new partner today. Her name is Rebecca Kaden and she introduced herself to our world on the USV blog just now. Rebecca joins a team of fifteen people; our network team, our analysts, and our fantastic administrative team. We are all excited to have her join us.
It took us a year to find the right person to add to our partnership. We have only added three people to our partnership in the fourteen-year history of USV. Albert joined USV in 2008, after doing a two-year stint as a Venture Partner at USV, and after spending almost a decade doing early-stage investing in a number of firms. John joined USV in 2010 to help us with the newly formed Opportunity Fund after spending about a decade in private equity and public market and angel investing. And Andy joined USV in 2012 with thirteen years of VC experience at Dawntreader and as a founding partner of Betaworks.
Albert and Andy took over running USV a year and a half ago and led this search. They did a great job. With Rebecca, we now have the start of the next generation after Andy and Albert.
A venture capital firm, at least our venture capital firm, is at its core, a group of like-minded investors who come together around a shared investment thesis to work collaboratively to help entrepreneurs build companies. When you get the people right, as we have over the last fourteen years, it is magic. When you get the people wrong. it sucks for everyone, including the entrepreneurs. So we took this search very seriously and I am confident that we found the right person in Rebecca. She is experienced, loved by the entrepreneurs she works with, curious, funny, and has the personality and temperament to fit into our partnership. I am excited to work with her every day.
Rebecca grew up in a venture capital firm as did I. She spent almost six years at Maveron, a firm we deeply respect. Maveron, like USV, has stayed small, continued to focus on seed and Series A investments, and has stuck to its thesis around consumer investing. Everyone knows what a Maveron deal is and what it isn’t. That is my favorite kind of venture capital firm. Venture capital is an apprenticeship business and Rebecca is very fortunate to have learned the business from her partners at Maveron.
I would be remiss if I did not address the diversity issue. A number of us have been public about the fact that we wanted to add some diversity into our partnership and that is what we have done. And we are not done. We will continue to look for diversity across our organization and that means diversity of all kinds. We are not doing this for optics or public pressure. We believe that different perspectives, life experiences, and orientations in a partnership will lead to better decisions. But that said, this will take time. We don’t add partners very often and when we do, we are very careful about who we add. We probably won’t look very different a year from now but we will probably look very different a decade from now.
Each partner who has joined USV has done two things very well. First they have figured how to operate inside of our shared investment thesis. And second they have figured out how to stretch it. Albert taught us that developer platforms like MongoDB, Twilio, and Stripe could be networks and that stretching of our thesis has worked out exceptionally well. John taught us that financial services like Lending Club and C2FO and eShares were networks and that stretching of our thesis has worked out equally well. Andy has helped us understand how networks like Figure1, Nurx, and Science Exchange are impacting health care and that is turning out to be extremely promising. Rebecca will stretch our thesis some more and we are excited to work with her and support her as she does that.
If you didn’t click over to the USV blog and read Rebecca’s introduction of herself already, I would encourage to you do that now. She ends it with her email address and a call out to entrepreneurs to come work with her at USV. As it should be.
Rebecca is a fantastic smart – nice – person. hopefully a great addition. congrats!
Congratulations, all. Great news.
I am more impressed with her CV than her gender. Seems like a top notch addition. Hard to believe you pried her away from Maveron.I’ll bet you she is still @ USV a decade from now.Speaking of bets, for the two of you who keep score, I settled up the Flynn Will Get Fired bet w @jlm yesterday.Gracious, good humoured and great grub courtesy Matt’s El Rancho ( can’t get photo of big Bob queso to load, but trust me – it was good, as was the beer, but the fajitas were even better ).
.One more bet squared unlike the folks who still owe me from the 2016 election. You know who you are. Chiselers.It is impossible to have a bad time at Matt’s El Rancho. James and I solved quite a few of the world’s problems on the patio listening to the fountain eating fajitas and a Large Bob. If you have to ask what a Large Bob is, you have never been to ATX landmark, Matt’s.I was able to finish all of James’ emigration from Calgary to Texas forms and get them stamped by the waiter.A good time was had by all.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
The problem with Austin Tex-Mex meals is that they are calorie bombs. Simply no way to have a modest calorie Tex-Mex meal. (Note: my information is dated).Is Chuy’s still around ?
.Chuys flourishes. The secret to Mexican food is to get the fajitas, eat the beef & shrimp — no tortillas, rice/beans.Just the beef and shrimp.TexMex is not for those dieting.If in the evening, drink three margaritas and you don’t care about anything.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
TexMex is not for those dieting.James says ‘hard manual labour’ and you say ‘not for dieting’. Girish says ‘no way to have a modest calorie Tex-Mex meal’.The truth is it’s a simply a combination of will power and not worshiping food to begin with. Exercise and getting enough sleep helps as does keeping stress level low.
…the sugar in three (restaurant) margaritas would be enough for me to enter into a stupor significant enough not to care. Cheap date.
Margaritas are ridiculously easy to consume here inTX.Heat, humidity and a little stupidity.
Hard manual labour is the antidote.
An amazing get for USV. I got the wonderful opportunity to work with her during my BFV days and her Maveron days. Way to go!!
Congratulations, Fred! Excited to see USV continue to do great things.
Congrats! Hiring a new partner is a very involved process and I would love to hear more in future blog posts.
So exciting for USV (and for NYC). Fantastic news!
Love her twitter feed ! (Btw does anyone ever use the word “remiss” without first saying ” I would be” ?)
:)!!! Yay! Welcome.
Does Rebecca have her own blog?
USV & CONTRIBUTORS:Way overdue no matter the reasons.We are confident the USV team will foster the best of Rebecca Kaden.We are a tough crowd at times but the majority are fair, intelligent and supportive.Great job Albert & Andy.
https://www.nytimes.com/201…gender is not the only diversity metric. i’d like to see a person from a dirt poor background given an equal opportunity, even if white and male. economics is the greatest inequality of all. all other factors are a form of liberal window dressing to one degree or another. no doubt an unpopular thing to write, but that’s the way it is. it’s undeniable.
The best kind of “diversity” is good, new, powerful, valuable ideas!
See to me this sounds like a version of ‘it’s never good enough’. The problem with that thinking is that it actually will prevent people from doing (what you and others may consider) ‘the right thing’ even if it’s not for the right reasons.Honestly if it were me making the decision I would simply pick the best person regardless of anything else at all. Period. And it’s always been like that. In other words if I felt there was a business advantage to choosing a person that was from a dirt poor background I would hire them (or make them partner, whatever). If they were a woman or a man or martian best qualified person that is willing to work at the compensation gets hired. Don’t really care about anything else. As a small business. USV is a small business.USV is not General Electric or Boeing. If I was a LP (I’m not) all I would care about is the return on what I invest.  Honestly nothing else. I am selfish like that. A company manages a small amount of money for me. What I care about is the return. Social issues are for another place.The link you gave is a wedding announcement which shows that Rebecca has credentials from both Harvard and Stanford. Both her father and mother seem quite accomplished. That’s great for business (and what her husband does as well) and to me it’s 100% a plus and positive in every respect. From any legitimate, legal and non objectionable investment.
“Social issues are for another place.”Curious as to what that place is exactly? Apparently it’s not for business. It’s not for pro-sports. Where are social issues actually appropriate? And if we’re putting them into the equivalent of a Free Speech Zone, how do we facilitate change?
such issues get thrown under the bus when there’s money to be made. only after the money has been made are the issues back on the agenda. it’s self serving.
And as long as that’s the thought process with no way to curb its implementation then equality and diversity will always be an issue.
Curious as to what that place is exactly?A place where it doesn’t impact my wallet (where it matters it doesn’t always matter) or my day to day situations in the world. I don’t think I am alone in saying this either. But I very well may be one of the few who are honest enough (or just don’t give a shit what people think?) to say what others may not say. Words and taking a position are easy. Let’s see what happens when people actually stand to lose something. LIke the New York Times.There was an opinion piece in the WSJ a few days ago calling out the NYT in ‘knee-gate’ vs. what they do with their own employees. Essentially they say one business should allow free speech but they (to my point when it impacts them) don’t want their own employees saying certain things on social media because, well, they are NYT representatives! And no papers are not that special, sorry.https://www.wsj.com/article…Essentially:The paper says pro football players have speech rights it denies to its own reporters.Summary:But one tiny question: Why do Times reporters not enjoy this same right? Because within three weeks of blasting those who believe NFL players have no First Amendment right to use the football field to make political statements, Mr. Baquet issued a memo about social media warning Times reporters not to use their “vibrant presence” on these platforms to express their own, uh, deeply felt fears and grievances. Mr. Baquet says “the key points” are as follows: “In social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.” .Which is my point. They take one position when there is no impact and another position when it would change their bottom line. NFL ‘image’ does not matter. Grey ladies image (NYT) does…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
money and the corporation do not grow on trees. they were deliberately invented to serve the needs of an elite class.
“A place where it doesn’t impact my wallet (where it matters it doesn’t always matter) or my day to day situations in the world. “At least you’re honest. It also ensures that those places will always be subject to impact – it’s the only place to get your attention.The easiest way around this is just to commit to doing better as a society – but we won’t. The penalty for that is you’ll have to burn cycles on it when you don’t want to because ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. If you made it a part of you EVERYWHERE, even in the places you don’t want it to be, you’ll see it eradicated sooner and can then go back to ignoring it – because the issue itself will no longer exist.
Your response implies that some sort of substandard or less than ideal candidate would get hired w/ a conditional requirement, though Fred never really even stated in his post that diversity was part of the company’s hiring criteria. The talent pool presumably is large enough even w/ a gender filter to insure no sacrifices are made w/ respect to capabilities/ qualifications. It’s not like they were looking to hire Fred’s body double, or similar restrictive criteria. Even if a female was hired by coincidence rather than design, it’s still a smart biz move for a variety of reasons. A bit presumptuous that a gender hire potentially means sacrificing company standards or qualifications.
For Fred, giving his public persona, in certain respects it might be a smart business move …maybe. If I was an LP I’d have to take a closer look at that. This reminds me of when my attorney wanted to send another attorney a document they requested (overseas) and charged me for it. When I asked him why he said ‘that’s what attorneys do for each other’. I interpreted that as saying that it was good for him. I didn’t think I needed to pay for his reputation as a member of the club. Of course I might to maintain good relations with the attorney if it were de-minimis charge. But I thought it was poorly put. Anyway the court of public opinion moves very quickly. In general people are always to worried about appearances when they don’t need to be. They typically overreact to public pressure when it doesn’t matter. That is what I have seen. Last I checked a firm like USV has more people who want investment and Series A than they clearly need and can pick and choose situations. So I would question if they would loose a deal if not diverse. (I don’t know maybe yes it’s a question..). This is much much different than a large corporation like Google that is on everyone’s radar (including politicians and the press).Anyway my statement came out of what Jason said:i’d like to see a person from a dirt poor background given an equal opportunitySo the point is at which point does the pool become so small as to impact the eventual quality of the people you get to choose from?A bit presumptuous that a gender hire potentially means sacrificing company standards or qualifications.You could say the same thing in reverse though. And also the person who is best is typically best. Isn’t it that way in sports? Reduce the pool and then how do you end up with ‘the best’. Or in politics or anything else. That said in VC with all of the other factors involved to what extent does it even matter at all?Speaking of sports do teams choose anything but absolutely the best player w/o regard to literally almost anything else? Does the entertainment business choose anything but the best person for the role (if no hanky panky of course)? Does TV hire people who are not attractive? (Keith Morrison is legacy so…)
FYI, the NFL has “The Rooney Rule” requiring teams to interview minorities for coaching and operations positions when avail. MLB has something similar. Debatable whether teams follow those rules as intended or to the letter (ask Willie Randolph), but it’s there. Who knows what the criteria was for this position at USV? Her background is VC, but more aligned with consumer goods than b2b, SaaS, etc. Perhaps that was a perceived hole in USV’s management portfolio and she had the goods. Maybe USV is looking to pursue other lines of biz or perhaps they’re tweaking their investment thesis, etc. I’m sure they interviewed finance, PE, investment bankers, etc., in addition to classic VC.
One other thing. Lest you think I am some kind of cold hearted scoundrel. I am generally not going to be worried about someone who could potentially even be considered for this type of rare opportunity not getting it. If you have made it to the point where you are even in that game at all, you have done ok for yourself. And you will be fine. You will probably always have a good job.I am worried though about the UPS driver that I had a conversation with the other day who now has to do 180 deliveries a day (up from 100 10 years ago) and has gained weight because they can’t exercise. Why? They hurt their shoulder rushing around like a nut as a result of how they are being pushed because of the Amazon disruption. Union apparently doesn’t care as long as they get their dues (what I was told by the drive). Amazon being the company that is driving down costs (to get rid of competition with their ability to loose money when they want). I am sure they are diverse in their upper echelons of hiring but honestly don’t (let’s face it) give a shit about the havoc they wreak in other ways.
Presume UPS drivers benefit from increased deliveries via their 401K, as company revenue and profit grows. Stock up 18% YTD. Until AMZN creates their own delivery service, which isn’t totally inconceivable given their volume, the UPS driver’s job is likely quite stable. Not a bad place to be, frankly.
The 18% increase in no way compensates for how they have to bust their ass. That is what I think they think. These are union guys.But I will mention that to the driver when I see him. I am curious to what extent he considers that a positive. Look I have been talking to this guy for years now. And I know of UPS drivers since the 70’s when they picked up at my Dad’s wholesale operation. I can tell you that there is no question that in the last few years their attitude has changed greatly. And these are not ‘rest our lard ass’ guys either (the SNL skit). They always hustled and seemed to like it. But it seems that a line was crossed and it’s now off their backs. That is my take from interacting.
When I lived in NYC, the UPS guy on my block (W72 St) had one and only one block on his entire route, W72. Covered same street, and only the same street, for 25+ years. Greater longevity than any retail establishment. Knew more about the block and it’s people than anybody.
Packages in NYC are up 45% year of year.Free delivery is changing how we act. Why schlepp when you can buy in small quantities (we have no storage) with no shipping cost.Expected to increase substantially again.
An ex-Googler posted this.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
Re: “Gender is not the only diversity metric”But can we agree that it is an important and still materially unaddressed metric ?Agree with your other point that economic background is not sufficiently considered a component of diversity, and it should be. That point needs more attention.
it’s important, but not root. economics is. picking the privileged perpetuates this root issue of inequality.
There is something to this.I was surprised by how much I was impacted by JD Vance’s story. (Author of Hillbilly Elegy.) He would fit your description, and ended up in Silicon Valley as a VC. But he is an anomaly.
This is very exciting! Shed a little tear.
Gee, is it permitted? That thumbnail picture, the red hair, etc., she’s GORGEOUS!
Even though Fred told us it was coming, it’s a strange (in a good way) feeling to see this finally happen. I don’t think I knew how much it would mean to me until now. Very satisfying — especially given the caliber of the choice.
Exactly. Similarly, it’s hard to convey to outsiders how participating in this blog over the years has been worth at least 75% of an MBA if not more.
Congrats. Look forward to your comments and posts
.Now, finally, your walk and your talk are in step with each other. Congratulations.Good luck, best wishes, Rebecca.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
That post sounds like maybe the most careful thinking I’ve heard so far from AVC or Union Square Ventures! It’s so careful and cautious it’s like using the techniques for climbing the Zugspitze to go up just one step on a flight of stairs in the office!Still, bluntly, for how to do projects, my view, from my background in high end US STEM field academic research projects and technical US national security projects around DC, is that US information technology (IT) (it appears that bio-medical is quite different) venture capital is at least 90% smoking funny stuff and just wildly and debilitatingly wrong.In the good 10%, sure, is respect for “network effects”: Those can be good, but as USV has already noticed what can constitute an effective network effect is more general than USV or US IT VC has pursued so far. Then, for “effects” as powerful as, generally much more powerful than, network effects, STEM field projects are awash in much, much more. E.g., just for some survey sampling, I saw a lot of STEM field earth shaking effects long before I saw an IT VC network effect. Sure, a good network effect is good, but it’s small potatoes and K-6 grade stuff compared to what is available and commonly used in US national security.For a hint of some of what is available from the STEM fields but not in US national security, although in truth interest in US national security is the real source of the funding, we just discovered that 130 million years ago two neutron stars, after 11 billion years or so in orbit around their common center of mass, just collided and threw out gravitational waves and electromagnetic waves from radio to gamma rays. Amazing how we knew that! Makes a network effect look like kindergarten stuff! And, notice, right, after traveling 130 million years the gravitational and electromagnetic signals arrived at essentially the same time! And notice, for the first time we knew the direction of the origin of the gravitational waves!
congrats and will be interesting to see how the thesis is pushed into consumer
Wishing Rebecca much success at USV. Look forward to how USV will invest now that solving data bias in Machine Intelligence has FINALLY been identified by technology leaders. The sad thing is that the female engineers who would have helped Silicon Valley to solve the problem have left and are all leaving the industry in droves.JOHN GIANNANDREA, GOOGLE SVP OF SEARCH, October 3, 2017: “The real safety question, if you want to call it that, is that if we give these systems biased data, they will be biased.”* https://www.technologyrevie…SHERVIN KHODABANDEH, PARTNER & MANAGING DIRECTOR AT BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP, October 11, 2017: “The best example of [bias in data] is the 2008 crash in which the models were trained on a dataset. Everything looked good, but the datasets changed and the models were not able to pick that up, [so] the model collapsed and the financial system collapsed.”* https://www.informationweek…* http://www.latimes.com/busi…
I’m glad to see you have put your money and time into making a decision that demonstrates your commitment to action and not just words! What’s that saying about putting your money where your mouth is? I look forward to seeing how USV’s investments and the things you and your team learn change over over time.As a female entrepreneur who has raised VC money in the past, I have learned that the fundraising game is a very different one than most games people people play in this fascinating game of life. It’s not for everyone regardless of what gender you are.Good luck Rebecca!
I’m sure you have made an awesome choice FredHowever…”Every founder I talked to said essentially the same statement: they dream big; they are in it with us”I would hope it was the other way around…..
That is a turning moment in USV’s history.Great move.
Omigosh, I’ve been so busy all day, I’m just now seeing this.This is great news. Congratulations to USV for making a stellar addition to the team! You’re so fortunate to get Rebecca.What a great beam of sunshine in a rather dark week. Keep going, gang. May your reach always exceed your grasp 🙂
Welcome and Congratulations Rebecca; I think the USV Team continues to stack the talent deck in their favor! 😉
Thrilled! Congratulations!And what a find.
Congratz! It would be super interesting to have an article about your hiring process and the things you check during it. Lot of articles are covering this for startups, very few for VCs.