The hardest day of my life was when I decided to lay off half my company in 2018. Troy was with me that day. He was the voice I needed to hear, the mentor that I could trust, and the friend that was truly honest with me in what I needed to do.
My startup, SwipeSense, was struggling at the time. We had only 6 months of runway left, and I was in the MATH offices, talking about how we needed just one good quarter to get back on track.
Troy sat across from me in their boardroom. He looked me in the eye, and shared his story of making the tough call to part ways with the majority of his team members in order to survive. He was real in how much pain he felt to let down the people that trusted in him. He was even more real when he told me that he was going to be by my side while I go through this. He made sure I understood that the responsibility lay on my shoulders and he was going to be my ally. He was kind, but firm. I made the decision to move forward with his advice, his words were the bitter medicine that the patient needed.
The world of venture capital is glorified, filled with hype cycles and transactional relationships. The reality is building a startup is really hard. Really. Fucking. Hard. Troy was real with me that day, and made sure that everyone we parted ways with landed on their own feet. SwipeSense made it through – we grew 4X since then and successfully exited to SC Johnson two years later.
This is why when I was contemplating the next part of my journey, MATH was the natural choice. After a decade as an operator, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be joining MATH as our newest Entrepreneur-in-Residence. My objective is to serve other founders – be the shoulder that they can lean on during their journey to build iconic companies.
Mark, Dana, Troy and the rest of the MATH team represent the best in VC – true operators who work tirelessly for the founders in whom they invest. They lead with their heart, help with generosity, and invest with conviction in spaces they understand deeply. What I’ve come to admire most is their true respect for the founders that they back. No matter how much they can help, they understand that the volume knob of support is ultimately in the hands of the entrepreneurs themselves.
We’re here to roll up our sleeves, and be real partners who stand by the founders we back during the whole journey. For the past decade, I‘ve been working with operators from all sorts of backgrounds: Techstars founders, Northwestern students, even founders from my homeland, Turkey. Being an entrepreneur is messy. Getting help sometimes looks like sourcing a multi-million dollar deal, and other times it looks like fixing an error on a financial model. What brings me joy is to be someone who can truly listen and meet founders from a place of empathy. I’m excited to show up when the going gets tough, as well as being the high-five that celebrates the true moments of victory together.
In particular, what excites me about the opportunity is the breadth of the industries MATH is an active investor in. Personally, I’ve been obsessed with healthcare for the past decade. While I’m beyond thrilled to continue digging into healthcare tech, I’m also stoked to learn more about new industries like entrepreneurial tools, ed tech, and Web 3.0. Technology is moving at a pace faster than ever before, and I’m looking forward to finding new communities of customers that we can help through the companies we invest in.
I’ve pitched MATH on three separate occasions for an investment, and the answer was always “Not now”. I now understand how much they believe in investing in the people that they interact with.
The time is now. Let’s go build together.