MATH Venture Partners has touched down in Austin, TX and I’m thrilled to be joining the team as an entrepreneur-in-residence. My name is Elisa Sepulveda and I moved to Austin ten years ago as a freshly minted Cornell MBA and Masters graduate on a one year bench assignment with IBM’s Management Rotational Program. I fell in love with the weather (goodbye northeast snow), the laid back culture, and the people. I grew professionally in the technology ecosystem here, first with IBM, then joining startups focused on artificial intelligence and community in roles that covered marketing, business development, and operations. I spent the last four years running Austin’s Founder Institute Chapter, an early stage accelerator, where I work with early stage entrepreneurs, business leaders in our community, and venture capitalists.
In this time, I learned a lot about venture capital from the founders perspective. I saw how blitzscaling companies could have a positive socio-economic impact on founders, employees, and their communities. Being a first generation American, with Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage, I knew that with more women like me investing in startups, I could make an outsized impact on communities like mine. I set out to find a firm that would align with my values.
I wanted to work for a firm that partners with founders to grow, personally and professionally, and values diverse people and perspectives. I also wanted to learn from a seasoned group of leaders who have experience as operators. I spent six months speaking to many firms across the country before I met Dana Wright at MATH. In our first conversation, I shared my story. I was honest about why I wanted to become a venture capitalist and was clear that diversity, equity, and inclusion is a requirement. Dana was thoughtful and direct in communicating the firm’s thesis, expectations, and their plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the firm and with portfolio companies. She shared the plan for DEI that the team put together that they would be implementing then sharing publicly in the future. I was impressed. I came off the call energized and bursting with ideas. The opportunity to learn VC from an outstanding team and build new systems and processes seemed like a perfect fit.
Every conversation confirmed that MATH lives it’s values and designed it’s strategy and policies to reflect them. Troy, Mark, and Dana are partners, each voice has equal say. Decisions are made with input from everyone on the team because each person brings a different and valuable perspective. The experience that the team brings both in venture and as operators is unparalleled — from business to business software, healthcare, education technology, to mergers and acquisitions. The team applies this experience to the work they do every day with founders and it was above and beyond my expectations. MATH is committed to founder success. The team has embedded themselves with executive teams to solve complex problems and even met daily with portfolio companies during demanding times. The support and leadership that they provide to portfolio companies, in good times and less good, illustrate what a dedicated group they are. I’ve learned that this team is constantly working to be better and more effective with founders and each other, so there is always an open line to feedback. Additionally, diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just something that is discussed. MATH has a plan to work with both portfolio companies and as a firm to increase diversity. The firm, the values, and the team exceeded every expectation. It was clear that I would not only learn a lot, but also make a meaningful impact on the firm and the portfolio companies.
Looking ahead, I will be working hand in hand with the partners and the rest of the team to build an enduring marketing and sourcing strategy. I will also be working on our DEI initiatives internally and with our portfolio companies. Most importantly, I’m going to learn the business of venture capital, from first meeting through exit, from a phenomenal, talented group of people.
I never could have predicted that this would be a new chapter in my life ten years ago when I moved to Austin and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be sharing a lot of insights and information as I learn along the way, so make sure to sign up for our mailing list at MATH Ventures , follow our social accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter, and follow me on Twitter.
Cheers to the next chapter with MATH Venture Partners!