Meet the Newest Cohort of First Round’s Angel Track — Ready to Join Your Cap Table
We just wrapped up our 10th Angel Track cohort, and we’re feeling a bit nostalgic. Angel Track started as a nascent program with ambitious goals — to help emerging angel investors level up, build new relationships, and increase their odds of success as investors. That first cohort in 2018 started with just 16 incredible members, meeting once a week in our San Francisco office.
Now, with 10 cohorts under our belt and over 300 alumni nationwide, we couldn’t be more thrilled with how the Angel Track community has grown over the years, and the caliber of angels remains sky-high. Notable alums include incredible folks like Charley Ma (GM of Fintech at Alloy), Nick Caldwell (GM at Twitter), Varsha Rao (CEO of Nurx), Madhu Muthukumar (CPO of Notion), Li Jin (now a GP at Variant) and Lenny Rachitsky (of the eponymous Lenny’s Newsletter) just to name a few. We’ve also brought in some incredible guest speakers from across the investing community to share their own playbooks, including Mark Goldberg (Index Ventures), Kristina Shen (Andreessen Horowitz) and Chetan Puttagunta (Benchmark).
In recent years we’ve tinkered with the curriculum and oriented our discussions around specific case studies and potential investments shared with the Angel Track community. And the program is rooted First Round’s 15 years of Day 0 investing experience. First Round Partners share their own mental models from each step of the early investing process, walking through investments they’ve made (and hard-won lessons on ones they’ve missed). How do you pitch yourself as an angel and the value that you can bring to a founder as they try to find product-market fit? What questions should you prioritize in the first meeting with a founder? How do you set yourself apart and become a founder’s most valuable investor?
Each Angel Track cohort feels quite distinct — chiefly because of the people. The angels that make up each group bring a unique lens to the community. Some are former or current founders, while others are top operators at some of the buzziest startups around. Our most recent cohort holds tons of different interests, from future of work to education. But a few common themes emerged, with lots of energy amongst our angels around investing in climate technology, Web3 and fintech.
Over the years, we’ve also tweaked the formula for how we gather. 2020 necessitated a shift to fully remote — which, as a bonus, enabled us to expand access to this unique program beyond just SF and NY. But as the world began to open up once more, we were excited to recapture some of that in-person magic. Today, Angel Track is a hybrid program, welcoming folks from their laptops around the country for world class-curriculum (like First Round’s Bill Trenchard sharing how he builds conviction in nascent markets), while also bringing regional members together for intimate events that build meaningful, lasting connections.
And in one of our biggest additions to Angel Track, we wanted to experiment with different ways to connect founders with angels. So we created Angel Directory — an extensive resource to browse hundreds of angel and founder profiles. Founders can find our Angel Track alumni in Angel Directory, as well as dozens of other angels with stacked resumes. Recently, we completely revamped the directory’s UI and added new features, based on feedback from our beta version — so if you haven’t checked out Angel Track in a while, we encourage you to give it another look.
A new leader at the helm:
To our most recent Angel Track cohort, he’s now a very familiar face. On the heels of running his first cohort, we’re thrilled to officially introduce our new GM of Angel Track, Mark Munro.
Mark first joined First Round in early 2020 to lead partnerships, where he facilitated relationships between founders and potential advisors and customers. In that role, he was a whiz at connecting the dots between early-stage entrepreneurs and the insights that can take their product and go-to-market efforts to the next level. That included trialing Discovery Assist, a customer discovery sprint for early founders to test hypotheses and bolster conviction in their product ideas.
In his time at First Round, we’ve seen Mark excel in two distinct areas: building relationships and going beyond the surface to uncover true insights. Both of which make him the perfect fit to lead Angel Track, which is a close-knit community and structured curriculum taught by world-class investors. We’re excited to see how Angel Track continues to grow and evolve under Mark’s purview.
Here’s what folks had to say about this most recent cohort:
“Generally speaking, I’d say that I was extremely skeptical going into Angel Track. I really thought angel investing was something that was mostly luck and there wasn’t too much that could be learned. I walked away feeling like I couldn’t have been more wrong. So many individual components, like the community (people I can share notes with, ask for help assessing deals or about industries I don’t know well, etc), the specific practices to implement, the weekly hands on work with the First Round partners as if we were working alongside them, and even the deep archive of content made it worth it.” -Sean Rose
“Angel Track is the no-BS investor 101 course for anyone looking to learn about venture. Wish someone had given me this info when I started investing 5 years ago. So much good content condensed into a few weeks of learning. I was impressed by how open book the First Round team was in Angel Track. They shared a lot of specifics on how to source, how to help, and how to evaluate companies.” -Julia Schottenstein
“Angel Track is one of the most special communities I’ve had the chance to take part in. Throughout the experience, it’s clear how thoughtful First Round is about providing the most value possible to participants. It’s an incredible opportunity to build friendships with other operators and founders who are all looking to dive deeper into angel investing.” -Ben Lang
“It’s difficult to choose just one highlight of the Spring ’22 cohort. If pressed, I’d point to the caliber and engagement of the Angel Track community. No matter the topic — real-time implications of changing market conditions, product-led growth strategies, digging into a pitch in an unfamiliar industry — there is an expert who promptly responds with detailed examples and offers her time to dig deeper as needed. My experience in AT felt like being a deep insider within a notoriously opaque industry. Partners from First Round Capital candidly shared their frameworks, processes and inner thinkings as they rigorously and systematically assess emerging markets, products and talent. Angel Track boosted my network by orders of magnitude — even weeks after the program has ended I regularly chat with, contribute to and get help from the exceptionally engaged community.” -Evonne Johnson
“Angel Track is a practical field guide to the art and the science of angel investing, and an active and helpful network of some of the world’s best investors. It’s the resource I wish I had when I started angel investing and I can’t recommend it more highly.” -Nick Soman
“Angel Track brings together people that are excited about angel investing and going deep — whether it’s with their company, personal hobbies or other ventures. It’s like going to a dinner roundtable with folks with a broad range of interests, but all genuinely curious and collaborative people. Think potluck meets product brainstorm.” -Bruno Werneck de Almeida
“I loved learning from the First Round team and my fellow Angel Trackers during my time in AT22. The knowledge and wisdom shared so openly from First Round’s partners is incredible — from learning about what great companies look like, investment themes and patterns over the years and even nitty gritty tax code stuff. I came away learning the ins and outs of angel investing thanks to the First Round team! I’m so grateful for the experience and thankful to the team for sharing their time and knowledge with us.” -Kim Walsh
Meet our Spring 2022 Cohort:
And without further ado, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to our most recent cohort of angels from Spring 2022, ready to take your pitches.
Ada Yeo, Former founder, former PM at Coinbase
- Areas of Interest: Crypto
- Ada drove product and sales at Earn (acq. by Coinbase), then was a Product Manager at Coinbase launching Coinbase Earn and scaling that to $100M GMV. More recently, she was a consumer social founder backed by First Round. She currently runs a crypto fund backed by Naval, Balaji Srinivasan, etc.
Anita Lynch, Board Member
- Areas of Interest: Enterprise Data Infrastructure, ML and Cybersecurity
- As New Relic’s Chief Data Officer, Anita lead the company’s data strategy, data architecture and engineering, analytics, data science and data governance efforts. Prior to New Relic, her career leading enterprise data teams spans major tech innovators including Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and the launch of Disney+ at Disney Streaming.
Arthur Levy, SVP, M&A and New Initiatives @ Brex
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, SaaS, Healthcare
- Art is currently SVP of M&A and New Initiatives at Brex, where he’s held several leadership roles, including VP of BD and Head of Brex’s venture debt business. Art started his career at Centerview Partners in tech investment banking, and has spent the last 12 years operating and investing.
Asheesh Birla, GM of RippleNet @ Ripple
- Areas of Interest: Web3, Crypto, Fintech
- Asheesh joined Ripple, a blockchain payments startup, in 2013 as a founding team member. He has completed over 13 investments in crypto/Web3 and served on boards of Bitso, Nium, Azimo, and Moneygram.
Ben Lang, Head of Community @ Notion
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, productivity, fintech, ecommerce, future of work
- Ben is a community builder and angel investor based out of NYC and Israel. He joined the early team at Notion 3+ years ago where he leads community efforts. Prior he worked as a consultant, cofounded Mapme, and served in 8200 military intelligence.
Brandon White, Head of Product @ Spring Discovery
- Areas of Interest: Biotech, Healthcare, Machine Learning, SaaS, Digital Technology, Games
- Brandon worked at Uber as an early machine learning engineer before leading the development of an early blood-based cancer detection test at Freenome, and now leads several drug development programs as Head of Product at Spring Discovery.
Bruno Werneck de Almeida, Business Development & Corporate Strategy @ Plaid
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, Web3, commerce, and climate
- Bruno leads Plaid’s Credit and Web3 business development efforts and is focused on product partnerships, investments, and M&A.
Camilo Acosta, Product Manager @ Facebook
- Areas of Interest: Generalist, including LatAm
- Camilo is an experienced tech founder and exited founder/CEO-turned-investor and Big Tech product leader. As an investor, he uses his strong product intuition and former founder experiences to drive value to his portfolio CEOs and executives.
Claire Butler, Senior Director of Marketing @ Figma
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, PLG, community-led growth
- Claire was employee #8 at Figma and the first marketer / business hire. She led the team from stealth through monetization while finding product market fit. Prior to that she was early stage marketing through acquisition at Climate Corp.
D’Arcy Coolican, Angel Investor
- Areas of Interest: Web3, social, media, marketplaces.
- For the last 3.5 years, D’Arcy was investing in consumer tech companies at a16z. Before that he started a social fintech company called Frank. He’s currently angel investing and tinkering on new ideas.
Dane Knecht, SVP of Emerging Technology & Innovation @ Cloudflare
- Areas of Interest: Developer tooling, Infrastructure, and SaaS
- Dane is a product management leaderl passionate about innovation and working with great teams to build amazing products. He has a strong background in SaaS services with leadership experience in Product Management, Product Marketing, Scaling Operations, Business Development, and Recruiting.
Daniel Loreto, Co-founder @ Jetpack.io
- Areas of Interest: Marketplaces, SaaS and dev tools.
- Daniel is the founder and CEO of jetpack.io — a company making it easier to build backend systems on the cloud. Previously he’s held senior engineering roles at companies like Twitter and Airbnb. He’s an active angel investor.
Delia Pawelke, Head of Product Risk @ Stripe
- Areas of Interest: KYC, Identity, Black-owned founders, financial inclusion, financial crimes
- Delia is an experienced risk leader with a focus on product risk, digital identity, anti-money laundering and economic sanctions. She’s spent the past five years at Stripe in a variety of leadership roles.
Ethan Yeh, Adjunct Professor at Rice University
- Areas of Interest: Healthtech, climate, data science/AI, fintech
- Ethan is a data science leader, angel investor, and startup advisor. He is currently Adjunct Professor in Electrical Computer Eng at Rice University. He was formerly Head of Data Science at Stripe, led data science teams at Twitter, and worked on global health and HIV at the World Bank.
Evonne Johnson, Angel Investor
- Areas of Interest: AI/ML, B2B SaaS, Biotech, Blockchain/Crypto, Communication (Speech, Writing, Remote), Consumer, Childcare & Early Education, Design, Education/Reskilling, FemTech/FamilyTech/Women’s Health, Mental Health
- Evonne is an entrepreneur, operating exec and investor or advisor to pre-PMF startups. Evonne has led product and business development at early stage startups, resulting in two exits (IPO & acquisition). Evonne joined Cisco/Webex via acquisition and led the Intelligence team.
Ian Logan, VP of Engineering @ Rose Rocket
- Areas of Interest: Marketplaces, Consumer, B2B, Dev Tools, AI
- Ian is currently VP Engineering at Rose Rocket (YC S16), a trucking and logistics startup. Previously, he was engineer #7 at Airbnb and for 6+ years, he was one of the first engineering leaders directing over 110 engineers as Airbnb grew 100X on every metric.
Jack Arenas, Co-Founder & CTO @ Modern Life
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, Open Data, Web3
- Jack is co-founder and CTO of Modern Life, an early-stage consumer Insurtech company with a mission to help our customers protect their loved ones. Previously, Jack co-founded Petal, another Fintech company whose mission is to expand access to responsible and modern financial services.
Jared Hecht, CEO & Founder @ Fundera
- Areas of Interest: Climate, crypto and consumer.
- Jared is the CEO & Founder of Fundera (acquired by Nerdwallet in 2020), an online marketplace for SMB financial solutions. Prior to Fundera, Jared co-founded GroupMe, a group messaging service that in 2011 was acquired by Skype. He’s an investor in startups such as Wise, Sweetgreen, and Truebill.
Jen Ong Vaughan, Head of Partnerships @ Assembled
- Areas of Interest: B2B SaaS, Web3, health/wellness, future of work
- Jen is the Head of Partnerships at Assembled. She joined Assembled as its first business hire and built out its initial Sales & Customer success teams. Prior to Assembled, she worked at Stripe where she saw the company grow from 200 to 2000 employees. Before Stripe, she was a consultant at Bain & Company.
Jerry Talton, CTO @ Carta
- Areas of Interest: Focusing on being a value investor rather than a domain-driven one.
- Jerry is the Chief Technology Officer at Carta, where he leads the company’s 400+ person engineering organization. Prior to joining Carta in 2018, Jerry managed Slack’s first Machine Learning team, and was the founder and CEO of Apropose, a data-driven design startup backed by NEA and Andreessen Horowitz.
Julia Schottenstein, Product Manager @ dbt Labs
- Areas of Interest: Dev tools, infrastructure, open source, data, and productivity apps
- Julia is a product lead at dbt Labs, where she looks after the ops product. She also co-hosts a bi-weekly podcast, where she interviews founders and practitioners in the data space. Previously, she was an investor at NEA where she led investments in infrastructure, dev tools, and data startups.
Kim Walsh, SVP of Sales, Partnerships & Customer Success @ Apollo.io
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, Healthcare, Software, Data/BI, AI/ML, Recruiting, Tech
- Kim helps companies in building and leading best-in-class GTM organizations. She is an active startup investor and advisor and works with organizations that promote women and diversity in leadership and on boards. Kim is a speaker on the topics of Go-To-Market, Partnership-led growth, Product-led growth, Sales, High-Performance Teams, Startups, and Culture.
Kurtis Lin, Co-Founder & CEO @ Pinwheel
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, infrastructure, SaaS, AI/ML
- Kurtis is the Co-Founder & CEO of Pinwheel, the leading API for payroll connectivity. He has been in startups his whole career, starting his first one (LoJack for bikes) while a sophomore at UCLA. He spent his formative years building Luxe, the on-demand parking company, which was the most fun he never wants to have again.
Lauryn Isford, Head of Growth @ Airtable
- Areas of Interest: Product-led growth/sales, sales enablement, pricing, experimentation, data tools and business intelligence
- Lauryn is the Head of Growth at Airtable, focused on building and scaling the Self Serve business using product-led growth. Before Airtable, Lauryn spent four years leading user growth teams at Facebook including Internet.Org. She is an active angel investor and advisor to startups.
Madhavan Ramanujam, Senior Parter @ Simon-Kucher & Partners
- Areas of Interest: Consumer Tech, B2B SaaS, multi-sided marketplaces
- Madhavan is a Senior Partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners, where he specializes in providing pricing and marketing advice for technology companies. He has led more than 200 monetization projects for tech companies, helping bring numerous new products to market. He also co-authored the book “Monetizing Innovation.”
Matty Taylor, Head of Growth @ Solana Labs
- Areas of Interest: Web3 and fintech
- Matty is the Head of Growth at Solana Labs, the core development team of the Solana blockchain. Previously, he worked at 0x and Square. Before that, he majored in Economics and Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College where he wrote his undergraduate thesis on Bitcoin.
Micah Moreau, VP & GM of New Verticals @ DoorDash
- Areas of Interest: Consumer marketplaces, DTC, Ecommerce enablement, MarTech/AdTech
- Micah has spent the last 12+ years building growth and marketing engines, and teams, at large ecommerce marketplaces (Wayfair, Jet.com/Walmart, and DoorDash). Now Micah is helping build out DoorDash’s next set of billion-dollar businesses as VP and GM on the New Verticals Strategy and Operations team.
Mike Babineau, Co-Founder & CEO, Turnstile
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, APIs, enterprise, data/analytics, infrastructure, fintech
- Mike is a repeat technical founder and CEO. He sold last company (Second Measure) to Bloomberg. His prior experience includes building scalable backends for gaming and adtech.
Neha Kumar, VP of Product @ Oscar Health
- Areas of Interest: Healthtech, Fintech, Regtech, Prop Tech
- Neha is a VP of Product at Oscar Health and oversees a team of Product Managers that builds Oscar’s end-to-end tech stack. Prior to joining Oscar, she worked in Strategy and Product roles at American Express where she worked on assessing the growing digital payments space and building out alternative banking products.
Nick Soman, Founder & CEO, Decent
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, healthcare, marketplaces, SaaS, crypto
- Nick is the founder and CEO of Decent, which offers the most affordable comprehensive health insurance plans for small businesses. Prior to Decent, Nick worked on the Amazon Kindle, scaled his first startup to millions of users and sold it to Napster, and built and led the growth team at Gusto.
Ronak Daya, Head of Financing Products @ Coinbase
- Areas of Interest: Financial access in countries outside the US, Global trade/money movement, Financial infrastructure, Web3
- Ronak is the Head of Financing Products at Coinbase, building financing products for consumers and institutional clients. Prior to joining Coinbase, Ronak led Product Management and Operations for Credit Products at Square Banking and the Product team at Bond Street, providing financing and cash flow tools to businesses.
Sean Rose, Product @ Meter
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, developer tools, health, biotech, space. I’ve been trying to explore atoms more than bits lately.
- Sean works on Product for Meter and previously led product teams at Slack, Box, and Even. He invests in early-stage technology companies like Daily, Eight Sleep, Spring Discovery, Varda, and dozens more.
Sid Agarwal, CFO @ Incredible Health
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, marketplaces, and health tech
- Sid was VP Finance & Strategy at Airtable, where he built the finance function and focused on go-to-market initiatives. He was VP of Operations at Instacart where he was responsible for growth and unit economics across all markets.
Tara Viswanathan, Co-Founder & CEO @ Rupa Health
- Areas of Interest: Generally focus on great people versus ideas or subjects
- Tara lives in SF & is co-founder and CEO at Rupa Health, a First Round-backed startup. She previously worked on product and ops for Parsley Health.
Tomas Vykruta, Founder & CEO @ EvolutionIQ
- Areas of Interest: AI and early-stage SaaS
- Thomas is the founder of AI startup EvolutionIQ. Previously, he was a Google AI and game industry veteran.
Twum Djin, Head of Engineering, Treasury @ Stripe
- Areas of Interest: Fintech, Community platforms, Africa, Blacks in tech
- Twum is a tech leader with experience in product, engineering, data science, and operations at large corps and early-stage startups. He’s an angel investor and former VC operating partner. He’s passionate about startups, especially those led by historically underrepresented founders and in developing markets.
Vishal Kapoor, VP of Product @ Affirm
- Areas of Interest: SaaS, Fintech
- Vishal is a product executive with a proven track record of building 0->1 products, defining the go-to-market strategy, hiring & growing teams and scaling revenue from pre-IPO to post-IPO. At Affirm, he leads product management and his previous experience includes Dropbox and Microsoft.
Hoping to join the Angel Track ranks and further your own career as an angel investor? Our remaining cohorts for the year have filled up, but fill out this form if you’re interested in being a part of next year’s group.