The Angel Investors You Want on Your Cap Table — Meet the Newest Cohort of First Round’s Angel Track
By: Brett Berson
Back in May, we were kicking off the most recent cohort of Angel Track with some butterflies. We’ve constantly iterated and tinkered with the format ever since our original launch, but this round brought on some of the biggest changes yet.
For starters, there was a necessary switch from in-person gatherings to entirely remote sessions, changing our traditional focus on SF & NYC to an expansion nationwide. Second, even though 2018 wasn’t all that long ago, lots has changed in the ecosystem since we first got started.
That’s why we decided to completely redesign the curriculum and the overall experience from the ground up — working in feedback from alumni, learnings from newly remote sessions, insights on how the ecosystem has changed, and our own 15 years of experience with ‘Day 0’ investing in companies like Uber, Roblox, and Square.
But as the cohort wrapped up this summer and we reflected on how the new-and-improved experience went over, the notes of feedback we got back reminded me of both the consistency and the power behind what we’re trying to do here:
“Angel Track was a huge boost in confidence as an angel investor. From increasing my access to investment opportunities, to figuring out the ‘why’ behind which companies I choose to invest in, to learning the ins and outs of term sheets and taxes, I feel way more equipped to do this successfully.” — Emily Kramer
“I learned so many valuable lessons from Angel Track around how to make better decisions with little data. Tactically, the program helped me define my personal approach to angel investing (thesis-driven, steady check sizes, xx checks per year) which has doubled my investing velocity.” — Alka Tandon
“As someone just getting started in the investment space (~6 months into my journey as an angel), this program was exactly the content and community I was looking for.”— Tyler Palmer
Our first cohort back in 2018 was an experimental attempt to lower the barrier to entry in angel investing. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how it’s grown into a durable, tightly-knit community. Even after welcoming nearly 200 incredible members across seven cohorts, the core focus of the program remains the same: Curriculum, opportunity, and community for exceptional emerging angels.
One dimension of opportunity that we didn’t anticipate was just how many Angel Track alumni would go on to become full-time investors. This wasn’t a goal we had in mind when we first started the program, but it’s incredible to see how folks like David Haber, Sriram Krishnan, Justin Overdorff, and our very own Meka Asonye have joined firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed, and First Round.
With that, we want to introduce you to the newest faces who are joining the ranks of this community, the 45 terrific additions from the Spring 2021 cohort. But instead of just sharing a roll call of names, we thought we’d give a glimpse into how they’ll approach the art of angel investing.
As one of its members, TikTok’s Kudzi Chikumbu, put it, “To be a valuable angel investor, you should always focus on serving the founder. That includes not only helping with the business but also being someone to lean on in challenging times.” See below for more on how these angelscan uniquely help founders in both dimensions, as well as the types of companies they’re interested in backing.
Think you could use some help from this impressive crew below? For the first-time ever, we’ve created the Angel Track Common Application so early-stage founders can easily get in front of our unique, diverse community of nearly 200 angel investors. Complete a profile so every angel from our previous cohorts can see what you’re up to and reach out directly if they think there might be a fit.
Meet our Spring 2021 Cohort:
Aaron Schwartz, Angel Investor and Advisor
- Areas of interest: I’m primarily an investor in commerce infrastructure companies, e.g. the picks-and-shovels of the commerce ecosystem
- How they can help: I’ve spent 10 years as a founder across 3 companies, and advised a few dozen companies on fundraising and go-to-market. I’m generally helpful as a sounding board when things are really hard (I care more about the founder than the business), and I can truly support Series A and B funding with storytelling insights and investor intros.
Aarthi Ramamurthy, Head Of International @ Clubhouse
- Areas of interest: Consumer social, emerging markets, future of work, creator ecosystem, fintech.
- How they can help: As a former product executive at Facebook, YC-backed founder, and builder of products such as the Netflix streaming player and Xbox LIVE gaming experiences, I can help with consumer social, creator ecosystem, payments, and e-commerce.
Aigerim Shorman, Director of Product Management @ Facebook
- Areas of interest: I invest $10–25K into early-stage/pre-seed and Series A startups. I am interested in consumer social and marketplaces, but I invest across all sectors and, more importantly, am focused on amazing product-oriented founders.
- How they can help: I have over a decade of experience in product management and love early product brainstorming. Where I can help most is by providing different frameworks, figuring out how to break down a product into pieces that could be tested and validated quickly. Once you find product/market fit, I can help with growth strategy and tactics, as well as fundraising by connecting founders to other investors that might be helpful or strategic (often for future rounds).
Akins Van Horne, Product Lead, Benefits @ Gusto
- Areas of interest: I back founding teams dedicated to tackling hard, large and complex problems. I invest primarily in digital health, InsurTech, and HRTech.
- How they can help: I’m a product leader with over a decade of 0–1 and hyper-growth stage experience. I’ve built products in heavily regulated markets for government, enterprise, consumer and SMB, and can help you turn complexity into a competitive advantage.
Alka Tandon, Head of Product @ Calendly
- Areas of interest: Enterprise SaaS, healthtech, marketplaces
- How they can help: I have a robust understanding of the healthtech landscape and an extensive network that can help founders looking to create products to make healthcare delivery more efficient. I’ve also built product teams at every company stage (0->1, 1->10, 10->100) so I can provide support on how to think about building the right product org based on company size.
Anand Iyer, Visiting Partner @ Pear VC
- Areas of interest: Crypto and marketplaces
- How they can help: For crypto, it’s about being an active investor and supporting the project or protocol beyond capital, with their crypto primitive needs (like staking or governance, for example). For marketplaces, I lean in with my experience building and scaling a marketplace. I really enjoy the 0–1 and I have a lot of experience as the former CEO & co-founder of Trusted (which was acquired by Care.com in 2018) that I can lean on to solve cold start issues that are common in marketplaces.
Anu Atluru, Head of Community @ Clubhouse
- Areas of interest: Early-stage teams primarily working in consumer across social, media, health, and marketplaces.
- How they can help: Drawing from my previous experiences as a co-founder of a med device startup, a resident physician in Emergency Medicine at Harvard / Mass General Hospital, management consultant, and film actor, I can help you curate a group of trusted operator angels and early-stage investors that you regularly meet, share your network, and build meaningful relationships with.
Bob Lee, Angel Investor and Advisor (former CTO of Square)
- Areas of interest: I advise and invest in consumer, social, financial, medical, and more, i.e. areas where I have direct experience. I gravitate toward companies with talented, passionate, hard-working teams and products I’d use myself.
- How they can help: I literally go to work for my companies, bringing to bear my extensive experience creating products and companies. I help with anything and everything including product, design, engineering, hiring, and fundraising. I’ve even named a few companies!
Bobby Green, President and Chief Medical Officer @ Thyme Care
- Areas of interest: Healthtech, value-based care, biotech
- How they can help: As a medical oncologist who joined Flatiron Health in 2014 after 15 years in practice, I can help with building medical/clinical teams and thinking through how to make clinical/technical collaboration work well — in addition to making introductions within my network and keeping companies mission-focused.
Charles Naut, Co-Founder @ Signify
- Areas of interest: Future of work, B2B SaaS, and fintech.
- How they can help: My previous experience as a PM, engineer and founder in the future of work allows me to relate to founders on different levels and provide practical advice based on my personal experiences (bootstrapping my startup until it was acquired by Intuit).
Christopher Fong, Founder @ Xoogler.co
- Areas of interest: Over the past 9 months I’ve invested in companies in the following sectors: AI/ML, FinTech, Social/Consumer, Digital Health, SaaS, e-commerce, Cyber Security, Developer Tools
- How they can help: I started and run the 10,000+ member ex-Google community, Xoogler.co. We help our founders by tapping into the knowledge, network and resources that are part of the community, especially on recruiting ex-Googlers or Googlers.
Dan Siroker, Founder & CEO @ Scribe
- Areas of interest: SaaS, AI, Productivity, Consumer, B2B, Hard tech, Hardware, BCI
- How they can help: I care most about helping founders reach their full potential as entrepreneurs. Having previously co-founded Optimizely, which grew to $120M in annual recurring revenue and 450 employees, I can understand the challenges other founders face when scaling rapidly.
Ejieme Eromosele, VP of Customer Success and Account Management at Quiq
- Areas of interest: I’m mostly interested in founders from under-invested groups and companies that have a grander mission to change how we’ve typically seen the world and that challenge what we deem to be the status quo.
- How they can help: Sharing my diverse community of creatives, strategists, and builders. For companies that believe in customer-led growth, I’ve got deep experience in customer success and experience to drive retention and advocacy.
Emily Kramer, Co-Founder & Marketing Advisor @ MKT1
- Areas of interest: B2B/SaaS, PLG/self-serve, fintech, healthtech, diverse founding teams
- How they can help: I’ve built and led marketing teams from scratch at four B2B companies, including Asana and Carta. If you need to build out your marketing org and strategy, I can help — it’s what I do full-time as an advisor, investor, and coach to marketers.
Emuye Reynolds, Head of Engineering @ Superhuman
- Areas of interest: Consumer, music, future of work, productivity, SaaS, foodtech
- How they can help: Lending my experience developing engineering and product organizations: hiring, technical vetting, technical approach, product strategy and processes.
Fazal Yameen, VP of Product @ Stash
- Areas of interest: B2B SaaS, marketplaces, e-commerce, fintech, alternative foods
- How they can help: After running product at several companies over the past 10+ years, I can help you successfully pivot from consumer to B2B — but I’ll do everything I can to help you never have to go there!
Garrett Spitzer, Product Lead, Cartops @ Uber
- Areas of interest: Fintech, marketplaces, transportation, logistics and consumer.
- How they can help: I have launched and scaled products at Square and Uber. At Square, I was on the founding team of Square Capital, Square’s lending arm. At Uber, I am leading our cartop advertising business. I can use my insights from these experiences to help founders grow their companies.
Harsh Patel, Angel Investor and Advisor (former CEO of Galvanize.com)
- Areas of interest: Space, crypto, climate change, education.
- How they can help: I wrote a lot about it here, but in summary, I’m a CEO that’s done it before. I’m uniquely helpful for M&A, as well as scaling teams from 4 to 400.
Harsha Dante, Product @ Stripe
- Areas of interest: Fintech and healthcare.
- How they can help: I’ve helped launch and scale a number of financial products in my time at Stripe, including establishing the initial product strategy and principles, building go-to-market capabilities, and developing a scalable organization.
Jay Shah, Business Lead @ Stripe
- Areas of interest: Fintech and healthcare
- How they can help: I’ve spent time at Stripe in multiple different roles, including as one of the earliest product managers and leading and growing new businesses as the company went from 100 to 4000+ employees. I feel well-positioned to dive in with founders and their teams on these topics: Working with founders on new 0 to 1 initiatives and setting up frameworks to evaluate those bets. Setting company strategy and product principles. Building out the product management function, especially prior to the title.
Jennifer Haroon, CFO @ Standard Cognition
- Areas of interest: I’m most interested in investing in companies that produce products/services that COOs or CFOs would purchase to use at their companies. I’m also interested in supporting female founders.
- How they can help: I’m on the diligence committee for an investing syndicate that invests in products/services where the COO or CFO would be the buyer. The syndicate has hundreds of CFOs, VPs of Finance, COOs, BizOps leads in it so it’s great access to product feedback as well as potential buyers.
John Beckmann, PM, Head of Meetings and Webinars @ Zoom
- Areas of interest: Enterprise SaaS, communications/collaboration, fintech
- How they can help: I have been working in enterprise communications/collaboration as a PM for over 10 years and have seen a wide range of ‘stages,’ from startup to public company.
Jonathan Sousa, Director, Customer Experience @ Loom
- Areas of interest: SaaS, fintech, marketplaces
- How they can help: I have deep experience working with customers to drive growth and successful outcomes. I can help build GTM strategies, and ensure customers remain customers once they’ve landed.
Kudzi Chikumbu, Director of Creator Community @ TikTok
- Areas of interest: Consumer tech, travel, retail. I’m looking to invest in the founders driving the evolution of the creator economy.
- How they can help: I’m always willing to share my deep understanding of the power of community and community-building in developing products at the early stage.
Mahdi Raza, Angel Investor and Advisor
- Areas of interest: Fintech, healthcare, enterprise software that have found early product-market fit.
- How they can help: From having led core transformational initiatives around growth, activation, and scaling at companies like Robinhood, I can leverage these experiences to help other teams as well.
Mallory Contois, VP Operations @ Metafy
- Areas of interest: I invest primarily in the intersection of B2B and B2C in the creator space — tools for creators and influencers that need to be functional like B2B, but delightful like B2C. More broadly, I’m excited about social, consumer and B2B. Also very committed to supporting underrepresented founders across any space they may be in.
- How they can help: I’ve held roles in product and operations across multiple high-growth companies like Cameo and Pinterest, and I love getting into the trenches with founders. My superpowers are helping founders see around corners to plan ahead and avoid blockers/fumbles, giving UX-centric product and design feedback, and coaching teams through the psychology of hiring and working efficiently.
Marco Matos, Head of Business Success Products @ Pinterest
- Areas of interest: I believe that overlooked categories with outdated tools and processes are ready for change. I’m focused on founders disrupting these industries and building solutions that propel the next wave of commerce, real estate, and new marketplaces.
- How they can help: I support founders best with my network, customer, and product expertise. As a 15+ year product leader across companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, I can provide guidance around extreme customer focus, go-to-market, and scaling a product. With an expertise in digital advertising and driving engagement, I also bring a unique perspective in monetizing products while providing access to various diverse operators and experts in the industry. I only give direct feedback—it’s the Bronx native in me.
Munish Gandhi, Founder & COO @ Productiv
- Areas of interest: B2B Enterprise SaaS
- How they can help: I am a founder and bring strong operational/strategic experience. My core expertise is in the areas of Go-To-Market, Partnerships and overall business operations. I can help startups with establishing product-market fit, early customer intros, board management, and building a GTM strategy and function.
Natarajan Subbiah, Head of Product, Uber Freight
- Areas of interest: SMB, marketplace, fintech, B2B SaaS, no-code/low-code
- How I can help: Marketplace, SMB, SMB tech stack, ML
Nicolas Chinot, Product Manager, Square Banking (Credit)
- Areas of interest: I’m excited about companies that give developers superpowers as well as B2B software that replaces pen and paper workflows
- How they can help: As a product manager by day, I enjoy moon-lighting as a partner to founders in product discovery and product hiring. I also cook a mean épaule d’agneau. Talk about value-add!
Nik Bonaddio, Founder & CEO @ BigBrain
- Areas of interest: Consumer, gaming, social, sports/fitness tech
- How they can help: My background as an operator, particularly in the above categories, means that I’m more than just a check — I’ve been there and done that and can be as helpful as needed.
Nikhil Sethi, Managing Director — Global Programmatic Services Lead @ Accenture
- Areas of interest: Space tech, education/skill-building, customer experience layers on top of old industries
- How they can help: I have operator perspective from founding Adaptly (acquired by Accenture 2018), access to key enterprise customer networks, and M&A experience as well.
Nonso Maduka, Product Lead @ Plaid.
- Areas of interest: I’m open to learning from founders working across the board, but some areas that are particularly exciting to me include: the digitization of manual or offline processes, the fintech ecosystem, platform plays (particularly B2B), and tools to support the changing nature of work. Geographically, I have an interest in the continued opportunity for African tech.
- How they can help: I aim to combine my product and financial background, and general strategic thinking to create a helpful sounding board for founders. In the areas where I don’t have deep knowledge, I look to leverage my network to connect founders to individuals who can help them navigate tricky situations or give them the acceleration they need to reach the next milestone.
Parakram Khandpur, General Manager, Alexa @ Amazon
- Areas of interest: Pre-seed/seed startups in the US and India led by founders who are hyper-driven to make a positive impact for their customers.
- How they can help: 1) Hiring: founding engineers/product managers and as the company scales, senior talent; 2) Product: overall strategy, partnerships, monetization, product-led growth; 3) Fundraising: VC relationships in Bay Area and India; network of operator angels.
Ravi Mehta, Executive-in-Residence @ Reforge
- Areas of interest: Consumer tech (social, travel, healthcare, gaming, etc.), marketplaces, product-led SaaS, and consumer applications of blockchain.
- How they can help: Drawing from my previous experiences as Chief Product Officer at Tinder, Product Director at Facebook, and VP of Consumer Product at TripAdvisor, I can help companies with product strategy, growth models, experimentation, product development, and hiring.
Rebecca Schapiro, BD & Marketing Advisor and Angel Investor
- Areas of interest: Fintech, health, future of work, dev tools
- How they can help: 1) Deep go-to-market expertise (superpower in regulated industries); 2) 0 to 1 marketing, BD and sales strategy 3) Unique and meaningful investor and operator network from previous roles at Google, Apple, MTV Networks, Funding Circle and Helix.
Sabrina Hahn, Art dealer, Angel Investor and Author
- Areas of interest: Focused on amazing founders! I invest in a broad range, from dev tools and data infra to healthcare, fintech, and blockchain. More info here.
- How they can help: People! Being at the intersection of the cultural and tech worlds, I’m fortunate to have a diverse orbit across business, finance, entertainment, music, sports, healthcare, and more. I enjoy connecting founders to customers, talent, and investors (angels, institutions, influencers, strategics) from early through exit.
Sarah Sclarsic, Managing Partner and Co-Founder @ Voyager
- Areas of interest: For Voyager, my fund: Early-stage climate technology companies. As an angel: Early-stage climate technology companies, novel biotechnology companies, and anything (truly) disruptive or building a product to give normal people superpowers.
- How they can help: I’ve been a founder of a unicorn company, operator in biotech and fintech, as well as an investor who’s been the first check in and also helped take a company public. I can go deep on the actual technology (non-software), think through challenges in building out an R&D team and planning for manufacturing. I can help strategize for go-to-market, financing, and communications, especially around first-of-a-kind products. I also have a wide network in academia, among venture investors, entrepreneurs and industry experts that I’m happy to put to work.
Shaherose Charania, Head of Investments, Valiant Labs @ Nike
- Areas of interest: B2C across all industries/sectors
- How they can help: 1) Have lots of exposure to 0 to 1 journey as a bootstrapped Founder & CEO of my own company, Women 2.0, and Incubator Founder Labs, where I’ve guided founders on this quest; 2) Have led human-centered Product, Brand & first GTM as an operator at 3 venture-backed startups and at the world’s biggest brand, Nike, so I can share lessons learned; 3) Deep & trusted network of top-tier VCs to help secure a lead or fill out a round, I have helped founders fundraise from Pre-Seed to Series B.
Sri Batchu, Head of Growth (Strategy & Operations) @ Instacart
- Areas of interest: Marketplaces, prop tech, and analytics software
- How they can help: I oversaw critical growth and operational teams during 10–100x scaling journeys at Opendoor and Instacart, and have lots of lessons from there that are applicable to a wide range of founder challenges.
Stanley Onyimba, Global Product Partnerships @ Google
- Areas of interest: Fintech, healthcare, real estate, enterprise, and consumer, for startups in the US and Africa.
- How they can help: I have direct experience/expertise/networks in the consumer, fintech, real estate, healthcare space but typically help startups with the following: partnerships (understanding strategic value propositions, negotiating contracts, deal execution, partnerships framework building, GTM), fundraising (pitch deck prep, dataroom set up, presentation coaching), finance (budgeting, forecasting, annual planning), navigating legal and regulatory risk. I can also help with Google startup resources (cloud credits, program application help, product team intros, etc.)
Tyler Palmer, VP of Operations @ Patreon
- Areas of interest: Creator economy, Operations/HR SaaS
- How they can help: As the first employee at Patreon and the former VP of Operations at StageIt, I can help founders with fundraising, hiring, company strategy & planning.
Varadh Jain, Founder @ Newco
- Areas of interest: Future of Work, Vertical SaaS, Full-stack, and Consumer
- How they can help: Drawing on my previous experience in product at Opendoor and on the founding team of Polymail (YC S16), I can be the first call when there’s an issue, and help with building operations tools, and fundraising.
Youcef Es-skouri, Head of Product @ Dropbox
- Areas of interest: B2B SaaS/enterprise, fintech, consumer, creator economy, emerging markets, future of work, marketplaces.
- How they can help: I’m a 4x founder. I know how it feels to be building 24/7, with minimal resources, while fighting 100 fires simultaneously. My value-add as an angel investor is to provide a hands-on and accessible approach when helping founders in product and distribution. I share concrete, actionable learnings, and tips such as product experiments, user research, and behavior findings, etc., that I had the chance to learn from.
Hoping to join their 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.