Kathy Chen - Senior Principal

Kathy Chen

Venture Partner
Champion of the transformationist

I am deeply inspired by entrepreneurs who have a passion to transform our world for the better, along with an unyielding resolve to take on that challenge.

I grew up in a small mining town in China where everything—soil, water, air—was polluted. I escaped that reality as an immigrant; ever since, I have been keenly aware of the conflict between economic advancement and our individual, social, and planetary health. As a society, we are more aware than ever before how “business as usual” harms disadvantaged communities, pollutes the environment, and holds us back from building a more resilient world. We finally recognize justice and equality as underlying themes in issues like health access and climate impact. Entrepreneurs with the passion and grit to move our world forward is the caffeine that keeps me energized every day. It is a privilege to support these transformationalists.

I deeply admire founders who see reality for what it is. Building a startup, especially a transformational one, is not all roses—but it is a competitive advantage to understand and acknowledge what’s complex and difficult about the change they seek to create.

For me, conversations that leave a lasting impression are ones that present a thoughtful and balanced view of an opportunity: an undeniably exciting vision, but one that also includes the very real risks and challenges to be anticipated on that journey. For founders, investors who understand and are willing to sign up for those risks make honest and effective partners.

Having migrated from late-stage investing—where it’s all about the “establishment”—seed-stage investing is like swimming in the primordial soup of innovation and taking a front-row seat to the ideas that will shape our future.

It’s not enough to look at historicals and extend the trendline. What's exciting is to be a part of building the world we want to have, one that is better in every way—for everyone.

Early-stage investing is full of optimism and uncertainty—that’s what makes it challenging and rewarding at the same time. It means that I will never stop learning, and never cease to be inspired, blown away, flabbergasted. There’s always room for something new, weird, and transformational. Keep these ideas coming!

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