Hello From New York! Adding to Our Investment Team and Looking Ahead


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

By Hayley Barna

Like many of you, I’ve found myself using the word “unprecedented” over and over again these last few months. There are no adjectives that adequately convey how hard our country—and New York City in particular—has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet at First Round, we’ve been so inspired by how this #NewYorkTough community and the startup world more broadly have pulled together.

As we enter this new era, while we don’t know exactly what is ahead of us, we do believe that support for founders will be more critical than ever. We’re figuring out what that looks like as we adjust in real time, publishing our Crisis Field Guide, hosting virtual CEO salons and partner meetings, introducing our Second Round Guarantee and taking our pre-founder programming fully remote. One thing that hasn’t changed? Our unwavering belief in the power and potential of this city’s startup ecosystem.

In some sense, our new remote work paradigm has removed geography from the equation of the founder and investor relationship. But as a lifelong New Yorker, it’s never far from my mind. As we sit in the national hot spot, I feel the warm kinship of my New York colleagues and founders now more than ever. We were hit quickly and deeply by this pandemic and while I am naturally optimistic, I know that we have a long and complicated road to recovery ahead of us. I’m hopeful that this path will be eased by our commitment to each other. Now is the time to step up and offer solid support — as investors who stand on relatively firmer footing, our mandate is to do all that we can to help founders and their teams weather the strong winds ahead.

For over ten years, First Round has been committed to doing that work for New York’s founders. Today I’m excited to announce we’re continuing in that tradition. Megan Kelly has joined our investment team as an Associate here in New York, with a focus on discovering and partnering with the next generation of this city’s remarkable startups.

For many in the New York tech community, Megan is already a familiar face. We were lucky enough to have her join the First Round team nearly two years ago, after she spent several years at J.P. Morgan and cut her teeth in the startup world at Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. She made an outsized impact right away, working closely with me as my trusted right hand in evaluating new investment opportunities and supporting companies in our community, including Studs, Squad, Alma, Caper, and Thirty Madison. Her work building communities within the New York tech ecosystem has also stood out, particularly her involvement in co-founding the All Raise Associate Cohort Program, which is expanding nationally this year.

Megan already has several months as an Associate under her belt, and she has unsurprisingly hit the ground running. She’s specifically interested in fintech, the future of work, and social and community platforms, but above all, she’s energized by the opportunity to support founders of all stripes as they set out to build lasting companies. She’s had a front-row seat to the thrill of a successful launch, and is no stranger to the fire drills that often go on behind the scene to make it happen. She’s seen the hard decisions that come up in boardrooms and has lined up resources for founders to help give them the frameworks and input they need to make tough decisions. Her knowledge about what happens after the check is written will serve her well as she now focuses on sourcing and supporting founders early in their journey to securing seed funding.

Megan will be taking the baton from Chris Brown and Nashilu Mouen-Makoua, who after a successful two years as NYC-based investment team members have embarked on exciting next chapters (as a Principal at Inspired Capital and the Head of Operations at our community company Clay, respectively). Chris and Nash did exceptional work during their time here, sourcing and supporting many new investments for First Round, and I’m so proud to count them as alumni.

In closing, these are hard times, but we see wide-open windows for innovation. There are opportunities for new companies to take advantage of accelerated behavior change to create the platforms and services needed for the road ahead.

If you’re building a company, Megan and I would love to hear from you. It may be awhile until we can safely welcome you into the New York office, but in the meantime we will be working alongside you to keep this city’s innovation engine humming.

We’re Looking for a Chief of Staff


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

Full-time, based in New York

First Round is a venture capital firm that’s laser-focused on helping seed stage companies win. Across our offices in New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, we roll up our sleeves every day to help incredible founders build their companies from day one.

We’re looking to add a Chief of Staff to our team who will work directly with our New York City based Partner, Hayley Barna, as her trusted right hand. At First Round, individuals in this role supercharge our investment team by creating and managing processes that deliver world-class services and experiences to entrepreneurs. This role will engage across all functions of First Round, including reviewing new investment opportunities, special projects, partner branding/marketing, portfolio engagement, and management of administrative staff. This role is a balance between strategy and sharp execution.

Responsibilities include:

  • Managing and tracking new investment opportunities
  • Managing and tracking relationships and communication within First Round portfolio companies, community and partner networks
  • Conducting research and investment diligence
  • Initiating and leading special projects (building internal products and programs, research deep dives, etc.)
  • Managing and processing email communication
  • Managing partner projects, brand/marketing initiatives and events
  • Overseeing scheduling and contact management performed by executive assistant

This position is not:

  • A partner-track role. Instead, it is an ideal opportunity to get involved with building incredible companies and to learn from the best of the best.
  • Expected to source companies or to be directly entrepreneur-facing. Rather, you will work with Hayley to help review, analyze and prioritize existing deal flow and support our portfolio.

Interested? Here’s what we’re looking for:

This is a unique opportunity in which individuals from many backgrounds could excel. Here are just a few examples of profiles we think could be great:

  • A project manager or operations guru with startup experience who thrives keeping the trains running on time with little oversight.
  • An aspiring entrepreneur who wants a rare window into the VC and fundraising side of the business.
  • A business generalist with a passion for technology and a penchant for learning new things fast.

We believe the strength of our team comes from diverse backgrounds and experiences. You might be a good fit if the following describes you:

  • You’re fascinated by technology and how today’s entrepreneurs are shaping the future. You don’t necessarily need deep knowledge of the venture capital industry, but you should be excited about the field and eager to learn the business quickly. Most importantly, you are a fast learner and laser focused on execution with the drive to get things done. You’re deeply organized, detail oriented and reliable above all else.
  • You’re curious and intuitive — a creative and unconventional thinker, yet also highly analytical and logical.You’re a fantastic (and prolific) writer and pride yourself on thoughtful, eloquent communication. You know the right questions to ask, as well as when to listen and learn. You have the polish and presence to regularly interact with seasoned CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs.

We hope to meet with candidates with at least 2–3 years of working experience.

Here’s what the First Round team is all about:

At First Round, we value resourcefulness, diversity, excellence and hustle. To give you a sense of what our team is all about, check out our values that guide our work:

  • We serve entrepreneurs.We owe them our unvarnished opinion and unwavering support.
  • We honor quality.The little things matter. High standards and attention to the craft are valued here.
  • We favor action and think long-term.We decide and execute with urgency today. We define success with the long-term in mind.
  • We cherish diversity and inclusion.The strongest communities around the world are diverse and inclusive. We work hard to make sure ours is, too.
  • We do things our own way.We choose to be original and find unique, creative solutions to our biggest problems.
  • We have fun.We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.

Apply here!

Adding a Product Powerhouse to the First Round Partnership — Welcome to Todd Jackson


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

Adding a Product Powerhouse to the First Round Partnership — Welcome to Todd Jackson

By: Phin Barnes

Todd Jackson at First Round’s San Francisco office.

As you might have heard this morning, my partners and I are thrilled to announce that Todd Jackson will be joining the First Round team as a Venture Partner.

While this is an exciting start to 2020, we can’t help but think back to February 2013, when Josh Kopelman took a meeting with a pair of co-founders who were working on an Android idea and looking to raise a seed round. (Hat tip to Dave Girouard of Upstart, a First Round-backed company, for the referral.) It must have gone remarkably well, because afterwards Josh sent this note to the rest of the partnership: “I met with two founders today and fell in love…” Todd was one half of that team, and it was his undeniable product chops and founder’s vision that earned Josh’s admiration.

After investing in his startup, Cover, we’ve had the privilege of sitting courtside as he grew into an incredible leader, company builder and angel investor. And in our experience, a career like Todd’s is exceedingly rare. He’s quite literally done it all, from scrappily searching for product/market fit in the early startup days to leading Dropbox’s product org to IPO. He’s been the seasoned exec architecting product strategy and leading a 200-person team, as well as the savvy PM on the front lines of building the most impactful products you use every day (including Continue reading Adding a Product Powerhouse to the First Round Partnership — Welcome to Todd Jackson

We’re Hiring a Talent Analyst at First Round


This post is by First Round from Stories by First Round on Medium

We’re adding to our Operating Team here in San Francisco. Apply now!

Here at First Round, we’re reinventing venture capital in service of the best entrepreneurs by connecting our founders with the knowledge, people and companies to have the maximum impact. We want to be the world’s most founder centric venture firm and have been fortunate to partner with companies like Square, Uber, Flatiron Health and Warby Parker. Through custom-built software, incredible in-person experiences, and a host of other unique services, we help tiny companies get big.

Every time we partner with new founders, their number one request is to help build out their core team — and that’s where you come in. As a Talent Analyst, you’ll find and connect amazing candidates with our companies.

As a Talent Analyst, you’ll:

  • Manage First Round’s candidate database. We have candidates coming inbound through a variety of sources. You’ll input new candidates into our applicant tracking system and move them along in the process.
  • Proactively source new candidates. For priority roles at some of our companies, you’ll help find and vet new candidates.
  • Ensure data integrity. We can only be successful if the information we have is accurate. You’ll work with our companies to make sure we have the most relevant list of job openings and are accurately tracking our candidate engagements.

You could be a great fit for this role if:

We’re Looking for a Chief of Staff

Full-time, based in Philadelphia

First Round is a venture capital firm that’s laser-focused on helping seed stage companies win. Across our offices in Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York, we roll up our sleeves every day to help incredible founders build their companies from day one.

We’re looking to add a Chief of Staff to our team who will work directly with Partner Josh Kopelman as his trusted right hand in Philadelphia. At First Round, individuals in this role supercharge our investment team by creating and managing processes that deliver world-class services and experiences to entrepreneurs. This role will engage across all functions of the partnership at First Round, including reviewing new investment opportunities, special projects, partner branding/marketing, portfolio engagement, financial reporting and management of administrative staff. This role is a balance between strategy and sharp execution.

Responsibilities include:

Meet First Round’s Angel Track Cohort — Fall 2019

Meet First Round’s Angel Track Cohort — Fall 2019

By Ben Cmejla

Just last week we kicked off our Fall 2019 program in San Francisco, welcoming 16 terrific additions to the Angel Track community. As always, we’re thankful for the amazing investors who decided to join us as speakers, this time including Elad Gil, April Underwood, Jessica Verrilli, Michael Dearing and more. Without further ado, meet our newest cohort!

Angel Track Fall 2019

Want to help us build Partnerships? We’re hiring!

We’re searching for someone to help us connect First Round-backed companies to potential customers and experts in the field.

Location: San Francisco
Status: Full-time
Apply now!

We’re reinventing venture capital in service of the best entrepreneurs — connecting our founders with the knowledge, people and companies they need to have the maximum impact. We’re the world’s most founder-centric venture firm and have been fortunate to partner with companies like Square, Uber, Flatiron Health and Warby Parker. Through custom-built software, incredible in-person experiences, and a host of other unique services, we help tiny companies get big.

We’re looking for a creative people-person to help build out our Partnerships ecosystem. Apply here today!

You will roll up your sleeves to connect First Round-backed companies to potential customers and experts in the field. You’ll brainstorm and test new opportunities for them to gather valuable feedback as they figure out their early business model and sales motion. You’ll also be

Continue reading Want to help us build Partnerships? We’re hiring!

Apply to be a First Round Fast Track Mentor

Interested in mentoring a First Round-backed founder or a member of their team? We’re opening up applications for our next cohort now.

By Serena Bian

At First Round, we’re obsessed with opening up conversations with our founders, listening deeply to their challenges and evolving our programming to offer the most targeted support. Over the years, these conversations have repeatedly surfaced one particular insight: For founders and founding teams, mentorship can be transformative. The difficulty lies in finding the right person at the right time to play that crucial role.

As a company scales from two founders to a 20-person team, problems start to grow in complexity — and people need to grow at a similarly rapid clip if they’re going to solve them. But early-stage startups are often short on resources. Established leaders and new managers alike find it tough to consistently offer professional development and seasoned guidance to their team.

We thought we could play

Continue reading Apply to be a First Round Fast Track Mentor

Meet First Round’s Angel Track Cohorts — Spring 2019

Meet First Round’s Angel Track Cohorts — Spring 2019

By Ben Cmejla

Just last week we wrapped up our Spring 2019 program, welcoming 30 terrific additions to the Angel Track community in New York and San Francisco. As always, we’re thankful for the amazing investors who decided to join us as speakers, this time including Elad Gil, Jana Messerschmidt, Jessica Verrilli, Lee Linden, Naomi Ionita, Katie Jacobs Stanton, David Gilboa, Jenny Fleiss, Kevin Ryan and more. Without further ado, meet our newest cohort!

New York Spring 2019

Apply to First Round’s First Ever Recruiting Unconference

Here at First Round, we’re relentlessly focused on bringing together our extended community in new and creative ways. In an industry with no shortage of startup-focused events, we believe the only way to stand out is to deliver valuable, tactical advice that transforms the way people work.

That’s why whether it’s a guided dinner, multi-session learning programs such as Co-Founder Forum and Fast Track, or annual summits with amazing keynotes, the common building blocks of our events are the exceptional leaders and operators who are willing to share the most important lessons of their careers with off-the-record candor and a focus on tactics.

In the past few years, we’ve experimented by hosting unique experiences for First Round CEOs and CTOs called Unconferences, where we brought together a handful of the best startup founders and technical leaders for carefully curated peer-to-peer sessions. What we particularly love about the unconference format

Continue reading Apply to First Round’s First Ever Recruiting Unconference

Why We’re Doubling Down on Dorm Room Fund

By Phin Barnes

Almost 7 years ago, we started an experiment based on a radical idea: Student investors — not traditional VCs — would have better insight into finding, backing, and supporting the best founders on campus. Armed with that hypothesis, First Round launched Dorm Room Fund providing a scrappy team of student investors on Philly campuses with the capital and support to invest in student entrepreneurs.

What started as an early check has grown into a movement.

DRF’s student investment teams in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Bay Area have backed over 250 student startups from thousands of applications submitted by founders across the country. Today, those companies are valued at more than $1.5B, have been acquired by tech giants, and have raised hundreds of millions in follow-on funding. They are household names and industry pioneers: Brooklinen, Capella Space, Dagne Dover, RapidSOS, Shield AI, Bevi

Continue reading Why We’re Doubling Down on Dorm Room Fund

Apply to First Round’s First Ever Co-Founder Forum

An epic founding team is the common thread that underpins nearly all of the world’s most successful companies. Yet later, in the glow of success, the founding stories get polished and the spotlight tends to shine mostly on the CEO or CTO, the two starring roles that are so often credited with getting a wild idea off the ground.

In reality, there are often one to three other co-founders who are instrumental in the company’s success — spearheading expansion opportunities, growing teams, nailing down the business model, helping to solve a startup’s biggest problems — all while serving as the cultural heartbeat of the organization.

We’ve invested heavily in programs built from the ground up to support co-founders in our community who are the CEO or CTO. But we haven’t yet created a community specific to the needs of the non-CEO or non-CTO founder archetype ― until now.

Co-Founder Forum is an entirely new program we’re

Continue reading Apply to First Round’s First Ever Co-Founder Forum

We’re Hiring a Community Intern at First Round

We’re searching for a Community Intern to help us build and serve the world’s strongest community of entrepreneurs.

Location: San Francisco
Status: Part-time (paid)
Apply now!

A First Round Community event at our New York office.

First Round is reinventing venture capital. We connect entrepreneurs to the knowledge, people and companies they need for maximum impact. Square, Uber, Flatiron Health and Warby Parker are some of the companies we’ve been fortunate to partner with — and we’re just getting started.

We’re looking for a current undergrad who is jazzed to help us curate the incredible community of founders and operators across our companies. Your main focus will be to nurture the First Round Network, our internal platform that connects everyone inside of our 250+ companies. The First Round Network is the source of truth for employees at the companies we back, and a cherished resource for the First Round community. It’s the place

Continue reading We’re Hiring a Community Intern at First Round

My Next Chapter at First Round

By Rob Hayes

In my twelve plus years at First Round, we have always tried to study, disassemble, and then reconstruct venture capital to make it better than it was before. I can point to many things we have done over the years that have been an improvement on the existing VC model, but now we must focus on being better at the one thing that almost every venture firm stumbles on: partner transition.

We decided many years ago that First Round would be best in class at partner transitions and have been planning for many years how we would affect that when the time came. First and foremost, we agreed amongst our partnership that we would each self assess our excitement to step back up into each new fund as it was being raised and explicitly recommit to being all in on that fund. Being an investing partner at

Continue reading My Next Chapter at First Round