Women in VC have caught the entrepreneurial bug.
Over the past year, numerous notable women investors have left their roles at established firms to launch funds of their own. From Katie Haun spinning out of Andreessen Horowitz to Sydney Thomas leaving Precursor Ventures to, most recently, Sarah Guo moving on from Greylock, we are amid a wave of new emerging women managers.
There isn’t one specific reason why so many women have chosen this path this year, but rather a multitude of possible catalysts.
“It’s very personal,” Guo told TechCrunch about her decision to leave Greylock to start her own project. “Why does any founder start anything? They see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they go do it.”
For Guo, after nearly a decade at enterprise-focused Greylock, she said she saw an opportunity brewing that had the potential to be a gold mine. Guo said that she thinks the market is at the beginning of a new tech cycle. After years of entrepreneurs building infrastructure technology, she thinks a new cohort of companies will emerge across machine learning, AI and data.
“If I’m right, and that new wave of businesses is just around the corner, then doing early-stage investing now in a bear market that sweeps out pretenders is exceedingly good conditions,” Guo said.
Sydney Thomas told Natasha Mascarenhas last week that she was leaving Precursor to capitalize on an opportunity she couldn’t ignore either. In her case, it’s investing in companies at the pre-seed stage before doubling down at seed, a funding void she noticed throughout her time at Precursor.
Thomas and Guo are not the first women to find a niche in venture and go after it. For Julie Wroblewski, it was hard to ignore the chance to focus. In 2019, she noticed a growing number of solid early-stage companies trying to solve problems in the care economy. While she was able to invest in some in her role at Pivotal Ventures, she realized it was a big enough opportunity to form an entire thesis. So she found a partner, Joanna Drake, and launched Magnify Ventures in 2020.
Spinning out has also given women the chance to break from the traditional venture mold and build firms that have different governance or structure.