Becoming an Investor

UPDATE: I'll be blogging over at

I’m moving into venture capital, which marks the first time in my career I won’t be building and shipping product. Here is how I’m thinking about it.


It matters how fast we make progress, and investing can accelerate that progress. The day to day of investing means working with founders in new or evolving large markets, building hard technology. Founders are some of the most intelligent, driven, and optimistic people. Finding, selecting, and supporting companies means understanding markets and technology by integrating much of what I’ve learned. 

Of course if you do well, the returns are good. Fools use money for signaling with conspicuous consumption. Rather, money is a tool to further accelerate the future.


I came to Lyft two years ago through an acquisition of my startup YesGraph. I had hoped to make angel investments in parallel. De facto, work at Lyft was always the top priority. I’ve made a single angel investment in Cruise Automation. While the return was great, batting 1000 doesn’t matter if you’re never at bat. 

This move to investing is essentially prioritizing building a portfolio over building a single product. 


I’m lucky enough to have time to explore different vehicles for investing. My basic options are:

  • Angel investing: I put my own money

  • Join a VC fund: partners and I invest other people’s money

  • Found a VC fund: I raise other people’s money

There are a bunch of tradeoffs in each of these, and I’ll take the next few months to explore the options. 

Angel investing is permissionless and I can start immediately. However, the returns are capped at what money I can afford to invest, and I couldn’t lead rounds.

In order to remove this cap, I could join a fund. Unlike tech companies with processes designed to scale (interviews, reviews, calibration, etc), fund partnerships start and stay small. With no product to ship, there aren’t urgent operations as guidance. The feedback cycle is years. The personalities of employees always affect culture, but at a partnership personality is culture. I’m interested in diving deep into these dynamics.

I could also raise a fund of my own from Limited Partners (LPs). LPs can be family funds, pension funds, private endowments, or other institutional investors. My experience raising money a few times from VCs for my startups may not have prepared me for what LPs are looking for, but I could learn on the fly.


There is so much to explore at the core of job, and I’ll write a lot more about these.

What might founders value from my experience? How should I market this, from blog posts to back channels?

What makes a great founder? 

What technologies should I focus on? I definitely want to invest in machine learning and robotics, matching my experience. I also have diverse experience in growth marketing, social graph analysis, recruiting, and payments. Is diversity or focus better?

There are whole categories of technology where I have interest but need to learn more, like medicine and biology. Do I invest to learn or take my time learning? 

Even the stage of investing is up for debate. I gravitate to founders just getting started. But the aspect of product management I specifically enjoy is clarifying strategy and mapping to specific metrics and tactics. What if that’s more valuable for later stage? 

How do I approach learning about VC? I’ve heard “It’s an apprentice business,” which is a good start. There is no speed limit in learning, so what else?

How you can help

I’ll be reaching out to folks in my network, but if you’re reading this and want to help, get in touch:

I want to hear your advice and experience. This includes founders and those thinking of taking the leap. It includes angels or partners at firms. This includes referrals to help expand what I should be considering.

Thank you in advance. I’m so grateful for the privilege of helping technology progress and for the ambition of those in the arena. I’m also grateful for my time at Lyft, where I met many wonderful people and learned so much. I expect to write much more about the past two years. And thanks to my wife for supporting me, from reading drafts of this post (lots of red ink) to encouraging/tolerating me as I take this plunge.

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I also turned this post into a video. I'll create a channel about exploring VC. Please subscribe and share on Youtube.