Ashley Aydin

I’m a Principal at VamosVentures where I invest in diverse founding teams and mission-oriented companies across Health + Wellness, FinTech, Sustainability, Future of Work, and Commerce. I started my career at Morgan Stanley in Capital Markets and moved into strategic roles at Y Combinator e-commerce startup, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Estee Lauder focused on the intersection of consumers and technology. I was previously an Investor at Brand Foundry Ventures, Founders Factory, and Dorm Room Fund. I received my BA from Brown University and MBA from MIT Sloan.

I got into the VC space because I saw the gaps in funding to diverse entrepreneurs and the low representation of diversity on the capital allocator side. With less than 2% of venture dollars going to Latinx entrepreneurs and 5% of investment professionals identifying as Latinx, changing these stats became my passion. Being the daughter of an immigrant, a first-generation college student, and of Puerto Rican and Turkish decent, I want to put more $$$ behind often overlooked and underestimated founders.

At VamosVentures, we invest in companies with the potential to create a BIG impact in their respective industries. I’ve invested in companies including Miga Health, Handspring Health, and Brightseed – all focused on bettering health – and Suma Wealth – focused on creating wealth – for diverse communities.

Outside of VamosVentures, I’m the Co-Founder of Latina Venture Students, an organization with the mission to get more Latinas into the startup / venture worlds, and a Lead Mentor for the Black Ambition Program, a program founded by Pharrell Williams working towards closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship by investing in Black and Latinx founders.

David Bloom

Prior to joining Signia Venture Partners I cut my teeth in venture while a student at UC Berkeley at First Round’s Dorm Room Fund and  The House Fund. My first few years of investing was focused on backing the best and brightest students and founders on campuses across the US.

Currently I am Senior Associate at Signia Venture Partners, an early-stage venture fund dedicated to investing in passionate entrepreneurs applying new technologies and innovative business models to old industries. Although we are a generalist fund I tend to spend a majority of my time industrial automation/construction. Over the past several years I am fortunate enough to have led investments in companies revolutionizing the built world such as Agorus, Diamond Age, AssemblyOSM, and Felux.  

Outside of Signia I am involved with New Building Institute, a non profit working on building innovation and a net zero built world.

Mia Farnham

I’m the newest investment team member at SteelSky Ventures, the largest women’s health fund in the world. I’m originally from Massachusetts, and after undergrad at Cornell University I joined Deloitte in NYC, focusing on M&A consulting across the Life Sciences & Healthcare and Consumer Products industries. I then got my MBA at the University of Michigan, where I was excited to spend time in women’s health and broader health equity at places like Femtech Focus, Attn: Grace, Precursor Ventures, and Anthem. Near the end of my MBA, one of the Managing Partners at SteelSky Ventures, Casey Albert, introduced me to the SteelSky team where I started out part-time and ultimately came on full time in the summer which kicked off my official start in venture.

SteelSky Ventures is a completely female-run fund and for me, it’s been really incredible to work every day with Partners and colleagues who I’ve looked up to from afar since I was interested in the space. We partner with companies focused on filling the holes that pervade the healthcare landscape (rural health, aging health, black maternal health to name just a few), so it’s truly incredible to be at one of the most game changing funds where we’re obsessed with supporting our founders and searching for deals that uplift historically overlooked populations. I think that it’s really important to note that your genuine interest and unrevoked excitement over an industry of your choosing is ultimately what makes you a strong investor for those interested in venture.

Outside of SteelSky Ventures, I love building strong relationships with founders and VCs and work hard to bring underrepresented folks into investing. Working with organizations like VC Unleashed, which seeks to break down barriers for diverse MBA students interested in venture, has fostered truly wonderful relationships with people I look forward to growing alongside in the space. Outside of venture, I live in NYC, am obsessed with food, binge dark TV shows, dabble in overpriced workout classes and am building a new love for natural/low intervention wines!

Vardan Gattani

I’m a Principal at 645 Ventures where I cover B2B software broadly but focus on areas like commerce, supply chain, security, and enterprise SaaS. I originally hail from NYC and my interest in venture developed while I was a go-to-market operator at various tech companies. I had the chance to spend time with existing and prospective investors, some of whom (namely Albert Wenger and Scott Friend) urged me to explore VC. I started my early-stage career at firms like AlleyCorp and Riot Ventures learning my craft from great investors like Kevin Ryan, Steve Marcus and Will Coffield.

As an investor today, I like to commit as early as possible and tend to focus on massive slumbering markets like supply chain, manufacturing, fraud/risk, and defense, where I’ve had the pleasure of working with great companies like Shield AI and Shift5. The main reason I love venture is the privilege of working closely with founders. I’m definitely a hands on investor and prioritize spending time with my companies over all else. (Hence my lack of Twitter.) I love using my past experience to help companies iterate towards product-market fit and to build repeatable sales motions. I believe my role is to push founders towards greatness in the good times, but remain a staunch supporter during the challenging moments that all startups endure.  

Outside of work I love to cook—mostly Italian food, cheer on Inter Milan, practice yoga and play soccer. If you need any NYC recs, hit me up. I got you.

Marina Girgis

I started my investment career on the sell-side, researching tech stocks. After about four years, I learned that while I loved spending my time on tech companies and emerging trends, I wanted to be more hands-on and impactful, which led to my jump from stock markets to early-stage investing.

In 2021, I joined Precursor Ventures, a generalist pre-seed and seed stage fund, where I focus on the fund's eight-year-old thesis to back founders over product. I've also been concentrating on my own area of interest: discovering "thunder lizards." Specifically, I'm excited by founders that have plans to build a first-of-its-kind, category-creating product that would naturally create a massive TAM for itself.

I've brought my prior experience evaluating public companies to the pre-seed level by helping founders assess their market size potential and determining if they could have Godzilla-like disruption. In addition, I've helped founders with pitch deck feedback, storytelling, brainstorming and making connections.

Emily Man

I'm a VP at Redpoint investing in the next generation of early-growth fintech, vertical saas, and b2b software companies. My Investments include Ramp, FloQast, Orca Security, and Proper Finance.

Prior to Redpoint, I started my career as a hedge fund analyst in NYC at Point72 Asset Management.  Working on a consumer team managing $2B+ taught me how to think like the best public market investors - a framework that I’ve carried into venture. Later, I helped build Point72 Ventures from the ground up where I invested in companies including Mantl, MX, Brace, and Skipify.  

My passion for tech comes from growing up abroad. After elementary school, I moved from rural Indiana to Beijing where I watched seismic shifts in tech play out. Venture is unique in the investing world. Not only do I get to learn everyday about global trends and business models but I also get to work closely with amazingly talented founders.

Arpit Mittal

I recently joined Threshold as a Principal with a focus on identifying and building the next great cloud software companies across the application and infrastructure layer. In my role, I'm responsible for leading new investments, while also helping Threshold’s existing portfolio.

Previously, I was an investor with Google’s Gradient Ventures where I helped lead investments in Gigs, Mural, and Writer, contributing to both their go-to-market and long-term business strategies. I started my investing career as an associate at IDG Ventures India Advisors (Chiratae Ventures) in 2016 in Bangalore, India.

Prior to working in a venture firm, I co-founded a tech-enabled B2B marketplace startup serving the auto industry in Bangalore, India. While we were able to scale rapidly within the city, we hit a wall and struggled to raise capital. It was then, I realized that I want to support founders through capital and with my roll-up-my-sleeve attitude and enable them to succeed. I'm software engineer by education and started my career as a Quant Trader at Goldman Sachs building pricing models and Algo-Trading systems. Being technical allows me to get into the weeds and technical details which is why I love software investing.

I hold a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Delhi University and an MBA from the Wharton School.

Jessica Schram

I'm an investor at Swiftarc Ventures, where I lead our newly launched Telehealth Fund and spend most of my time evaluating companies across the mental health, obesity, pediatrics, and women’s health sectors. It's an honor to be selected as one of this year’s Rising Stars alongside so many talented and ambitious young investors. Like many people on this list, my path to VC was anything but linear.

I started my career as a project manager turned Digital Transformation strategist at Edelman Digital. The ah-ha moment for a career pivot hit me when my manager pointed out my unique approach to consulting. The method (which seemed obvious to me at the time) relied on taking cues from startups. I often looked at small businesses disrupting the industries my clients were a part of to advise Fortune 500 CEOs on how to do more with less and how to stay relevant among a growing pool of more nimble industry disruptors. My admiration for the startup ecosystem stuck with me, but I grew tired of being arbitrarily assigned clients in industries I wasn’t passionate about. Two and a half years later, after graduating with an MBA from Columbia Business School and completing internships at some of the most respected VC firms in New York (e.g., Lerer Hippeau, 14W), I find myself doing exactly what I set out to accomplish.

I often write about my thoughts on the digital health space and post publicly about interesting deals that cross my desk. I also treat every founder as if I work for them, not the other way around. I answer people in a timely manner, relay hard decisions over phone calls, follow through with promises, provide advice when warranted, send interesting articles when relevant, and generally offer to be helpful in any way I can as much as my time allows. When I first transitioned into venture, I was shocked by how grateful founders were for this behavior—actions that I consider common courtesy and table stakes for relationship building. Suffice to say, I have come to learn that my hands-on approach to investing makes me different from most VCs, and I am proud to have been nominated for these reasons.

Jordan Segall

I am a Principal on the Early Stage team at Redpoint Ventures, focusing on enterprise software and infrastructure. I studied Computer Science at Stanford and after being an early employee at 4 startups - Call9, RelateIQ, Palantir and – I knew that I wanted to take my learnings to venture to support companies at the earliest stages.

As an investor, I work with developer tools, security, and enterprise SaaS companies, such as (the fastest way to deploy cloud infrastructure) and (a custom telephony stack that allows companies to 3x their sales pipeline without increasing the size of their team). Open Source is a passion of mine, having invested in companies like DragonflyDB, Great Expectations, Heartex (Label Studio), Tabular (Apache Iceberg), and ProjectDiscovery.

Outside of venture and tech, nonprofit work is very important to me. I started a nonprofit to help children experiencing extended stays in hospitals after my brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and have run in more than a dozen half marathons on his behalf for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I also enjoy playing squash and pickleball, trying the best new restaurants in San Francisco, and creative writing.

Priyanka Somrah

I was born and raised in Mauritius, an island off the east coast of Africa. I moved to the US after being accepted to NYU where I majored in Economics. I immediately fell in love with the liveliness of NYC and have been living in the city ever since. While at NYU, I serendipitously ended up at one of Work-Bench’s monthly NY Enterprise Tech Meetups and I was enamored by the quality of founders, operators, and investors in the room. That experience got me curious about Work-Bench and the broader world of investing, so I emailed the team asking to learn more about the industry and if there were any open opportunities at the firm. I’ve now been a part of the team for the past 3.5 years!

At Work-Bench, I focus on our early-stage enterprise software investments in categories including cloud-native infrastructure, open-source software and data companies. I also write a Substack newsletter on all things data, called The Data Source. I work with companies like Deep Channel, a workspace for the modern data professionals, and Batch, stream data performance solution.

The food and restaurant scene is unmatched in NYC and one of my favorite things to do outside of work is finding local food gems and touring breweries with my fiancé. We're also big Yankees and Nets fans and enjoy catching a game whenever we can!

Brittany Walker

I'm a principal at CRV, a generalist venture fund based in San Francisco, where I focus on early-stage data infrastructure and AI/ML investments.

Before I was in VC, I started my career in consulting at Deloitte Digital and worked at Uber on the driver operations team where I ran data analyses on pricing and incentives. I wanted to transition into venture capital since my time at Deloitte, because I wanted to get involved with much earlier stage companies and be a more meaningful part of their journeys along the way—my time at Uber was my way to get more firsthand experience being part of a fast growing company before making that transition.  

Coming out of business school, I was beyond excited to have the chance to join a firm like CRV—one of the oldest funds in the country—and kick off my full-time venture career with the mentorship of Midas List partners who are also incredible human beings. In the past two years at the firm, I've sourced investments in nine companies at the seed, Series A, and Series B stages. I'm super proud to partner with startups leading the way in security and devops like Impart Security, Doppler, and Release, as well as support existing portfolio companies in data infrastructure like Great Expectations.

I hope to make more investments in data infrastructure and AI / ML startups going forward, and would welcome the opportunity to meet any teams ideating or building in those areas. I would love to see more startups focused on making best in class data and ML infrastructure accessible to companies outside of the FAANGs of the world, particularly to those in legacy industries.

Jess Yi

Growing up in the Bay Area, I have been continuously exposed to and inspired by the innovation and vision of entrepreneurs within the tech community. The opportunity to partner with amazing founders has been a key motivator for me to pursue a career in VC, and with it, the challenge and critical thinking required to assess a wide set of different opportunities and problems.

Currently, I’m excited by technology that enables people to be more effective and impactful – including better connecting people at the right time (Qualified), thoughtful automation solutions that help scale productivity (Replicant), or data insights that can unlock action (Anomalo, Habu). I look forward to continuing to meet incredible founders as we look ahead to the next year!