In the past fifteen years, we've grown from three friends having dinner at the SFO Marriott into a family of 28 across five funds totaling more than one billion dollars under management.
Today, we're excited to recognize the next generation of Emergence – Joe, Jake, and Kara – with their promotions to General Partner, Partner, and Principal respectively – and Carlotta, joining as our new Senior Associate. Each has demonstrated an ability to discover, foster, and invest in founders who change the way the world works. We've learned immensely from each of them, and can't wait to see what they teach us next.
"Joe's passion for founders is unmatched. He’s supportive when things are not going well, quickly identifying how best to support project44's mission and our team as we continue to scale our company. Between working through GTM strategies and growing our team, Joe has been an incredible partner, and we're excited for his promotion to GP. Of all the investors I've worked with, if I was starting a company tomorrow, Joe would be my first call." – Jett McCandless, CEO of project44
"Jake has worked tirelessly in support of Textio's growth in a way that truly stands out. He is a central partner to me in thinking through all kinds of topics pertaining to our company development, everything from executive hiring to thinking through business fundamentals. He invests deeply in the growth of the people he's working with in a way that is very special. I am so glad to have him on our team!" – Kieran Snyder, CEO of Textio
"I've witnessed the impact Kara has made since her early days at Emergence. She is hard working, intelligent, and willing to do whatever it takes to help companies succeed. From detailed research, to fostering connections, to informed opinions, Kara is a huge asset to Emergence and I'm thrilled to see her earn this promotion." – Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc
Joe, Jake, Kara, and Carlotta – while we’re by no means perfect, we’re hoping these lessons learned help as you continue to grow into your new roles within the Emergence family.
The most rewarding part of working in venture is building relationships with founders, teams, and companies as they grow and change the world, one new user at a time. In the same way, we’re excited to have watched as each of you have grown into your new roles.
In consideration of what you're taking on, we've done our best to highlight learnings we've discovered along the way. We have no doubt each of you will rise to the occasion.
Trust in your gut.
jobs include short, frequent feedback loops. Salespeople can track
conversion rates and benchmark their success against peers. Marketers
can track cost-per-acquisition for each campaign. CEOs can track
revenue, operating profit, and growth every week.
Investors aren't so lucky. Great companies are fundamentally contrarian bets. The most successful venture funds don't see returns or traction for many years. Instead of relying on external confirmation about companies – articles, urgency, other investor interest, impressive metrics – build your own internal algorithm, trust in your core theses and the founders that inspire you. It's the only way to change the way the world works.
Push yourself one step further.
Nobody is perfect. It's important to challenge your own theses, pushing yourself to explore new fields, industries, and arguments that might conflict with your assumptions.
While much of our job is identifying successful characteristics in companies that have yet to scale, it's important to frequently explore new territories. Dig in deep with new industries or business models.
What are you thinking about right now? What three things just popped to mind? If you've already dug deep into all three answers, push yourself to find something new. Dig deeper.
Every meeting counts.
It's easy to try to visit every conference and take every meeting simply to check boxes – we certainly tried it at the beginning. Instead of optimizing for volume, sitting with as many founders as possible, optimize for the number of quality contributions you can make. One of the worst things we can do is waste a founder's time.
When possible, travel to the company's office. You'll get a better picture of the company's culture and help founders more sitting in their meeting room than your office.
You won't be able to say yes to every founder you meet with, but you can still help. Introductions to other potential investors, insights from your own experience and analysis, sales leads, or even pitch advice. Benchmarked metrics – sales targets, budgets for R&D or G&A, growth rates – all can help a founder accurately assess their business.
Provide honest feedback with empathy. Every business is unique – ask questions and understand before giving advice. You’ll be amazed by how much you can learn and how much further your advice will travel.
Venture is a marathon, not a sprint.
Working as an investor is a marathon business, one where your reputation among founders is built every day for decades. Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts or risk reputation for short term gains. Always negotiate in the spirit of knowing you could find yourself on the other side of the table as an LP, co-investor, or founder.
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.”
Joe – Congratulations on your promotion to General Partner. You once said - "Invest in great people, the rest takes care of itself." Working with you over the last six years proves that. Increasingly now, the rest of the team is looking to you for leadership, mentorship, and management – we know you'll rise to the occasion. Your blend of metric-driven analysis and passion for world-shifting founders at project44, Salesloft, Mya Systems, WhereTo, and Total Expert has inspired us all to, in your words, champion everyone as a "Silicon Superhero."
Jake – Congratulations on your promotion to Partner. Your energy and drive is contagious. Continue to trust in the high standards you set for yourself and companies you champion, just like you've done with Guru, Textio, and others. We've all been impressed by your clear communication skills and framework-driven thinking, and we're excited to support you as you grow into the leader we know you will become.
Kara – Congratulations on your promotion to Principal. Your operating experience gives you an unparalleled ability to connect with founders, much like you've done at UpKeep, Top Hat, Insightly and Zinc. The rest of the team is here to support you in your new role. Play to your strengths and passions. Trust in your gut. It makes the entire Emergence team better.
Carlotta – Congratulations on your new position as Senior Associate. We’re blown away by your unique blend of IQ and EQ. It will carry you far in your new role. You’ve already had an immense impact in the community, and we’re thrilled to see you continue that work as part of the Emergence family.
We love this industry because venture isn’t a zero sum game. When a company succeeds, everybody wins. We couldn’t be more excited about the future of Emergence in your hands. Here’s to your success!
Enjoying this article?
Sign up to gain access to our thought leadership and have future articles delivered directly to your email.