We don't hire partners often. We've intentionally kept our partnership on the small side, only adding two new investing partners in the last eight years. Historically, when we have looked to grow First Round's senior investment team, we've run those searches privately. As is the case with most venture firms, our recruiting process typically was opportunistic and relied on tapping into our existing networks of founders or angel investors.
Over the past several weeks, important discussions have highlighted why this recruiting practice props up problematic, structural barriers to including more voices in our industry. This post from Kapor Capital's Brian Dixon was particularly effective in detailing why there are serious downsides to running these more senior searches behind closed doors: If you do not publicize the jobs that are available at your venture firm, then you are intentionally being exclusionaryPeople can't get a job that they don't know exists, Dixon writes.
There is no getting around it, so we'll just state it plainly: First Round has not appropriately prioritized nor done the work necessary to build a diverse senior investment team. Given that we've tried to bring transparency and access to other areas of our business, from opening up applications for programs like Technical Founder Track and Angel Track to previous public job postings for associates and chiefs of staff, we realize we've been wrong to not extend this same approach to our partner-level roles as well.
With that, we have some news to share: We recently began the search for an additional partner, and have decided to open up the role so that anyone who's interested can apply.
Below you'll find more info about the role, what we're looking for, and how you can get in touch.
Interested? Here's what we're looking for:
The candidates we hope to meet with will likely have 10-15 years of work experience, but we're open to candidates with more or fewer years under their belt. We're ideally looking for someone who has in-the-trenches experience as a founder or operator, with a mix of building at different stages. We're also open to those who have previous investing experience, but it isn't required.
Ideally, this partner would be located in San Francisco or New York City (where we have our two largest offices). That said, our partnership has been working from home for the last four months and is likely to continue doing so in the months to come. In today's shelter-in-place world, it's hard to know what a return to normal looks like - so don't let geography keep you from applying.
To get more specific, here are the qualities we're looking for:
Founder appeal: Our founders are our customers, so this comes first. Amazing early-stage founders will seek you out for advice and guidance. Once we've invested, you'll be their first call and the coach in their corner whenever they're working through a thorny challenge.
Investor mindset, or the potential to hone one quickly: You are endlessly curious, see the world in systems and can get up to speed on complex topics, fast. You love to dig deep on obscure ideas, and you know when to ask more questions - and when to listen and learn.
Early-stage is your jam: Our mission is relentlessly focused on backing and helping founders as they go from idea to product/market fit. Whether you started something yourself, worked at a tech company or have angel invested in startups, you know the challenges an early-stage company faces and can roll-up your sleeves to help.
Competitive streak and intense work ethic: To be blunt, this isn't a retirement program. You're driven by a hunger to find the best founders and you're willing to put in the work to make it happen.
Unique network, or the ability to develop one: You can tap a unique network that would widen our circles and strengthen our community. You have a track record of bringing people together, making connections quickly and amplifying the exchange of ideas.
Culture add: You bring something new and unique that makes us stronger. Non-negotiables are that you pride yourself on kindness and not taking yourself too seriously.
Team mindset: While our partners have different interest areas, we're extremely team-driven in how we work. We evaluate investment opportunities as a group and frequently hand off companies to the partner who has the most experience in the space (or is located in the right geography).
How to get in touch:
If that sounds like you - or someone we should talk to - please get in touch here.
We encourage you to apply even if you're unsure if you want to make the leap to investing right away. If you're open to a new adventure or are curious to learn more, we'd love to hear from you. We may also consider growing the investing team with new non-partner roles in the future, so please consider applying even if you're not yet ready to be a senior investor. We often cultivate relationships with people over long periods of time, so consider this as a way to get in touch and start a conversation with us.
To set expectations, our partner hiring cycle generally takes anywhere from 6-12 months. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis over those first few months.