Hayley Barna has joined First Round Capital as a Venture Partner in New York City. She will be looking for new seed investments and working closely with founders in the First Round community. This is what she had to say.
But let’s be clear — this career move isn’t big news. I’m not the first founder to go into investing. In fact, I’m picking up where another awesome founder left off (wishing Wiley Cerilli lots of luck with his new project!). So this piece isn’t just another, “I changed jobs” announcement. Rather, I want to use this moment to make a public commitment to being a certain type of investor — the type of investor I loved working with as an entrepreneur.
I’m fresh off the heels of six years as a founder. I know how it feels to be told “no” during a fundraise and how often those rejections come along with rationales you vehemently disagree with. It’s hard to feel like your fate is in the hands of people who know so little about you, your business and your market. I can still vividly remember the stress of late night pitch preparation — and then the distaste of being confronted in the meeting with a group of well rested smiles, healthy tans and uninformed questions.
I can’t think of a better place to do this than First Round, which led the seed round in my company Birchbox, and has always put founders first through good times and bad. As first-time founders in 2010, raising our seed round was a bumpy road (to say the very least). We didn’t know the lingo, made tons of rookie mistakes, and wasted time talking to the wrong people who were all too happy to string us along. After too many cookie-cutter, deflating conversations, meeting Phin Barnes and the team at First Round was noticeably, hearteningly different. Seeds have different needs, and it was clear they understood where we were, where we wanted to go and how to help us get there.