Meghan is a Partner at AmplifyHer Ventures, where she leverages her 14 years of venture experience to invest in early-stage, high-growth businesses led by visionary women. Prior to AmplifyHer, Meghan grew Red Bear Angels, leading the firm’s investments into 25+ companies including Lyft [NASDAQ: LYFT], Datalogue [acq. Nike] and Trumid. Her angel investments include Sequioia-backed Maven Clinic, Urban Umbrella, and Privy [acq. Attentive]. She received her venture training from Foundation Capital and StarVest Partners.
A United Nations UN Week speaker, Meghan writes for TechCrunch and Forbes and lectures at Columbia University & Yeshiva University. She has appeared on The Today Show, CNN’s The Situation Room, Cheddar TV, and more to discuss millennial behavior and venture trends. She is a Board leader at the Lincoln Center Young Patrons and Facing History, an education nonprofit that furthers diversity and inclusion.
Meghan received her B.S. in Fiber Science from Cornell University and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
What was your pathway into VC?
I entered the start-up operating world after graduating from Cornell in 2008. As an early marketer for such companies as Skype, Foursquare and StyleCaster, I learned that every start-up has obstacles, and oftentimes investors have this ability to parachute into situations provide best practices and advice based on their portfolios. I was intrigued by this type of pattern recognition and wanted to help grow my own portfolio of companies.
I went back to school in order to make this transition to the investing side of the startup table. While getting my MBA at Columbia, I made a point of working at a different venture capital fund each semester, exploring varying stages and sector focuses along the way. When I got to graduation I still had that start-up operating bug and wanted to figure out how to combine this with my new interest and experience in investing.
One of my VC colleagues connected me with Thatcher Bell, who together with a group of Cornell Board of Trustee Emeriti and investors hired me to build out Red Bear Angels, a group of individuals who invest in and support companies founded or led by Cornell University alumni, faculty, and students. For three years I created, formed and led 25 syndicates into companies like unicorns Lyft and Trumid, and others with great exits like Datalogue.
All of this was helping me build a proven track record, so when I reconnected with Tricia Black in 2018, I knew I was ready to start a new fund with her — AmplifyHer Ventures.
What is AmplifyHer’s investment thesis and how did you define it?
AmplifyHer recognizes the financial opportunity to support women. Only 2% of all capital goes to female founders, but founding teams that have gender diversity have 63% greater ROI than those without.
Beyond investing in strong female founders, we have a functional thesis that leverages our experience as startup marketers.
We have a unique ability to access and identify founders who create virality – those who can generate community-driven marketing tactics to yield exponential growth. 40 cents of every dollar of capital raised ultimately goes directly to Facebook and Google for advertising and we want to challenge this. We are investing in innovators, not pouring money back into incumbents, and we are well-positioned to support and capitalize on those particularly shrewd growth drivers. .
How do you keep your thesis relevant and determine which trends to jump on?
We apply our thesis to three main areas where can can source and assess the strongest pipeline: Commerce (category defining brands), Care (efficiency and transparency in wellness) and Connectivity (new ways to communicate and share information). For example, lately there has been a lot of buzz around web 3.0 which falls under our Connectivity focus. Although people like to talk about web 3.0 like FinTech or HealthCare, it’s not an industry but instead a new way for sharing information. Tricia and I were both a part of web 2.0 models of connectivity, and we leverage that knowledge and network to help us identify winners
It’s important to note that we talk to our wide networks a lot and leverage their expertise to help us make decisions. For instance, I’ve been exposed to crypto for several years, thanks to the guidance and expertise of fellow Cornellians like Ali Hamed and his team at CoVenture.
For those people looking to get into VC, what resources do you think helped you the most?
Interning, networking and asking questions: On campus at Columbia I had a really tight group of friends who were also interested in and interning with VCs. We shared notes, supported each other and were not afraid to ask even basic questions. VC is all about constantly learning and asking questions, so not being afraid to speak up and call people is critical – particularly when doing diligence on companies. At the end of the day, we aren’t all domain experts, and having the ability to reach into your network, gather data points and rapidly synthesize them to make an investment decision is critical.
What is next for you and AmplifyHer?
We have made 40 investments to-date and are currently building our next fund to further capitalize on our pipeline of under-represented founders who drive outperformance. If you’re interested in getting to know the founders in our portfolio or simply share notes on the venture space, please do not hesitate to reach out! email@example.com.
AmplifyHer is a Venture Capital firm that invests in women and diverse leadership teams with a unique ability to create flywheel effects of growth in new markets.