Jenny is co-founder and Managing Partner of Supernode Ventures.
She joined from Eniac Ventures, where she focused primarily on early stage investments in mobile first technology including enterprise and consumer facing applications and platforms in addition to devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, drones, robots, and IoT. Prior to Eniac, Jenny spent time in an operational role at Minibar Delivery, an e-commerce startup, focusing on data analytics and business development. She worked as a financial professional at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Management Division.
While at GS, I worked on portfolio construction, management, and research across the public markets. I became interested in how early-stage startups activated growth levers to accelerate their trajectory into public companies. As a result, I took an operating role at Minibar Delivery to learn about e-Commerce, double-sided marketplace, and logistics. From there, I wanted to gain exposure to a broader cross section of the startup ecosystem and joined a fund called Eniac Ventures, working under rockstar founders with multiple successful exits.
At the earliest stage, especially pre-traction and pre-revenue, the most important factor to evaluate is the team. As an investor, I typically prefer two or three co-founders to one and really emphasize synergies between founding team members. When factoring in grit, hustle, and resilience, it’s valuable for the team to have another set of eyes while making decisions, brainstorming, expanding the domain expertise of the C-Suite, etc. High-level research shows that the top three reasons a startup fails are due to 1) a lack of market need, 2) don’t have cash, or 3) wrong team. About 1 of every 4 startups fail as a result of the wrong management team. Other than team, a few things I dig into are: 1) how big is the problem the team is solving, 2) how differentiated is the solution, 3) why now, 4) validation of the business model, 5) traction and partnership pipeline, and 6) the rationale for raising.
The founders I’ve vibed best with typically have unique lived experiences and can frame a compelling vision from an unorthodox perspective.
If you’re a pre-seed company i.e. pre-traction/product/revenue and lack traditional metrics/KPIs, put yourself at an advantage by indicating that there will be a product market fit, whether that’s through beta testing, customer research, surveys, etc.
Though we’re not an impact fund, I am attracted to companies that have some sort of aspect that benefits society either environmentally or socially. For example, we invested early on in a company focused on cellular agriculture called New Age Meats - cultivating meats without having to slaughter or harm animals in the process - and while I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, I’m proud to support a mission that I believe will ultimately the status quo not only in terms of saving animals but also reducing deforestation, destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems, producing fewer greenhouse gases, the list goes on.
I was born and raised in NYC so I may be a bit biased, but I think there is tremendous talent here: the network is unparalleled, and we continue to see outstanding innovations in areas that are native to the city i.e. fintech, healthcare, retail, e-commerce, etc. Never underestimate a founder born and bred in NYC -- I've made that mistake and missed out on one of the biggest investment opportunities!