NextView Ventures

Leah Fessler

Senior Associate

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Notable Investments

Somewhere Good, A Kid's Book About, Haus

Questions & Answers

Origin Story: In a couple sentences, how would you describe your path to becoming an investor?

After a stint at Bridgwater Associates (strange experience for an English major fresh out of college), I pursued my long-time dream of working in journalism. As a reporter at Quartz I covered the intersections of gender, race, and technology, and became quite familiar with early-stage investing — especially who gets (and gives) capital, and who doesn't. I came to believe that the skills it took to be a great journalist were quite similar to the skills you need to be an investor, and decided to pursue early-stage investing full time. It was a rocky road with lots of interviews and rejections. Ultimately, Slow Ventures took a bet on me. San Francisco wasn't New York, so I moved back and earned the privilege to join Chief as an early employee, leading editorial and brand. Chief became a rocket ship, and as much as I loved operating, I knew I wanted to make my way back to investing. When NextView came knocking, I was exceptionally privileged to join the NYC team. While I'll always be a journalist at heart, I am now thrilled to be serving New York's diverse and exceptionally talented founders as an investor and advisor.

Investment Approach: What are the key factors you consider when evaluating a founding team?

Founder market fit is extremely important to me — why are you building what you're building, and what makes you uniquely qualified to succeed? Also, what do you believe that other people don't? I find this question is a great way to sort out founders' unique insights about their markets.

What's your style and approach when it comes to working with founders post-investment? What are the characteristics of founders you've worked well with?

At NextView we are hands on, high conviction investors. We don't invest in many companies each year, so we are very committed to the founders we do invest in.

If I'm coming to pitch to you or your firm, what's the one piece of advice you'd give me?

Be yourself! Everyone else is already taken.

How would you describe your own personal mission and values, and how do they impact the way you invest?

I am hyper-committed to elevating women and underestimated minorities, especially Black and Latinx founders, within the New York startup ecosystem and beyond. I speak to these commitments and issues often on Twitter @leahfessler.

What do you like best about investing in NYC, and what’s your outlook on the future of NYC tech?

No city is home to more industries and diversity of talent than New York City. I believe that every company is made stronger by cognitive and experiential diversity, and New York founding teams are uniquely positioned to win for this exact reason.