My Journey to Ironspring Ventures
I’m proud to introduce myself as Ironspring Ventures’ new Principal. As part of the investment team, I’ll help Ironspring find and team up with the founders leading digital industrial innovation, as well as support founders already in our portfolio. It’s a true privilege to get to think about the biggest problems facing our economy’s core industries (over half the US GDP!) and invest in the folks tackling those problems, and I’m thrilled to do that alongside this incredible team.
My path to Ironspring started with a chance staffing assignment. My college swimming career took me to Texas A&M for my undergraduate studies, and I was fortunate to land at Bain & Company after graduating. After working across several industries, thanks to Bain’s generalist model, I had the opportunity to work for a regulated electric utility and, much to my surprise, I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly tangible. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy, but seldom do we think about it when we turn on the lights or plug in our devices. Most of us don’t think about where it comes from or how it gets to us.
Over a couple of years, I served four of the nation’s largest electric utilities in a variety of capacities, from distribution capital planning to generation fleet transition, helping a particular utility diversify its generation stack faster and move away from coal. It gave me an appreciation for how critical electricity production is, how fragile the infrastructure supporting it can be, and just what it’s going to take to transition to more sustainable energy sources.
In the midst of serving utilities, I did a six-month externship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of a cross-functional team there, I learned how the Foundation made investments and thought about impact. I learned that a changing climate and a changing economy affect those of us least equipped to deal with that change the most, both here at home in our own country and globally. Most of all, my time at the Foundation instilled in me a hopeful faith in innovation and its ability to solve tough problems. It’s hard not to let belief in the power of innovation rub off on you after working there.
After a few years at Bain and Gates, I ventured north to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management to get my MBA. My primary goal for my time in business school was to figure out where my time, talent, and energy could best serve a sustainable energy transition. Kellogg was an incredible opportunity to try lots of new things both inside and outside the classroom. During my time there, I had the honor of leading the Energy and Sustainability Club and had the chance to compete in my first two long distance triathlons, all while building lifelong friendships with incredible classmates who shared my interests.
After venture internships at Edison International, working with their Growth & Innovation (CVC) team, and G2 Venture Partners, I determined that the best place for me was in venture capital. I drew so much inspiration from the founders and problem solvers working on our society’s toughest challenges. Perpetually curious, I get energy from diving headfirst into new markets and problems, particularly in legacy industries. Ty knew the G2VP team well in addition to knowing my business school professors from his time at Kellogg and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. The team at G2VP connected me to Ty last spring, and I knew right away Ironspring was a perfect match.
I’ve spent time solving problems in heavy industry in the past and am thrilled to continue to do that at Ironspring. When transitioning to a more sustainable economy, the rhetoric has typically been around tradeoffs: growth at the expense of sustainability or sustainability at the expense of profits. The companies we invest in help reduce those tradeoffs, making these legacy industries more efficient. You can design, build, distribute, and operate, and save time, money, and energy, while having less of an impact on the environment.
When it comes to the investment dollars flowing into digital and sustainable technology, I see a huge gap in investment between other sectors and heavy industry. Through its sector focus and deep network, I believe Ironspring is uniquely positioned to make a big impact in these sectors that make our modern day lives possible. Ironspring presented an incredibly unique opportunity for me that I just couldn’t pass up.
Finally, and most importantly, I wanted to join Ironspring because of my shared values with the team. This past summer, I got to see firsthand how servant-oriented this team is, going out of their way to help companies they see value in even if they aren’t in our portfolio or a fit for the fund at the time. I was born and raised in San Antonio and have deep roots in Texas. After hopping around to different parts of the country over the past few years, I feel lucky to have the chance to do what I love and come back home to do it. I’m based in Austin, so please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime you’re passing through (firstname.lastname@example.org).