It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since I officially joined Newark Venture Partners (NVP) as a Managing Partner. In that time we launched our second fund, which closed at ~ $90M (2x our first fund), and made several investments in early-stage B2B tech companies that are considered among the top innovations in their markets, including Podsights (recently acquired by Spotify), Optimal Dynamics (raised a $33M Series B), and Handspring (named a top healthcare start-up by Business Insider). We’ve doubled down on our differentiated strategy to win deals by being a value-add to our founders, our partners, and our community – empowering us to build authentic relationships that fuel growth.
When you join a new firm, one does not know what to expect, but I could not be more thrilled with the development and growth of NVP over the past 2 years. I continue to find that my prior professional experiences, especially 15 years at Wesray, is paying dividends as my partners – Dan and Tom – and I work to build NVP into a next-generation, top 10, seed stage fund. It’s been three years since NVP’s first investment from NVP II, and as we begin raising for our third fund this year we are seeking out the most dynamic and innovative founders at the seed stage that are solving issues for big corporations. NVP’s thematic focus areas in healthcare, fintech, and supply chain means we are working in high-stakes industries where our investments can really make an impact. As I move into my third year at NVP, I remain humbled by this opportunity that has empowered a kid from Newark to lead a venture firm with a national investment strategy, global aspirations, and community presence – while also allowing me to walk alongside innovators as they turn their ideas into businesses.
Over the last two years, I’ve also had the privilege of working closely with our incredible group of LPs. These are relationships that have been instrumental in our process to vet, guide and connect founders on their journeys – and without whom our work would not be possible. I have incredible gratitude for our partners – not only because they are instrumental strategic assets – but because they believe in what we are doing. These LPs are not just logos on a page, their teams are deeply engaged with ours – enabling us to leverage critical industry data points and deep corporate expertise, giving us a strong competitive edge among seed investors. They’ve also become part of NVP’s extended family, and I am proud of the work we’ve done together. It is a credit to this community, that despite the challenges in the economy our team has performed exceedingly well, remaining active, diligent, and disciplined in our approach. We know we are on a path to greatness.
In addition to our investment work – NVP’s commitment to our community here in Newark has become a source of great personal pride. If you know me, you have heard me say that I “want to do well and do good” and that I believe “where there is purpose there are profits”. These things are not mutually exclusive. We are focused on generating outsized returns, but it goes for naught if our community is not participatory in our success. That’s why Dan, Tom and I granted the Boys and Girls Club of Newark carried interest in our fund and I was beyond thrilled to have made a distribution to the organization last year. These dollars will support the next generation of engineers and venture capitalists. In addition to our partnership with BGCN, we have become Keystone Partners to BeBraven, an organization solving the education-to-employment gap for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented college students. We’ve also begun growing our internship commitments with organizations like the Black Venture Captial Consortium. Last semester, we got to know Hawa, a student at Howard University interested in learning the ropes of venture capital.
Dan, Tom, and I have settled on a vision and mission to build NVP to become a top 10 seed stage firm. Our fund is a result of what is possible in Newark, and we aim to pave the way for founders who share our drive to win. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last 2 years, and we are only just getting started! The truth is the best is yet to come for NVP, and our team has never been more unified, or more energized to write the next chapter. We are building this firm with grit, gratitude, tenacity, and humility – and we look forward to connecting with you on our way to the top.