W hen Paige Doherty's parents asked her to explain her dream job investing in startups as a venture capitalist, she went a few steps further: she wrote a book. After a cold email, Midas List stalwart Ann Miura-Ko wrote the forward to Seed To Harvest , an illustrated book that looks to demystify VC for readers old and young alike.
"My goal is to make venture more transparent," says Doherty, who cofounded $5 million fund Behind Genius Ventures with Joshua Schlisserman in March 2021, making a dozen core investments so far in companies at the future of work and play. "I want more people to feel welcome here."
Doherty, 23, and Schlisserman, 25, are two of a new wave of tech investors who are helping some of the world's most innovative companies and moonshot ideas receive the funding and support they need to shake up the status quo in fields as far-flung as biotech, crypto and Web3, student safety and manufacturing in America's heartland. These investors of the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Venture Capital in 2022 are showing leadership not just in the dollars they invest, but in the organizations they create and the doors they open for those following in their steps.
Take Brandon Allen and Marcus Stroud, cofounders of TXV Partners. The former Princeton roommates set up shop in Texas as one of the few Black-led firms in the state, already investing more than $20 million so far into companies looking to benefit from a Lone Star presence.
"Idealism and youth is a gas in the tank that has proven it can change the world."
Other young investors to launch their own firms include Josh Elkington, who runs Axial VC as something akin to a talent agency for biologists and Victor Gutwein, whose Chicago-based firm M25 backs companies based in the Midwest. Max Brickman is focused the opposite direction, as his firm Heartland Ventures connects Silicon Valley startups to big-business partners far from the coasts. Others have helped notable new firms like Acrew Capital, Avid Ventures and Left Lane Capital get off the ground.
Then there's Eric Tarczynski. Five years ago the Contrary founder took on $50,000 in debt to get his fund focused on identifying university engineering talent and backing them throughout their careers off the ground. Tarczynski slept in the back of a rental car as he crisscrossed colleges, or crashed on friends' couches. Now 29, he manages more than $100 million in assets, is backed by founders from the likes of Airbnb and Facebook, and counts himself an investor in unicorns like Anduril, Ramp and Vise.
The increasing importance of crypto to venture capital, meanwhile, is easily spotted on this year's list. Partner Casey Caruso joined Paradigm after investing part-time at Bessemer Venture Partners while still a machine learning researcher at Google; a crypto miner in college, she's already led several investments for the notable specialist firm. And at Tribe Capital, Jared Madfes leads crypto initiatives that include startup investments as well as long-term bets on coins and tokens, and involvement in decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs.
At 24, Madfes is one of several investors bridging the Under 30 list's millennial contingent with Gen Z. Doherty's the youngest. But joining them is Meagan Loyst, a 24-year-old associate at Lerer Hippeau. In November 2020, Loyst launched Gen Z VCs, a global community looking to empower a new generation of venture investors. Within a year, the group counted 11,000 members; its Summit in fall 2021 was attended virtually by more than 3,000 people from 71 countries.
This year's 30 Under 30 list was edited by senior editor Alex Konrad and reporter Rebecca Szkutak. Our judges were Sarah Guo, an Under 30 alum and general partner at Greylock Partners; David Haber, an Under 30 alum and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz; Heather Hartnett, general partner and CEO of Human Ventures; and Jamison Hill, an Under 30 alum and partner at Base10 Ventures.
See the full Venture Capital list here .
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