Welcoming Our First Principals – Kat Steinmetz, Scott Moss, and Andrew Sather
With collective expertise in the areas of talent & culture, brand & design, engineering, crypto, and entrepreneurship, we’re growing our team to support our current founders and help us find our next ones
If you want to learn about finance and venture, you can find the basics online or in a book.
What’s more valuable to our founders and to us is people with raw talent, knowledge, and experience about the things our founders obsess over: how to start a company, how to be an inspiring leader, how to hire strategically, how to create a positive company culture, and how to build a product people want. And most importantly, we love people who love to work with founders.
This is who we think the next generation of investors will be. That’s why we’re very excited to announce that Kat Steinmetz, Scott Moss, and Andrew Sather have joined the Initialized investing team as our first three principals.
Kat is a talent and culture development leader who will advise our founders on building successful talent strategies, epic teams, and employment brands from the ground up.
Many early-stage companies don’t yet have an HR leader on board, and finding and developing talent is the number one ask from our founders. It’s hard to find and hire the right people, and it’s hard to develop and keep them. The wrong fit or hiring someone too early can have a lasting negative impact on a company. Our founders want to build their company cultures thoughtfully and inclusively. When you throw a pandemic and remote and hybrid work models into the mix, having the right talent strategy is all the more important. Needless to say, we were very interested in finding someone with Kat’s background.
She’s worked at large enterprises — coming to us from Box, where she was their global head of talent success, and Stitch Fix, where she helped the company grow from a startup to a mature public company. She’s also worked at smaller organizations like The Burning Man Project. With over 15 years in leadership roles, Kat has guided HR and talent development teams through hyper-growth, a successful IPO, global scaling, and M&A.
Repeatedly, people tell us she’s the first person they call when they need advice — she helps you think through any problem, she’s intuitive, a great coach, and a good human. She’s a frequent keynote speaker and podcast guest where she shares her insights on transformational leadership and resilience, talent, and culture development. And fun fact: She’s also a longtime creative artist and musician.
We often meet founders before they have a product to show us, in which case we’re basing a lot of our decisions on the founders themselves. Kat has amazing skills in this regard, and we’re so excited to work with her.
Scott is a product engineer, most recently a senior software engineer at Netflix. He’s worked with companies such as Nike, IBM, and Bloomberg to assist them with engineering and training, and he’s contributed to some of the top open-source projects. He’s a Y Combinator alumni, a two-time founder of venture-backed companies, and he’s lived through many of the experiences and challenges our founders go through daily.
He shares real advice for founders and people trying to break into tech on his YouTube channel, where he also shares his own unconventional story. After moving to California and spending four years in the Navy as an aircraft technician, he took a moment to decide what kind of life he wanted to live. Then he learned to code, and he’s been unstoppable ever since.
One of our favorite things about Scott is that he wants to help other people find their path into tech and help other founders by sharing his experiences as a founder. Immensely driven and self-taught, Scott wants to demystify venture capital for underrepresented founders. We’re so excited to have his talent and energy at Initialized.
In April, we shared that we were intentionally opening our search for our next partners and principals. We did this specifically to meet new and talented people who might not be in our networks or think they should apply. We had 835 people apply for the principal role, and we met Kat and Scott through this process.
Andrew is a four-time founder, an incredibly talented designer and branding expert, and the recipient of a One Show award and a Clio award. He started working with us as a part-time expert, and he’s been advising Initialized portfolio founders on brand strategy and visual design for the last three years. He’s the ultimate coach and cheerleader, someone who can work with both experienced, repeat founders and new founders alike. Earlier this year, we were overjoyed when Andrew joined us as a full-time principal.
He was most recently the co-founder and CEO of Span Digital, a SaaS development firm and incubator focused on digital media, with clients ranging from small startups to large global brands. Andrew developed the team’s leadership and culture, set their vision, and worked with world-class user experience and visual designers. He has also built brands in technology, design, fashion, talent acquisition, and e-commerce.
Andrew hired me and then Garry at his first startup, Adjacency, an internet consultancy he founded after dropping out of college and eventually sold to Sapient. Looking back, we learned many lessons while working with Andrew that we’ve carried with us.
Andrew always hired people from non-traditional backgrounds, looking past pedigrees to build teams of people that complimented each other. The company had a lot of young, idealistic people in their first jobs, and they complained to Andrew regularly about everything from why the kitchen smelled to the strong feelings they were having about our e-commerce UX. Andrew always treated everyone’s feedback like it was important to him, and he would always take action. He taught me how to be a leader who listens to people.
He also gave everyone equity in the company, which was unusual back in 1998. We didn’t realize what Andrew had given us until the company was acquired. It showed Garry and me that empathy mattered a lot, and a team working together could accomplish amazing things.
We’re so excited for Andrew to bring his invaluable experience to Initialized.
Welcome, Kat, Scott, and Andrew!