The
View from Initialized

My journey from journalism to Initialized

Apple CEO Tim Cook, producer Candy Cheng and Bloomberg TV anchor Emily Chang at Apple HQ June 5, 2017. Photographer: David Paul Morris

I’ve spent my career telling stories and breaking news about the tech and venture world, but today I have news of my own. I’ve decided to leave tech journalism to join the incredible team at Initialized Capital in a newly created role as the head of content, or as I like to call it, “Journalist in Residence.” 

It’s a culmination of all the experiences I’ve had and loved most — writing, reporting, producing, and supporting early-stage founders with storytelling, which I’ll be doing in an even deeper way now by taking ownership of this blog along with building the firm’s overall content strategy.

Over the last 13 months, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to publish 187 stories at Business Insider, working with the best reporters and editors on the startups and VC team. In dozens of conversations as a reporter, Initialized kept coming up for its great deals and distinctive culture built to support women, working parents, and founders with diverse viewpoints and backgrounds. 

Still, what surprised me the most was the unprompted feedback I received from founders on why they picked Initialized Capital. Shogun’s Finbarr Taylor told me he was willing to leave millions on the table to work with Brett Gibson. Shadiah Sigala, CEO of the childcare marketplace Kinside, also told me she turned down a much higher offer from another VC to partner with Alda Leu Dennis.

“I want to work alongside someone that I feel like I can be myself,” Sigala said, referring to her investor’s deep understanding of the childcare marketplace as a working mother. 

Being surrounded by a team of working parents also sealed the deal for me. Initialized’s investment team is two-thirds female, a rarity in the still mostly male venture capital community. 

In this newly created role, I’ll be working with the Initialized team and portfolio to uncover the stories and create content that matters the most to the community. What does this mean? We’re not interested in headlining lofty valuations or leading with a big number. We want to tell the story behind the story: how entrepreneurs got to where they are today and why it matters. 

I’m also excited to get back into video production with Garry Tan, Initialized’s founder, and managing partner. Few VCs appreciate the power of storytelling more than Garry, who has personally gained over 200,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel by creating content to demystify the world of startups and entrepreneurs.

Candy Cheng finalizing interview questions at the J.P. Morgan Technology conference in San Francisco. ·

Prior to Business Insider, I was a producer for CNBC and Bloomberg, helping many early-stage founders articulate their vision for the first time on TV, radio, and print. There’s so much that happens behind the scenes to help a great founder tell a great story. At the end of the day, nothing brings me more joy than coaching a founder for their debut, watching them grow over the years, and cheering them on as they ring the opening bell for the first time on live TV. 

If you had told me when I was in journalism school that I would ever consider leaving the news business, I would have called you crazy. I loved broadcast news so much that as an NBC page, I was willing to wake up at 3 AM to ride my bicycle from Avenue B to Rockefeller Center to greet guests appearing on the TODAY show. After NBC, I landed at CNBC and traveled the country with Jim Cramer to teach business school students how to invest.

My journey into tech journalism started seven years ago when I booked a one-way ticket from New York City to San Francisco to produce Bloomberg TV’s newly launched, long-form interview show called Studio 1.0 with Emily Chang. The show aimed to chronicle the lifecycle of startup founders and venture capitalists who were defining the future of Silicon Valley. The show took us around the world, and I’m so proud of the episodes we produced with newsmakers like Tim Cook, Jack Ma, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates. Emily taught me how to reach for the stars every morning but also always have a realistic backup plan before showtime.

I believe there has never been a better time to be a journalist regardless of publication or platform. Behind every billion-dollar startup is an untold story of grit, determination, and persistence. I couldn’t be more excited to join the honeybadger team to help founders uncover their stories. 

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