The
View from Initialized

Our commitment to storytelling for the next generation of founders

Vivian Chaves, Daniel Sherman, Candy Cheng

We’re growing our marketing team to support our portfolio with expertise in content, community building, and communications. 

Initialized is about to turn 10, but from the very beginning, we’ve always believed in storytelling as one of the key components to building a successful startup. 

Journalist Kim-Mai Cutler was one of our first hires because we understand that a powerful narrative can make or break your company. Whether you just graduated from YC or are a second-time founder, clearly articulating who you are and why you exist can help with hiring, fundraising, selling, customer discovery, earned media, and so much more. 

Over the years, our early-stage founders have told us they lacked exposure to experts who can nail down their vision. We understand the struggle as former founders and operators ourselves. When a company only has a handful of employees — mostly with product or engineering backgrounds — it’s hard to prioritize other important areas that can take a company to the next level.

As investors, we’ve tried to fill that gap by providing the right tools early-stage companies need to tell their stories. With over 200,000 subscribers, Garry’s YouTube channel has proven that our content resonates with the founders we want to fund. This year, we introduced new programs to connect our founders with the honeybadgers community. And our communications team has been able to help dozens of unsung heroes in the portfolio with media placement.

As we think about the next 10 years of growth and opportunity for the firm, we remain deeply committed to telling the stories of the next generation of founders. But, at the end of the day, we do all of this because we want all of our founders to feel supported — not only at the beginning stages of their companies but also as they grow.

Today, I’m excited to announce that we are deepening our areas of expertise on the marketing team to further support our portfolio with specialists in content, community building, and communications. 

Dani Metz Shuval is being promoted into a new role as Initialized’s first head of marketing. Dani was previously chief of staff to Garry, working closely with him on his YouTube channel and external communications, among other programs. She’s also led various marketing initiatives internally and will continue to expand on that work in this role. Prior to Initialized, she worked at a DTC startup as director of communications. She also spent numerous years at The Outcast Agency and The Hatch Agency. There’s nobody more deserving of this promotion as Dani has worked tirelessly to lead all of our marketing, content, and PR initiatives internally for the last three years. 

Candy Cheng has joined Initialized in a newly created role as head of content. Candy was most recently a senior correspondent at Business Insider, writing about startups and venture capital. Prior to Business Insider, Candy was the executive producer of Bloomberg TV’s long-form interview show Studio 1.0, hosted by Emily Chang. The show featured newsmakers like Tim Cook, Jack Ma, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates as well as startup founders and venture capitalists who were defining the future of Silicon Valley. Candy brings incredible reporting and broadcast journalism expertise to Initialized and our portfolio, and she’s spent much of her career meeting founders and shaping their stories from seed to IPO across multiple media platforms. 

Daniel Sherman has joined Initialized as head of portfolio PR where he will work closely with our companies on their communications strategies. Daniel specializes in foundational brand messaging and communications for world-changing startups and designers. Prior to joining Initialized, he founded Core Narratives, an international thought leadership strategy firm, and led communications for Yves Béhar’s renowned design agency fuseproject. 

Vivian Chaves joined Initialized as our first head of community in September 2021. Previously she was at Eventbrite for over nine years, spending time in operations, M&A, marketing, and events. Prior to Eventbrite, she was an early member of the music-streaming startup Rdio. Viv is currently focused on accelerating our founders’ success through community programs. In 2022, she’ll be launching cohorts, events, and building out a central platform for our founders to connect. 

We’re excited to congratulate Dani on her promotion and welcome Candy, Daniel, and Vivian to our expanded team. They join Cyndi Reseburg, head of communications, who joined full-time last year. 

What has always been special about Initialized is what we offer our founders. Being part of our family means getting access to over 30 specialists with decades of experience in areas early-stage companies need help with the most: product, engineering, design, operations, legal, finance, hiring, community, sales, public relations, marketing, content, media training, and more.

We’ve funded over 200 startups in the last decade, including Coinbase, Instacart, Flexport, and Cruise, but we’re just getting started. This newly created team will help us shape the stories of founders today so that we can leave behind a multi-generational legacy for the future. Or, as Garry likes to say, we are leaving breadcrumbs behind for the future generation in tech.