Garry Tan will become president and CEO of Y Combinator in early 2023
Garry will remain founder and partner at Initialized until early 2023, and will continue to be a strategic advisor moving forward.
We are very excited to share that Initialized Capital will enter its next chapter led by Jen Wolf and Brett Gibson as Initialized’s newest managing partners, effective immediately.
Jen, previously president and partner, will continue to invest and lead all of Initialized’s operations, growing the team and setting the vision for the firm as one of a handful of women to manage a $3.2B fund in the US.
Brett, previously general partner, will lead the firm’s overall, sector-agnostic, early stage investment strategy and the investing team across all of our areas of focus including crypto, web3, SaaS, AI, fintech, healthtech, housing, and climate.
Initialized’s founder and previous managing partner, Garry Tan, will join Y Combinator (YC) as president and CEO in early 2023. In the meantime, he will continue at Initialized as founder and partner with no changes to his current role. Garry will continue to be a resource for Initialized and our community, and is committed to the future success of the firm.
“Since inception, my goal has always been for Initialized to outlive its founders. Over the past five years in particular, we have evolved our organization with the addition of best-in-class leadership, investing talent, and infrastructure. All the while, we have remained true to our founding principles and delivered strong metrics,” said Garry Tan.
“I see an important opportunity at YC to make a positive change to the startup ecosystem and serve that community — bringing my experience there will ultimately strengthen early stage technology and founders everywhere,” said Garry. “I am able to do this important work because Initialized has the foundation and leadership in place to continue to be successful over the long term. Initialized and YC are very much aligned — YC made me, but I made Initialized.”
Garry continued, “I’ve known Jen and Brett in aggregate longer than I’ve been alive. Jen was promoted to president last year because I knew she was the perfect person to grow the organization, and could do it while managing all the firm’s day-to-day operations. Brett is an engineer, a long time partner, and previous co-founder of mine who has successfully led our enterprise SaaS and crypto investments. They are both incredible leaders who have elevated themselves over time, founders love them, and they are world-class, high-integrity investors who have shepherded billion-dollar startups. I have the utmost respect for and confidence in them.”
Garry, Jen, Brett, and the rest of the Initialized investing team remain fully committed to Initialized’s founding ethos: to build a firm that truly helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. The firm’s investment strategy remains the same: to invest in high-potential, early stage founders who are using software to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.
Jen and Brett joined Initialized for Fund III in 2017, along with general partner Alda Leu Dennis and partner Kim Mai Cutler. Over the past five years, this team has been instrumental in building the modern version of Initialized that is recognized today. Fund III’s results speak for themselves with investments in companies such as CoinTracker, Flock Safety, Fly.io, Rippling, Truepill, Ro, and Papa. The team is now investing out of Fund VI with almost 30 unicorns in the portfolio across all the funds, five of them decacorns and with many of the firm’s first IPOs, SPACs, and M&As happening in the last year.
More about Jen
Last May Jen was promoted to president and partner to manage and build the team while continuing to oversee the firm’s day-to-day operations. Jen is an active investor in companies such as AptDeco, Cohere, Narrator, and an unannounced stealth unicorn. She works closely with all our founders, lending her expertise in design and coaching founders on leadership issues like co-founder conflict, leading through a downturn, hiring diverse teams, and many other sensitive issues that could otherwise sink a company.
Jen is also the heart of Initialized, intentionally building a workplace and culture where collaboration, high-integrity, empathy, and diversity are top priorities.
Last year Jen launched a pioneering open hiring program to search for new investment team partners and principals — something non-existent in the VC world that has traditionally hired from the same small and exclusive networks. Her intent was to find people who best exemplify the firm’s culture and values from outside our networks, bring valuable expertise to our founders, and open up opportunities on our investing team for some exceptional people.
Jen is an experienced operator, executive, and builder, as well as an expert in design with 20 years of management experience under her belt.
More about Brett
Brett has deep experience in enterprise SaaS and dev tools, and invests primarily in crypto and web3 companies. He’s mostly interested in the technical, infrastructure side of crypto, but also real uses, social applications, how people are adopting it, and how companies are handling data sovereignty and privacy. In his new role, he’ll oversee investments across all of our investing sectors.
He’s led deals for companies such as Bison Trails, Talos, TRM, Hummingbot, CoinTracker, Fly.io, Alliance DAO, Paper, and non-crypto companies like Depict.ai, Albedo, and Rescale.
Brett is extremely sympathetic to what our companies need as they go through the VC process and as they grow their business. He invests in people first and seeks talented founders who are intellectually honest and straightforward, with completeness around their vision and an obsession and deep focus on what they’re building. Our founders appreciate Brett’s credibility and know he’ll go to bat for them.
Brett joined Initialized as a self-taught coder, engineer, and 4x founder. Having previously been accepted as a founder into YC himself, he later joined the YC team, meeting and working with many amazing startups. While there, he also helped write some of YC’s essential internal software systems including the application and voting system, startup tracking system, parts of Hacker News and Bookface, and YC’s Demo Day site.
At Initialized he built Folio, the firm’s internal software system for real-time sharing of investment and operations data. It allows the team to work together quickly like a hive mind. One of its most important, purpose-built features is its blind voting function, which removes bias and hierarchy from the team’s decision making process on potential deals.
We are grateful to Garry for instilling Initialized’s original values and vision a decade ago, creating a VC for founders by founders, and showing us how to believe before it’s obvious. Initialized will continue to benefit from Garry’s expertise in the years to come.