Meet the Partner: Karen Page
May 13, 2021
What investing areas do you focus on?
I believe that technology transforms legacy tools and markets and that providing access to innovative products drives innovation and empowers people and companies to thrive. I am intrigued by the infrastructure layers that enable these new technologies, as well as the customer facing solutions that engage and empower end-users to get their jobs done, for customers to enjoy a more positive experience, and to uplevel way the world does business.
I have spent time focused on digital health, fintech, logistics and transportation, and enterprise SaaS. Because of my background in enterprise SaaS, I gravitate towards B2B companies that rely on an enterprise go-to-market (GTM) motion. It is rewarding to work with these founders as they scale their business within this space because the sales effort in traditional enterprise companies depends on a range of talent across many teams and functions to build a repeatable set of sales initiatives, and I have pattern recognition around that. The sales motion for these companies is complex but done well, the effort builds loyal and sticky customers.
What attracted you to work at B Capital?
I was fascinated by the vision that B Capital Group had set out to achieve. My early conversations with Raj, Howard, and Eduardo focused on growing a wildly talented team, investing in technologies that are changing the world, and working with LPs who are equally committed to these goals. These conversations inspired me; I am a builder. Our commitment is to seek out exceptional entrepreneurs who build successful businesses that can return capital to our LPs upon an exit. To do that, we need exceptional investors and strategists, a strong operations team that keeps us on track, and a platform team that drives post-investment engagement.
When I joined the firm, we had less than 30 employees and about 25 investments, and AUM of $365M. Two years later, we have over 80 employees, more than 60 investments, and our AUM is close to $2B. From my early conversations with the founders to today — it’s clear to see that the firm is meeting and exceeding our foundational goals.
I am in the role of my lifetime — building a fast-paced startup venture firm, spending time with growth minded founders, launching new vehicles, and building a team that I am insanely proud of. This is what attracted me to the firm, and we are just getting started.
What’s something that you always look for in a pitch?
I like to start with the team. I want to know their history, why they’re passionate about their company, what drives them, and understand their progression. There are magic moments in initial calls where you feel the fire in the founder. In my mind, that fire is a must-have — the drive and commitment will enable that founder to power through the inevitable challenges that they will face.
Next, I want to understand the business: Are they serving a growing or emerging market? Do they deeply understand the problem they’re trying to solve? Have they had early successes, and what do they expect to happen next in those areas? I want to better gauge their capacity for dealing with opportunities and challenges, and how they think about these ideas. I want to work with founders who understand the challenges and uncertainty and are unapologetically going to go for it anyway.
Lastly, the story must be compelling. Masterful storytelling and creating a narrative that draws in the listener is an important skill. I recently spoke with a startup founder whose previous startup failed because they encountered a blind spot, which became the impetus for his new company. The way they shared the failure and the learnings that drove the mission to develop a product that solves the problem they faced was compelling, real, and drew me in.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?
I can’t imagine doing anything other than venture; its at the intersection of everything I have experienced and am fascinated by. I’m passionate about working with founders to partner with them in navigating the startup seas of uncertainty. Founders have hundreds of decisions to make when developing their company. They must build technology that works and that people want to buy, and they also need to build teams to support their vision and juggle raising and spending money. The decisions and questions are numerous. It’s an intellectual challenge every day, and it is fulfilling to be on the journey with our founders.
What did you do before you were an investor?
Before I was an investor I was an operator, and I learned firsthand the challenges that founders and executives face as they’re working to grow and scale a company. I was a very early executive at Box. Early on, I helped drive the company’s shift from a consumer to an enterprise focus. As we scaled, I worked with the founder to raise venture money for the company, build teams, define the culture, and define the strategy and approach. I worked on emerging areas that became growth drivers. As a management team, we were always asking questions like what’s next? What’s missing? What do we need to do to solve a particular problem? How do we prioritize what to build and how to go to market?
Answering these questions in my areas led us to expand internationally, build a commercial channel, develop an industry sales approach, and launch Box.org. I would get things launched, nurture them, and hire a leader to take them over. I found the experience of understanding the dynamics of solving problems and evaluating solutions to be incredibly fulfilling.
What’s something many people may not know about you?
I am a connector. I love to bring people together in business and socially. There is positive power in building a network and making introductions that enable new friendships, new business relationships, and even new partnerships. It’s putting together pieces of a puzzle, and so gratifying when new ventures are sparked. Over the years, these relationships, when nurtured, lead to additional introductions, expanded networks and relationships, and for me, it’s a fulfilling and special when positive outcomes result.
Connect with Karen on LinkedIn!
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