I’m John Azubuike, an Investor at Owl Ventures, which is a multistage EdTech / Future of Work fund in San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked across seed stage, venture stage, growth stage and private equity investment platforms over the last 6 years. I’m a proud Nigerian immigrant who grew up in New York City and lives in the Bay Area. I’m excited to dialogue with folks during this week’s AMA.
My winding road to investing began in college. I spent the schoolyear immersed in science through Harvard’s Engineering coursework and summers absorbed by the breadth and depth of investment banking and management consulting.
My first job out of school was as an application developer for the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a medical research organization housed within Columbia University. While working there, I got to volunteer with the Kaplan EdTech accelerator through Tech Stars. This was my introduction to all things startup related, from first hires to final demo day pitches. It was there that I learned the language of venture by facilitating countless conversations between VCs and startups. In venture capital, I had finally found something that would marry my passion for learning deeply about technology and working broadly across the myriad ways tech companies can solve problems.
I went on to KEC Ventures, a seed stage fund. There, I facilitated several firsts for our portfolio companies: first institutional check, first cap table, first board meetings, first customer contracts, and first exits! From KEC, I became the first hire for the control investing practice of TCV, a multinational growth investing firm. There, I straddled the line between investor and operator as we worked directly with management teams to set and meet shared goals for our companies. I also managed the ecosystems in which these companies would thrive by building relationships with prospective hires, acquisitions, collaborators, service providers, and investors.
All of these experiences led me to my current role at Owl Ventures, the largest EdTech and Future of Work focused fund. Here, I work with companies that are redefining people’s relationships with learning and what people can do with that learning at every stage of their lives, wherever they are in the world.
I’d be happy to share my thoughts on anything helpful including:
- Navigating the fundraising environment during COVID
- How much a company should raise and at what stage
- Differences between the NYC and SF fundraising environments
- Thinking through B2B, direct to consumer, and business to government models
- Recent changes in the education and hiring sectors
- The future of education procurement for K-12 and Higher Education
- Changes in enterprise buying trends during COVID
Let’s get started!
Republic Venture Partner AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a weekly series. Feel free to ask questions in the discussion section below.* He will be answering questions Wednesday 9/09 through Friday 9/11 so submit your questions now!
*must sign into Republic account to ask questions — register here first!