by Jennifer Carolan
I’m delighted to announce that Chian Gong has been promoted to Principal at Reach Capital. Chian started with Reach as an intern during the summer of 2014 while getting her joint MBA/MPA degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Wharton. She made such a positive impression on the team that we recruited her to join us after her graduation and hoped she would consider building her career at Reach.
The engine behind every venture capital fund is its people. As Union Square VC Fred Wilson says, “When you get the people right, it is magic. When you get the people wrong, it sucks for everyone, including the entrepreneurs.” I’ve learned over the years that the chemistry amongst partners in venture capital funds is fragile and the very best funds take special care of this dynamic.
Reach is a tight-knit team bound by a shared vision of how technology can transform education. The partner team — myself, Shauntel, Wayee and Esteban — have worked together for many years, getting our start at NewSchools Venture Fund together. Our venture partners Jim and Jen have also been our friends and colleagues for 10+ years, and Maria our office manager has been with us from the beginning. We all value our friendship, trust, intellectual independence and ability to push each other in a respectful way. Chian is just the right fit for our investment team; she embodies our core values while stretching us in important new ways.
One of the ways Chian has pushed us is by initiating the architecture of our internal data system which helps us track our portfolio companies, target our support and take advantage of our vertical focus to provide performance benchmarking. Chian leveraged this data system to uncover our own internal bias in our investment process which she published with Shauntel A Look in the Mirror: Reflecting on Diversity at Reach Capital and was cited by Melinda Gates in her Recode piece. Chian’s analytical rigor is complemented by a fun personality that makes us all want to work with her; she is curious, humble, kind and entrepreneurial.
Titles can be confusing in the opaque world of venture capital. For Reach, a principal is a partner-track investing position. As principal, Chian will take on a more investing-centric role building upon her many accomplishments from the last two years. One of the qualities that I appreciate most about Chian is that she is already becoming an intentional investor, developing investment theses grounded in solid research. Her thesis around equity and higher ed access led her to identify AdmitHub as an investment opportunity early on, which eventually led to Reach co-leading their Seed round with Relay Ventures. She now serves on their board as an observer. Founder/CEO Drew Magliozzi describes Chian as “thoughtful, incisive, and caring. Her feedback is always spot-on, particularly in moments when she delivers feedback with an uncanny combination of brutal honesty and genuine compassion.” She also serves on the board of PeopleGrove as an observer.
We are thrilled to share Chian’s promotion and if you haven’t already, I hope you get to meet her soon.
Our team is growing, we are adding an Associate and a Venture Ops role. If you are aligned with our values and interested in working with a small, roll-up-your-sleeves, mission-focused team, we’d love to meet you.