Minnie Ingersoll has already had an enviable career. After 12 years at Google, working as product manager and later principal with Google.org, she co-founded the venture-backed online car marketplace Shift in 2013, then she left to join the nonprofit Code for America, where she learned entirely new skills, including managing finance and marketing and recruiting.
Now, Ingersoll is taking her skills, know-how and network and putting them to work at the eight-year-old, L.A.-based seed-stage firm TenOneTen Ventures, which she has newly joined as a venture partner.
It’s a move she’d been longing to make, even if she wasn’t entirely honest with herself about it. “I’ve always been interested in VC but I think I was vaguely intimidated by the industry,” she said in a call earlier this afternoon. Despite her background — including a computer science degree from Stanford and a Harvard MBA — she wasn’t always sure she was qualified for a role as an investor.
Turns out that venture firms in L.A. quickly dispelled her of this notion.
While contemplating a move south from the Bay Area because it’s an expensive place to raise a family and because of aging parents in Southern California to whom she wanted to get nearer, Ingersoll found herself talking with local venture firms about executive roles at their portfolio companies. But those talks soon turned into job interviews, she says, which soon turned into repeated talks with one firm in particular: TenOneTen.
It’s the perfect fit for TenOneTen, says the firm’s co-founder, David Waxman. In fact, he says that while the firm had begun looking to hire another investor into the firm beginning last year, it only realized over time — while Ingersoll was meeting with some of TenOneTen’s portfolio companies as a kind of advisor — that he need look no further than Ingersoll, who felt very much part of the team straightaway.
Ingersoll voices a similar sentiment, saying she has fallen in love with L.A.’s collaborative seed-stage venture scene broadly, but adding that she was most attracted to TenOneTen because the young firm “feels like a scrappy startup with an unassuming techie team made of up hard-working engineers.” It’s a comfortable place for her to be, she suggests.
As for what Ingersoll will be funding, she says to stay tuned. TenOneTen typically writes $1 million checks to seed-stage companies, often as part of a syndicate, but its mandate is fairly broad. While Ingersoll remains interested in consumer tech and mobility, she suggests that not a lot is off the table.
Among the firm’s newest bets, for example, is HiHello, a year-old, Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of digital business cards that can be exchanged seamlessly and that earlier this month announced $2.5 million in seed funding, including from K9 Ventures and August Capital.
Another of its bets is CREXi, a 3.5-year-old, Venice, Calif.-based commercial real estate marketplace that went on to raise $11 million in Series A funding last year, including from Jackson Square Ventures, Manifest Investment Partners, Lerer Hippeau, Freestyle Capital and Founder Collective.
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