Accel is bringing on an early employee from Twitter and Stripe to help find the next generation of passionate, dedicated entrepreneurs

Amy Saper

  • On Wednesday,
    Accel
    announced Amy Saper was joining the early-stage venture
    firm as a principal with full check-writing ability.
  • Saper was an early marketing employee at Twitter and
    later
    Stripe, where she helped both companies expand
    internationally.
  • This is Saper’s first venture role, but she told
    Business Insider she worked closely with startups and founders
    during her time at Stripe.
  • The granddaughter of a nuclear engineer and daughter of
    a physician, Saper said she grew up in a world where women were
    encouraged to go into science and technology, something she
    recognizes not all women experience.

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There’s a new face at one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture
firms.

On Wednesday,
Accel
announced Amy Saper was joining the team as a principal.
Because of the firm’s uncommon structure, Saper may have a more
junior title, but she’ll have the full check-writing ability and
board responsibilities that would be reserved for partner-level
investors at Accel’s competitors.

At the firm, her goal will be to find, and fund, the next
generation of entrepreneur.

“I’m a first-time investor, so I like to partner with first-time
founders,” Saper told Business Insider. “That way, we can help and
support each other as we both take on these new roles.”

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Although this is Saper’s first full-time investing role, it’s
not the first time she’s worked with startups and founders. She was
most recently on payment tech company
Stripe’s Atlas team, which helps small businesses simplify the
incorporation process
. Prior to that, she was an early employee
at Twitter overseeing international expansion.

Indeed, she highlights John Collison, president and CEO of
Stripe, as an example of the kinds of founders she wants to
fund. 

“I’ve worked with incredible founders so I know first hand how
grueling it can be,” Saper said. “I want to find founders with
Collison-level perseverance and passion for the problem they are
solving.”

While she was at Stripe, Saper said she saw an impressive talent
pool that stretched across the United States and beyond, so she
said she’s eager to use Accel’s influence to fund startups outside
of Silicon Valley. She will be loosely focused on early-stage
startups in the e-commerce, wellness, and enterprise software
spaces, a product of her experience in both consumer and enterprise
startups.

“I actually think one of the selling points for me about Accel
is the ability to work on both [consumer and enterprise
investments],” Saper told Business Insider. “There are firms with a
wall between consumer and enterprise, but some of the early-stage
founders I’ve advised start by targeting a consumer play and end up
pivoting to enterprise.” 

If that’s the case, Saper came to the right firm.
One of Accel’s biggest successes in 2019 was workplace chat app
Slack
, which
started as a mobile gaming company
before ultimately going
public as an enterprise productivity tool. She said that startups
like Slack that rely on word-of-mouth growth among employees are
particularly appealing to her background working on customer
experience.

“One of the best indicators of a startup’s success is how
customers find you,” Saper said. “You see it in consumer and
enterprise: if you love a product you tell your friends or
colleagues about it and the company sees this amazing organic
growth.”

The other winning factor? Representation, Saper said. Her
grandmother was a nuclear engineer and her mother was a physician,
but she realizes that not all women were encouraged to participate
in science and technology during their early years.

“I’m incredibly passionate about getting more women involved in
all parts of tech ecosystem,” Saper said. “As a third generation
woman in science and technology, I grew up in a world where that
was normal.”

SEE ALSO: A
Harvard grad was the first employee at buzzy credit card startup
Brex and says the experience was better than any MBA program she
could have taken.


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Accel is bringing on an early employee from Twitter and Stripe to help find the next generation of passionate, dedicated entrepreneurs