The prominent Silicon Valley venture-capital fund Andreessen Horowitz has promoted Ottawa native Angela Strange to general partner, making her one of few Canadian women to reach the upper echelons of the U.S. venture-capital industry.
Ms. Strange is a Stanford University graduate, a former entrepreneur, past product manager on Alphabet Inc.'s Google Chrome browser and a recent economic-policy adviser to the Canadian federal government. As a partner with Andreessen Horowitz for nearly 4 years, she has focused on financial services and technology, helping source investments such as Earnin', which lets users access their pay faster than a traditional paycheque.
In her new role as general partner, Ms. Strange will continue her focus on fintech, but will be able to cut cheques and join boards, deepening her influence with the firm and in Silicon Valley more broadly. She sees a number of opportunities for fintech companies to disrupt traditional financial services, such as making the insurance industry more efficient and building products for underserved markets, including lower income brackets.
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“There’s so many different companies really coming up with great, for-profit, investable businesses that are solving big financial problems for the half the population that’s been previously ignored, or not well-served, by mainstream financial services,” Ms. Strange said in an interview.
Women are highly underrepresented in venture-capital leadership roles: In July, a report from Female Funders found that only 14 per cent of partners at Canada’s most active venture firms are women.
In her new role, Ms. Strange becomes one of a small but growing number of Canadian women among top tech-investment leaders in California. Among them are Katherine Barr, founding partner at Wildcat Venture Partners. Coincidentally, both Ms. Strange and Ms. Barr have been co-chairs of C100, a Silicon Valley organization that mentors Canadian entrepreneurs and links them with investment opportunities in the region.
Alex Rampell, also a general partner with Andreessen Horowitz in the fintech space, said the firm had been looking for a new GP that entrepreneurs would automatically trust and seek out for investment. Ms. Strange, he said, "established herself as one of the go-to people in this space for fintech.”
“A lot of the best entrepreneurs want to work with Angela," he continued. "And across our portfolio, the companies we’ve already invested in, she’s been a great mentor, adviser and board observer to many of our entrepreneurs and CEOs. It just became a no-brainer that as we wanted to double down on fintech, the best person do to that was sitting right in front of us.”
Andreessen Horowitz’s investments have included Airbnb, Buzzfeed, Coinbase, Facebook, Foursquare, Groupon and Lyft.
Ms. Strange starts her new role immediately.