- Associate Director of Social Investments at AT&T
- Head of Education at Village Capital
- US Economic Opportunity lead at Village Capital
- Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Education – Connecticut State Department of Education
- Senior Associate – State Street Corporation
- Analyst – Goldman Sachs
- Hampton University, BS in Marketing
- General Assembly Front End Web Development, Python Programming
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH ZEAL CAPITAL PARTNERS?
I’ve dedicated my career to sourcing, investing, and scaling high growth early stage businesses led by exceptional founders across the country, many of whom do not fit the traditional tech founder mold. Not enough founders are getting a fair shot – they’re not receiving the best resources, mentorship, and capital. Far too much innovation and genius are going untapped. Small businesses are getting left behind, which is critical to the infrastructure of our US and global economy.
Zeal is on a path towards democratizing venture capital and entrepreneurship with our Inclusive Investing™ strategy. Together with our team and dedicated limited partners, we are rethinking how we support entrepreneurs today and long term so that they too can leverage opportunities to scale.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN FOUNDERS? WHAT GETS YOU EXCITED?
I’m interested in founders who are humble and have “zeal”( pun intended) – a fire and relentlessness to go the distance. If a founder is not madly in love with their business, I won’t be either. I’m also interested in founders who have deep insight into their market and are solving a “painkiller” problem(s) without compromising their integrity.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO EXPAND OUR LENS TO NON-TRADITIONAL STARTUP HOTBEDS?
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing first hand, through my previous investments, that there are exceptional founders and businesses everywhere and I believe there’s power in leveraging local assets in all geographies. Over the past decade , founders from secondary markets have become more and more sophisticated, building profitable and sustainable business models with the same rigor as in primary markets. We are beginning to see more cities known for sector-specific innovations, and many are partnering with universities and large corporations to develop transformational ideas that have economic and social returns. Investing in companies in lower cost cities allows dollars to go much further than investments in traditional financial and tech ecosystems such as SF , Boston, and NYC.
YOU OFTEN SAY “WEALTH AND SKILL ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE IN THE PATH TOWARD UPWARD MOBILITY.” CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS?
Given the fast-changing demands of the labor market, more skills are required in order for people to have a competitive advantage that offers economic mobility. Some form of postsecondary education, credentialing or ability to re/up-skill is pivotal in unlocking higher earning potential in the modern economy. And, to capitalize on new and evolving career opportunities, people need access to financial services and an understanding of financial management. We are excited to partner with founders who are developing important tools and resources across the Future of Work and Financial Technology sectors. These innovative solutions allow people and small businesses to reach their full potential. Wealth and skills go hand-in-hand.
WHAT MAKES THE ZEAL CAPITAL PARTNERS TEAM UNIQUE?
Our team hustles like the entrepreneurs we seek to back. We bring a combination of high-IQ and low-ego. Everyone is genuinely motivated to help founders and companies maximize their potential. We come from diverse backgrounds and have different operating expertise, which makes our collective advice all the more thoughtful and practical.
FAVORITE QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?
“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.” – Ani DiFranco
OUTSIDE OF VENTURE, WHAT INTERESTS YOU?
I find so much joy in running. Running introduces me to my worst enemy. I have an obsessive goal to run 51 full marathons — one in each state and Washington, DC. I’ve completed 18 full marathons to date. I also find myself unwinding by playing pickup basketball, anything Larry David, and more recently, perfecting my DJ skills. DJing is a newfound passion that allows me to share my music artistry with our community, which I love to do on weekends at a local vinyl shop in Washington, DC. Specifically, I love house music!
FIRST LIVE CONCERT YOU WENT TO?
Incognito – 1995 Atlanta Tabernacle