I always get asked whether I’d ever start my own company, but I just feel so lucky to be a partner to founders. I hope I’ll get to do it for decades to come.
I grew up in a small city in Romania and didn’t travel much—my image of the U.S. came from reading and sitcoms. But for some reason, I got this idea that I wanted to study there, and I got a scholarship to Georgetown. It was an incredible experience, intoxicating in the best way possible, and it changed my life both academically and socially. My best friends to this day, I met in college.
After graduation I was fortunate enough to get a call from a recruiter for an investment firm. Tech investing was love at first sight for me—it was very, very clear that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I joined Accel in 2011 and was privileged to partner with companies like UiPath that helped define the startup ecosystem in Europe. I never even took coffees with other firms, but I always told my husband, “If Sequoia ever calls, I owe it to myself to at least have the conversation.” When they did, it was to open up a new geography. It just felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
On the lookout for
When I started investing, I didn’t fully understand people who said it was all about the founder. My first questions were always about business model and market. But over the years, I’ve come to turn that around, and I now make more investments than ever at the seed, when the founding team is all that matters.
It’s definitely not about the résumé; I’ve worked with successful founders from all walks of life. There’s always some spark that gets me excited—but it’s not the same for every founder. Sometimes it’s their curiosity; I love it when I introduce them to someone and hear later that they asked a thousand questions. Sometimes it’s that they challenge me. Investors often ask if a founder listens. But honestly, a founder who says “yes” too much concerns me. When they push back, and it’s clear they’ve already thought three steps ahead—those are the smart, independent thinkers I’m most drawn to, and the ones who often do well.Get in touch with Luciana
- Married life
Press & Media
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