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Stephanie Zhan

  • Seed/Early
Startups are hard. At the highs I'm not just your cheerleader but your sparring partner, at the lows your co-pilot. We’re in this together, building for the long term to become a generational company.

Backstory

I grew up in Hong Kong and Beijing, in the early days of the internet: Baidu, Weibo, Wechat, JD and Alibaba. Technology elevated the lives of a billion people through two decades of transformative socioeconomic change. That scale of ambition, energy, hard work, appetite for change—all of it has shaped me deeply. It’s made me believe that anything is possible. It’s made me a more flexible and creative thinker, and a forever optimist. I root for the daring to build the impossible, and we’ll work to make your wildest ambitions a reality together.

I worked at Nest in the early days before its acquisition by Google. I’ve also seen first hand through my husband who co-founded Ethos, in the Sequoia portfolio, what it’s like to build and scale a high growth startup. I have deep empathy for founders and the imperfect reality that defines the startup journey.

Experiencing the inside of the journey shapes how I partner with the founders I work with, as a partner from day one: helping you find product market fit, hire your first few team members, build a leadership team and scale an organization over time. My goal is to help founders avoid making mistakes others have learned the hard way, and to share the practical, operational advice to build a business that is meaningful and enduring over time.

On the lookout for

Most important is working with good people I want to spend time with for decades. Founders who have ambition to build something lasting and transformational. Founders who are thoughtful, gritty, and have the mental and emotional fortitude to charge ahead and lead even through tough times.

In consumer, I love products that bring joy, convenience, accessibility, community and belonging. I’m on the board of Rec Room, which is building a digital third place for kids. I played Neopets as a kid; this is similar but cross platform, deeply social, and massively multiplayer. Today they are a top ranking game across VR, Xbox, PlayStation, iOS and Android, and a go-to metaverse for kids. We led the Seed and multiple rounds since.

On the enterprise side, it’s an incredible field of opportunity right now. I love products that focus on bringing a delightful user experience, easier and faster collaboration, and greater productivity and efficiency. Linear and Middesk, which I serve on the boards of, are exactly that. We led the Seed and Series A in Linear, which has become one of the most loved developer products with an incredible community of developer love. Similarly, Middesk has enabled easier and more accurate background checks on businesses via its APIs, creating fundamental infrastructure around business identity online.

Finally, AI will be the most important theme of the next decade, driven by the scale of data, new technological breakthroughs in generative models and advancements in compute. Github Copilot has proven that we can make even top developers 10x better at what they do; ChatGPT has shown how powerful these products can be and how excited consumers are to use them. Both are just the beginning of interesting applications to come. I’m excited to see how foundation models, and a vibrant ecosystem of applications built around them will fundamentally transform every category we know of today: developer tools and infrastructure, search, the collaboration and productivity suite, games and entertainment, the creative suite, biology… to name just a few.

Get in touch with Stephanie

Personal Side

  • Family
  • Ares the Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • E/ACC

Press & Media

Companies

Current Companies

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
Domino Data LabDomino Data Lab helps data scientists build and deploy AI applications.Growth
  • Nick Elprin
  • Matthew Granade
  • Chris Yang
Early (2016)Collapse
EvyEvy builds simple product protection for e-commerce and retailers.Seed
  • Shana Azria
  • Simon Kemoun
  • Tanguy Le Stradic
Seed (2021)Collapse
Garner HealthGarner Health helps employers enrich employee benefits and reduce costs without changing plans or networks.Growth
  • Nick Reber
Seed (2019)Collapse
LinearLinear builds issue tracking tools for developers.Early
  • Tuomas Artman
  • Jori Lallo
  • Karri Saarinen
Seed (2019)Collapse
Mach IndustriesMach is solving hypersonic defense and revolutionizing defense technology.Seed
  • Ethan Thornton
Seed (2023)Collapse
MiddeskMiddesk makes software that builds trust between businesses.Growth
  • Kyle Mack
  • Kurt Ruppel
Seed (2019)Collapse
MultisMultis builds corporate cards and accounting software for web3 organizations.Seed
  • Thibaut Sahaghian
Seed (2021)Collapse
Rec RoomRec Room is a cross platform digital third place for kids at heart.Growth
  • John Bevis
  • Cameron Brown
  • Nick Fajt
  • Dan Kroymann
  • O. Bilal Orhan
  • Josh Wehrly
Seed (2016)Collapse
ReplicateReplicate runs machine learning models in the cloud.Early
  • Ben Firshman
  • Andreas Jansson
Seed (2021)Collapse
SundaySunday is a one-stop shop for your outdoor home. Growth
  • Coulter Lewis
  • Trent Lewis
Early (2020)Collapse
TavusTavus makes personalized videos scalable using generative AI.Seed
  • Quinn Favret
  • Hassaan Raza
Seed (2021)Collapse