26-year-old Terri Burns has become the youngest black female partner of Alphabet-backed venture capital firm GV. Formerly known as Google Venture, GV has invested in firms such as Slack, Uber, and GitLab, according to Fortune.
She started as an associate product manager at Twitter, where she focused on user experience before she was hired by GV as a Principal on their investing team three years ago. She is also overseeing investment in HAGS, an app that started as a student yearbook, to be transformed into a broader social site for high schoolers and another company yet to be announced.
Burns also worked as a developer evangelist and front-end engineer at Venmo, a mobile payments company. Speaking on the significance of Burns’ promotion, GV general partner, Dave Munichiello, said in a blog post: “Her investments display her interest in companies that are built by and for Gen Z, particularly as this generation comes of age in a remarkably uncertain time.”
More about this
According to Business Insider, Terri’s promotion follows a shakeup at the venture firm over the summer. GV laid off 8% of its staff who were in positions related to operations, events, partnerships, and recruiting engineers to work at portfolio companies.
Burns is touted as a rarity in an industry dominated by white males. Since 2017, the number of female decision-makers in the venture capital space has grown from 9% to 13%. In 2019, only 52 women became partners or general partners at VC firms, according to All Raise, an advocacy group for women in venture capital and tech.
According to Fortune, only one Black woman was named partner of a venture capital in 2019 while Black people made up just 0.67% of all entrants to the industry between 2010 and 2015. For now, Burns is focused on consumer businesses and will also expand to other areas including the future of work and fintech.
Burns studied computer science at New York University. She speaks and writes on issues related to technology, diversity, and inclusion. She is a current Kauffman Fellow. The Kauffman Fellows Journal contains critical research, stories, and insights that dive deep into topics in venture capital, technology, and startups.
“When I started my career as a computer scientist and product manager, I was hyper-focused: there was always one project, one feature, and one team I was focused on. Today as a VC, I have the unique opportunity to really go broad, and understand the greater entrepreneurial and technological market. As a person with many different interests, it’s the perfect balance for me,” she says about her GV journey.
Burns has also worked closely with Brave Initiatives, a nonprofit providing high school girls with coding and leadership training.