Deena Shakir of Lux Capital on firm culture, solving the diversity issue, and how portfolio management is a team sport - Venture Unlocked 014
Deena Shakir is a General Partner at Lux Capital, a firm founded in 2000 and has since raised $2.5 billion. Lux invests in emerging science and deep technology startups such as Auris Health, Cerulean, Zoox, and Bright Machines.
Deena graduated from Harvard undergrad and began her career as a presidential management fellow at the US Department of State, where she built partnerships with tech companies and helped launch President Obama’s global entrepreneurship summit in 2010.
She then joined Google, where she led business development and strategic partnerships for their global civic innovation portfolio before shifting to the investment side at Google Ventures (GV).
In 2019 Deena joined Lux Capital and focuses on companies that are seeking to provide solutions to improve human & environmental health, and productivity.
We covered several topics on the show, including:
01:12- Deena’s background as the daughter of Iraqi immigrants in California and her early career in journalism and government
08:17 - What prompted her move to GV to Lux
12:35 - What is the behavior trait that drives Lux as a firm
16:39 - How Lux makes decisions as a partnership
18:30 - Why portfolio management is a team sport at Lux.
22:12 - Establishing a company culture and hiring employees that will fit within it.
25:46 - What growth in fund size means in dictating strategy and mindset.
31:12 - Data on diversity in venture is the first step in overcoming unconscious bias
37:03 - Deena’s biggest career mistake and what she learned about it.
38:38 - Her advice for starting your own fund
40:29: Why Maha Ibrahim of Canaan Ventures is one of Deena’s role models
Mentioned in this episode:
Deena’s article in Forbes, Unlocking a Post-COVID Start-Up “She-Covery”
I’d love to know what you took away from my conversation with Deena Shakir. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.