Kenan Thompson speaks during a virtual fundraiser using the new PledgeCam.

I’m thrilled to announce Maven Ventures’ investment in Pledge and share our enthusiasm with the world. Pledge is a fundraising platform that makes it easy for businesses, nonprofits and individuals to make a positive impact in their communities and around the globe. With Pledge, every Zoom call, Clubhouse chat, Shopify store, and virtual event can become a fundraising opportunity and demonstrate real-time impact. In a year where we’ve all been physically distanced more than ever before, technologies like Zoom have helped to keep us all connected. Traditional fundraising events have vanished, yet nonprofits and mission-driven companies still need to create…


Too many founders optimize their fundraising based on a single metric: valuation. Of course, I understand where this comes from, and the desire to minimize dilution. As early-stage investors, we also care about the dilutive effects of follow-on rounds, both for us and the founders. A key lesson we’ve learned across our investments is that valuation isn’t often the most important factor, and it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

After discussing funding strategy constantly with founders in the Maven portfolio, and having dozens of conversations about valuation each month with new potential investments, I’ve been thinking a lot about the…


There’s a lot of great information available about investor presentations, pitch decks, and the fundraising process. But many entrepreneurs wonder: how do you get the right meetings in the first place? Below, I’ve shared some advice for presenting yourself and your company in a quick, impactful verbal pitch. It’s most targeted to a potential investor (since those are the pitches I hear most often), but with some tweaks it may be useful for other conversations, too, like customers, partners, or potential employees. If you’re here looking for advice on a more formal investor pitch, check this out instead.

Seven tips…


Our investment thesis at Maven is to identify emerging consumer trends and invest in software technology that transforms millions of lives. Here are some of the areas we’re exploring right how. If you’re starting an early-stage company related to one of these themes, with a committed, technical team and a vision worth fighting for, we’d love to hear from you.

  • High-growth consumer software: over the past 10 years, the Maven team has invested in dozens of consumer software companies. We’re looking to invest in the very best founders building great products and technology, solving a real consumer problem, that can…


Photo by Jan Mellstrom

As the level of interest in starting and joining early-stage tech companies grows, so does interest in funding them. Usually once a week or so, I’ll hear from a new college grad, fresh MBA, or career soul-searcher who is eager to break into the Venture Capital industry. I’ve gathered the snippets below to share whenever someone is seeking input and advice. For the first time, I’m sharing the list publicly.

Getting Started

Though relatively small, the VC industry is very nuanced. Before jumping in, aspiring investors should consider several dimensions: Big firm or small firm? Early-stage or growth-stage? Hands-on or…


Photo by Jamie Street

I’ve spent the last year and a half meeting healthcare startup founders. About six months ago, I wrote about several challenges in consumer healthcare and why I hadn’t invested yet. Since then, I made one investment (which I’ll be excited to share more about soon!) and our team at Maven has continued to get smarter on the market and opportunities. In addition to our own research and diligence, we are thankful for the many passionate founders and experienced healthcare investors who have shared their knowledge with us. …


The most popular topic in tech might be the coveted “exit.” We read about them every day — whether the pace is speeding or slowing, which companies are potential acquirers and targets, and how entrepreneurs and their investors perform when they happen. But the details are often glossed over: how did it actually happen? What do founders and investors need to do to help get the deal done?

It’s been an exciting year of exits at Maven, and I want to share some insights learned from the acquisition conversations and process. Three and a half years into the life of…


It’s an exciting time to be an investor in consumer healthcare companies. Before becoming a VC, I was a management consultant focused on healthcare strategy at Deloitte Consulting. During the passing of the Affordable Care Act, I worked with clients across the healthcare industry — providers, payers, and pharmacies — to build and execute their evolving strategies in a changing environment.

Now, as a Partner at Maven Ventures, I focus on identifying and investing in the most impactful consumer software trends. About a year ago, I began to see a trend in the healthcare industry: the large-scale government reform efforts…


Earlier this month, we held our second annual Maven Ventures Holiday Party, and it was great to welcome the holiday season with our Maven community — the Maven team, founders, limited partners, mentors, and many other friends and supporters. It was so great to bring everyone together for a fun night. My Maven teammates and I are thankful to work with such a quality group. When we debriefed after the event, we couldn’t help but notice that one of the reasons everyone had a great time was that the room was full of good people. That’s by design. It’s part…


Why are printers such a pain? When I moved into a new apartment in San Francisco and set up my home office, I bought a new wireless printer. My internet connection didn’t boost through the 1960s concrete slabs in my building, so I added a wifi extender. Between my laptop, the wifi extender, and the new printer, I was soon in a frustrating tech mess and couldn’t get it all working in sync. The same thing started happening at the Maven Ventures office. …

Sara Deshpande

Consumer tech investor and startup supporter @mavenvc.

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