Firm News

Why I Joined Next Coast Ventures by Kaitlyn DeBernardo, Head of Platform

Kaitlyn DeBernardo
March 10, 2022
August 29, 2022

After nearly five years at a high-growth technology company, I decided to make a change. I realized the parts of my career I loved the most – and frankly, where I made the biggest impact – were in the early days of company building. Confronting challenges, brainstorming solutions, and effectively utilizing resources gets me excited.

The problems start-up employees face seem unpredictable and nascent when you’re in it, but they often aren’t. Talk to anyone who has been an early employee at a high-growth early-stage company and you’ll likely hear about a lot of similar problems:

  • Sales (getting meetings, finding champions, determining pricing strategy)
  • People (recruiting, compensating, navigating HR issues)
  • Product (road mapping, selling in advance of development)
  • Finance (understanding cash burn, planning, raising capital)
  • The list goes on…

I was fortunate to have joined Workrise (then known as RigUp) in 2017 when the company had about fifty employees, had raised less than $25mm, and had a few hundred field worker customers, all working in oil and gas. When I left in early 2022, we had hundreds of employees, had raised over $750mm, and had thousands of field worker customers, working across multiple industrial verticals. For me, and for most of my colleagues in those early years, the challenges we encountered were new – to us, at least.

Company building isn’t a singular achievement. It’s a collection of big wins and (hopefully) smaller mistakes. It’s about building a team of smart people who work hard to further the mission. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and figuring it out. And if you’re lucky, you have a solid investor who's there to support you along the way – an investor whose partners have been entrepreneurs themselves, who have faced and solved similar problems before. Investors who truly understand what it means to start and run a business – investors who have lived through it.

I’m excited about my new role as a Partner and Head of Platform at Next Coast Ventures. I’m eager to start building repeatable, scalable solutions that NCV’s entrepreneurs can leverage to accelerate the learning process.  

Complementing my experience are the vast resources available to entrepreneurs at NCV. All of our investing partners have been successful CEOs or Presidents of technology companies. We have assembled a network of 150+ current and former operators to provide expert advice to our portfolio companies. We thrive on helping entrepreneurs, working alongside management teams to not just help launch their first product, but also to help them build their company. As I join NCV this week, I can’t wait to start bringing these resources to life to make our entrepreneurs more successful. 

NCV was built for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, and I’m excited to be a part of the journey.

To read the official press release, click here.

Kaitlyn DeBernardo

Click here to read the article.
Partner, Head of Platform

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