Welcoming Our Newest Partner, Grace Ge

Sarah Catanzaro

I can almost always recall my first conversations with the founders that we back - even when they’re not about fundraising. These founders impress me with unique insights into how new technologies and market needs intersect, or with their deep empathy for practitioners navigating uncharted obstacles. In just minutes, they make a lasting impression.

Most investor conversations are less memorable. We might share details about our funds’ mandates before swapping notes on market trends and opining about deal prices. We’ll conclude by expressing excitement to collaborate on deals in the future. 

My first conversation with Grace was different - it was particularly memorable. Although we met over Zoom without video (shortly after she joined Menlo Ventures as an Associate), we connected immediately. Grace was candid about her childhood experiences, revealing how they inspired her to excel as an enterprise investor and champion underdog founders with unique domain expertise and unconventional perspectives. Like many founders, she had a chip on her shoulder and a relentless drive to succeed. She was also insatiably curious and deeply committed to learning. Although she confidently shared her opinions on market opportunities and the investment climate, she actively listened, carefully considered my perspective, and revised her viewpoints based on my insights. And she was so damn smart. She shared several predictions about market tailwinds that might emerge and companies that might face imminent obstacles. Within months, her predictions came true. 

Although we continued to discuss deals and market trends, we didn’t have an opportunity to collaborate closely until Grace (who had been promoted to Principal) and Naomi Ionita led Menlo’s Series A investment in Eppo. Chetan Sharma, Eppo’s CEO, quickly recognized that Grace understood the market for experimentation tools and platforms better than any other investor. She was uniquely poised to help him overcome challenges as he transformed his MVP into an enterprise-ready product and achieved widespread adoption and market penetration. 

My initial impression of Grace was remarkable, but working with her on Eppo exceeded my expectations. Grace consistently influenced key decisions at Eppo with actionable insights gleaned through extensive market and user research. She helped the team select design partners, understand users and what motivated them, iterate on messaging and positioning, and prioritize product features. Later on, she helped Eppo scale by developing and executing a hiring plan that enabled them to consistently beat their revenue targets. In every single meeting, she asked great questions, identified highly compelling opportunities, and anticipated thorny problems - yet she was never prescriptive or pedantic. 

Grace not only helped Eppo grow but also motivated me to become a better investor and team member. Her commitment to supporting Eppo inspired me to find ways to support the company proactively. The insightful questions she asked during Eppo board meetings reminded me to challenge Amplify founders to address their biases. 

Most importantly, Grace inspired me to be a better role model - by being myself. I’m proud to be one of the few female GPs focused on investing in data/AI tools and platforms and enterprise infrastructure at a larger fund. However, my path to this position, without female mentors to follow, has not been easy. At times, I found it difficult to emulate my male colleagues - especially as I prepared for marriage and then motherhood. Whenever we met, Grace reminded me - both directly and indirectly - that I didn’t have to copy my male colleagues. She reminded me that I could engage top researchers at ML conferences while wearing stilettos and debate the future of HTAP databases while frosting cupcakes. She gave me confidence that founders like Che chose to work with me because I didn’t conform to expectations.

That’s why we had to hire Grace. Although we rarely add new members to our investment team at the Partner level, my colleague Mike Dauber recognized Grace’s talent, my admiration for Grace, and the impact she had on me. While we believe in guiding new investors to develop their distinctive investment style and approach over time, Mike urged me and other members of our investment team to “break the rules” by hiring Grace as a Partner. After just a few conversations, everyone at Amplify noticed that Grace stood out among investors- even those with decades of experience. Grace exudes self-assurance and is adept at leveraging her unique strengths, background, and personality to her advantage. Moreover, Grace uplifts those around her - she inspires them to speak their mind, take decisive action, and think differently. We know that she will make our whole team better - just like she’s elevated teams at companies such as Pinecone, Orb, Vivun, and Matik. 

I am proud that someone as bold, brilliant, and beautiful as Grace chose me as a mentor, but I’m even prouder to call her my Partner. Welcome Grace!