Astasia Myers is a Partner at Quiet Capital, where she leads the firm’s enterprise practice. Astasia was born and raised in the entrepreneurial tech hub of Silicon Valley, in a small town called Portola Valley, only a few miles away from where she ended up attending college at Stanford University. An innovation enthusiast since childhood, she began her career working in product and customer engagement at two early-stage enterprise software companies. She relished the creative exercise of translating customer needs into compelling product experiences, but Astasia, always on the search to expand her knowledge, felt herself seeking a system-level understanding of the fundamentals behind great businesses. She took a role in sell-side equity research at Baird, where she covered public companies in the networking and security space. One of the companies she covered was the tech giant Cisco, and, when the opportunity to join the corporate development team at Cisco opened up a couple years later, she jumped aboard. At Cisco, Astasia worked on a range of different functions within corporate development, including facilitating the company’s various spin-ins, acquisitions, and investments. More and more, however, she found herself gravitating toward the fast-paced, thrilling world of startup investments. She subsequently joined the early-stage team at Redpoint Ventures, focusing on infrastructure, developer tools, big data, and AI topics. After four years at Redpoint investing in the next generation of enterprise startups, she moved to Quiet Capital, where she now leads the firm’s enterprise investments practice.
Astasia counts her mother as the original glass-ceiling-breaker who instilled in her the drive and passion for tech innovation. A single parent, her mother had worked in the semiconductor industry and largely in startups throughout Astasia’s childhood. The pair often would spend dinnertime conversations speaking about emerging technologies and whatever groundbreaking innovations Astasia’s mother was working on. Astasia was precocious as a child. By high school, she was already working as a researcher at Stanford University. She always delighted in the practice of collecting and analyzing data to test the validity of hypotheses, of knowing and understanding the inner workings of a given system at an expert level. She continued to work as a researcher throughout college and graduate school. Looking back, she views those days as foundational to the formation of her research-first approach to venture capital. Nowadays, while her research environment is venture capital and no longer academia, Astasia is still just as driven as ever. Down-to-earth and thoughtful, she has earned the reputation as the type of partner who “runs through walls” to help her founders. When asked about where she saw herself in a decade’s time, Astasia couldn’t see herself anywhere else but as a VC, helping founders who dare to change the world.
Sam: Could you share about your origins story and how it led you to venture capital?
Astasia: I was born and raised in the Bay Area and went to Stanford University for college. Growing up in Silicon Valley, I felt really lucky to be exposed early in my life to technology and startups. I can thank my mom, who worked at semiconductor startups throughout my entire childhood. She spoke about her work and the groundbreaking, innovative products she was building like the Sony robotic dog. Her enthusiasm really influenced me to have a deep appreciation for enterprise technology, specifically the infrastructure layer, upon which other companies are built. I just feel really lucky that I had my mother in my life, as she was a glass-ceiling breaker who instilled in me the importance of grit and a love for startup innovation.
When I was growing up, one thing that always excited me was research. I enjoyed validating or invalidating a hypothesis by collecting and analyzing many data points. Beginning in high school, I did research at Stanford which I continued during college and graduate school. I’m bringing this up because in venture, we have a very unique opportunity to explore new ideas and technologies through a research-first approach. The research involves talking to buyers and users, thinking at a macro level about the market, and predicting how it’s changing. We take quantitative and qualitative data to make an informed decision about whether we should invest in a company. I view my research background as directly applicable to venture capital, and it is one of my favorite aspects of the role.
Sam: What was your career trajectory leading up to your position at Quiet Capital, where you are a Partner leading the firm’s enterprise practice?
Astasia: Coming out of grad school, I started my career working at two early-stage enterprise software companies in product and customer engagement roles. It was fun translating customer needs into a product experience. After my startup experience, I went to work in sell-side equity research because I wanted to apply my research skills to understanding what made technologies and technology businesses successful. I joined Baird, where I covered publicly traded IT, networking, and security companies like Cisco, VMware, and Palo Alto Networks. I found it really exciting to refine my expertise around financial analysis, management teams, different product lines, and upcoming innovations.
I ultimately transitioned to work at Cisco on the corporate development team. I was very excited to join Cisco because I covered them while at Baird, and Cisco products received top marks in our buyer surveys. As an analyst, I had seen the very creative manner by which Cisco used corporate development to transform the business. I supported the core business unit of networking and servers and worked on a range of different transactions including orchestrating spin-ins, supporting acquisitions, and leading investments. Over time, I found myself gravitating to early-stage startups where I felt like I could have an outsized impact and could be on the bleeding edge. With that in mind, I joined the early-stage team at Redpoint Ventures where I focused on developer tools, data, AI, and cybersecurity. It was great working with a team who had similar interests in infrastructure.
About a year and a half ago, I transitioned to Quiet Capital to lead the firm’s enterprise practice. With this new role, I strove to take the learnings I had from my time at working in early-stage startups, Cisco, and Redpoint, and infuse them into a new VC firm.
Sam: Looking back at your career, what lessons would you share with the next generation of venture capitalists?
Astasia: Something that has emerged since I started in venture capital is specializing in a domain that you care deeply about. Years ago, investors were a little bit more generalist. The technology community was smaller so VCs could cover more categories. Today you see exceptional investors who live and breathe their domains. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about entering venture capital or who is early in their career to find a category that inspires them to the point where they would want to dedicate the 10,000 hours necessary to really understand and master it. Passion and expertise are the foundation for a great career in venture capital.
Sam: What is your favorite part of your job as a VC?
Astasia: I do early-stage investing that includes pre-seed, seed, and Series A. I often partner with day zero founders who haven’t built the product or don’t have customers yet. For me, working with really early-stage founders is the most enjoyable aspect of the role. It’s more than just being a financial partner to them but acting as an operating partner. I like to be there for them during those magic moments of helping with customer introductions, closing new teammates, and seeing how they learn and grow over time. At the end of the day, we’re betting on people. With that in mind, the relationships that I have with my founders are incredibly important. My goal is to help them achieve their dreams by doing anything in my power to help them as they navigate their startup’s journey.
Sam: Are there any aspects of venture capital where you think the industry can change in a more positive way?
Astasia: While we as a community are improving, more can be done to support female and diverse founders. Work-Bench came out with a report that said that only about 2% of enterprise software companies have a female founder. It’s an even lower percentage for diverse founders. Open-mindedness and support of people with diverse backgrounds who are courageous enough to start a business is really important to changing the industry. It’s something that I strive to improve and have partnered with a number of female and diverse founder-led enterprise software companies. This mission is incredibly important to me. I think we’re doing better as a community, but we can go further in supporting that vision.
Sam: Where do you see yourself in a decade from now?
Astasia: I feel honored to have the opportunity to be a venture capitalist. It's such a unique role, and I feel lucky everyday to have a chance to speak with people who are trying to transform the world. In 10 years, I envision myself continuing to be a VC working with founders who dare to dream big.