The EVCA leadership is dedicated to building community across and empowering the next generation of venture capitalists through an array of activities—from hosting events, knowledge sharing, and connecting others. This EVCA Leadership Spotlight Series is intended to help the broader community get to know what's going on behind the scenes at the EVCA, as well as highlight the valuable contributions of those individuals who make the EVCA possible. Accordingly, it's a great privilege for us to announce this EVCA Leadership Spotlight on our very own Cybersecurity Vertical Lead, Morgan Mahlock.
Morgan Mahlock is an investor at In-Q-Tel, the non-profit strategic investor supporting the U.S. intelligence and national security community. Morgan previously spent time at the NFL and at Sikorsky (acquired by Lockheed Martin). She graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Product Design and MS in Management Science and Engineering, where she was on the lightweight rowing team and led Stanford Women in Design. She works with a variety of nonprofit organizations including BLCK VC and EVCA, and in her free time, enjoys running, rowing, playing piano, and traveling. Morgan writes a newsletter, alohomora, on how content influences culture.
EVCA: Could you explain more about what you do as cybersecurity vertical lead at EVCA?
Morgan: It is our role to educate and connect cyber investors and cyber-interested investors. For those who work at firms where cyber is already a focus, we seek to surround them with a network of other people that can act as a sounding board for deals, theses, ideas. For those interested in cyber, we try to get them up to speed on the space so they can determine if it is an area in which they'd like to spend time. For the past two years, we convened this network through a hosted brunch during the RSA conference. This event was one of my favorites (though not tenable during COVID), it had previously brought investors from all pockets of the country into the same room, and was a great opportunity to connect and trade notes with old and new friends. Lastly, I spend a good amount of time trying to identify relevant trends in the industry, and brainstorming events that might bring value to the group.
EVCA: What made you interested in taking a leadership role at EVCA?
Morgan: Upon joining the VC ecosystem, I sought other junior investors to learn from and to connect with. Early on, I met Adam, who founded EVCA, and I mentioned my interest in learning more about others in the ecosystem. Soon after that conversation, Adam reached out and asked if I wanted to work with EVCA. It was a no-brainer for me, given so many firms have just a handful of junior staff, EVCA offered a place for these people to connect early, and provided a powerful, tight-knit network immediately. Fun fact: I designed EVCA’s first logo! We’ve definitely professionalized since then, but the creative challenges early on were always exciting.
EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?
Morgan: Love this question. My observation centers around the data privacy space. I think the data privacy solutions that will be widely adopted in the future will be developer-focused, potentially open source tools. When it comes to privacy, and cybersecurity at large, the gold standard is simplicity (for example - fewer, more accurate alerts). If developers can integrate privacy-preserving technologies into their products from the moment they begin working on them, or employ "privacy by design" workflows for free via open source tools, they can protect user data easily and by default.
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