Sophie Hoffman is an investor at Goodwater Capital, a global, multi-stage consumer-tech venture firm with $4B+ AUM. Goodwater has been cited as one of the leading data-driven VCs with the industry's largest team of data scientists and engineers. Prior to Goodwater, Sophie was an investor at GSV Ventures, focusing on education and workforce technologies. She started her career at Goldman Sachs as a founding member of a team that works alongside every division of the firm to source and syndicate all of Goldman’s direct, private-market investment opportunities. In her free time, Sophie enjoys running, spinning, hiking, and exploring the Bay Area as a relatively recent East Coast transplant.
EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.
Sophie: I joined Goldman Sachs out of college largely because it seemed like the right thing to do. At the time, I knew I was interested in finance broadly but I had no sense of where I wanted to take my career. Then, while I was an analyst at Goldman, I attended a "Talks at GS" with Kirsten Green from Forerunner Ventures. It was the first real exposure I'd had to venture and after seeing her talk, I said to my friend, "that's who I want to be when I grow up." Kirsten talked about how she had always been intrigued by people's behavior and why they do what they do, which ties directly into her work in venture. As someone obsessed with behavioral economics and the decision sciences, I immediately identified with her and knew I wanted to be a consumer-tech venture investor.
EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?
Sophie: AI tutors. Education is the world's greatest source of opportunity but it is also a great source of inequality. Although a substantial body of research demonstrates that high dosage tutoring (meaning 3+ sessions per week) is the most effective way to close learning gaps, tutoring services have historically been a luxury, primarily available to wealthy families. Yet, recent advancements in generative AI, alongside increasing consumer adoption of education technologies, will transform the education landscape within the next 3-5 years. AI tutors are starting to emerge and while the technology is still early, it offers the possibility of providing children with personal learning companions that have unlimited knowledge, time, patience and capacity to perfectly personalize kids' educational experiences. These tutoring platforms will democratize access to high quality tutoring services by offering an affordable, highly engaging product that will improve educational outcomes globally.