Featured Investors
April 4, 2023

Featured Investors | April 2023 - Vivian Cheng of CRV and Joe Botsch of RTP Global

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Vivian Cheng, Principal at CRV

Vivian Cheng is a Principal at CRV where she helps lead consumer and SMB investing. She's spent the last five years partnering closely with companies like Current, Homeward, and Truebill, amongst others, and is particularly passionate about tech that makes consumers' lives better. Prior to CRV, she was an operator at Uber working in payments & product, having helped scale the company to 16,000 people from 200 when she joined. Vivian graduated from University of Southern California with a B.A. in Business Administration and is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship.

EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.

Vivian: Moving to San Francisco in 2012 changed my life. Mobile was just beginning to emerge as the next big platform shift, and Silicon Valley was at the center of it. Companies like Airbnb, Instagram, Snap, and others were starting to hit their stride. I couldn't afford much more than a one bedroom apartment with my roommate in the Tenderloin back then, and even worse, could never get a taxi to stop in the neighborhood. I won't forget the moment a friend told me to try out a new app called Uber. The experience of pressing a button on your phone to have a black car glide up a few minutes later was nothing short of magic. I knew I had to work there - and luckily enough joined a few months later as one of the first hires on the finance team. I eventually rotated into a product role within payments, where we were responsible for knitting together the banking and payments infrastructure that would allow our launch teams to open up markets internationally. It was such an incredible experience and taught me so many lessons on what I should look for in founders today - grit, velocity in shipping product and iterating quickly, network effects, and most of all, in transforming a terrible consumer experience into a magical one.

EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?

Vivian: Mobile was a platform shift in tech I was lucky enough to experience. I'm convinced that the next platform shift is in AI. I'm excited by the application layer here - whatever new UI/UX consumers and prosumers interact with will be the new front door of the internet and unlock 10x experiences and productivity gains for end-users. We can't even dream of what use cases and novel UI/UX mechanisms will spring up, and thus I'm more excited by things we haven't seen before that can now be enabled (rather than a derivative of another mobile app product). I'm also excited by defensible, vertical applications in AI - think proprietary data sets or sector specific solutions in legal, healthcare, education, financial services, and others that will have regulatory and data moats.

Joe Botsch, Associate at RTP Global

Joe Botsch joined RTP Global in 2021 focusing on early-stage enterprise software, specifically startups in AI/ML, infrastructure, and vertical software. Prior to RTP, Joe was responsible for expansion stage software investments at OpenView. Before OV, he served as the Head of Research and Analytics at MassChallenge, a Boston-based network of accelerators, monitoring startup performance and sourcing as well as helping to implement pilots between corporates and startups. He also has spent time as a local director of Founder Institute helping early enterprise software and robotics startups run corporate pilots. He spent his early career as a data scientist and product manager in Boston and holds a BS in Computer Science from Brandeis University. In his spare time he can be found complaining about Boston sports, at an open mic, or cooking overly ambitious food for his very understanding girlfriend.

EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.

Joe: I come from a blue collar family of builders. Our joke now is that my uncle builds cars, my dad builds houses, and I help build companies. But what I learned around our dinner table each night has become foundational to my work - a drive to understand how stuff works, a love of working with technical minds who (to borrow from Ted Lasso) are making better things and also making things better, and a strong work ethic.

Coming from a non-traditional background, I've always gone back to those lessons. My first defining career moment was at MassChallenge, where I essentially hustled my way a role that didn’t exist. There, I had the opportunity to really cut my teeth and built a skillset using data to support early stage founders. The leadership team, mentors, and most importantly the founders were an incredible resource for how I matured as an investor and instilled a need to be people-focused above everything else.

EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?

Joe: Who hasn’t gone through the last three years and not been fascinated by the interplay between manufacturing and supply chain? Solving technical challenges around the ubiquitous flow of goods and improving dynamism is going to be a major category. I love working with companies that use bits and bytes to move people and things because, while there is a great deal of innovation potential in these sectors, many companies are still struggling with basic automation and efficiency. The last major shift in these spaces was really Industry 3.0… or the introduction of electricity and we have seen the previous industry frameworks are not flexible enough in the current market. The need to reduce complexity in these value chains through reshoring, combating labor scarcity, and increased consumer demand has created a "worlds are colliding" moment for me where companies are turning to my favorite types of tools, AI and automation software, to answer the question of how do we do more with less.

This isn't just true in industrials or legacy markets. Like everyone else I am really excited about the growing use of AI and how businesses across every vertical are unlocking productivity. The introduction of LLMs and Gen AI has every business examining ways of identifying bottlenecks and limiting the amount of hair a desk worker has to pull out by performing repetitive tasks.