Featured Investors
October 4, 2021

Featured Investors | October 2021 - Russell Yue of H.I.G. Capital and Sophia Yu of Foothill Ventures

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Russell Yue, Senior Associate at H.I.G. Capital

Russell Yue is an investor with H.I.G. Capital and joined the firm to help start its new late stage venture and growth investment practice. Prior to H.I.G., Russell was an investor on the growth stage investment team at Greycroft and previously worked in financial planning & analysis at Fastly. Russell also co-leads the growth vertical at EVCA.

EVCA: How do you stay connected with and cultivate relationships with co-investors over time?

Russell: I view relationships as very much two-way where I’m sharing things as well as learning from others. I try to make one helpful introduction for every investor that I meet, whether that’s to another investor that shares common interests, a founder/company that could be a relevant opportunity, or even just someone who has a similar hobby. I’ve found that this helps make the world a little smaller and means that many of my friends know each other. I also try not to make it just about work. I’ve built some great friendships with other investors from doing random things together such as hiking, golfing, weekend trips, beach bonfires, and lots of fun meals/food.

EVCA: What's your favorite thing about working in venture capital and why? How about your least favorite thing and why?

Russell: I love partnering and working alongside entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they’re building. Their excitement and energy are what keep me motivated every day, and I get great satisfaction knowing that I’m doing everything in my power to help them succeed.

My least favorite part is passing on great companies and founders. It’s one of the toughest parts of the job. I have generally found that being as transparent and upfront as possible is the key to handling passes so that I don’t lead people on or hold up a process. I also usually try to provide a clear rationale for a pass that’s supported with concrete data/stats so that it’s constructive and helpful. If a company is too early or not a fit, I will try to refer the founder to earlier stage or relevant investors and continue to track the business for a subsequent round. Sometimes if I have strong conviction, I’ll offer to write a small personal investment into the round if there’s room.

Sophia Yu, Associate at Foothill Ventures

Sophia Yu is an associate at Foothill Ventures, a $150M fund that bets on technical, very early stage B2B companies. She is on the software team where she focuses on investments in AI/ML applications and enterprise SaaS. Before joining Foothill Ventures, she graduated from Yale School of Management with an MBA degree. She was born and raised in China and studied Economics and Finance at Tsinghua University.

EVCA: How do you stay connected with and cultivate relationships with co-investors over time?

Sophia: I started my journey in venture capital during the pandemic, which I thought would make it hard to form and maintain relationships with other investors. But I am glad that it actually worked out well. Setting up recurring Zoom calls and have regular checking-in definitely help a lot in building and nurturing relationships.

Besides that, I take notes and keep track of what other investors are looking at recently. As we run our weekly meetings to go through the deal pipeline, I look for things that fit their interests and send them their way - we are very open and collaborative and we’d love to share and learn from different perspectives.

I also love reaching out to new people for mutual introductions. People in the venture world are just so amazing that you learn a lot when talking to them.

EVCA: What's your favorite thing about working in venture capital and why? How about your least favorite thing and why?

Sophia: My favorite thing working in venture capital is that I get to meet great people and learn about new stuff. The learning curve is so steep that almost every day I feel like I learn more about new technology, emerging trends, and people. That’s really fulfilling.

The least favorite thing is that you have to say no to great people. I especially find it hard after you spend so much time doing due diligence and learning about the company, but you still need to debate with yourself and the team to assess the risks. It is a hard decision to pass on a company but I will root for the teams as they go down their journey and offer anything I can to help them.