EVCA Leadership
July 2, 2024

Leadership Spotlight: Board Member and SF Bay Area Vertical Co-lead, Riley Rodgers of Valia Ventures

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

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 EVCA Board Member and San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Lead, Riley Rodgers of Valia Ventures.

Riley Rodgers is currently a Principal at Valia Ventures and has been an early-stage investor for the last 11 years. He splits his time between searching for new investment opportunities at the pre-seed and seed stage and supporting an ever-growing portfolio. Before joining Valia Ventures, Riley spent 3.5 years at Arctaris Capital Partners in Boston and started his career as an entrepreneur building Crash Alert – a mobility focused startup that aimed to detect and respond to car accidents.

EVCA: Could you share more about what you do in your role as EVCA's San Francisco / Bay Area vertical lead and now board member?

Riley: As the San Francisco / Bay Area chapter lead with the EVCA our focus is on engaging the 700 members across the bay area through various programs / events. We host both smaller scale / intimate events and larger scale networking events, along with targeted content for our members. As a board member, I’m now also focused on continuing to grow the community overall and ensuring a positive experience across the 1,300+ members that we have in total. We are working on several new initiatives including a GP mentorship program, the EVCA workshop series, connections with the LP community, cohort programs, and more!

EVCA: What lessons would you share from your career that you find important for the next generation of venture capitalists as they navigate their career?

Riley: Succeeding in venture is hard, and finding opportunities for growth can be challenging. I would look for mentors who can support your growth whether they are inside or outside of your firm. Each firm and partnership have their own nuances, so do your best to understand what is needed at that firm, how to succeed at each level, and understand what the growth opportunities are as they can vary widely by firm. As you navigate your career, the other key to remember is you will ultimately be judged based on your track record, so continue to develop your investing muscle and look for ways to learn. This is a job with a long feedback loop so the more you develop the better your chances are for success, it just may take a while to be rewarded for that growth!

EVCA: Where do you see yourself in a decade from now?

Riley: I have spent my whole career in the startup world and the majority of that time as an investor supporting founders at the earliest stages. I feel quite fortunate to do what I do now, and in the near to medium term couldn’t think of anything else I’d prefer to do. A decade feels like a long way out, but in an ideal world I’d still be supporting founders and also spending more time sharing my experience and knowledge so maybe there is a PT teaching gig on the side. I look at someone like Ann Miura-Ko who balances being a world class, Midas List seed investor at Floodgate while also teaching entrepreneurship at Stanford so maybe that is a good role model to look towards.