EVCA Leadership
May 1, 2021

EVCA Leadership Spotlight: Board Member, Courtney Chow

Samantha Huang
Principal at BMW i Ventures

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, Courtney Chow.

Courtney is an investor at Battery Ventures, covering early and growth-stage consumer internet and software investments.  Prior to venture, Courtney worked on the business operations (growth) team at LinkedIn, where she led product strategy focused on building active communities.  Previously, she worked on the strategy & operations team at AmazonFresh, where she focused on supply chain & operational strategy, and as a venture design fellow at IDEO, prototyping venture concepts around IoT and Blockchain.  Courtney graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.  In her spare time, she works with a variety of non-profit organizations, including Gold House and EVCA, and loves running around the city with her German Shepherd puppy Marlowe!

EVCA: What do you do as a Board member at EVCA?

Courtney:  As a Board Member at EVCA, I spend most of my time (1) operationalizing and standardizing internal processes to ensure long-term efficiency, and (2) brainstorming and strategizing on how to continuously improve the EVCA experience.

More recently, I’ve been really excited to lead and shape our EVCA Fellowship Program – made up of 30 wonderful fellows from 21 universities across the U.S.  Our mission is to help undergraduate students interested in venture & entrepreneurship expand their knowledge, provide access to mentorship, and gain tangible experience.  Fellows spend a year diving deep into a specific vertical (working on a long-term project with one of our EVCA Vertical Leads), attending interactive panels / fireside chats with both investors & founders, regularly engaging in monthly discussion groups & case studies, and connecting with EVCA mentors as they explore full-time careers.

Currently, I’m proud to be collaborating with EVCA Fellows Caitlyn Chen and Prianka Subrahmanyam on a monthly newsletter hyper-focused on the university entrepreneurship space.  Our vision is to create an inspiration hub for students – showcasing news & events from entrepreneurship scenes across campuses, compiling relevant resources & opportunities, offering guidance / perspectives from student founders – and, ultimately, cultivating a community.  Check out our first newsletter (here) and feel free to share with your alma mater!

EVCA: What made you interested in taking a leadership role at EVCA?

Courtney:  Within my first week of joining Battery, I was introduced to Adam and EVCA through mutual friends.  Having come from an operating and engineering background, I was aware of the steep learning curve ahead and so was excited to hear about what Adam was building out at EVCA – a community of peers, as well as a repository of knowledge & resources.   Early on, I remember learning about the fundamentals of term sheets at the “EVCA Female Funders: Term Sheet 101” event led by Natasha (@True Ventures) and Kira (@Bee Partners) and meeting so many life-long friends at EVCA HH’s and vertical-specific “teach-in’s”!

EVCA has been such an incredible support system for me during my venture career.  And, as I became more and more involved, I was asked to join the board, to which I immediately agreed!  Personally, I’ve really appreciated being apart of the journey in laying the groundwork and infrastructure for the organization – ensuring that many more generations of venture folks will reap the same benefits that I’ve enjoyed with EVCA.

EVCA:  What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?

Courtney:  This may be a contrarian perspective on a more “traditional trend”, but I believe the perceived value of a 4-year degree is diminishing for a wide segment of learners – tuition has skyrocketed, and millions of students are saddled with crippling debt.  Outcomes have remained stagnant over the last 20 years, and in many cases, formal schooling does not even sufficiently prepare students for full-time work.

As a result,  I believe that offline, classroom-based higher education will be unbundled into more results-oriented / direct career paths through full-stack, verticalized online schools and programs – to skill / re-skill / up-skill a subset of students across tech-related roles, as well as other trade and vocational positions.  These platforms will be hyper-focused on superior outcomes (i.e. job placement, salary increase, measurable skills improvement) and mentorship / networks, while also offering innovative financing models (i.e. ISAs, deferred tuition) to help learners avoid the student-debt trap.

Interested in taking on an EVCA leadership role? The EVCA leadership is dedicated to empowering the next generation of VCs through an array of activities—running 40+ channels on from hosting events, knowledge sharing, and connecting others. If interested in pursuing an EVCA leadership role, click here.