Jocelyn Goldfein has worked on some of Silicon Valley’s most iconic products: She spent seven years as an engineering leader at VMware and four years at Facebook. She even interned at Netscape. In 2014, she started angel investing as a “DIY entrepreneur-in-residence” program -- a way to connect with entrepreneurs, learn, and find inspiration her next startup. But she quickly discovered she was most energized by working with a variety of teams across industries and companies.
Now she’s making investing her full-time job. Goldfein has joined Zetta Venture Partners as a partner.
Mark Gorenberg and Ash Fontana formed Zetta in 2013 to back software companies powered by artificial intelligence. Goldfein is Zetta’s third partner, joining its second fund, a $100 million vehicle, which closed in the fall. Goldfein’s mentor, VMware founder Diane Greene, introduced her to the firm. Zetta was among the backers of Greene’s last startup, Bebop, which sold to Google for $380 million.
Goldfein is seeking to back AI companies that have significant “tech risk,” meaning they’re using artificial intelligence to solve novel problems. She’s looking at “places where data has been accumulating without our knowing it, or without our knowing what to do with it.” Agriculture, manufacturing, and IoT are all creating lots of interesting data, she noted.
The recent hype around artificial intelligence is deserved, Goldfein says, “but there’s no free lunch.” In other words: These are hard problems to solve. “AI means rethinking how we fund startups, how we go to market, who we hire, what is our culture, how we organize, as well as issues around privacy and putting our own biases into our algorithms. There’s a lot to figure out.”
This article has been corrected to note that Bebop sold for $380 million, not $380.