- Slow Ventures | Early Stage
- Medium Blog | Focus on Filipino
- LinkedIn | Venture Capital Strategy and Operations
- Believes that people should live for others
What a blessing it was to interview Sofia Garcia of Slow Ventures. As I said a couple of times in the interview, I truly believe that Sofia was speaking from her heart and not her head when she answered many of my questions. It was truly refreshing to speak with someone who wants to ensure that her answers are really well-conceived, thought-out, and meaningful. It’s clear that she truly lives her own mandate: to help others.
Sofia’s journey into venture capital was truly a chance encounter and a chance conversation. After working for a large investment bank and then starting her own company, she found that the rigors of being an operator are a lot harder than working for someone else (yes, totally true)! She needed a break but didn’t want to move out of the startup world. She also knows her strengths: she’s great at inspiring others and helping other founders and operators succeed. So she wanted to do that on a larger scale.
Moving out to San Francisco in 2014, she wondered about the financiers of founders and decided she would love to try venture capital. Within a couple of weeks, her friend introduced her to Will Quist, the GP of Slow Ventures and the rest is history.
What I loved immediately about this story is that Sofia was willing to share some of her requirements for working with Slow Ventures. She’s huge into family time and making sure that family is priority number 1 and Will Quist appreciated that and also appreciated her experience: big investment banking experience, operator experience, going through funding rounds, and really understanding the full picture of startup life.
While she doesn’t do social like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, I was able to dig up two medium posts that she’s created from a while back. What is fascinating is that they’re actually pretty revealing about who she is!
I wanted to understand her perspective of how being an immigrant shaped her into the woman she is today, and I loved her response of how her family was middle class in the Philippines, but coming to America she had to learn to hustle:
“I was able to finish school here (USA) and I had to hustle and I was ok with taking jobs that I was over-qualified for or I’ve already done before. The other big thing is that I have a heart for other immigrants and people who come here because it’s a land of opportunities but you still have to be connected to people. Hard work is important, but the story of my life is that people have always opened doors for me. I love doing that for other people.”Sofia Garcia | VC Hunting S2E4
Sofia clearly believes that sharing your life with others and sharing what is on your heart allows others to open doors for you. She spoke a ton about how every job she’s been able to have is because she was freely sharing her thoughts and interests and people in her life gave her the opportunities to go and get it! It’s not that she got any free rides, but rather, opportunities arise when you share within your network, it’s up to you and your hustle to go get them.
I resonate so much with this worldview. It’s resourcefulness that is required in today’s entrepreneurs and founders. We sure have plenty of resources available!
I’ve spoken to many immigrants in the past, and I’ve always wondered what their views are on the American dream, what is required to succeed. I asked Sofia if she believes that hustle is the way to success in America and her answer was even more compelling:
“I think hustle is one of the reasons [why people can succeed]. But now that I’m in venture capital, there is so much money around and so many opportunities, what I’m really thinking about is how I can make a difference in people’s lives. Not just giving them money, but actually making them better managers, better investors, how can I be a light to the people that I work with or the people that I serve.”Sofia Garcia | VC Hunting S2E4
I especially enjoyed her thoughts on working in NYC where everyone was all about the money, how they can serve themselves, and focus on only their own growth, to now, being in San Francisco, where there is even more money, but still trying to stay humble. She feels like she lost some of her humility while out in NYC in the hustle and feels sometimes like she’s a walking contradiction: fighting her own ego between money, success, and being a servant-leader to others. I appreciated very much the tension I saw while she discussed these ideas. It really showed that not only is she self-aware, but she’s also trying to be the better version of herself and stay humble.
Moving on to her passion-projects, Sofia has always been a mentor to other Filipino youth, especially those that are the first in their family to go to college. Since there is no model of how to successfully navigate university, Sofia has always been involved in mentorship programs in NYC and San Francisco to help them:
“For some people in the Philippines, it doesn’t matter how smart they are or how hard working they are, they aren’t going to have the opportunities that we have [here in America]. There is this thing called brain-drain, where there is a place with a lot of smart people but not a lot of opportunities and they leave the country. How can I help them? How can I share my knowledge and how can I bring knowledge to them and help them where they are?”Sofia Garcia | VC Hunting S2E4
It’s great to hear that Sofia has such a heart for the motherland and the people there. She knows that they are far better than the menial tasks that are often given to them thanks to collaboration tools and systems like Upwork and contracting work. She wants the Filipino people to be a bigger part of the knowledge-work economy and currently advises a couple of startups out in the Philippines. What is so nice is that she’s not only impacting and helping the founders and teams but helping them elevate their social status and positively changing generations to come.
Now that Sofia’s two-year tour at Slow Ventures has come to a close, I wanted to know where she’s headed to next. What’s so great is that her plan was to work for a venture firm and learn the ins-and-outs of how it all works. Now that she’s done that, she wants to take all of that knowledge and apply it:
“No matter where I land next, how do I help founders become better managers, better co-workers, helping them build their strong foundation: understanding their north-star, helping them understand why they are doing what they are doing. It’s not bad to say that they want to be successful and make a lot of money, but then the question is, why? What is net-good? It’s lifting people up with you.”Sofia Garcia | VC Hunting S2E4
This really got my blood going because it’s obvious that Sofia really wants to help founders succeed, regardless of where they are in the portfolio of an investment firm. This is something that we here at VCHunting are all about as well! So many venture funds have failed their founders in that they have not invested in (all of) the founders themselves. Usually, the only founders that get love are the ones that are hitting the metrics and are the stars of the portfolio! Sofia and I are on the same page here. All of the founders are worthy of respect, dignity, and help. I wondered if Sofia should go off and create her own brand of venture fund:
“For me, will I ever have my own fund? Never say never. But that’s never been in my heart and I haven’t thought of that too much. What I am sure of in myself is that I’m an amazing number 2. Get me someone who wants to do something different and I will fully support them and figure out a way to make it happen, implement, execute, and hire for that vision. That’s what I tell everyone I work for. I’m an excellent number 2.”Sofia Garcia | VC Hunting S2E4
I can’t wait to see where Sofia ends up next. She’s a wonderful person with a wonderful heart for founders and Filipinos. 😉 If you’re in the market for an awesome number 2 for your venture fund, make sure to hit up Sofia Garcia on LinkedIn! Mostly because she isn’t ego-tweeting and pushing her agenda on social like everyone else.
She knows her purpose and she knows where she’s headed in her journey of life. I hope our paths cross again! What a blessing of a conversation!
Enjoy my retrospective!
Sofia Garcia Social Media
May your aim be true.