C California Style

Aileen Lee

by C California Style

Founder, Cowboy Ventures, a seed-stage focused fund based in Palo Alto that seeks “to back exceptional founders who are building technology products that re-imagine work and personal life,” according to its mission statement.

PHOTO: Carlos Shavarría.

PHOTO: Carlos Shavarría.

Résumé Cowboy-backed companies include Dollar Shave Club and Styleseat; Lee was previously senior partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; founding CEO of digital signage company RMG Networks; and has worked in various operating roles at Gap Inc.

Your big break I’ve had many, including being born into a great immigrant family who emphasized education; and getting hired at The Gap at a time when khakis were rocking the nation, then working for legendary CEO Mickey Drexler as his chief of staff.

Favorite apps The Accompany app (in private alpha-testing) to refresh myself on who I’m meeting with, and the Rise app to log my meals and get diet tips.

Trend you’re observing The proliferation of Food 2.0 services.

Industry hot topic The “unicorn” thing: $1 billion-plus private and public tech companies—why they are growing in number, which ones are built to last, and how many will become “unicorpses.”

Women to watch I’m biased, but we’ve backed some outstanding founders, including the CEOs of companies like Brit + Co, Guildery, Heartwork, Mightybell, Styleseat, Textio and True & Co., all of whom happen to be female.

Biz-speak you’re guilty of overusing

Burn rate.

Phrase you’d like to ban Brogrammer.

Best place to rub elbows I spend a lot of time at Philz Coffees around the Bay Area, Mayfield [Bakery &] Cafe in Palo Alto, and at The Battery in S.F. They are all great places to bump into friends and interesting people.