Ladder: Democratizing Access for Career Growth

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, college students were sent home, lost jobs, and suffered without community or an understanding of remote work. Andrew, the CEO of Ladder, was one of those students. Seeking to help his peers, the Ladder team started a mentorship program with 500 students that has now transformed into a professional platform that will serve the 47M Gen Z-ers on their career path. The Ladder team has continued to be dedicated to the same path: democratizing access to career resources to help young professionals find community and careers. 

We had first met the Ladder team individually through Pear Garage. During a Pear Garage alumni event, Andrew and Akshaya shared their entrepreneurial passion to build and create what we know as Ladder today. When the team reached out to apply to join the accelerator, we were thrilled to help support their vision. We were drawn to their passion to build a more personalized professional platform and wanted to support Ladder through the 2020 Pear Summer Accelerator. 

As a first MVP, Ladder launched a quick proof-of-concept newsletter called “Remote Students” to serve undergraduate students looking for remote internships during the pandemic. This newsletter reached 30,000 students within the first week! Blown away by the reception, they knew they were on to something. Through weekly office hours and workshops in the Accelerator, Ladder continued to define their product strategy, test new features, honed in on their core mission and within four weeks coded up Ladder. As a result of their grit and determination, they began to develop true customer love and traction. We were so proud to have witnessed the team blossom and grow.

Ladder is creating the next-gen professional platform focused on community, content, and connection.

Through community-oriented resources, the company helps people find support in the fields they’re interested in, form meaningful relationships with peers and mentors, and land their dream job. From college students in Pear’s Garage to the announcement of their seed round, we’re privileged to have seen Ladder’s journey since the very start. 

We’re honored to continue to support Ladder in their seed round alongside Forerunner, Seven Seven Six, and more incredible people with the same belief in a team building for their own generation. This funding will expand Ladder’s team and help them develop more innovative ways to help professionals and communities get more out of their career. Ladder is built for everyone: communities to curate job opportunities, community builders to launch their own professional communities, and companies to meaningfully engage early career talent. 

Congratulations – the future is bright!

If you’re looking to join a team of hackers, founders, builders, operators, and overall fun human beings who care deeply about democratizing access to career growth – Ladder is hiring

SZNS x Pear

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have proven to be the perfect on-ramp, bridging non-crypto natives to the crypto world. With participation from powerhouses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, digital fine arts in the form of NFTs are here to stay. And recent trends have further enforced that NFTs are a mainstay. So what comes next? Curators. Collectors. Community. Meet SZNS: an NFT platform to bring all these actors together.

I remember reaching out to John after hearing him present SZNS. What struck me about John was his desire to make NFTs accessible to everyone. So for example, someone who appreciate art and is a great curator can use SZNS to tokenize a collection of NFTs.

The SZNS platform makes it easy and accessible for collectors to consume, collect, trade, and participate in owning an album of NFTs that are created by curators. So rather than purchasing individual NFTs or investing in a single (even fractionalized) NFT, collectors can now gain exposure to a specific creator or curator’s collection. Now, where this gets even more interesting is when these albums can function as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

SZNS differentiates itself from other fractionalization tools out there by allowing fractional owners to engage in governance to collectively use the fractionalized NFT.

As NFTs unlock increasing utility over time as a whole, SZNS hopes to enable meaningful shared ownership of high-value NFTs.

For example, the DivineDAO – which is a large new collective focused on worldbuilding around Divine Loot NFTs (which are arguably one of the rarest parts) – is launching their DAO on SZNS. This lets the DivineDAO team focus on building their community and their product, instead of worrying about the technical implementation of their stack. The DivineDAO will be conducting their $DIVINE offering on SZNS ( tomorrow on Oct. 14th at 3pm ET. You can check out the DivineDAO Album here.

John and team are building the infrastructure to support NFTs and make it accessible for all participants in the ecosystem. We at Pear VC, along with Dragonfly, Framework, DeFi Alliance, LongHash and Cypher, are proud to back the SZNS team as they execute on their grand vision.

You can follow the SZNS team’s journey here on Twitter, Discord and on their website:


If you are building pick-and-shovel to support NFTs or NFT infrastructure, we would love to hear from you. Drop me a note: Anand Iyer,

Welcome Anna Nitschke as Pear CFO!

Pear’s new CFO Anna Nitschke is laying down the foundations for our expansion in being the best partner for founders from idea to series A. 

Our journey to finding the perfect partner for Pear was deliberate and extensive, as we screened over 380 candidates. When we met Anna, we knew she was the right partner. Anna exudes the Pear DNA: smart, ambitious, humble, and a team player with a wealth of experience!

Anna will manage all financial functions and internal operations of the firm and its funds, spanning across fundraising, fund finance strategy, portfolio monitoring and more. She will also provide essential support to our companies and make valuable connections to our partners and resources. Pear’s portfolio over the past 8 years has grown to be worth over $90B and with Anna, we are excited about the future of Pear more than ever. 

Prior to Pear, Anna led finance & operations at Eniac Ventures. Before entering the venture capital world, Anna worked in business operations for over a decade at various startups, using her broad background in finance, human resources, and administration management to help companies scale.

In 2004, Anna moved from Europe to California for college and she graduated from University of California Santa Cruz with a BA in Business Management Economics. She is an active member of various Bay Area and NYC venture finance groups and a volunteer mentor with several organizations. In her free time, you can find Anna cycling or hiking with her husband, daughter, and crazy corgi (a Pear Corgi now!). In the evenings and on weekends, Anna turns to her passion for food and wine and is either trying out a new recipe, exploring restaurants and wineries, or throwing dinner parties for family and friends.