Welcoming Maryna Sivaieva to Pear’s Talent team

Even the best founders struggle to find the best possible team. As part of Pear’s Seed program, we’ve built a one-of-a-kind talent team that will make your first hires for you. On the heels of yesterday’s announcement welcoming Laura to the talent team, we’re thrilled to share another exciting hire: Maryna Sivaieva! 

Maryna comes to Pear with almost 10 years of recruiting experience under her belt. In 2009, she came to the US from Ukraine for her Masters, but life happened and she stuck around. Her first job in recruiting was hiring drivers and ops for a trucking company, but by 2014, Maryna was recruiting at SpaceX. In 3 years, she worked her way up from Recruiting Coordinator to Senior Technical Recruiter, supporting most of the tech orgs in the company. “SpaceX taught me almost anything can be done with the right team and attitude.”

Maryna’s interest was piqued in Brain Machine Interfaces right around the time Neuralink was founded. In 2017, Maryna became Neuralink’s first recruiter. She built the talent function from scratch and hired dozens of highly specialized employees— all while the company was in stealth. Maryna built Neuralink’s recruiting infrastructure and end-to-end hiring lifecycle: headcount allocation, requisition creation, referral programs, interview processes, leveling, compensation, and approval process. Neuralink grew from 20 to 120 in her time there, and in 2020, Maryna moved on to Plaid to help scale the company from 250 to 1200. Her experience is extensive and unmatched, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have her on our team. 

At Pear, we’re more than investors— we’re ex-founders and operators, and we intimately understand that the secret to early-stage company building is finding the right people. We invest deep into talent, and that’s what brought Maryna on board. “After talking to many VCs, I found Pear’s commitment to founders and trust in their internal team very attractive. The deciding factor was Pear’s vision and deep appreciation for Talent function.”

Our Talent team’s approach to partnering will leave the founders with a concrete recruiting skill set, and by extension, will set their companies up for long term success.”

Want to connect with Maryna? Shoot her an email at maryna@pear.vc

Welcoming Laura Wright, the newest addition to our Talent team

We rang in 2022 by welcoming Matt, Pear’s first ever Talent Partner. In the last year, the Pear talent team has grown from 0 to now 4 members. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the newest addition: Laura Wright. 

Laura is a Seattle native and graduated from Santa Clara University. She has 8 years of technical recruiting experience across a variety of industries including fintech, logistics, and real estate tech. Laura joined Uber in 2017 and supported Leadership hiring for Uber’s Eats, Maps, Marketplace, and Rider/Driver teams. At Uber, she worked alongside Nate Hirsch— who would eventually bring her to Pear…

In 2020, Laura began overseeing technical recruiting at Afterpay, helping scale the business into new markets across Asia and Europe. Most recently at Brex, Laura was brought on to lead hiring for Brex’s specialized technical pipelines like data, security, infrastructure, and machine learning, as well as international teams.

Laura has extensive experience recruiting across the board from early-stage startups to hyper-growth companies. She believes that the center of her career has always been relationships, and the next step was VC. “I see this opportunity at Pear to be much larger than just joining a company, but rather a community of people with the shared goal of helping take organizations from 0 to 1.” 

At Pear, we’re all about relationships. Our approach is founder-first, and that’s the resounding ethos behind our talent services. “I’m excited to partner with founders, support in making their first hires, and ultimately help shape the beginning chapters of their company. I can’t wait for the day we can look back together and say ‘remember when…’”

Want to connect with Laura? Shoot her an email at laura@pear.vc or find her on LinkedIn.

Using AI to spot investment trends: how ChatGPT surprised me and why I’m on the hunt for the next big AI startup

I recently joined Pear as a Visiting Partner focused on early-stage investments in Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence and Developer Tools. As I kicked off this new chapter, I sought advice on how to find the next billion dollar startup. The natural place to start: ChatGPT. 

Every time I asked ChatGPT which areas in technology are likely to cause the greatest disruption in the next 5 years?”, it gave me different lists, everything from quantum computing to 5G to Biotech and medicine. But AI/ML was always on top of its list. So to get some detail on the potential of AI/ML, I asked “which problems should AI-based startups solve to maximize growth and ROI?”

Results from ChatGPT question: “which problems should AI-based startups solve to maximize growth and ROI?”

I noticed that ChatGPT picked up acronyms like ROI and expanded them correctly, and correctly interpreted queries with misspelled words (e.g., ‘distributed’ was corrected to ‘disruptive’ based on the context of the chat). That made me sit up in my chair!

ChatGPT’s responses are high level. So I tried to pin it down by asking what specific products our startup should build. It provided a specific list, but I could not get it to stack rank or put numerical values against any of these.

Results from ChatGPT question around what specific products our startup should build.

To go deeper, I picked the ‘Personal Assistants’ product idea, and asked 

1. “How would we monetize our personal assistant?” and got this reply:

Results from ChatGPT question: “How would we monetize our personal assistant?”

2. And, “how would we differentiate it relative to competition?”

Results from ChatGPT question: “How would we differentiate it relative to competition?”

These were surprisingly good answers: multimodal chatbots that are personalized and integrated with enterprise systems could be quite useful. Finally I asked ChatGPT to write the business plan and it did!  I shared this business plan with Pear’s healthcare investors and it even passed a few checks. Now if only ChatGPT could generate founders and funding, we’d be all set!

But let’s fast forward to the future, which is what Pear’s portfolio companies are building. First of all they are using AI to solve real problems, such as automating an existing workflow. For example, Osmos.io uses a form of generative AI to create data transformations in a no-code data ingestion platform that’s replacing fragile, hard to maintain hand-coded ETLs. Sellscale uses generative AI to create better marketing emails. Orby.ai discovers and automates repetitive tasks in Finance, HR, customer service, sales, and marketing. And CausalLabs.io is creating the infrastructure layer for UI that is increasingly generated, optimized and personalized by AI. 

Kirat Pandya, Co-Founder and CEO of Osmos, a Pear portfolio company that helps companies scale their customer data ingestion and drive growth with self-serve uploaders and no-code ETL

These companies are building on foundational models like GPT and expanding them to get users accurate, effective outcomes that are orders of magnitude more efficient. When a technology creates orders of magnitude better outcomes, it is a game changer.

We believe AI in 2023 is what PC’s were in 1983 or the internet was in 1995 – it will power enterprises and consumers to do things they couldn’t before and generate enormous value in the next five years. Much of it will come from startups that are in the very early stages today.

This brings me back to why I joined the fast-moving startup ecosystem at PearVC in the first place: the time is now, and the opportunity to build the future with our next billion dollar startup is here.

Welcoming Aparna Sinha to Pear as our newest Visiting Partner

We’re excited to announce that Aparna Sinha has joined Pear as a Visiting Partner! With a career spanning Google, Stanford, McKinsey, NetApp, and Open Source contributions, Aparna brings a wealth of insight in enterprise, developer and AI/ML to Pear companies. 

Since Pear began, we’ve always been proud to not just be investors, but experienced operators. Our team’s most recent addition is no different— Aparna joins us after almost 10 years at Google, most recently as a senior executive leading Kubernetes and Developer Product groups. 

Aparna first got hooked on entrepreneurship while pursuing her PhD in Electrical Engineering working on high speed data communication as an Intel graduate fellow at Stanford. She took a class with Mar Hershenson and followed Mar’s startup, writing a case study on it. Aparna also helped expand the undergraduate business plan competition at Stanford to engineering PhD students and post-docs.

Aparna’s list of accomplishments over the last 10 years at Google can go on and on. She launched an ML-enhanced CRM system for Google’s consumer products, and earned a patent on Android IoT device schema generation. She was part of the early team that created Kubernetes, and scaled the business to a top revenue generating service. Aparna and her team won two ‘Feats of Engineering’ awards at Google for innovations in Kubernetes. Aparna’s product portfolio grew to include Serverless computing as well as Developer Experience tooling for Google Cloud. 

Her work has been covered by press including TechCrunch, Forbes and SiliconAngle. She was highlighted in 2018 as a Power Woman in Cloud. She reconnected with us after leaving Google, and we’re thrilled to have her on board. 

“I believe that enterprise software is being disrupted by cloud and machine learning, creating an opportunity for massive value generation by startups. Best of all, this opportunity favors experienced founders who move fast and rethink the systems that run our world. 

I enjoy working with 10X thinkers, open source maintainers and deep technical founders. I’m good at helping convert technical innovation to customer value generating business.”

Aparna wants to help founders with identifying new market opportunities, productizing technical innovation, building the MVP, scaling revenue, utilizing cloud, and more. “At Pear, I see a unique opportunity for me to help founders with my knowledge, experience and network, successfully bringing innovations to market.”

Interested in connecting with Aparna? Reach out at aparna@pear.vc or on Twitter @apbhatnagar

Welcoming Katie Li to Pear as our Data Analyst

We’re excited to announce that Katie Li joined our team a few months ago as a Data Analyst! She brings a data-driven approach to sourcing investments and tracking talent at Pear.

Katie first learned about Pear in high school, back when it was still Pejman Mar Ventures. Years later, she would hit it off with Arash and Keith at a venture event, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have Katie officially onboard as our newest Data Analyst.  

Katie graduated from Cornell, where she studied Operations Research & Information Engineering and Computer Science. During college, Katie heard about Pear again through hackathons, pitch competitions, and entrepreneurship groups. She spent time as an autopilot engineer working on autonomous search & rescue drones, a hackathon organizer, and a campus scout for Sequoia Capital. Katie was an investor at Zetta Venture Partners in New York, where she focused on early-stage investments in enterprise AI companies and led data-driven sourcing for the firm.

Katie bonded with Arash and Keith over new developments in AI/ML and data-driven sourcing. She was drawn to Pear’s hands-on approach to early-stage investing, whether it was partnering with young founders or creating high-touch cohorts with PearX. “I was impressed by the amount of hands-on support the team gives to early-stage companies, and love that the team has pursued a diverse set of interests through starting communities, programs, speaker series, podcasts, and more. Everyone I’ve met at Pear is also hardworking, not afraid to take initiative, and truly cares about the firm’s mission and our portfolio companies – this all makes it incredibly exciting to be at Pear.”

Katie is spearheading data projects to source investments as well as support Pear’s investment team, platform team, and portfolio companies. She’s passionate about increasing accessibility to venture capital and diversity in investments, and is a big advocate of incorporating data-driven strategies to help accomplish that.

“I’m excited about working with a team that provides early-stage companies with a nurturing environment and gives its all in championing the next generation of category-defining companies, and Pear is that team.”

Interested in connecting with Katie? Reach out at katie@pear.vc