Jo Bio Photo

Jo Zhu

Head of PearX

It is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying to build something, put it in the world, and ask “what do you think?”

It is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying to build something, put it in the world, and ask “what do you think?”

Jo leads PearX and works with founders at the earliest stages to help build category-defining companies from 0 to 1. As a previous founder and operator herself, Jo viscerally understands the roller coaster that is early stage product building. At PearX, she will be in the trenches with you from day one- riffing on GTM strategies, synthesizing key user problems, isolating for key metrics, and advising on growth, process, hiring, and fundraising. Her goal is to help founders avoid making mistakes she has learned the hard way, and to share practical and operational advice to build a business that is meaningful and enduring over time.

Before investing, Jo led product at UberDoorDash, and Cameo. This includes launching the new verticals product team at DoorDash, where she expanded the delivery app into “non-food” categories (grocery, convenience, and retail), growth and recipient experience at Cameo, and driver pricing and incentives at Uber. Prior to Pear, Jo was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) investing at the intersection of consumer and crypto.

Jo holds an MBA and M.Ed from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is also a YC alum. Areas of investment focus for her are platforms that bring convenience, collaboration, and community to everyday life that bridge the digital and the physical world. As a first-generation immigrant check writer, Jo strives to open doors and dismantle structural inequities to make room at the table for diverse and underrepresented founders.

What is your most used emoji?

👍👍👍 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Unironically using both ASCII emoticons along with keyboard emojis in the same thread.

What's your favorite book?

Isaac Asimov is one of the greatest visionary science-fiction authors of all time and I, Robot is a prophetic glimpse (it was written in the 50s!) into both our obsession and uneasy relationship with artificial intelligence. Although I, Robot was the originator of many tropes that have since become sci-fi staples (think “robot” and word associations of ”uprising” or “rebellion”), Asimov’s work also responds to a much older literary theme - that of a scientist who regrets the sentient life they created (cue: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). I, Robot is an absolute classic read and gives perspective on the human psyche, revealing how our prejudices and assumptions to paradigm shifts in tech can lead to dangerous consequences. It’s quite possibly one of the greatest AI science-fiction novels of all time.

What career path did you want to pursue when you were a kid?

An ecologist in the Amazonian Rainforest.

What are your favorite sports teams?

Canadian curling team, any amateur or semi-pro ultimate frisbee team.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love being in water - it makes you feel so small relative in the grand scheme of things, and it also makes you feel alive. I try to go out and surf regularly - one moment you’re bobbing above the ripples on your board, staring nonchalantly out into the horizon, the next - you are pulled under by a wave, tossed underneath the swell like a rag doll - adrenaline in technicolor. I can think of no other place in the world where my mind and body are so at peace and challenged at the same time and in such quick succession. It’s one of the most invigorating, and humbling (and sometimes terrifying) experiences that leaves you pretty zen for the rest of the day.
Oh, and on land, I love cooking and hosting dinner parties, rock climbing, and exploring the beautiful Californian terrain with my bernedoodle, Lilo.

Previous Experience

  • a16z
  • Uber
  • DoorDash
  • Cameo