Introducing PearX: a new era of the Pear Accelerator

At Pear, we have been leading pre-seed rounds in very early stage companies for the last 9 years. These pre-seed companies have typically participated in our Accelerator program, which was developed as a bootcamp for ambitious founders with high potential ideas. Through this program, we help founders pick the best idea, build the highest potential product, find the right market, and lay the foundations for a venture backable company.

Pear Accelerator has been the birthplace of category-defining companies like Affinity, Xilis, Capella Space, Nova Credit, Cardless, Viz.ai, and more. To date, we’ve invested in 120 companies at the pre-seed stage including Branch and Aurora Solar. In total, our pre-seed investments are now valued at nearly $10B. 

Today, we’re excited to announce that Pear Accelerator will now be known as PearX, an early-stage bootcamp. In addition to the name change, we’re expanding our pre-seed offering by investing up to $2M in companies that apply to the program. 

By expanding check sizes up to $2M, we’re now able to accept a wider range of founders into PearX. Some founders come to us while they’re still ideating on a company concept, yet others have products live and have demonstrated early traction, but still need help with critical company-building steps like recruiting or go-to-market. A larger initial check will enable to us to include a wider range of companies into PearX.

PearX had humble beginnings. 8 years ago, a few students in Pear Garage wanted to keep working on their projects through the summer. We wrote them a $25k uncapped note, and by the next year, we had an Accelerator program with a Demo Day that made headlines. Today, PearX is a core part of what defines Pear. 

Affinity Co-founders Ray Zhou and Shubham Goel started the company through Pear Garage and Pear Accelerator.

We invest in people, and the name “Accelerator” didn’t quite capture our high-touch, hands-on approach to what that means. As a team almost entirely composed of founders across a variety of sectors, we’ve been in your shoes before. You’ll meet with the team several times a week and have two partners dedicated to you. We’re in the trenches right next to you, helping you find your co-founder, hone in on product-market fit, craft the right pitch— whatever variable makes the biggest impact to your company.

Today’s markets are shifting faster than ever before, and Pear is dedicated to evolving alongside them. We invest across the board from AI/ML to consumer to healthcare and more, and we accept teams in various stages of progress. Our program employs an all-star cast of mentors and culminates in a Demo Day to thousands of investors where 85% of our companies end up raising from tier 1 institutional investors. 

PearX founders receive hands on support from the entire Pear team.

Eight years ago, we couldn’t have imagined what PearX would become, but no program exists that has a higher conversion rate from pre-seed to seed. We’ve developed an intimate, high-touch bootcamp to help the most ambitious founders build the next generation of groundbreaking companies – and the best is yet to come. 

Out of 120 companies that we have pre-seeded, 15 are worth $100m, and 3 are worth over $1b. You could be next— apply to be a part of the next PearX cohort here

Interested in learning more? Read more about PearX on our website and check out case studies from PearX companies Xilis, Bonfire, and Gathermade.

Welcoming Ilian Georgiev to Pear as our newest Visiting Partner

We’re excited to announce that Ilian Georgiev has joined Pear as a Visiting Partner! An experienced operator who recently sold his company Charlie to Chime, Ilian will be working with Pear companies to share his insights in fintech, consumer, and beyond.

Like everyone at Pear, Ilian is a builder first, investor second. 

After getting his MBA at Stanford, he spent several years in the gaming industry as a Product Manager at Pocket Gems, launching games like Paradise Cove and Episode to 100m+ users, and Head of Product at Chobolabs, focusing on mobile e-sport games.

Taking what he learned in gaming, Ilian spent the next 5 years building Charlie, an AI personal finance service. The goal was to “help ordinary Americans worry less about money and get out of debt faster, where the word ordinary Americans is actually key,” shares Ilian. Last fall, Charlie joined Chime

Come January, Ilian was ready for his next step. He was prepared to dive back into building a company when a friend gave an unexpectedly impactful recommendation: spend 2 weeks without a plan and see what happens.

 “At the end of those 2 weeks, I looked back and somehow I had talked to 20 different founders, helping them figure out how to find product market fit or how to fundraise or how to recruit… I wasn’t focused on going into venture, but I was focused on helping out founders.”

For the last 20 years, Ilian’s guiding questions have been: 

  1. How to Develop New Products: What frameworks, priorities, and leadership maximize your odds of building something new that people will love?
  2. How to Build Culture: How do you create an environment where good people belong and do their best work?

Moving from operating to investing is Ilian’s transition to exploring these questions with breadth rather than depth. He specifically wanted to join Pear for three reasons: 1) Pear is good people and that attracts good people, 2) Pear is collaborative, and 3) Pear is exclusively early-stage. Just like it takes a team to build a great company, it also takes a team effort to find and support early-stage founders.

Ilian’s advice for early-stage founders: 

“The most important thing, especially for people who have had a long history of success who then decide to become founders, is to recognize that strengths are infinitely more important than weaknesses.” 

Ilian shares that it’s important for founders to break the mindset that they need to first focus on what’s broken— even if you manage to fix everything that isn’t working, all you’ll get is perfect mediocrity. A great product does not do everything; it does one thing exceptionally. Focus on what’s working and double down on it. 

Ilian is working with our Accelerator, consumer, and fintech companies. Connect with him at ilian@pear.vc.

That’s a wrap: 2022 LA Tech Week

Last month, we were thrilled to be in Los Angeles for the inaugural LA Tech Week. There were over 15,000 people who joined events across LA throughout the week, and it was truly invigorating to meet so many LA-based founders.

We attended several events and hosted two events of our own:

Female Founders Brunch with Mar 

2022 LA Tech Week
Female Founders with Mar

At Pear, supporting and promoting diversity within the tech world is near and dear to our hearts. Our Founding Managing Partner Mar is a 3x founder herself, our Principal Vivien runs a Female Founders Circle program, and our entire firm is dedicated to building community, creating connections, sparking inspiration, and paving the way for the next generation of female founders. 

During LA Tech Week, we gathered a stellar group of 35 LA-based female founders at The Santa Monica Proper for an Ask Me Anything-style brunch. The event was anchored by a discussion from Mar, who shared her perspective and lessons learned on company building. We then opened the floor for questions and had a candid conversation about the ins and outs of building a startup from the ground up.

DoorDash founding story with Stanley Tang

Pejman Nozad (Pear) and Stanley Tang (DoorDash)

We specialize in backing early stage companies, because we love to work with outstanding people and help them realize their full potential. We met the DoorDash team when they were still students at Stanford, wrote the first check into their company, which was initially called PaloAltoDelivery.com, and we supported them every step of the way to their IPO in 2020. 

We hosted a brunch for 175 people at The Shangri-La Hotel for a lively discussion between Pear’s Founding Managing Partner, Pejman Nozad, and Co-Founder and CPO of DoorDash, Stanley Tang. They discussed DoorDash’s founding story, the trials and tribulations the founders faced to get the company off the ground, the DoorDash philosophy on team growth and management, and Stan’s lessons learned along the way.

We absolutely loved being on the ground in LA and can’t wait to come back!

Welcoming Nate Hirsch to the talent team

We’re excited to introduce the newest addition to the Pear Family— Nate Hirsch. 

At Pear, we know that providing founders hands-on, top-tier support requires more than just capital. To take a company from zero to one, the first few hires are critical. A few months ago, we brought on our Talent Partner Matt Birnbaum to help our early-stage portfolio companies, and we’re excited for Nate to join the ranks. 

Nate has been in tech recruiting since his first steps in Silicon Valley over 10 years ago, starting at a boutique agency specializing in engineering recruiting for early stage startups. He joined Uber in 2015 as one the first members of the technical recruiting team. Nate made hundreds of technical hires in engineering, TPM, product and data science across all levels from university to leadership, and by the time he left, Uber had scaled to over 30,000 employees. He departed Uber In 2018 to join Facebook (now Meta) to further explore technical recruiting at scale. During his tenure at Facebook, he built processes and best practices for a recruiting function that hired over a thousand engineering leaders. 

We believe that recruiting is the backbone of success for any company, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Nate and his extensive experience on board. Pear is committed to supporting our founders every step of the way, including hiring, and our recruiting team is only just getting started. 

Learn more about Nate’s background on our website. You can find him on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in connecting with Nate, shoot him an email at nate@pear.vc.

Welcoming Jill Puente as our Marketing Partner

Jill Puente

We’re excited to share that Jill Puente recently joined the Pear ranks as our Marketing Partner. She’ll play an integral role at Pear, helping lead all of our marketing programs, communications, and content. Jill has an extensive background, with experience across all facets of marketing, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on board. 

As Pear continues to grow, marketing has become a critical function to increase the profile of the firm, as well as supporting our founders to help them grow their own marketing efforts. In her short time with us, Jill has been diving into Pear’s content strategy, messaging and positioning, media and PR, and critical marketing events and programs. We’re excited for Jill to work closely with the entire Pear team to enhance the visibility of the amazing work happening in our firm and to add an essential perspective to our portfolio companies.

Jill has worked across all areas of marketing: brand marketing, product marketing, growth marketing, and communications. Most recently, Jill spent 10 years at Google, where she led marketing efforts for teams like Sustainability, Google Fiber, and Google One. Prior to that, she was an early employee at Wildfire Interactive, a social media startup acquired by Google in 2012. Learn more about Jill’s full bio on our website.  

Jill lives in San Francisco with her husband Lucas, sons Nico (4.5) and Felix (1.5), and dog Scout. You can find her on Twitter (@jillianpuente) and on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in connecting with Jill, please email her at jill@pear.vc

Welcoming Eddie Eltoukhy as our Biotech Partner

We are extremely excited to announce Eddie Eltoukhy as our latest Partner, heading up our investments across Biotech and life sciences.

As a firm, Pear has already made some big investments in Biotech, including Guardant Health (NASDAQ: GH), Senti Bio (Series B, led by Bayer LEAPS, and going public soon), BioAge (Series C, led by A16z), Xillis (Series A, led by GV, Mubadala), and many more.

By bringing Eddie onboard as a Partner, we’re doubling down on Pear’s effort to back the next generation of innovative life science companies. Why? Because it’s estimated that the Biotech industry will be worth $2.4T by 2028, growing on the macro tailwinds of an expanding healthcare sector, favorable government and regulatory initiatives, and rising R&D investment by public and private agencies. This potential is boosted by technology trends such as plummeting DNA synthesis and sequencing costs, the advancement of AI / ML, and the increasing adoption of synthetic biology at scale.

We believe that no firm has yet to build the ideal pre-seed and seed stage investment partnership for Biotech founders, and with Eddie at the helm, we are determined to be that firm. We’ve known Eddie since he joined our portfolio company, Senti Bio, as its first business hire. Eddie oversaw Senti Bio’s growth, from seed stage to public financing, and he helped drive the execution of major biopharma partnerships with Spark Therapeutics (Roche) and BlueRock Therapeutics (Bayer). He brings both business acumen and scientific depth, with a PhD in Biological Engineering from MIT under the guidance of Professors Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson and an MBA from Stanford. Eddie also has experience at Roche / Genentech and Kala Pharmaceuticals. Learn more about Eddie’s full bio on our website.

Eddie is passionate about cutting-edge life sciences technologies, and he loves working to support visionary founders on their missions to transform human health. We’ve seen first hand what Eddie can do through our work together, and we’re confident his experience will be incredibly beneficial to both the Pear team and our founders. If you’re working on a new project in the Biotech space, please reach out to Eddie to chat more!

Welcoming Arpan Shah back to Pear as our newest Visiting Partner

We’re excited to announce that Arpan Shah has joined Pear as a FinTech Visiting Partner! He’s working with Pear companies to share his learnings earned through founding and selling his financial APIs company to Plaid, as well as leading engineering at Robinhood for over 5 years. We’re incredibly glad to be working with him again many years after he graduated from our first Pear Stanford Garage cohort in 2014.

When we started Pear Stanford Garage in 2014, Arpan Shah was among the first 12 members in our inaugural cohort. “There were a few things that I found really fun and exciting in particular: getting a chance to meet with a lot of founders, figuring out approaches to early product, iterating on products, fundraising, timing, team building— the elements which go into starting an early early company. I learned a lot of that through the conversations, talks, and sessions that we had at Garage.” We’re so excited to partner with Arpan as a Visiting Partner and have his support for our Winter Accelerator!

After earning a Masters in Computer Science at Stanford, Arpan joined Robinhood as an early engineer in the founding team. “Pear played a role in that; I really felt like a lot of value could be created by being part of something super early. I ended up joining Robinhood at the time because I felt like finance was a big part of all of our lives,” Arpan says. “I was particularly excited because I’d always found investing to be hard in the US.” 

Arpan eventually became the Head of Data Platform and Data Products at Robinhood, leading a team of 40+ engineers and engineering managers. “I helped start the data team there, and I grew that into areas like risk and fraud, growth and marketing, data products like search, newsfeed, various aspects of the crypto product, data infrastructure, experimentation, and data platforms.”

“In October 2020, I started Flannel. I had seen a lot of the challenges of money moving in the US being super slow,” Arpan says. “My co-founder and I really felt like we could make that a lot better by leveraging some of the more modern payment methods that were starting to emerge.” Flannel raised a $6.3m seed from Accel and Index, launched an early product, and last March, Arpan sold the company to Plaid

Throughout the years, Arpan has been angel investing across companies in investing, insurance tech, lending, financial access. “The thing that I’m hoping to bring as a Visiting Partner to Pear is a lot of my FinTech experience— the network I have amongst FinTech practitioners and entrepreneurs as well as helping inform appropriate methods to grow businesses and partner with companies.”

Arpan’s tips for early-stage founders

Hire for relevant experience in the here and now of what you’re working on. 

  • In early startups, one of the really important things is to hire for the very near term— trying to solve the problems of the here and now. Early founders often think about bringing in someone who has a ton of experience at really large organizations. Oftentimes, those lessons aren’t super applicable or don’t translate well compared to someone who’s been through this early stage phase of development.
  • Engineering leadership is critical to hiring early on. Focus on hiring folks who are high growth; experience is not as important, it’s much more important that they can really, really execute at this stage of the company. If you’re looking for experience, I think the experience that makes a lot of sense is people who have worked through the stage of the company you’re in. 

Understand the regulatory landscape of the space you’re operating in.

  • If you’re in insurance tech, understanding how insurance regulation works is super important. If you’re in the brokerage or investing space, understanding how FINRA and SEC largely regulate those industries is really important. If you’re in the payment space, understand how the money transmitter licenses or money services business regulations work really well.
  • The biggest challenge fintech companies often face, which we did as well, is figuring out how to navigate regulation effectively. A key hire that people often don’t think about is bringing in someone with a background to ensure that their product from the very early stages is compliant. Oftentimes, FinTech founders get tripped up because they think they can move as quickly as a lot of their peers. The “move fast break things” model that people often think they can do in other industries doesn’t quite work as cleanly for FinTech. FinTech founders may need a little bit more patience and understanding that a big part of the landscape is not just the product and how you succeed in getting customers, but also how you succeed in navigating the regulatory landscape.

Find the right partners for the journey.

  • People think really carefully about founding teams, but I think it’s also really important to partner with investors who really understand early stage company building. And not every investor does. One of the big aspects about successful alignment between investor and founder is investors who can understand that the early part of the company building process is messy, and so they’re willing to get into that mess with you to help solve those problems with you. 

“I’m really, really looking forward to working with founders who are building really innovative products that help expand what is possible here in the US when it comes to financial access or financial products,” says Arpan. “When you look at a lot of the other parts of the world, it’s remarkable how much innovation has happened in the financial landscape over the last decade. I think a lot of people think that we’re in the last legs of it, but honestly, I think we’re just getting started. I’m really excited to see all the exciting innovative stuff people can come up with, especially as newer ecosystems like crypto get unlocked and better infrastructure comes online.”

Connect with Arpan at arpan@pear.vc and on Twitter @arpanshah29!

Pear Fellows 2022 Cohort

Alumni of the Pear Fellows program are shaping the venture capital and tech industries, including 37 VCs, 22 startup founders, and 18 product managers. Read on to meet the next generation of Fellows!

This year, 14 new Fellows were selected from hundreds of student applications. We select our team of Fellows optimizing for diversity of thought and a shared passion for supporting early-stage founders. Fellows work directly with our investment team to discover founders, make investment decisions, and support startups.

If you’re a student working on a startup, we encourage you to reach out to a Fellow and/or explore the following Pear opportunities:

  • Pear Competition: $100K uncapped, for exceptional people determined to solve big problems.
  • Pear Accelerator: $500-750K @ $10M, when you have clarity on a big vision and the right team to go after it.
  • Pear Seed: up to $3M, when you have a compelling evidence of customer love.

37 Fellows alumni are now VCs, including Nicole Quinn (GP Lightspeed) and many more at top funds including a16z, General Catalysts, Pear, Khosla, General Atlantic, DFJ Growth, DST Global, DCM, Industry, and Bessemer. We recognize our role in training the next generations of diverse VCs and startup founders, with 51% of our Fellows alumni female-identifying.

If your university does not have a Fellow, or if you are no longer a student, we still encourage you to engage with Pear! The Fellows cohort is small to ensure that each Fellow receives focused attention from the Pear partners, however, we also seek to partner with founders from all backgrounds.

2022 Fellows

Stanford

gbarrow@stanford.edu

Greg Barrow is a MBA candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He began his career in the Air Force, graduating first in his class of over 200 cadets. As an acquisitions officer, Greg procured communications equipment and software licenses at an enterprise-level, awarded non-dilutive funding to startups via the SBIR and STTR programs, and served as a Defense Ventures Fellow. He later spent time at The Engine and Five Four Ventures. Prior to enrolling at Stanford, Greg received his BA in Economics from DePauw University, and his MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

shaneez@stanford.edu

Shaneez Mohinani was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs, raising capital from and providing investment advice to governments, central banks and endowments across Southeast Asia. Prior to that, while in undergrad, she had run a seed funding program for underserved entrepreneurs across emerging Asia. Shaneez is currently a MBA student at Stanford, where she is also a Food and Ag-Tech investor at the GSB Impact Fund. Shaneez enjoys traveling and taking on extreme spice challenges.

lkt@stanford.edu

Linda Tong is a sophomore at Stanford studying computer science. Previously, Linda was a member of #builtbygirls, a fellow at EVCA, and an intern at Foothill Ventures. Linda enjoys reading, sharing book recommendations with friends, learning new languages (coding, living, or dead), and playing golf.

jenkinsa@stanford.edu

Alexandra Jenkins is a Stanford MBA candidate who invested in healthcare, edtech, and HR in Latin America at ALLVP, a Mexican VC. Prior to that, she worked at McKinsey for 3 years in various LatAm countries and Spain. She’s interested in healthcare and mental health, especially in the LatAm region.

MIT

dvelez@mit.edu

Daniela Velez is studying computer science at MIT. She has worked on edtech and consumer tech projects and has worked in software engineering at Facebook, Microsoft, and Figma. On campus, she leads the undergraduate entrepreneurship club, StartLabs, and she is passionate about social impact and urban planning. She also loves playing piano, reading, traveling, and living in hacker houses.

UC Berkeley

alex.rohrbach@berkeley.edu

Alex Rohrbach is an MBA student at University of California, Berkeley Haas. He previously led marketplace operations at Wonolo, an on-demand staffing platform, and worked as an engagement manager at McKinsey. Alex is passionate about the future of work, marketplaces, e-commerce, and finance, and will often share gummies from Pink Panda, his side-hustle, better-for-you candy company. Alex enjoys watching French movies and cycling.

UPenn

joykchen@wharton.upenn.edu

Joy Chen is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying business analytics in the Wharton School. Originally from the suburbs of Los Angeles, Joy has previously worked in a coffee shop and Greek restaurant where she became interested in food and restaurant technology. This past summer, she worked for Yum China and now writes about kitchen robotics for the Spoon. At Penn, she is part of the Innovation Fund Investment Team as well as Sigma Eta Pi, Penn’s entrepreneurship fraternity. Joy enjoys film photography, distance running, and cooking for her friends.

naomi.chetrit@gmail.com

Naomi Chetrit Band is a MBA student at Wharton. Prior to Wharton, she lived in Israel working closely with startups, entrepreneurs, and investing firms at EY-Parthenon. Naomi completed a dual degree in Law (LL.B.) and Accounting (B.A.) at the Reichman University (IDC Herzliya). Before joining EY-Parthenon, she practiced law and then accounting, following which she became a Certified Lawyer and Certified Public Accountant. At Wharton, Naomi is a VP of Venture Capital Career Development, a Partner in Wharton Venture Partners, and co-President of the Israel Club. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking her grandmothers’ Moroccan specialties, traveling and exploring new places and cultures.

rtemp@wharton.upenn.edu

Robert Templeton is a MBA at Wharton. Prior to school he worked at Premji Invest, a growth equity and public equities focused fund investing across Tech, Consumer, and Healthcare. At Wharton, Robert is the VP of Events for the Cybersecurity Club and is working on a sector thesis as a member of Wharton Venture Partners. In his free time he enjoys playing in the Wharton Hockey League and spending time with his dog Boogie.

Adam Lawal is a first year MBA student at Wharton double majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurship/Innovation. Prior to business school, he worked in M&A advisory and Private Credit Investing. At Wharton, Adam is an active member of the PEVC club, Entrepreneurship Club, and Founders Club. In his free time, he enjoys playing ice hockey, photography, and trying out new restaurants in Philly.

jshan1@sas.upenn.edu

Joanna Shan is a second-year at the University of Pennsylvania studying Urban Studies and Statistics. She just returned from a gap year spent building Monet, the dating and friendmaking app where you send a drawing to start the conversation, and teaching high school students design, all while living in Portland, SF, NYC, and Oahu. She’s passionate about education, storytelling, and technology for good.

Harvard

nzweben@mba2023.hbs.edu

Noah Zweben is an HBS MBA student and software engineer interested in tackling problems that help preserve our planet and do good for the world. He has experience in climate and civic tech at companies like Votem and Bowery Farming. In his free time, Noah is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and painting.

temanuel@mba2022.hbs.edu

Toby Emanuel was previously a surgical resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Toby completed his undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis, earned his MD at Brown University, and is now an MBA student at HBS. He is interested in digital health, and is particularly passionate about improving the value of our healthcare system.

mshen@mba2023.hbs.edu

Margaret Shen is a first-year student at HBS. Previously, she was a product manager at Dropbox launching new B2B products and integrations. She was also a PM at OakNorth, a fintech startup based in London, where she led the ML and data ingestion teams. Margaret graduated from Stanford with degrees in Computer Science and English. She is originally from the Bay Area and loves to bike and hang out with cats in her spare time.

Introducing Pear Europe, led by Pear’s newest Partner Pepe Agell

With $3.8 billion deployed in 2021 as compared to $4.1 billion in the US, Europe is now the second largest region in the world when it comes to early-stage investments. Europe now has 321 unicorns, up from 223 in 2020, and still has $23 trillion of potential value to be unlocked. We’ve frequently heard from European entrepreneurs that nothing like Pear exists on the continent, which is why we’re so excited to bring Pear to the European startup ecosystem and share our know-how, network and 0 to 1 expertise with talented entrepreneurs in the region. 

Leading the way is Pepe Agell, our newest partner spearheading Pear Europe. Pepe is the former co-founder and CEO of Chartboost, backed by Sequoia, which he successfully sold to Zynga after leading the team for ten years. “In 10 years, you go through many different lives in the startup world.” Pepe says. “I’ve gone through hypergrowth, plateau, decline, going back up again.” Nowadays as an investor, Pepe is full of advice from his years of operating experience. “I feel really excited about not only how high quality the team is, but also just the fact that I get to help other founders succeed and share my experiences.”

Pepe just moved back to his hometown of Barcelona, where he studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnical University of Catalonia. He completed his Masters in Management, Technology, and Economics at ETH in Zurich, which is when he first fell in love with entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley. “Once we graduated, with no savings, no visa, no job or anything, we decided to come here just to learn,” remembers Pepe. He started his career working in business development for enterprise software, becoming the Head of Business Development at 3scale and eventually went on to co-found Chartboost. 

When we met Pepe, we knew he had the Pear DNA and invited him to join us as a Pear Visiting Partner. It didn’t take long to hear from our founders that Pepe provides thorough, knowledgeable, and enduring support as a trusted and committed advisor. He is the consummate ambassador and vanguard for Pear as we take small but focused steps to support the most promising European companies from day zero. 

“I’ve experienced first hand that this is a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” says Pepe. “When we’re looking at a team, we want to make sure that not only are they smart, they have a unique angle. They know ‘why now’ and they have the ingredients to endure.” 

“Pear is bringing its knowhow, network and platform to Europe and partnering with entrepreneurs at the earliest stages.” said Pejman Nozad, co-founder of Pear VC.

Building a category-defining business in Europe? Connect with Pepe on Twitter @joseluisagell or say hi to him in Barcelona!

Welcoming Matt Birnbaum as our Talent Partner

We’re thrilled to share that Matt Birnbaum recently joined the Pear ranks as our Talent Partner. He’ll spend his time at Pear working closely with founders to help them make their earliest and most critical hires. Matt has an unmatched passion and expertise when it comes to growth and hiring, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board. 

We know that entrepreneurs need more than capital to get their businesses off the ground. To take a company from zero to one, hiring the right people is critical. By bringing on Matt, Pear is making a commitment to help our early-stage portfolio companies make their most influential hires. For seed stage companies, onboarding the first hire is a crucial, make-or-break moment. 

At Pear, we pride ourselves on being incredibly hands-on with our founders. Our team has a proven process to help companies with product-market fit, go-to-market strategy, and fundraising. Now with the addition of Matt, we’re able to help our founders make massive strides in hiring too. And this is just the beginning: Matt is building out a larger recruiting team within Pear to provide crucial support to startups on their journeys. 

Few people are as experienced in tech recruiting as Matt. He joins us from Instacart, where he was the Head of Talent Acquisition for the last four years and scaled the company from 300 to 3,000 employees. Prior to that, Matt ran his own Recruiting firm, Upstart Talent, where he consulted and partnered with over 25 fast-growing startups including Stripe, Thumbtack, Plaid, and Benchling. He also led recruiting for Wildfire Interactive, where he grew the company to 500 employees before it was acquired by Google in 2012. Learn more about Matt’s full bio on our website. 

Matt lives in San Francisco with his wife Katie, son Dougie, and cat Skurvy. You can find him on Twitter (@birnbing) and on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in joining Matt’s team, please email him at matt@pear.vc.