Managing Partner, Distributed Ventures
Inspired by innovation and driven to deliver value to its portfolio of companies, Shawn Ellis is Managing Partner of Distributed Ventures.
In this role, Ellis leads Distributed Ventures. "I had the good fortune to build out NFP’s venture investment function previously, and work with our investment team there for about three and a half years before we spun out with NFP’s support to form Distributed Ventures.
"I've had a couple of different perspectives from prior professional experiences, on the investing side as an operator of an early-stage startup for over four years and in a corporate strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions context. The really interesting thing about this role at Distributed Ventures is it allows me to draw on all my experiences in different ways to deliver value to our portfolio companies, our fund’s strategic LPs and the clients they serve."
"I was excited by the value proposition of the brokerage and distribution-oriented perspectives we could tap into in early ventures. Our LPs sit at the crossroads of all things innovation occurring today. Distributed Ventures and our precursor fund represented an incredible opportunity to bring the best of investing in early-stage operating principles and the perspectives from our LP’s organisations. This was, and still is, an incredible opportunity."
"We help all stakeholders we're interacting with, from portfolio companies to founders, and build their businesses more successfully and faster. This is a really fun, exciting thing to do. It’s also exhilarating to work in collaboration with strategic, sophisticated corporate entity LPs, that are operating at scale yet hungry and receptive to innovation and forward-looking best practices. Enabling new, innovative products to the market is very important - whether it’s reaching the end consumer through our distribution channels or an ecosystem partner, such as a carrier interacting with distribution in a differentiated way, it’s amazing to positively impact so many stakeholders."
Considering his many years of sitting on boards and investing in ventures, it's no surprise one of the books Ellis has spent a lot of time with is Ben Horowitz's The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which highlights Horowitz's years operating in the venture sphere and as an investor. "It's a great book. It doesn't glamorise; it probably very accurately portrays the experiences founders are having and challenges they're facing. I love that it's unvarnished and honest. Through their tribulations, they formed a very innovative and instrumental venture community firm."
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