Chian Gong is being promoted to Partner at Reach Capital. She is the first investment partner we’ve added since we began working together in 2011. She will join Jennifer, Shauntel, Esteban and Wayee on the investment team.
Chian first joined our team during the summer of 2014 when she interned while finishing her MBA/MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Wharton. She was so exceptional that summer that we were ready to hire her on the spot; her graduation couldn’t come soon enough.
Fortunately for us, Chian returned to Reach in January of 2016. She has been the type of colleague that not only is a joy to work with, but makes us all better by pushing our thinking and striving for better. Chian initiated and architected our internal data system, which led to our operating benchmark reports and diversity analyses. She also built our systems around portfolio talent recruitment and quarterly portfolio reviews.
Chian is a smart and thesis-driven investor. When she has conviction for a startup, she tenaciously and methodically educates the team, helping us see what is possible. She takes risks and puts herself out there when it would be easier to retreat to the reputational security of party rounds. Chian has sourced and led investments in Everyday Labs, Real-World Playbook, Stellic and Guardian’s Collective. She serves as an observer on the boards of Winnie and AdmitHub and is a board director at Everyday Labs and PeopleGrove.
While Chian is tough and analytical, she is one of those rare people that blend these traits with kindness and grace. The latter requires courage in a sector where these qualities are less celebrated than they ought to be. Chian will hold you to account but also remembers your birthday, is humble about her achievements, and champions her colleagues, founders and friends.
At Reach, we take our role as partners to our Founders seriously. The earliest years of company formation are an especially vulnerable time for Founders as they seek product market fit. These are turbulent years for most, and founders need a ballast of a partner who they can trust. Chian forms this type of relationship with her Founders and sees herself as a member of their teams. Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall, founders of Winnie noted: “She rolls up her sleeves and acts as a real extension of our leadership team and has helped get us through challenging times. She has been instrumental in helping us scale Winnie from a seed-stage company to a strong, revenue-generating business serving millions of parents and thousands of childcare providers across the country.” Emily Bailard, CEO of EveryDay Labs said, “She’s been a valuable thought partner as we have navigated the last year of growth and impacts of COVID. I always look forward to my calls with her, and appreciate how I can rely on her whenever I have a question or tricky situation.”
Venture funds have different views about hiring partners from within. We believe investing is a craft that takes years of apprenticeship and continuous learning. The culture and values that drive this learning matter a whole lot, especially in VC where relationships are paramount and your time is less prescribed. Promoting from within was an easy choice for us.
If an associate develops the skills and embodies the values needed to thrive as an investment partner at Reach, we will do whatever we can to retain them. A high-functioning partnership is magic, and Chian has always felt like a co-founder to us. We are proud to make it official today!