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Shawn Carolan Board Member

As an ear­ly-stage investor, Shawn focus­es on com­pa­nies that serve the util­i­tar­i­an con­sumer” — the indi­vid­ual seek­ing bet­ter, faster, and cheap­er ways to move through life. Because basic human needs are per­sis­tent, he looks at how peo­ple are spend­ing their mon­ey and time to assess the val­ue and util­i­ty of a prod­uct or ser­vice. This approach inspired Shawn to invest ear­ly in Roku, Uber, and Chime, long before they became house­hold names.

Shawn’s tech­ni­cal back­ground helps him appre­ci­ate new tech­nolo­gies that unlock inno­va­tion and become the foun­da­tion upon which cat­e­gories are built, occa­sion­al­ly lead­ing him beyond con­sumer into cut­ting-edge enter­prise invest­ments as well. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign, where he grad­u­at­ed with high­est hon­ors. He then joined Chica­go start­up Open Port Tech­nol­o­gy as a devel­op­er. After becom­ing a man­ag­er of soft­ware archi­tec­ture, he wrote wire pro­to­cols in C++ and obtained a patent. He left to attend Stan­ford GSB, and joined Men­lo in 2002 after receiv­ing his MBA. In a career that has spanned invest­ing, tech­nol­o­gy, and man­age­ment con­sult­ing, he’s learned many lessons. But it was in start­ing and run­ning his own start­up, Han­dle, that he had his own founder’s jour­ney first­hand, giv­ing him expe­ri­ence with the highs and lows that are impos­si­ble to ful­ly com­pre­hend from the boardroom.

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