Ashley Carroll and Arjun Sethi never thought they’d be working as venture capitalists. Yet in the last year, both have landed at Social Capital, a 4.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based firm that incubates and invests in companies in healthcare, education, financial services, mobile and enterprise software.
Social Capital was also, somewhat famously, created by Chamath Palihapitiya, a straight-shooting former Facebook and AOL executive who brought in as cofounders Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg, former colleagues at USVP. Hamid started his investing career at USVP; Maidenberg’s first gig as a VC was at Time Warner Ventures in 1999.
Carroll joined the firm last spring after previously working as a product lead at Docusign, Optimizely, and SurveyMonkey. Sethi was the cofounder and CEO of the mobile messaging app MessageMe, which was acquired by Yahoo for reportedly “double digit millions” in 2014; he remained at Yahoo as a senior director or product management until last month.
Neither was new to Social Capital when they joined, having served separate stints as EIRs. In fact, during a recent sit-down, the two – who bring Social Capital’s investment team to five people — told of a very fluid firm where entrepreneurs and investors drop in, hang out, then move on to other projects, often to return again. “It’s really a community of entrepreneurs-in-residence, executives-in-residence, engineers-in-residence, all loosely coupled but tightly aligned,” said Carroll.
Here are some other ways the firm is a little different from traditional venture firms: