#17: Angela Strange
Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Why she matters: Connects Canadian startups to Silicon Valley
@astrange 295 followers
With a newly achieved MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a well-paying consulting job waiting for her in Toronto, Angela Strange decided to do something risky instead. A long-distance runner who won two Vancouver marathons around the turn of the millennium, Strange opted to stay in California and try to make the Canadian Olympic team. Her athletic ambitions didn’t work out, but Strange realized Silicon Valley was where she was meant to be. “I just felt like I’d found my people,” she recalls. “There was this risk-taking culture that really resonated with me.”
More than a decade later, she’s taking a lead role in introducing her fellow Canadians to that Valley culture. In March, she became co-chair of C100, an organization established in 2010 to promote Canadian startups and help them access capital and expertise in the world’s most important technology hub. Recently, C100 began working with big Canadian corporations looking to gain an edge. Strange, essentially, is Canada’s guide to the influential people, innovation and cash circulating in the Valley.
Andrew Graham, CEO of online marketplace lender Borrowell, can attest to the benefits of C100’s approach. Earlier this year, his Toronto-based startup was one of 20 selected for C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley program, which introduces teams to successful Canadian entrepreneurs as well as influential Valley VCs. The Borrowell team got to sit down with Strange, who happens to be both an entrepreneur and a Valley VC—she was part of the executive team that built Ruba, a startup acquired by Google in 2010, and in November last year she became a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Strange helped identify potential investors for Borrowell to consider the next time it seeks financing. “It made us a lot smarter about how we should approach funders,” Graham says.
Strange notes the Canadian technology sector has evolved considerably since C100 was founded. “We started with mostly a flow of people from Canada down to Silicon Valley, and now I really think of it as a bridge,” she says. For example, C100 hosted a conference during the Toronto International Film Festival this year, bringing 25 American VCs and investors up to hear from and meet with Canadian startups.
Next on Strange’s agenda? Setting up a physical base for C100 to serve as a Canadian tech consulate in Silicon Valley.