Partner, Threshold Ventures
Heidi Roizen is a venture capitalist, corporate director and former technology CEO/entrepreneur. Today, Heidi is a partner at leading venture firm Threshold Ventures and serves as a board member for private companies Upside Foods, Lumity and Polarr, all in the Threshold portfolio. She is currently also an independent corporate director for DMGT, Invitation Homes (NYSE:INVH) and Planet (NYSE:PL).
Heidi is also an Adjunct Lecturer at Stanford University and leads Stanford’s Threshold Venture Fellows Program in the Management Science and Engineering department. At Stanford, Heidi also serves on the advisory councils of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) and Stanford Technology Ventures (STVP).
She started her career as co-founder of software company T/Maker and served as its CEO for over a dozen years until its acquisition by Deluxe Corporation. After a year as VP of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple, Heidi then became a venture capitalist in 1999. She has undergraduate and MBA degrees from Stanford and is the proud mother of two kids and two rescue dogs.
1- What does a good day at work look like, for you?
My best days are working with motivated, talented people to solve problems. Because of what I do, every day can be a different problem in a different industry, so I always have a lot to learn. Then again, many problems that emerging startups face today look a lot like problems that have been faced by others before. So sometimes all that history with startups helps too. I know it’s been a good day when the first time I look up the day is over!
2 — What’s the best thing that’s happening in your industry today?
Entrepreneurs are trying to solve some really big problems, and the solutions can have a meaningful impact on many of the biggest issues the world faces. For example, Upside Foods will grow real meat without having to raise and slaughter animals. The current world market for meat is wll over $1 trillion a year and the resources consumed globally make it unsustainable. It is particularly rewarding to try to help change this industry!
3 — What important skill or quality do you think most people lack today?
Hmmm interesting question. I think it is a combination of judgment and patience, to know when you have sufficient information to act — and when the timing is right to achieve your most desired result! Everyone is super busy and the bias is to move very quickly pretty much on everything, but there are times that waiting, either to get more information, or to wait for a more opportune time from a market or even a human psychology perspective, is the right thing to do.
4 — If you had to start over and choose a different career — what would it be?
I’m lucky because I love my job! That said, I love architecture, home design, home décor. I love HGTV. In my next life I’ll be a house flipper!
Right now, I have a major hobby — I love glass make glass, something called Fused Glass Art. I have a whole studio in my garage with 2 kilns were we (with her daughter) make fused glass artwork. And even in there, I turn on HGTV for inspiration.
5 — Who do you really respect, that most people probably have never heard of … yet?
I get to work with people who may be the leaders of the next generation of seminal companies. I could name many but let me start with two: one is Aicha Evans, the CEO of Zoox. The other is Uma Valeti, the CEO of Upside Foods. Both are tremendous leaders disrupting major, major industries. You heard it here first!
5–1/2: …. And … the bonus question:
What game show would you most want to be a contestant on? Why?
Definitely Jeopardy, though I’d be scared to death! I’m good at certain questions surprisingly like Muscle cars, classic rock; current music — not so good. On the topic of flowers — surprisingly, i do very well.
For more 5–1/2 Questions Interviews, see:
5–1/2 Questions with CJ Cornell
5 1/2 Questions from The Metapreneurs “5–1/2 Questions” from CJ Cornell is a new series of mini-interviews with leaders…
“5–1/2 Questions” from CJ Cornell is a new series of mini-interviews with leaders in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem around the world. In less than a half-dozen short questions, we’ll try to learn more about each leader, and what makes them successful and unique.
The questions are designed a little like a “Magic Eight Ball” (my GenX colleagues know what this is): A set of questions, posed at random. Plus, at least one question, or half-question, is designed to find out something about their personality that most people might never suspect (I mean expect).
CJ Cornell is a serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, mentor, author, speaker, and educator. As an entrepreneur, CJ Cornell was a founder of more than a dozen successful startup ventures that collectively attracted over $250 million in private funding; created nearly a thousand new jobs; and launched dozens of innovative consumer, media, and communications products — that have exceeded $3 billion in revenues.
He is the author of the bestselling “The Age of Metapreneurship — A Journey into the Future of Entrepreneurship.”
And the upcoming “The Startup Brain Trust — A Guidebook for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and the Mentors that Help them Become Great.”