Lucy Guo has sone of the most impressive bios in tech. From a Thiel fellowship to working at Quora, Facebook and Snap. She later co-founded A.I startup Scale and Backend capital -a VC fund.
In 2018 she was included in Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Hi, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Lucy. I'm currently a founding partner at Backend Capital which invests in brilliant engineers as early as possible. Previously, I co-founded Scale AI which accelerates its customers' AI development by democratizing access to intelligent data (companies using Scale include Lyft, Cruise, and nuTonomy). I studied Computer Science and Human-Computer Interactions at Carnegie Mellon before dropping out for the Thiel Fellowship.
How did you get into your current field?
I picked up a HTML book from Fry's Electronics in second grade to learn how to decorate my neopets page. From there, I started getting into the technology world.
What are your goals?
I want to scale impact. Marc Andreessen wrote a great blog post titled "It's Time to Build". I want to do whatever I can to help brilliant founders build - from brainstorming and hacking on products with them to providing capital to helping build the early team.
You’ve been involved in many great projects from Scale to most recently Covy. Which one are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of Scale. It's been incredible seeing it grow. I remember raising the first capital while still at Snap, uncertain whether I wanted to leave or not — all due to an uber driver who told me to reach out to Paige Craig, the founder of Silicon Beach!
What tips would you give to someone wanting to break into tech?
Almost any industry can be accelerated with technology, and if you have specific knowledge in that industry, you should find tech companies building within that industry cold email the founders. People read them and often respond.
What could tech companies do better to foster and develop female talent?
I think the problem starts early on - companies are desperate for engineers and hire too many men in the beginning. This starts a chicken and egg problem, where female candidates look at the team and are unwilling to join. If the ratio is already problematic, I think the quickest solution is hiring female leadership.
You are a founder of Backend Capital. What advice can you give our readers for navigating the funding process?
If you have something to show, you can find money. Create a MVP before fundraising. Even better, get users or customers before fundraising. You don't need to build a full product to start making money. Often times, a landing page where you collect a $1 deposit shows enough product-market fit that you're able to fundraise off that.
Even if large funds reject you, find angels and smaller funds. They love early deals and move faster. Try to find mutual linkedin connections and get a warm intro. But don't be afraid to send a cold email.
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?
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