Miriam Rivera is the co-founder, CEO, and managing director of Ulu Ventures. The venture fund is one of the largest Latina firms in the world. IT startups, including the Unicorns, BetterUp and Guild, along with six others, are at the center of this early seed stage venture fund in Silicon Valley. Rivera and her team firmly believe that diversity is profitable. And not just trendy. Compared to industry standards, the Ulu portfolio contains a diverse collection of founders, by design. The Ulu team uses a repeatable informed-decision process that analyzes risk-reward trade-offs. The result is reduced cognitive bias.
We think many ideas have been overlooked because they are not necessarily the ideas that the typical investor base relates to. We’re a team founded on principle that differences are actually things that are complementarities.
Rivera is the guest of this week’s Grit Daily News Like a Boss podcast. In parallel, Rivera is also the co-founder of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs. Previously, she was their co-president and served on the Board. Rivera is one of the many, talented women-in-tech and venture funding. She is an entrepreneurship mentor at the Stanford GSB and Rock Center on Corporate Governance Venture Capital Director’s College. And she is a Kauffman Fellow in venture capital.
Rivera understands how hard it is to make a startup successful. “At times, my hair fell out from the amount of stress and lack of sleep. It won’t be easy and it won’t be comfortable. It takes 10 years for a startup to become an overnight success.” Rivera is no stranger to challenges. Her childhood is what fuels her: she is convinced that, “You really can do anything that you set your mind to.”
Ulu’s venture capitalist looks back
Prior to taking on her role at Ulu, Rivera was the Vice President/Deputy General Counsel at Google. She also used to teach at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program in the School of Engineering. Not only is she a first-generation college graduate of Stanford, where she earned her JD and MBA degrees, but she is part of the one percent (or fewer) of alumni who hold a Stanford Medal. Her efforts on Stanford University’s Board of Trusteed, Technology Licensing Advisory Board, Dean’s Advisory Council, Stanford’s Lead Council, and numerous others enable her to champion diversity.
Over our lives, we’ve built a foundation on respect and applying that to our business and family life. For us, the pandemic has been a time to reflect on both our portfolio. As a result, we came to the conclusion that we are really doing what we want to be doing at this stage in our lives.
To hear more insights about the investments trending in Silicon Valley and how to build resilience into every startup, tune into the Grit Daily Like a Boss podcast.