Cristina Cordova is the newest partner of the first round of Capital

  • Cristina Cordova is First Round Capital’s newest partner investing in start-up companies.
  • Before working in venture, she was the 28th employee at Stripe and also an early employee at Notion.
  • Cordova is also an angel investor and has supported more than 50 startups.

Cristina Cordova has a near-perfect venture capital resume.

She graduated from Stanford, worked as an operator for unicorn startups such as Stripe and Notion, and angel invested in more than 50 startups before landing the coveted role of partner at First Round Capital.

But her path to success was anything but a given.

Growing up to a single mother in Los Angeles, Cordova spent much of her early childhood managing her own schedule.

“I was definitely a house key kid,” she told Insider. “I’ve learned to be very independent and self-directed and motivated.”

It was that drive that led Cordova to her first college internship at Tapulous, an app development startup. A friend offered her an internship there after she left to study abroad, and Cordova jumped at the opportunity. It would eventually change the course of her career.

It was in Tapulous that Cordova first heard the phrase “venture capital” and realized that it could be a viable career path for her later on. She became fascinated with the inner workings of Silicon Valley startup culture and read as many tech blogs and news sites as she could.

After completing her internship, Cordova got a job at Pulse, an RSS news feed application, which has since been bought by Linkedin. At Pulse, she became the vice president of business development at age 22.

It was a high task for Cordova and she initially felt intimidated by the responsibilities.

“I had a huge impostor syndrome,” she said. “I felt like I had to hide my age because of how young I was.”

Cordova knew she had to dive into the role and learn along the way, just like she did with Tapulous.

She immediately took on every project she could at Pulse, from partnering with major newspapers to hiring and managing employees across departments. By the time she was 24, she had landed her next role as Head of Partnerships at Stripe and played a key role in getting Lyft as a Stripe customer.

While at Stripe, Cordova became curious about angel investing after seeing so many of her former colleagues break into a company, and she participated in First Round’s Angel Investing Track program.

“I consider myself a generalist,” Cordova said. “Angel investing was my way of learning about all kinds of businesses and finding out how I could benefit a company outside of a space where I’ve worked directly.”

She became quite productive

angel investor

, which supports more than 50 startups. Unlike some angels, who wrote a check and were little involved in a company after that, Cordova dived in to help founders with any operational problems they had.

After investing in the workplace management startup Notion, she became so active in helping the company that she landed a job there as the head of platforms and partnerships, reporting directly to the CEO.

Cordova managed to stay close to several partners at First Round Capital that she met during the angel investing program. And coincidentally, the venture firm was looking for a new partner earlier this year, a few months after leaving Notion to focus on angel investing full-time. First Round’s partner Brett Berson knew Cordova well, as the company had also invested in Notion, and the company offered her the role to join after seeing the success of her other angel investments.

It was a serendipity for Cordova at the time, who thought it might be a better way for her to engage and help founders on a more personal level.

“The relationships I had seen with their founders during Round One felt much deeper and more satisfying to me than just handing in a check like an angel,” she said.

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