Zetta Venture Partners

Terah Lyons Joins Zetta Venture Partners

Terah Lyons
Terah Lyons Executive-in-Residence

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I’m thrilled to share that I’ve joined Zetta Venture Partners to do an Executive in Residence (EIR) stint.

I have been privileged to spend the better part of the last year thinking deeply about what professional endeavors I want to pour my energy into next. Admittedly, venture investing is one of the last places I thought I would find myself, but after much reflection, I’ve decided it’s a priority for me to return to working directly with startup teams that are building AI-driven science and technology products–and this EIR position is a great way to do it. Ultimately, I’m hoping that this tour will help me inform whether I want to commit full-time to founding something myself, join another team doing promising work, or something else entirely.

Zetta is a small firm focused on early stage investments in AI-native companies. They care about mission-driven founders, and the firm’s leadership –Mark Gorenberg and Jocelyn Goldfein–are two veteran investor-operators who I have come to know well and deeply respect for their intelligence, integrity, and care for the teams that they support. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside them.

Beyond the people, I was also drawn to Zetta for their focus on the path from the lab to the market for leading-edge, applied research in AI and ML; their force of interest in the intersection between innovation, public policy, and responsible development and deployment imperatives; and their commitment to new markets for data-driven technologies that can bring about world-changing applications in arenas such as biotechnology and healthcare, materials science, and climate science–all of which I’ll be focused on in my new role.

I have spent my career building bridges across sectors to enable conscientious innovation because I care about maximizing technology’s ability to advance society and to make a positive impact on the world. I’ve had the privilege to work on related issues from the public sector, from academia, and from civil society. And I’ve invested most of my time in early-stage organizations, helping to build new ventures or support the growth of new teams working on boundary-pushing projects crossing public and corporate policy, product development, and research. My work with Zetta is an extension of that journey, which will provide me an opportunity to understand the power of influence of venture investment, and support and affect how early organizations are built in the private sector.

During my time helping build and lead the Partnership on AI in the last several years, we worked hard to identify levers for change to impact more effective, safe, responsible, equitable AI in collaboration with researchers, product developers and designers, and policymakers. The public interest technology community and civil society are key constituencies in these efforts. So are the individuals building products every day which go to market and impact the world in very real ways–and those funding them. I found these levers often overlooked in my previous work. Important decisions about values, market fit, and other key aspects of product and organizational design are ground-floor conversations in early stage companies, and I’m so excited to be working with founders who are thinking about these questions from the outset. Now more than ever, it’s important to support the next generation of companies to grow responsibly to compete with tech incumbents, and to advance innovation in high-impact sectors that have an opportunity to be progressed by capabilities supported by AI.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my learnings with all of you along the way. Until then, feel free to get in touch at terah@zettavp.com.

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