Photo by Anton Filatov on Unsplash

Lightspeed Ahead

Today I’m announcing that I’m joining Lightspeed — one of the world’s leading venture capital firms — as a Partner.

Earlier this year, I announced that I was stepping away from my work on Anchor (after co-founding the company 8 years prior) and Spotify (where I led the podcast, live, and video businesses after we were acquired in 2019). When I announced that I was leaving, I shared that I had decided to pursue a new opportunity in the early stage investing space.

Today I finally get to share more specifics about what exactly I’ll be up to: I’m joining Lightspeed — one of the world’s leading venture capital firms — as a Partner on the Consumer team. I’ll continue to be based in New York City (and you can read more about Lightspeed’s growing footprint in NYC), but will be investing globally in the best, brightest, and most creative teams in the world, helping them to pursue their missions and build world-changing companies.

My interest in venture capital stems from two of my life’s passions. The first is in technology. I’ve long believed in the power of technology to advance our collective potential. This led me to learn how to program in middle school, seek a computer science degree in college, and build software for a living.

My other passion in life is creativity. For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed creating, be it music, art, photography, software, or businesses. But I don’t just love creating myself, I also love helping others create, and this has become the foundation of my career. I’ve helped musicians make music during my time at Atlantic Records, photographers take photos with Aviary and Adobe, and millions of podcasters make podcasts through Anchor and Spotify.

Throughout my own experience at startups and building Anchor, I learned about the power of venture capital to accelerate both technology and the creation of transformational businesses. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to take my passion for helping others create in a new direction as a part-time angel investor to 50+ companies. I’ve loved working with small, hyper-focused founders and teams and sharing with them what I’ve learned throughout my own journey building products and scaling them to hundreds of millions of users. Now, I’m excited to make it my full time job in this new role with Lightspeed.

I first had the opportunity to get to know Lightspeed as I was building Anchor and raising capital. More recently, as I started to consider what I might want to do next for the next chapter of my career, I began spending a lot of time with a number of people who would eventually become my new partners, including Mercedes Bent, Faraz Fatemi, Ravi Mhatre, Justin Overdorff, Nicole Quinn, Bejul Somaia, Sydney Sykes, and Alex Taussig, to name a few. Also during that time, Paul Murphy (a friend from the NYC tech community who also hired me for my first startup job at Aviary), joined Lightspeed to help continue to build their growing presence in Europe. Through each meeting with the team, I was continually struck by how perfectly aligned and natural each conversation felt across a number of areas, including strategy, mission, and values. I even had the opportunity to angel invest alongside them in some incredible companies like Cameo and Zola.

I believe Lightspeed is building the venture capital firm of the future through four critical components, each of which strongly compelled me to join:

  1. Global-first approach: Lightspeed is truly global, and has been for more than 15 years. This will be even more critical over time as the tools and skills for building technology businesses become further democratized.
  2. Deep domain expertise: When I was building Anchor, it was always important to me to work with partners who had real experience building and helping some of the greatest companies in the world succeed. Lightspeed has this expertise across a variety of sectors, including Enterprise, Consumer, Growth, Fintech, Health, and many more.
  3. Partnerships, not individuals: Lightspeed approaches venture through collaboration and partnership, not by simply elevating a small handful of individuals. I found this approach to be highly effective during my work at Anchor and Spotify, so it was important for me to join another team that operated similarly.
  4. Full-stack support for teams: The best firms of the future will need to be able to back teams at all stages. This will become increasingly important given the uncertainty in the market ahead. Lightspeed’s $7B+ of new capital will give us scale and resilience in the years ahead.

Given Lightspeed’s unique approach, the strong relationships I’ve formed with the team, and the potential to work with incredible new companies, I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter of my career. I’m ready to hit the ground running, so if you’re building a new consumer company and feel like I might be able to help you accelerate your mission, please get in touch. You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn. And if you’d like to read some of my recent essays about product, strategy, and technology, check out my work here on Medium or on Substack.

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Michael Mignano

Michael Mignano

2.5K Followers

Co-Founder, Anchor and angel investor to 50+ startups. Former head of talk audio at Spotify.