Returning to Lerer Hippeau to identify and support promising seed-stage companies

By Isabelle Phelps

This month I joined Lerer Hippeau full-time. I started working with the team last year as a Summer Associate — identifying, researching and supporting early-stage companies — and continued contributing part-time from Cambridge while finishing my MBA at MIT Sloan. Over the past year, I’ve been humbled and energized learning from the team, as well as from the founders of our 250+ portfolio companies. This summer, I’m thrilled to join the investing team as an Associate.

Before starting business school, I worked in operations, business planning, and marketing strategy at eBay Enterprise and Yahoo. Through that work, I learned about operating a company through periods of expansion and contraction and within the context of fast-changing technologies and industries. But, I found myself increasingly interested in working with earlier-stage companies.

While studying at MIT, I worked with a number of early-stage startups in an investor and advisor capacity. I served as an investing partner at student-run venture firm Dorm Room Fund and as a Fellow for student-managed startup consultancy InSITE.

In both roles, I found the process of sitting down with entrepreneurs to learn about their vision, market, and technology exhilarating. It was that experience that fueled my interest in venture capital. It also drove my decision to join Lerer Hippeau, which brings deep operating experience, a collaborative approach to investing, and comprehensive support to its hundreds of portfolio companies.

On a personal note, I’m also excited to be relocating to New York for this next stage of my career. A Seattle native, I’ve lived in New York, San Francisco, and Boston since graduating from college. But I have always loved the rich tech ecosystem in New York, which brings a particular user focus and industry experience to its entrepreneurial ventures. That, added to the dynamic energy only found in New York City, made it a place I knew I wanted to be.

Lerer Hippeau has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting early-stage entrepreneurs, as well as later-stage ventures, through its sixth seed fund and second Select Fund. That commitment extends across consumer and enterprise verticals, and brings a longstanding founder-friendly focus and collaborative ethos. In my role, I will be focused on identifying early-stage companies where we can add value, and supporting those companies as they grow. I’m excited to jump in!

If you know a company that might be a good fit for us — or a founder looking for support or advice — feel free to reach out. Find me at or [newly!] @isabellevop.

Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.

Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.