When we published our Q1 2023 newsletter and wrote that we had been preparing to manage through a period of turbulence, we didn’t anticipate the dramatic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Like many professional investors, we believe the banking crisis could result in further shocks to the venture capital ecosystem and we continue to monitor potential risks that could impact our corporate partners’ portfolio companies.

In the interim, the narrative in venture and entrepreneurship has turned to generative A.I. as the latest hype wave; possibly the most forcefully promoted category we’ve seen in our careers since the dawn of the consumer internet. While Touchdown’s corporate partners have been investing in artificial intelligence startups for the majority of our firm’s history, we are nevertheless taking a deliberate and cautious approach to this fast-moving investment segment. Our A.I. investment discipline includes thorough diligence, an emphasis on high quality training data sets, and ethical considerations.

Through these ups and downs, we remain focused on a consistent pace of investing with like-minded syndicate partners, and 2023 has been an active year so far. We perceive that corporations are well positioned to be steady partners for startups in this environment, since corporate c-suites, CVCs, and innovation professionals often seek to generate value over long term time horizons.

Touchdown expects to announce several new corporate funds this year and we are actively hiring. Please contact us with any opportunities you think would make sense, especially recruiting referrals.
New Hires
Olivia Fitzpatrick joined Touchdown to lead recruiting. Prior to Touchdown, Olivia worked in executive search in Korn Ferry’s Global Technology Practice, concentrating in marketing and marketing technology. Previously, she was a Senior Associate at The BeckWay Group, a boutique operating platform for private equity firms. Olivia graduated cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and is completing an MFA from New York University.
Cynthia Maxey joined Touchdown as an Operations Associate in San Francisco. Prior to Touchdown, Cynthia ran operations and development for Naturally Bay Area, a non-profit that connects entrepreneurs, investors and corporate innovators in the food and natural products community. Cynthia’s experience includes a diverse set of roles in operations, business development, event management, and marketing at large companies, startups, venture funds, and law firms.
Prior to joining Touchdown, Felicia Phan worked at Aspire Capital, sourcing and evaluating public biotech companies. She also consulted for OMX Ventures, a venture firm focused on investments in tools and instrumentation for life sciences, and Dimension Inx, a Chicago-based startup developing therapeutics to restore tissue and organ function. Felicia graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.E. in biomedical engineering.
Megan Russell began her career as a healthcare management consultant at FTI Consulting and Prism Healthcare Partners. She developed and led a capital planning consulting service for Strata Decision Technology. Most recently, Megan worked at Lakeshore Ventures evaluating and investing in early stage startups. Megan completed her MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and earned her BA in Medicine, Health & Society from Vanderbilt University.
Prior to joining Touchdown, Kalefe Wright worked ten years in the food and beverage ecosystem. He also co-founded Herban Quality Eats, a fast-casual eatery that focused on healthy homestyle food, and most recently worked at Bimbo Bakeries USA on their innovation team and in their CVC practice. He started his career in sales and trading at Bank of America and Robert Baird. Kalefe completed his MBA from The Wharton School and earned his BA in Economics from Morehouse College.
Job Openings
We continue to expand in our core markets of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, with our current job opportunities listed here.

Check out the job listings of our corporate partner portfolio companies here.

Please forward our newsletter or career page to anyone you think would be a good fit.
May the Fourth Be With You
A collection of Touchdown's Star Wars themed content
How to practice radical candor when entrepreneurship industry pressures drive us to seek popularity and conform to "toxic positivity" norms
Five lessons from Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi that combine insight and action, informing corporate innovators and investors seeking to avoid catastrophic business disruption
Venture capital is often jokingly referred to as "the dark side," but there are actually multiple useful lessons that investors can derive from the management style of the Sith
Just as the Mandalorian wrestles with antagonists who don't honor agreements, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs also must decide how to act if deal terms shift
Corporate VCs can struggle with entitlement when working with startups; Pepsi, Salesforce and Techstars provide instructive examples of why corporations must give first
VCs and entrepreneurs often conflate "round" (what series of stock) and "stage" (seed, early, or growth) in a way that may obscure risk-adjusted investment decisions
Touchdown Originals
Our blog on best practices for corporate innovation, venture capital, and entrepreneurship lives on Medium, and some of our team members also contribute to Forbes, TechCrunch, NACD, and the VC Journal.

Here are a few of our recent articles:
Many prominent corporations launched new corporate VC funds in 2022, spanning a diverse range of industry sectors, stages, and geographies
David Horowitz spoke with Christina Riboldi at Global Corporate Venturing, discussing how to sell a CVC program into the c-suite and how to withstand current economic turbulence
Please join us in congratulating Touchdown team members Rahul, LaureAubreyKevinHarout, Isabel, MatthewJackAJ and Eileen on their recent promotions.
The Blitz
Here's some of our latest news, which we also share on Twitter & LinkedIn:
Touchdown's President Scott Lenet spoke at the Good Governance in Venture Capital Summit on creating standards and shared practices to enable the venture ecosystem to enforce good governance
Managing Director Rich Grant sat down with Prashant Choubrey on the VC10X Podcast to talk about why big corporations start VC programs and why founders should keep corporate VCs on their target investor list
Touchdown Director Will Geiger was recognized by the Venture Capital Journal as one of Venture Capital's 2023 Rising Stars among 40 rising stars under the age of 40 in the venture capital industry
Venture Partner Beth Kearns spoke at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit about the AgTech boom and how strategic investments have the potential to be beneficial to startups and corporations
Touchdown Directors Greg Bergamesco and Deborah Zajac spoke about corporate venture capital at GCVI's Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation Summit in Monterey, California in March
Scott Lenet was featured in a TechCrunch+ article on how corporate venture capitalists remained consistent investors in 2022, with an increased number of corporations starting their own funds or programs
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Unless otherwise indicated, commentary herein reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the authors and should not be regarded as a description of services provided by Touchdown or its affiliates. The opinions expressed here are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual on any security or advisory service. It is only intended to provide education about the financial industry. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. While all information presented, including from independent sources, is believed to be accurate, we make no representation or warranty as to accuracy or completeness. We reserve the right to change any part of these materials without notice and assume no obligation to provide updates. Nothing herein constitutes investment advice, performance data or a recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Investing involves the risk of loss of some or all of an investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.