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This Much I Know: CrunchFund partner Susan Hobbs on making major career changes and storytelling for founders

Susan is a Partner at CrunchFund, the seed-stage fund launched by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington which has invested in the likes of Airbnb, Vine (acquired by Twitter), Cruise (acquired by GM for a reported $1 billion), Onfido and X.ai. Previously, Susan worked at Y Combinator and as the Director of Global Programming at TechCrunch where she focused on major events and the Startup Battlefield. Susan began her career as a teacher in Southern California before making a major transition in 2004 to join a hardware startup based in the UK and Silicon Valley. Susan was the first non-engineering hire at both Codian (acquired by Tandberg in 2007, then by Cisco Systems in 2008) and at CoTweet (acquired by ExactTarget in 2010, then by Salesforce.com in 2013).

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Susan discusses her intriguing transition from teaching to venture, arguing that both disciplines require being quick on one’s feet and the capacity to connect well with others. Recalling her experiences working at several acquired companies, Susan argues that a successful acquisition requires a level of autonomy for the acquired company post-purchase: “Never leave very smart people with nothing to do because they will very quickly get bored, especially if they are entrepreneurial, and start something else.” Given CrunchFund’s journalistic origins, the firm also spends a lot of time supporting portfolio founders in ‘storytelling’, and Susan discusses just how the fund helps entrepreneurs craft their narrative.

Learn more about how Susan ended up in venture (following encouragement by Y Combinator’s Sam Altman), her time leading global programming for TechCrunch and what CrunchFund focuses on in looking for new companies to back.

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