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Shawn Carolan

Partner

Consumer, Fintech

shawn_carolan-BIO

As an early-stage investor, Shawn focuses on companies that serve the “utilitarian consumer”—the individual seeking better, faster, and cheaper ways to move through life. Because basic human needs are persistent, he looks at how people are spending their money and time to assess the value and utility of a product or service. This approach inspired Shawn to invest early in Roku, Uber, and Chime, long before they became household names.

Shawn’s technical background helps him appreciate new technologies that unlock innovation and become the foundation upon which categories are built, occasionally leading him beyond consumer into cutting-edge enterprise investments as well. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated with highest honors. He then joined Chicago startup Open Port Technology as a developer. After becoming a manager of software architecture, he wrote wire protocols in C++ and obtained a patent. He left to attend Stanford GSB, and joined Menlo in 2002 after receiving his MBA. In a career that has spanned investing, technology and management consulting, he’s learned many lessons. But it was in starting and running his own startup, Handle, that he had his own founder’s journey firsthand, giving him experience with the highs and lows that are impossible to fully comprehend from the boardroom.

For fun, Shawn enjoys hiking with his family, running with his wife, Jennifer (founder of Reach Capital), CrossFit, snowboarding, and motorcycling.

As an early-stage investor, Shawn focuses on companies that serve the “utilitarian consumer”—the individual seeking better, faster, and cheaper ways to move through life. Because basic human needs are persistent, he looks at how people are spending their money and time to assess the value and utility of a product or service. This approach inspired Shawn to invest early in Roku, Uber, and Chime, long before they became household names.

Shawn’s technical background helps him appreciate new technologies that unlock innovation and become the foundation upon which categories are built, occasionally leading him beyond consumer into cutting-edge enterprise investments as well. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated with highest honors. He then joined Chicago startup Open Port Technology as a developer. After becoming a manager of software architecture, he wrote wire protocols in C++ and obtained a patent. He left to attend Stanford GSB, and joined Menlo in 2002 after receiving his MBA. In a career that has spanned investing, technology and management consulting, he’s learned many lessons. But it was in starting and running his own startup, Handle, that he had his own founder’s journey firsthand, giving him experience with the highs and lows that are impossible to fully comprehend from the boardroom.

For fun, Shawn enjoys hiking with his family, running with his wife, Jennifer (founder of Reach Capital), CrossFit, snowboarding, and motorcycling.

Catching Lightning in a Bottle
October, 10 2021
Cheers to Chime: Finally, a Bank Consumers Can Love!
March, 03 2019
Nobody Cares About Your Big Idea
February, 02 2019
How Roku Thought Outside the Box
November, 11 2017
Better Ingredients, Better Companies
September, 09 2016
Back to the Not-So-Dark Side
September, 09 2016
Why We Need Don Draper Mentality
September, 09 2013

Investments

Our Portfolio
chime_logo
chime_logo
chimebank.com

Chime helps members avoid bank fees, save money automatically, and lead healthier financial lives.

Milestones
  • 2012 Founded
  • 2018 Partnered, Series C
logo_white_large_transparent
logo_white_large_transparent
about.imvu.com

IMVU is an online metaverse and social network where users can create 3D avatars and connect and chat with other people around the world.

Milestones
  • 2004 Founded
  • 2005 Partnered, Series B
imvu_graphic
JUMP logoAcquired by Uber
JUMP logo
uber.com

JUMP is a dockless scooter and electric bike sharing system.

Milestones
  • 2010 Founded
  • 2017 Partnered, Series A
  • 2018 Acquired by Uber
jump_graphic
openspace
openspace
openspace.ai

OpenSpace provides next-generation, 360º photo documentation for jobsites, powerful integrations, and the smartest analytics tools in the industry.

Milestones
  • 2017 Founded
  • 2020 Partnered, Series B
openspace_graphic
roku-logo NASDAQ: ROKU
roku-logo
roku.com

Roku pioneered streaming TV, connecting users to content they love, enabling content publishers to build and monetize large audiences, and providing advertisers with unique capabilities to engage consumers.

Milestones
  • 2002 Founded
  • 2008 Partnered, Series C
  • 2017 IPO; NASDAQ: ROKU
roku_graphic
siriAcquired by Apple
siri
apple.com

Siri was a voice recognition company spun out of the non-profit institute SRI International. It launched its Siri virtual personal assistant app in February 2010, two months before it was acquired by Apple.

Milestones
  • 2007 Founded
  • 2008 Partnered
  • 2010 Acquired
siri_graphic
shipbob
shipbob
shipbob.com

ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that offers simple, fast, and affordable e-commerce fulfillment for direct-to-consumer brands.

Milestones
  • 2014 Founded
  • 2018 Partnered, Series C
uberNYSE: UBER
uber
uber.com

Uber innovates at the intersection of mobile technology, transportation, and logistics. Uber provides mobility-as-a-service with ride-sharing, food and package delivery, couriers, and freight transportation.

Milestones
  • 2009 Founded
  • 2011 Partnered, Series B
  • 2019 IPO; NYSE: UBER
uber_graphic
anycart.com

Anycart delivers groceries and offers home cooks over 250 recipes with step-by-step cooking videos.

Milestones
  • 2019 Founded
  • 2019 Partnered, Seed
  • 2022 Acquired by Weee! Inc.
anycart_graphic
Anycart
Anycart delivers groceries and offers home cooks over 250 recipes with step-by-step cooking videos.
Acquired by Weee! Inc.
anycart 1

CinemaNow was an international over-the-top (OTT) provider of on-demand, internet streaming media.

Milestones
  • 1999 Founded
  • 2004 Partnered, Series A
  • 2008 Acquired by Sonic Solutions
CinemaNow
CinemaNow was an international over-the-top (OTT) provider of on-demand, internet streaming media.
Acquired by Sonic Solutions
getepic.com

Epic! is the leading digital library for kids 12 and under, where they can explore their interests and learn with instant, unlimited access to 40,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos, and quizzes.

Milestones
  • 2013 Founded
  • 2014 Partnered, Series A
  • 2021 Acquired by BYJU’s
epic_graphic
Epic!
Epic! is the leading digital library for kids 12 and under, where they can explore their interests and learn with instant, unlimited access to 40,000 high-quality ebooks, audiobooks, learning videos, and quizzes.
Acquired by BYJU's
getorro.com

Orro is an easy-to-use smart lighting system for the home.

Milestones
  • 2015 Founded
  • 2016 Partnered, Series A
orro_graphic
Orro
Orro is an easy-to-use smart lighting system for the home.
Orro
usa.visa.com

PlaySpan's payments platform handled transactions for digital goods in online games, digital media, and social networks around the world.

Milestones
  • 2006 Founded
  • 2007 Partnered, Series A
  • 2011 Acquired by Visa
PlaySpan
PlaySpan's payments platform handled transactions for digital goods in online games, digital media, and social networks around the world.
Acquired by Visa
playspan 1
scan.snapchat.com

Scan is an AR experience that senses, enhances, and transforms the physical world, merging entertainment, information, and utility.

Milestones
  • 2011 Founded
  • 2011 Partnered, Seed
  • 2014 Acquired by Snap, Inc.
Scan
Scan is an AR experience that senses, enhances, and transforms the physical world, merging entertainment, information, and utility.
Acquired by Snap, Inc.
telenav.com

Telenav is a provider of consumer location-based services (LBS), enterprise LBS and automotive LBS. Telenav’s solutions provide consumers, wireless service providers, enterprises and automakers with location-specific, real-time, personalized services.

Milestones
  • 1999 Founded
  • 2006 Partnered, Series E
  • 2010 IPO; NASDAQ: TNAV
telenav_graphic
TeleNav
Telenav is a provider of consumer location-based services (LBS), enterprise LBS and automotive LBS. Telenav’s solutions provide consumers, wireless service providers, enterprises and automakers with location-specific, real-time, personalized services.
NASDAQ: TNAV
Telenav logo
unagiscooters.com

The Unagi is the world's first luxury electric scooter for adults. It's lightweight, foldable, and just beautiful.

Milestones
  • 2018 Founded
  • 2019 Partnered, Seed
unagi_graphic
Unagi
The Unagi is the world's first luxury electric scooter for adults. It's lightweight, foldable, and just beautiful.
unagi

YuMe was a leading independent provider of digital video brand advertising solutions.

Milestones
  • 2004 Founded
  • 2010 Partnered
  • 2013 IPO; NYSE: YUME
YuMe
YuMe was a leading independent provider of digital video brand advertising solutions.
NYSE: YUME