Godspeed, Gene Trainor

In 2010 one of the most auspicious events in Foundation Capital’s history happened. This wasn’t a liquidity event—it was a familial one. Gene Trainor joined us as an administrative partner. Prior to Foundation, Gene was already highly respected in the venture capital world, having spent 10 years as COO of NEA. And we could not have been luckier that he agreed to become part of the FC family.

For six years, Gene has been the consummate team member. (Warning: since Gene’s a 49ers superfan, a hundred yards of football metaphors are about to follow.) Gene quarterbacked the successful raising of three different funds. He’s managed all of our back office and finance operations flawlessly, creating the best back office of any venture firm of comparable size. Most importantly, he’s manned the grill at our summer barbeques like a linebacker who will not let you pass … without a deliciously charred piece of meat.

The past several years have been a turbulent time in venture. When we’ve taken our eye off the ball, Gene’s been there to remind us of the fundamentals and get us back in the playbook. He’s coached us through uncertainty and cheered our successes. In addition to being the best COO and administrative partner you could hope for, he’s been our friend, advisor, and confidant. We will miss him greatly.

In his personal life, Gene and his wife Barbara are the loving parents of Caitlin and Grace. Gene is also very active in public service and charitable works. In fact, while a huge loss for Foundation Capital, what makes Gene’s departure a cause for celebration is that Gene isn’t leaving us for a different company—he’s leaving for a higher calling.

For the past few years, he’s been volunteering as a tutor at S.M.A.R.T., a San Francisco-based non-profit that provides educational and social support for motivated, financially disadvantaged students. He’s found the work so gratifying that he’s decided that, after taking some time to travel with Barbara, he’s getting his master’s degree in education, in order to teach math, fulltime, to at-risk middle school students in the city. As proud as we are of Gene for all the amazing work that he’s done in his career in venture capital, particularly for us here at FC, we couldn’t be prouder of the difference that he’s going to make as a teacher.

Gene Trainor, our friend, we are deeply sad to see you go, but profoundly happy for where you’re headed. Godspeed—and know that, once a part of the FC family, always a part of the FC family.