In Memory of Kathryn Gould

November 26, 2015
Steve Vassallo

We recently learned of the passing of one of our three founders, Kathryn Gould. She would have been a giant in any industry, but she chose venture capital. We will always be grateful that she did.

Kathryn started this firm in 1995, along with Jim Anderson and Bill Elmore, to do VC her way. She hired her fellow “operators.” People with technical backgrounds. Experienced entrepreneurs. Founders. She called it Foundation Capital for a reason.

As all of us at Foundation remember our founder, we wanted to share a few of the lessons Kathryn gave us – a number of which passed on to the 2014 graduates of the University of Chicago, where she herself had earned her MBA. Here are a few excerpts from her speech.

1. On preparation: “Planning prepares the mind, and chance favors the prepared mind, but chance usually messes up plans… Make a plan, but don’t stick to it.”

2. On hitting an insurmountable obstacle: “Just go around it! There is always a way.”

3. On how to find new opportunities: “Put yourself in the way of success—get in front of an important wave and ride it.”

4. On making calls, as well as taking them: “In whatever business you’re in, there is always so much coming at you that you can stay insanely busy just responding. Don’t do that. Always think about what is your agenda, what do you want to make happen, what do you want the future to look like. This is not so easy.”

5. On women in tech: “The men who have the guts to do business with you have the extra self confidence to be more successful.”

6. After leaving VC to launch a new startup – a vineyard: “I often walk among my grapevines and think how grateful I am for my life right now. But if the vines had come first, without the adventure and hard work, it wouldn’t be nearly as sweet.”