At Forerunner, we live at the intersection of insight and foresight. Backed by over two decades of experience in partnering successfully with entrepreneurs in the commerce space, we leverage domain expertise and category focus to invest ahead of the curve.
Brian brings 15+ year of investment experience to the Forerunner team, combining his background as a software entrepreneur with his passion for unique retail experiences to identify and invest in next generation retailers, marketplaces and enabling commerce software companies.
Brian joins Forerunner from Accel, where he was a Partner and Fund Manager for their $500M 2014-vintage venture fund. Before his five years at Accel, Brian spent ten years at Battery Ventures where he started as an Associate and was promoted through the ranks, becoming the firm’s youngest GP at the age of 32. Throughout his investing career, Brian has served on over two dozen boards. Notable investments include: Bazaarvoice (IPO), BrightEdge, Coupa (IPO), Dollar Shave Club, Duetto, Gametime, HotelTonight, InstaEdu (acquired by Chegg), Narvar, Skullcandy (IPO), Represent (acquired by CustomInk) and TradeKing (acquired by Ally Financial).
Brian spent several years in operating roles before entering the venture capital industry, originally helping the founding teams at Matrics, Inc. (acquired by Motorola) and Compoze Software (acquired by Oracle) before spending three years at Bowstreet, where he was Director of West Coast Technical Sales before the Company was acquired by IBM.
Brian earned a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he completed a Dual Concentration in Entrepreneurial Finance and Management.
Jason joined the Forerunner team in April 2017 and focuses on market research, deal sourcing, diligence, investment execution, and portfolio support. Prior to Forerunner Jason was an early employee at Bonobos, one of Forerunner’s earliest investments, where he was a key member of a team that built one of the first digitally-native direct-to-consumer brands.
Jason received an MBA from Stanford GSB in 2018 and graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Communication Studies in 2009.
Executive Support/Office Manager
Ashley joined Forerunner Ventures in January 2017, bringing three years of administrative experience supporting senior level executives in the private equity realm. She is enthusiastic about the emergence of new and exciting brands, as well as the evolving consumer trends in retail and eCommerce. At Forerunner, Ashley provides comprehensive executive and operations support across our partners, portfolio, and extended Forerunner community.
Ashley graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara, and holds an M.S. in Writing and Publishing from Portland State University.
Head of Operations and Finance
Jenn joined Forerunner in July 2017. As Head of Operations and Finance at Forerunner, Jenn oversees fund management responsibilities, including reporting, operations and financial planning. In addition, she supports Limited Partner relations, as well as internal projects focused on firm strategy development.
Jenn brings 10+ years of experience in investment management and private equity operations to the Forerunner team. She previously led the US Client Services team responsible for client reporting, investor communication and fund operations for Swiss-based private equity firm Partners Group AG . Prior to Partners Group, Jenn worked at wealth management firm Fisher Investments, in both content/reporting and equity research.
Jenn earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
KJ joined the Forerunner team in January 2017 and focuses his efforts on leading market research, competitive analyses, deal sourcing and diligence.
Prior to Forerunner, KJ worked with The Boston Consulting Group, where he performed pricing strategy, due diligence, industry analysis, and growth planning for leading technology focused enterprises. An enthusiast of consumer brands, technology, and the intersection of the two, KJ led market research to understand technology’s impact on the consumer landscape, with particular focus on the rise and continued evolution of the Internet of Things. Prior to BCG, KJ was also a senior analyst in the strategy practice at Accenture.
KJ graduated with an A.B. in Computer Science from Harvard University, with a focus on data science and mobile usability design.
Nicole joined the Forerunner investment team in December 2013 and focuses her efforts on deal sourcing, diligence, investment execution, and portfolio support. Nicole works closely with many Forerunner companies, including 11 Honoré, Lucy, Stadium Goods, among others. Prior to Forerunner Nicole worked with SapientNitro, a leading brand and digital strategy consultancy where she supported Fortune 500 retailers on their global retail strategies.
Nicole graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and in 2016 was named to Forbes 30 under 30, Venture Capital.
Melissa Grillo Aruz
Head of Talent and Partnerships
Melissa joined the Forerunner team in 2014 and as Head of Talent and Partnerships she leads the firm’s efforts to support portfolio companies in the areas of talent strategy, organization development and community building. Melissa also spearheads efforts to facilitate partnerships with service providers for the benefit of the portfolio.
Prior to Forerunner, Melissa spent 15+ years working in the consumer space both on the agency and the brand side in various capacities. By also leading her own consulting practice specializing in online acquisition and marketing for e-commerce and content brands, Melissa had the opporutnity to advise such notable brands as J.Crew, Warby Parker, Birchbox among others, in their early efforts to scale their businesses amidst the evolving commerce landscape. Additionally, as the first Director of Online Marketing at Gilt Groupe, Melissa contributed to the company’s success during their exponential growth period, resulting in invaluable experience in seeing how to scale teams to support rapid growth across all aspects of an organization.
Melissa earned a BA in Art History and Italian Studies from Trinity College.
Over the past 15+ years, Eurie has evaluated, invested in, and advised a breadth of companies in their quest to define business models, identify target markets, understand consumer behavior, and overcome operational and competitive challenges to drive growth. Since joining Forerunner in May 2012 before the close of the firm’s inaugural institutional fund, Eurie has led and supported investments in 30+ early stage companies and supported the firm’s efforts to raise $250M+ from leading institutional investors. Eurie currently serves on the Board of Directors of several Forerunner portfolio companies including: Away, Alchemy 43, Curology, MoveWith, ShopShops, The Farmer's Dog, among others. Eurie is also a founding member of a female investor/founder mentorship and advancement focused non profit called All Raise, which aims to increase the number of female general partners and female founders in the tech industry over the next ten years.
Prior to Forerunner, Eurie was a management consultant at Bain and Company, where she advised large retail and e-commerce clients on strategy, identifying acquisition opportunities, and harnessing consumer insights to drive growth. Before that, Eurie was an investor at Castanea Partners where she invested in growth-stage consumer and retail businesses. Eurie earned an MBA with honors at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.S. with honors in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Combining a unique and unconventional blend of professional history and acquired investment experience, Kirsten launched San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures in 2010, where she serves as Founder and Managing Director. Noticing that emerging purchasing processes were linear and ripe for improvement, Kirsten developed a pacesetter mentality and analytical eye to remain ahead of experience-driven retail trends and identify compelling brand platforms and visionary entrepreneurs.
In an unpredictable consumer landscape, Kirsten’s 20+ years of evaluation and investment success stems from a combination of product savvy, retail acumen and a thesis-driven approach that has been the basis of all her investments — from pre-revenue startups to multi-billion-dollar enterprises- to date. As a founder, Kirsten has lead efforts to raise over $300M from leading investors and has invested in more than 50 companies. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Glossier, Outdoor Voices, Ritual, Inturn, and Indigo Fair, among other Forerunner portfolio companies. She also served on the board of Dollar Shave Club and Bonobos, two Forerunner portfolio companies with notable sale transactions.
Kirsten has been honored in Time’s 100 Most Influential People, named a Top 20 Venture Capitalists by The New York Times in 2018 & 2017, is part of Forbes 2018 & 2017 Midas List, in addition to being named in the magazine’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She has been named VC of the Year at TechCrunch’s 2017 Crunchies Awards and listed on Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list. Kirsten is a founding member of the female mentorship collective, All Raise, and champions women in the tech industry, recently giving a SXSW Keynote speech on diversity in a male-dominated industry.
Prior to Forerunner, Kirsten was an equity research analyst and investor at Banc of America Securities, formerly Montgomery Securities, covering publicly-traded retail and consumer stocks. Kirsten graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Business Economics, and has earned a CPA license and a CFA certification.