Meet the Team: Liz Keen
Liz Keen is a Partner at Silicon Foundry and an Operating Partner at ACME Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco. She has been known to ask an inordinate amount of questions and has a deep love for this quote: “A tribe of unusual suspects can change the world if it is connected in purposeful ways.”
What brought you from the communications world in New York to the venture capital world in San Francisco?
Before I joined Foundry, I was leading special projects at Condé Nast — one of the original Foundry Members. The media business was undergoing a transformational shift and I was leading an internal task force focused on building out new business models that would allow us to capitalize on emergent categories, like the experience economy. As part of that exploration, one of my mentors introduced me to the founding CEO of Foundry — so I actually got to know our business from the Member side. I fell in love with the model — and a man, who happened to have just taken a job at Apple so… here we are!
How did your experience as an Operating Partner at ACME Capital prepare you for your work at Silicon Foundry?
Working at a venture firm, I have seen firsthand how incredibly valuable access to demand signal can be — both in terms of evaluating deals and being able to support portfolio companies with strategic connectivity. I also see how critical it is to have a “translator” to help early-stage companies navigate the complex dynamics that often undermine collaboration between corporations and startups.
What outcome have you driven for a Member that you are most proud of?
We played a foundational role in catalyzing this project, which is powered by a P3 that involves two of our Members: Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ford Motor Co. The project, which will create a first-of-a-kind self driving corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor, will accelerate real-world AV use cases and play an important role in driving industry standards around CAV.
What idea are you most excited about pursuing in 2021?
There are several significant macro influences at play today that will fundamentally alter the business landscape in the next decade and usher in a new era where resiliency and durability will be the defining metrics.
I strongly believe the companies that will be best positioned to win in this era are those that choose to invest in offensive innovation and make bold bets on peripheral growth that drives new revenue streams.
I am most excited about building new partnership models that enable this type of peripheral growth — creative JVs that mobilize people and capital around big ideas, P3s to create new mobility and energy systems that unlock new value across sectors, etc.