Lizzy Klein

Entrepreneur-in-Residence with BNM since January 2017

When I was VP of product at StarMedia, I was encouraged to take risks. Best advice received there: CEO Fernando Espuelas told me “you only need to be right 51% of the time”.

I never dreamed my career would end up being so tech focused. I studied Textile & Apparel Management at Cornell, and my first few jobs were in the fashion industry. But then I had an opportunity to help Time Warner launch Catalog 1 (later, DreamShop), one of the first on-demand television and online shopping experiences. A mentor took me to the bowels of the Time Life building where trailblazers were working on WWW projects and I was hooked at first sight. I went on to some interesting jobs: VP of Product for StarMedia, VP of Interactive at ZAGAT, and Product VP for GrubHub/Seamless. And in 2016, I launched SuperDuper, a wildly popular iOS app that helped customers identify the drugstore equivalent of luxury cosmetics that was recognized by TechCrunch, The Today show, and The Zoe Report.

I see a lot of interesting technology developments right now, and I am most excited about companies that harness technology to address solid, tangible issues, especially those that target the 99%. I recently invested in a company that creates affordable, chic glasses that protect our eyes from digital eye strain.

Throughout my career, I’ve benefited from smart and experienced people sharing their ideas, learning, and networks. I encourage entrepreneurs to find a mentor— someone who has good perspective vis-à-vis what you’re doing, the time to commit to you, and in the best case, is in a position to make things happen. Ideally, it’s a relationship where you’re able to offer them something in return.

I value the relationships developed over the course of my career, and it’s a priority for me to provide help and mentorship to others. One of the best things I’ve done in years is working with the Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) at Defy Ventures—an organization that helps men and women with criminal histories make positive life changes. If Defy entrepreneurs can create thriving legal businesses without a degree, network, or family support AND the added challenge of overcoming a criminal history, what’s stopping you?

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