Cleo Capital is a multi-stage venture capital firm founded in 2018. Sarah Kunst and Matt Pauker are the firm’s general partners. Cleo Capital focuses on leading investments in pre-seed companies, partnering with founders who are starting at “day zero,” as the team puts it on their blog. Sarah was named a top VC to watch by the Wall Street Journal, is a contributing editor to Marie Claire magazine, and is an investor board member to Venture for America. Matt Pauker founded 21/Earn.com, which was acquired by Coinbase, and Voltage Security, which was acquired by HP Enterprise.
The firm invests in companies in three key areas, which the team describes as “the Future of Income, the Complicated Consumer, and Decentralized Enterprise.” Companies within the Future of Income thesis build tools that help people monetize their time and talent. Companies in the Complicated Consumer thesis give access to critical services and opportunities, including jobs, healthcare, higher education, and financial services. The Decentralized Enterprise thesis focuses on solutions that support distributed workforces and streamline decentralized information architecture.
The team has also built a robust talent development strategy. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to innovation, creativity, and productivity, but women and people of color are still vastly underrepresented in venture capital and startups. Cleo Capital runs several programs: a SAGA affinity group for women of color MBA students with VC experience, a Pre-GP affinity group connecting women in VC analyst to partner levels, and Chrysalis, a free six-week fellowship for entrepreneurial people who faced job loss because of COVID-19.
Why we invested
Cleo Capital brings a strong combination of investment and operational knowledge. Sarah and Matt are proven leaders in the venture capital ecosystem, with experience partnering with founders at the pre-seed and later stages. At Carta, we aim to support venture capital investment teams that share our values of equity and opportunity for all. Cleo Capital partners with companies building inclusive solutions for changing consumer and enterprise needs. Beyond the team’s investments, Sarah and Matt’s work to develop the next generation of investment talent fills a gap in the current venture ecosystem. We believe their support of entrepreneurs and strategic development of investment talent is a competitive advantage.