Meet Strawberry Creek’s New Managing Partner, Matt Caspari
September 13, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
We are pleased to welcome Matt Caspari (Haas ’06) as the new Managing Partner of Strawberry Creek Ventures, Alumni Ventures’ fund for the UC Berkeley community. Before joining Strawberry Creek, Matt was an Investing Partner at Alumni Ventures’ Stanford fund, Spike Ventures, where he participated in over twenty investments. We recently had a chance to talk with Matt to learn more about his professional background and time at UC Berkeley.
What is your connection to UC Berkeley?
I have an MBA from Haas. While I was at Berkeley, I started a company called Aurora Biofuels, which won the business plan competition back in 2006. Aurora grew to over 100 employees and raised more than $100 million in capital before it was acquired by Reliance Industries, a Fortune 100 conglomerate, about 10 years after we founded it. I’ve long supported Berkeley entrepreneurs as a Judge and Mentor at LAUNCH, UC’s startup accelerator, and as a Mentor at Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship. I’m also on the Board of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Haas Alumni Network.
Tell us about your professional background. What roles did you hold prior to joining Alumni Ventures?
Great question — I’ll try to keep this short!
I’m a two-time venture-backed founder/CEO with a decade of startup operating experience.
Before joining Strawberry Creek, I was on the investing team at Spike Ventures, an Alumni Ventures fund. While at Spike, I was involved in over twenty investments, from seed to late-stage. I’m also an active angel investor and l have an AngelList syndicate with over 1,000 backers.
Prior to joining Alumni Ventures, I was a leader of the innovation team at Nike. I oversaw a portfolio of projects and led global teams. Early in my career, I worked in finance and as a management consultant. I have a degree in Biochemistry from Georgetown.
What trends in venture capital are you most excited about?
There are so many exciting trends right now. I’ve had a long-term interest in sustainable innovation, so it’s great to see so much momentum behind purpose-driven entrepreneurs building highly scalable, capital-efficient climate tech businesses.
Another exciting zone is in life sciences, where technology breakthroughs like AlphaFold and CRISPR are driving innovation. It’s hard to not mention blockchain, which is very hot right now as it unlocks new applications and business models like Decentralized Finance and NFTs. Finally, I’m excited about no and low-code development platforms which allow vastly more people to write software.
What resources do you recommend to people interested in venture capital or entrepreneurship?
Fred Wilson, a well-known VC at Union Square Ventures, has a great blog.
If you like podcasts, I’d recommend checking out Harry Stebbings’ Twenty Minute VC. He’s done hundreds of interviews with leading VCs and entrepreneurs.