Ben Cmejla

VP, Investments

I always thought I’d have to make the tradeoff in my career between operating and investing. At First Round, I get to do both – leading and supporting our associates team, spinning up new initiatives like the Product Co-op and Angel Track, and working with founders excited to join the First Round community.

At First Round, I’m in a constant state of learning – from our partners, from my teammates, and from the founders we work with everyday. That education began in 2014, when I joined the team to support Josh Kopelman’s efforts to help and grow our community. It continued when I took on an experiment we called Special Projects, finding new ways to open the door to First Round wider for early-stage entrepreneurs. I love that it’s my job to be inquisitive and that I get to reset my convictions with every new startup that we meet and technology that we explore.

Outside of work, I try to convert my curiosity into actions and results. I studied Mandarin for years and moved to China to put it to use at private equity firm Asia Pacific Land. Wandering onto a rugby pitch at Middlebury led to joining a national championship team — and skills that would help me win the inaugural First Round potato sack race. Even plunging down the rabbit hole of Youtube cooking shows has had its benefits. I can now make the perfect grilled cheese for any founder who visits us.