Ben Standefer

Head of Product & Engineering

I lead First Round Engineering from our San Francisco office, building in-house software that connects our founders, CEOs, and the broader First Round community. The software we build enables knowledge sharing at the critical early stages of building a company.

I’ve focused my career on very early-stage startups, including roles in engineering, product management, operations, R&D, customer support, and as a founder. I like early-stage startups because they require a generalist skillset and a positive attitude.

Before First Round, I was a technical Product Manager at Urban Airship, working with major consumer brands on smartphone app engagement and push notifications at massive scale. Prior to that, I was very early at some great companies: SimpleGeo, Eventbrite, Digg, and Coremetrics. I also co-founded FantasyBook, a leading fantasy sports company which was acquired by Citizen Sports (and in turn acquired by Yahoo! Sports).

Working at a VC has been a shift in perspective for me, but I love that—like a seed-stage startup—nothing gets in the way of building things every day. Our engineering team is small, proud, and lean. We come in, we decide what we’re going to build, and we build it without being subjected to bureaucracy. We spend 90% of our time building stuff that makes a difference for our founders and community.

Over the past 2 years we’ve accomplished a lot. We completely redesigned First Round Network, our online community where employees at First Round companies can share questions and answers with each other. We took it from a bare bones MVP maintained by contractors to a pixel-perfect, consumer-grade UI that makes life substantially easier for our seed stage founders.

At First Round, we’re constantly in service of our founders. First Round Engineering is poised one foot behind those front lines, building software tools that scale the knowledge of the First Round community.

Outside of work, I’m a songwriter. Check out my album Where We Go on all the major music services. I also like running, snowboarding, beer, BBQ, and guacamole. Before moving to Silicon Valley, I studied MIS at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas. Hook ‘em Horns!