Abdul Ly


My journey into the world of entrepreneurship started years ago in my hometown – Dakar, Senegal. At a time when only one in ten people had access to a bank account, a team of creative technologists launched a digital payments network that anyone with a cellphone could use. Almost overnight, people went from being underbanked to having a digital bank in their pockets at all times. Being a direct benefactor of this product, I was inspired by the way that technology, in the right hands, could meaningfully transform people’s lives.

This experience motivated me to support founders who are building the things they wished existed in this world. I spent three years at Google, working side by side with founders who were launching startups in media, marketplaces, and gaming. Helping entrepreneurs think through how to grow revenue, how to price inventory, or how to approach a website redesign was deeply rewarding. Not only did I see how great consumer products were built, but I also gained perspective on how the right enterprise solution could fix broken processes.

As I saw founders persevere through challenges related to market fluctuations, bootstrapping, or negotiating an acquisition, I remained in their corner to provide the peripheral vision and support they needed to push through. As an Associate at First Round, I’m grateful to continue to serve creative entrepreneurs invested in reshaping tomorrow.

Before moving to the Bay Area, I studied Government at Harvard with a focus on Private Governance. I’m passionate about ways in which people use technology to contribute to socioeconomic development. Outside of work, you can find me fumbling through broken Portuguese, scouring the web for flight deals (I’ve lived in 5 countries and love to travel), or musing about post-colonial identity.