We've interviewed dozens of founders for a new series on product-market fit.

Ashika Kalra

Chief of Staff

In my role as Chief of Staff, I work alongside Hayley Barna to evaluate new investment opportunities, perform due diligence, and support entrepreneurs in the First Round community. Every day, the best part of my job is listening to the stories from the most game-changing founders of our time and working with them as they launch their vision from the ground up.

Prior to First Round, I worked at the Zuckerberg Institute, where I supported the founding team’s mission of democratizing access to entrepreneurial education for innovators around the world. Before that, I was a deal strategist at Salesforce, advising senior sales executives on complex deal negotiations for the Latin America commercial business.

Personally, I have a deep interest in public policy and envision a world where every global citizen has access to quality education. In an effort to make my tiny dent in this space, I launched a non-profit, The Vidya Project, focused on integrating action-oriented learning and high-impact mentorship in classrooms across India and West Africa. I am also focused on these efforts as a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum.

My passions in the public sector are why I am especially interested in startups that are focused on reimagining education, empowering the workforce, or tackling digital inequality. Entrepreneurs hold the keys to unraveling the most challenging problems on this planet. And I feel honored to have an opportunity to collaborate with them as they embark on missions that change the way we live in this world.

Outside of work, you can catch me enjoying a latte at one of my many favorite New York coffee shops (ask me for suggestions!) or planning a new adventure to help me achieve my goal of traveling to all seven continents one day.