The Founder's Field Guide for Navigating This Crisis

Mark Munro

Partnerships

Throughout my career, I’ve worn many different hats, nurtured seemingly disparate interests, and worked in communities of all shapes and sizes. I’ve taught 7th grade in Harlem, worked as a field organizer on a gubernatorial campaign in Montana, researched social entrepreneurship in Poland as a Fulbright Scholar, and forged partnerships between school districts and a Silicon Valley startup.

But across these adventures, I had a single consistent cornerstone: my passion for building coalitions. The best ones are powered by deep relationships and stitched together with a strong sense of purpose. And my experiences have shown me that partnerships, politics and education intersect, not just on my resume, but out in the real world. Ultimately, successful pursuits in these fields are about looking outside of oneself to build bridges and accomplish things that one voice or one person couldn’t on their own.

Today in my Partnerships role at First Round, I bring that mentality with me as I work to build relationships between founders and potential advisors and customers. For some of our companies, this might be finding domain or industry experts who can offer meaningful feedback on their product roadmap. For others, this might mean helping them crack a new market or vertical. It’s my job to connect the dots between our early-stage entrepreneurs and the insights or the relationships that can take their product development and go-to-market efforts to the next level.

Prior to First Round, I led national pilots and partnerships at Teach for America to evolve the way in which they recruit exceptional leaders early on in their college career. (Years earlier, I had been in their shoes as a graduate of Claremont McKenna College signing on for a teaching tour of duty.) Before that, I launched Coursera for Business and built partnerships at Clever to make it easier for teachers to use software in their classroom.

Outside of work, I’m usually dreaming up ways to make vegetables taste better or scouting out far-flung places to visit. If you want a restaurant or hotel recommendation, I’m your guy.