Our team continues to grow! In Q4 last year, we hired two Venture & Strategy Analysts: Sammie Hasen and Nathan Musso. Get to know them a little better and why they were both such obvious additions to our team in this Q&A:
Tell me a bit about your background and how you got here.
Sammie: I graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Throughout college, I was the founder of a femtech startup, so entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem as a whole have always been a passion of mine. I began my career at Marcus by Goldman Sachs as a product manager but transitioned to TechNexus to pursue my passion for helping founders collaborate with corporations.
Nathan: I grew up in a military family that moved around a bunch, but eventually settled in Memphis to go to Rhodes College where I studied Philosophy & Political Economy. When I graduated in 2020, I started an alcohol delivery platform out of a startup studio where I had my hands in a little bit of everything. The most enjoyable parts of that time were the nights we spent wireframing products or delivering orders ourselves, and I grew to really appreciate the building process. I eventually realized that I’d much rather be learning about many different problems at once than tackling one, so I started applying to every job in venture capital I could find. I was lucky enough to get a message from Paula (our Head of People) to begin the interview process, and the rest is history!
Why were you interested in joining TechNexus Venture Collaborative?
Sammie: Throughout my journey as a founder, I had three different interactions with large enterprises in hopes of a partnership or collaboration. It was very challenging to navigate that myself without any other support, so I was drawn to the TechNexus model of bridging the gap between founders and corporations. I love the startup ecosystem, and I was so excited to be a part of it as an investor.
Nathan: It’s a meme at this point for venture capitalists to say they add value to their portfolio companies. What is unique about TechNexus, though, is that every investment is predicated on a long-standing collaborative relationship with a large corporation. Since we only invest in companies that are strategically relevant to our partners, placing an additional filter at the beginning of our diligence process where we ask “how would investing add value?” demands having a much more transparent picture of our value as an investor.
Where does your passion for working in VC come from?
Sammie: My passion for working in VC comes from my experience as a founder. I loved a lot of aspects of being a founder, but at the time, the highs were too high and the lows were too low. I knew the venture capital side would allow me to lean into my passion for entrepreneurship in a way that was better suited for me.
Nathan: Though being a founder was an experience I deeply value, it was absolutely the hardest time of my life. I respect the builders that assume responsibility for tackling solutions and want to be a cornerman for as many of them as I can while they navigate this time in their lives.
Who inspires you?
Sammie: Kathryn O’Day from Atlanta Ventures has been an inspiration to me from the day I met her. She is such a rockstar in the Atlanta ecosystem, and she always finds time to help founders and mentor others. Kathryn is a catalyst when it comes to growing the presence of female founders in Atlanta, and I have always admired her ability to take ideas and put them into actionable steps.
Nathan: In life: my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. I could brag endlessly about how cool they all are. In venture: Alexis Ohanian (great founder, investor, and family guy) and Catharine Dockery (raised Fund I for Vice Ventures as a solo GP at 26 years old).
Tell me about the specific focus of your new role. What sort of duties do you have in this role?
Sammie: The core of my role is finding ventures that align with our investment theses. As an analyst, we manage top-of-the-funnel sourcing and take introduction calls with founding teams to see if there could be a fit via investment. In addition to sourcing, we support the team in due diligence and other ad hoc projects.
Nathan: My main focus is bringing in investment opportunities to review. To do that, we need to build processes that address how to bring in a large volume of deals without compromising on quality, and then reach out to promising entrepreneurs to learn more about what they are building. My days are generally split between working on processes and reading about new technologies and markets with as many calls with identified founders throughout the day as I can schedule.
What do you hope to accomplish at TechNexus over the next year?
Sammie: I hope to continue to learn the ropes of being an impactful investor and growing the muscle of evaluating opportunities over the next year.
Nathan: I want to bring as many high-quality investment opportunities to our team as I can and learn from my colleagues throughout our diligence processes.
What are you most excited about digging into?
Sammie: I am most excited to build the foundation for making investment decisions. It is very challenging to come to an investment decision, especially in industries where you are not a subject matter expert. I am excited to learn how to think critically and trust my gut.
Nathan: I want to learn about as many different types of technologies and markets as possible. I think there is a ton of value in beginning an education from a holistic perspective before specializing in a niche field, and I don’t think investing is an exception to that.
What’s your most-used productivity hack?
Sammie: To-do lists! I would not be functioning in my role or life without a to-do list. Even if you throw on an easy task, it is very therapeutic to check it off!
Nathan: I’m a big fan of rolling to-do lists. I make a list every day of the tasks I need to get done either now or eventually, and include the things from the last list that I didn’t knock out. I think it helps me identify when I’ve been putting simple things off for too long and reminds me there is always some other thing I could get done.
If you could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?
Sammie: That is a very tough question, but I would have to go with Happiest Season. I say that only because I have seen it too many times, so my friends won’t watch it with me anymore!
Nathan: I wish I could experience how amazingly terrible Hardcore Henry (a 2015 action movie that was shot entirely in first-person) was again. I saw it with a bunch of friends in high school, and we probably should’ve been kicked out of the theater for laughing so hard.
What fictional world or place would you like to visit?
Sammie: Definitely Whoville.
Nathan: Not technically a world or place, but if I could spend a night in a little Night at the Museum situation, I would pepper world leaders with questions about conspiracies and probably ride a T-Rex.