Welcome to the Team: Devin

Can’t stop, won’t stop! In Q2 this year, our team has continued to grow: meet Devin Brown, Associate, Venturing. Get to know Devin and why he is an incredible addition to our team in this Q&A:

Tell me a bit about your background and how you got here.

Devin: My background started at The University of Kansas where I studied Finance and Mandarin Chinese. Then I began a 5-year career in Management Consulting at Deloitte Consulting and West Monroe Partners. At Deloitte Consulting, I was a software implementation consultant for Fortune 100 companies. Then, I transitioned to West Monroe Partners, where I was a Mergers & Acquisitions Consultant for private equity firms, and this is where my initial exposure to the “private equity space inclusive of venture capital” began. While at West Monroe, I began diving into the venture world participating in 3 fellowships: 1) Venture Fellow at Swanlaab USA Ventures 2) Chicago: Blend Fellow 3) Venture Fellow at Serac Ventures. These venture fellowship experiences opened my eyes to the work of a venture capitalist and the reality of the diversity problem in VC, and I knew VC was my passion to solve this problem from the inside.

Why were you interested in joining TechNexus Venture Collaborative?

Devin: My initial exposure to TechNexus was through the Chicago:Blend Fellowship due to the close partnership and TechNexus leadership on the board. I began learning about TechNexus’ unique collaboration model and the diverse representation of TechNexus employees from the Strategy team, Venturing Team, and Collaboration team really caught my eye. As I went through the Chicago:Blend fellowship, I started organically meeting team members at TechNexus and I saw first-hand the elite VC talent TechNexus had I knew I needed to learn venture from the pros, so it was a no-brainer for me!

Where does your passion for working in VC come from?

Devin: The belief that I can make a direct impact on diverse underrepresented founders by becoming an expert in the VC industry. I believe if I gain the expertise, I can be a true value-add investor for underrepresented founders and help guide them through the venture capital lifecycle (i.e., Pre-Seed to M&A/IPO exit) in a meaningful way, which trickles down wealth into my communities.

Who inspires you?

Devin: Martin Hunt from Swanlaab USA Ventures. I completed my first venture fellowship and he taught me the ins & outs of venture deal-making, and I saw first-hand Martin run a venture capital firm with a focus on underrepresented founders with an emphasis on providing value for founders and running a firm with the utmost integrity.

Tell me about the specific focus of your new role. What sort of duties do you have in this role?

Devin: My focus will be a generalist role, where I split my time across a multitude of corporate partners on the venture team.

What do you hope to accomplish at TechNexus over the next year?

Devin: I hope to be a sponge and absorb the wealth of knowledge from the incredible team members around me. The brain power at TechNexus is immense and proving to the team that I can be a valuable member of this ecosystem would be the biggest accomplishment.

What are you most excited about digging into?

Devin: My favorite quote I live by is “The Process Sets You Free.” I am most excited about deeply learning the venture investing process in all its granularity, from sourcing & CRM management to diligence, to collaboration & portfolio management, and networking throughout the ecosystem.

What’s your most-used productivity hack?

Devin: I am a true believer that if your body feels good, you will be sharp mentally. Therefore, I wake up early to stretch and do yoga for body flexibility. Then, I transition into journaling where I write down my thoughts of gratitude and key objectives of the day. I believe stretching + yoga to take care of the body mixed with journaling for mental clarity enables me to be effective daily at work.

If you could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?

Devin: Black Panther. As an African American male, Black Panther was the first time I saw myself on the big screen in today’s society as a positive powerful superhero. Black Panther is special because it brings a perspective of what life could have been like absent colonialism.

What fictional world or place would you like to visit?

Devin: Togo, Africa. Throughout my family, we are very fortunate to have a family tree framed that traces our ancestry 5 generations back from Togo, Africa down to my great-great grandparents in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Interested in learning more? Check out Chicago:Blend and apply for the Fall 2023 Chicago Venture Fellows Program

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