There is an angel investor in New York City who doesn’t blog and doesn’t boast.
If you ask her for an interview, she’ll refer you to one of her portfolio companies instead. And despite backing multiple companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars, you won’t find a single logo listed on her firm’s website.
Shana Fisher is frequently cited by VCs, including Brooklyn Bridge Ventures’ Charlie O’Donnell and Box Group’s David Tisch, as the investor they most admire. She’s invested in some flops, like any VC, but her home runs more than make up for it. Fisher was one of the earliest investors in Pinterest, Makerbot, Vine, and Refinery29.
3D printing company Makerbot was recently acquired for more than $US400 million. Refinery29 is worth more than $US100 million. Vine was acquired by Twitter before it even launched for at least eight figures.
Her most shining portfolio company is Pinterest, which is now worth multiple billions. But when Fisher found it in 2010, hardly anyone knew it existed. Fisher saw Pinterest had few users but unusually high engagement numbers. She cut Ben Silbermann, its CEO, a check and the company has gone on to raise $US338 million.
A fashionista, Fisher also found startup ThredUp before it raised $US25 million from Founder Collective, Redpoint, and other large firms. She wrote the founder, James Reinhart, a check after meeting him for a meal.
She wasn’t sure if his initial idea would work. At the time, ThredUp was a way for people to sell old clothes in their closets directly to friends. But she liked the premise of the startup.
“If you can figure how to help people get rid of their stuff,” she told Reinhart, “I’m in.”
Reinhart has transformed ThredUp into an online consignment shop. People send their lightly-worn clothes to Reinhart’s team, they sell it and split the profit with the initial owner. It has more than 500,000 registered users and processes about 10,000 items per day.
Fisher has been investing behind the scenes for more than a decade. She graduated from Hampshire College and was a triple major in sculpture, philosophy, and linguistics. She attended NYU’s ITP program and married Sulia founder Jonathan Glick.
She began her career as a software developer then a program manager for Microsoft. Fisher joined Allen & Company, famous for leading Silicon Valley’s biggest mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as well as its annual “mogulfest” in Silicon Valley. There, Fisher was a VP and director of media and technology M&A.
After Allen & Company, Fisher joined IAC as SVP of strategic planning. She helped IAC acquire AskJeeves.com for about $US2 billion in 2005. AskJeeves is now better known as Ask.com. She has since started her own firm, Highline Venture Partners.
When asked to participate in this story for Business Insider, Fisher declined.
“I don’t think it’s interesting for me to talk about how I invest,” she replied, staying true to her nature. “Give 10 minutes to one of my companies!”
While Fisher likes to stay out of the limelight (the most exhaustive profile about her is three paragraphs on Crunchbase and she’s only tweeted 48 times), it’s hard to stay hidden when you’ve achieved so much.
The best in the business know exactly who she is.
BTW… re: Refinery29’s big round–that’s another deal that Shana Fisher saw and bet on before everyone. She continues to be my VC hero.
— Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc) October 16, 2013
“Shana is the best,” says David Tisch, who has invested in startups such as Fab and GroupMe. “She has a unique perspective on companies and founders that always seems to be right.”