February 21, 2023

Screendoor Update: Introducing our new Managing Director

Since our June 2021 launch, we’ve been building the foundation to establish Screendoor as a trusted partner to the next generation of emerging managers. With 11 total portfolio commitments, a formalized GP Advisor program, over 550 funds reviewed, and the enthusiastic support of our LPs, we’re now transitioning from our own “seed stage” into an enduring, institutionalized platform. To support this plan, we’re excited to share that we’ve expanded the full-time Screendoor team with Lisa Cawley joining us as our Managing Director to lead Screendoor going forward!

Greetings all! I’m thrilled to lead Screendoor as its first Managing Director. I’m joining from the LP side of the table, where I spent my time building an expansive private investment portfolio, including funding new venture capital firms. I was fortunate to observe VC across the full spectrum of stages, sectors, geographies, and firm sophistication. Over time, it became clear to me that LPs and emerging GPs navigate ironically similar limitations of access and structure, creating a massive opportunity in the ecosystem. Screendoor stands out to me as the obvious missing puzzle piece to capitalize on this opportunity for both groups. 

Fund managers raising their initial funds know all too well how fragmented and opaque the LP landscape is. Capital allocators come in all shapes, sizes, and geographies, each with their own unique fiduciary responsibilities and stakeholders. Their portfolio mandates are just as varied, with diverse perspectives on how to allocate to venture. For GPs, identifying which LPs to spend time with and how to attract their capital is a challenge layered with mystery.

Allocators are just as perplexed on how to tackle the emerging manager landscape. Their large capital bases make small commitments to this market segment impractical because of limitations of time and portfolio construction. As a result, their focus naturally shifts towards larger, established firms who can mathematically impact their returns. Even when they do connect with promising first-time GPs, their diligence is rooted in underwriting quantitative manager backgrounds - the very data that by definition a new manager lacks. I commonly hear, “there wasn’t enough of a portfolio to review” or “we just couldn’t get comfortable with this.” LPs know they need to build relationships early with emerging managers before they mature, but their structures inherently restrict this.

Screendoor’s role as an LP of GPs is the needed connection between underrepresented emerging managers and the institutional investment community, with our GP advisors who have ‘been there, done that’ recognizing what it takes to build a firm in the absence of a long track record. I’ve never had more conviction that investing in first-time funds led by underrepresented emerging managers isn’t just a societal impact initiative. In today’s vast venture capital landscape, it’s ALPHA! It’s not enough to change team compositions with a few new hires or add supplemental pools of capital (all of which are still important and necessary efforts to continue). We need targeted action that accelerates the impact of these collective endeavors. I’m elated to now fully focus my time and effort to lead Screendoor to capture this incredible economic opportunity for our phenomenal LPs and the communities they serve, act as a source of catalytic capital and counsel to the next generation of leading fund managers across all backgrounds, and change the face(s) of venture capital!

With the foundation laid, we are starting the next phase of Screendoor’s growth across our team, portfolio, and products. If you’re an emerging manager actively fundraising, and would like to share more information with us, we have an open application process and would be honored to hear from you. And if you’re an LP who would like to stay in touch as we expand our efforts, we welcome you to share your contact info so we can chat!

February 21, 2023

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