Kathryn Gould, '78
Retired, General partner and cofounder, Foundation Capital
Member, Council on the Graduate School of Business
Trustee, University of Chicago
A physicist turned venture capitalist, Gould recently made Forbes Magazine's "Midas List" of Tech's Best Venture Investors.
Early in her career, Gould switched from engineering to marketing roles when she realized product managers were having more fun. Then, as vice president for marketing at Oracle in the company's early days, she found that for her, the real fun was in building businesses. She joined a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and in 1995, co-founded her own. Foundation Capital now invested in about 50 companies.
She invests at early stages, "before there are any numbers to analyze. It's just three guys and an idea." She relies on her technical background, marketing experience, and skill at picking leaders. Earning her degree through Chicago Booth's Evening MBA Program at night helped her move her career from science to business on the fly.
"I chose Chicago because of the incredible opportunity to study at night with full professors. All the famous guys at Chicago Booth taught in the evening program as well," she told Booth students recently. "That's not true of any other business school. I thought that was incredible, and it was an easy choice for me to go here."
Gould stays connected to the school; she serves on the University of Chicago Board of Trustees and the Council on the Graduate School of Business, judges the annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge, and participates in other activities of the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. A pilot, painter, and serious violinist, Gould also commissions new orchestral music.