Michelle Kwon

Investor

Life isn’t a ladder, it’s a jungle gym, so take the opportunity to explore it all”

Trajectory
  • Airbnb (Business Affairs)
  • Soros Fund Management (Legal Analyst)
  • Fulbright Research Scholar 2013-2014
  • Yale School of Management (MBA)
  • Georgetown University (BA)
Perspective

To quote Barry Diller, I strive to be an infinite learner, and I get a chance to lean into that at M13. My professional career has been spent in or around high-growth consumer tech companies, so I’m thrilled to more closely align myself with the individuals building the next wave of generationally defining consumer tech products; every day I learn from the best and brightest entrepreneurs that are solving real problems experienced by real people. 

You have to be increasingly transparent to succeed in an ever globalizing world. I feel extremely humbled to have had opportunities to live in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Seoul all within a short period of time. The culmination of my varied work and geographic history has continued to highlight for me the importance of clear communication, and the ever-growing prevalence of cross-border and internationalized interactions. These relationships will become more vital as the years go on, so it becomes even more important to maintain the human element of communication with founders and those we work with. 

Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, said that their “overnight” success took 1,000 days. It is rare for an individual, let alone a project, product, or company to find overnight success, which is why it’s so important to me that M13 approaches company growth with intention, process, and data. This way, we can all learn from what works and what doesn’t, and continue to build on the former with repeatable actions. It’s not always a race! 

Founders and funders come in all shapes and sizes; it’s our job to make sure we invest in those who are shaping our future. My parents are entrepreneurs, so I have a deep-rooted respect for what some might refer to as “nontraditional” founders. Getting an opportunity to work with a diverse set of individuals – across age, geography, background, skillset – has highlighted that regardless of all our unique attributes, partnering with those who are smart with heart is as fail-safe as it gets. This is my “ikigai,” or reason for being. 

M13 truly understands the transformational power of capital powered by and for humans. Working with M13 is like a relationship – we strive for a happy union and take a holistic approach to building together. Our ethos is not just to support founders with our capital, but also in their long-term health and success both personally and professionally. 

Life isn’t a ladder, it’s a jungle gym, so take the opportunity to explore it all; just because someone else is enjoying their own adventure in a way that looks different to you doesn’t make yours any less fun or important.