July 6, 2022

From Operator to Investor: Why I joined Unusual Ventures

Allison Averill
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From Operator to Investor: Why I joined Unusual VenturesFrom Operator to Investor: Why I joined Unusual Ventures
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Editor's note: 

I couldn’t be more excited to share that I’ve joined the team at Unusual Ventures as a Vice President focusing on security and infrastructure software investments. 

When I was considering my first role at an early-stage security startup, a mentor cautioned that once I started working in security I might never leave the space. He wasn’t wrong. I got to know many security “lifers” during my years working as a product manager in both early-stage and public security companies. I found that what draws people to the space – and keeps them in it – is a shared sense of urgency around protecting organizations and individuals from the real-world consequences of cyber threats. That urgent mission is why I’m delighted to take this new step in my career as a security investor and to partner with founders who are building the next generation of great security companies.

There is so much opportunity ahead for security founders. With every technological innovation comes new attack vectors to guard against. As the attack surface expands, the complexity of security operations grows in lockstep, generating opportunities for products and services that manage and reduce that complexity. The rise of DevSecOps and “shift left” is breaking down organizational silos between centralized security and engineering teams, opening up new possibilities for products that streamline controls and result in more effective security. 

Where there is opportunity, there is also competition. As a product manager, I saw firsthand the challenges startups face as they try to differentiate themselves in a noisy, crowded security market. The space is filled with legacy vendors, “next-gen” incumbents, and new entrants that all seem to be tackling the same problems and saying the same things. Customers want best-in-class solutions, but they also want to consolidate and simplify their security stack. Founders have to navigate all this while managing a team and delivering a product that is not just technically excellent, but also easy to adopt and use. 

I chose to make the leap from operator to investor with Unusual because I believe this firm provides the best possible support for early-stage founders navigating the complexities of the security landscape. When I first met the team at Unusual, a few things stood out. First was the sheer amount of operating firepower on the team. The team is made up of former founders, executives, and product leaders who each bring years of experience and expertise in their areas of investment. Second was the unparalleled level of support and resources Unusual brings to its core investments. Unusual’s Founder Services team provides not just guidance, but hands-on support from talented operators in the areas that early-stage founders need most: recruiting, sales, and marketing. Third was the laser focus on helping founders at the critical, beginning stage of their journey. The focus on seed-stage and Series A investments means that early-stage founders aren’t competing with late-stage investments for the firm’s full resources and attention.

I want to thank John, Wei, and the rest of the Unusual team for the opportunity to be part of the amazing team and culture you have built. 

To the current and aspiring security and infrastructure founders out there – I can’t wait to meet you and introduce you to the Unusual team! Please reach out to me at allison@unusual.vc or on Linkedin.

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