Jessy Wu, one of the most articulate, insightful and outspoken people in Australian venture capital, has been appointed partner at AfterWork Ventures.
She was the first hire at the three-year-old VC, joining in 2021 as an Investment Manager and Head of Community.
Founding partners Alex Khor and Adrian Petersen praised Wu as an irreplaceable team member across all parts of the business, having joined to help raise a $20 million fund which subsequently invested in 28 companies.
“As a leader within the investment team, Jessy has proven her abilities as a sharp investment thinker and whip-smart unpacker of businesses. Time and time again, her analysis has both augmented the Investment Committee and forced us to confront gaps in our thinking,” they said.
“Her interests are broad and has demonstrated an ability to go deep across a range of thematics. Recently, she lead our investments in Searcheye – a platform that helps tech companies build world class brands with digital PR and high quality brand signals and Turnto – the platform for cutting-edge information and conversation about chronic health, to accelerate medical breakthroughs.”
The duo said that Wu has swayed the investment committee “more than one occasion” with her ability to see beyond assumed limitations and articulate the ‘why now’ for new entrants.
“Her views are delivered with a sharp analysis and a healthy dose of bravery – to steer us towards decisions that improve our investment decision making and the way we operate our fund,” they said.
“She blends innovation and creativity with impeccable intuition to ensure AfterWork remains at the forefront of what’s interesting and fresh.”
Searcheye founder Chris Thurston said Wu was a “rare combination” of rigorous and thoughtful
“Her process is very deliberate, and she quickly gets to the key questions,” he said.
“She really encourages focus on the key issues by pushing for discipline around the way we communicate to stakeholders across the business, be that customers, investors, or otherwise.”
Always keen to express and share an opinion in public, Khor and Petersen, dubbed her the Patron Saint of LinkedIn.
“In an industry that is sometimes more hype than clarity, she has helped to build the AfterWork brand into one that’s known for its authenticity and thoughtfulness,” they said.
“We can tell she’s just a little bit chuffed that she’s become the most followed venture capital investor in Australia on LinkedIn.”
Her new AfterWork partners also singled out her advocacy on a culture of bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the startup ecosystem.
“We’re in awe of her determination to go deeper than a surface-level understanding of problems, elucidating the nuances and tensions in the tech industry – that can both benefit founders and employees, ” Khor and Petersen said.
The two founders said one of the most dynamic and challenging parts of being a Partner is working with and influencing portfolio companies.
“Jessy challenges our portfolio companies thoughtfully, always trying to sharpen their thinking in a way that is equal parts incisive and caring,” they said.
“Jessy’s journey at AfterWork more broadly, can be perfectly summarised through our foundational values: ‘dream diligently’, ‘all crew no passengers’, ‘the more we give, the more there is’ – and our favourite – ‘fly your freak flag’.”