Shawn Carolan

Partner, Menlo Ventures

Shawn is a partner at Menlo Ventures and focuses on IT investments in the consumer sector—with particular interest in major technological shifts that improve daily lives. A few notable examples include Roku, Uber, and Siri.

Shawn received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated with highest honors. After, he joined Chicago startup Open Port Technology as a developer. Eventually a manager of software architecture, he wrote wire protocols in C++ and obtained a patent during his time at the firm. He left to attend Stanford GSB, with initial plans to become a business-savvy CTO. A summer stint at Booz Allen taught him to think big, but underscored his need to be on the cutting-edge of tech. He joined Menlo upon receiving his MBA in 2002.

Shawn’s learned countless left-brain lessons as a VC, software and electrical engineer, product manager, and management consultant, but none as impactful as the right-brain ones as a husband, father, and struggling founder as the former CEO of Handle, the world’s first (and only) priority engine. He believes in candor, empathy, and the Lean Startup principles born at IMVU, where he has served as a director since 2005. For fun, Shawn enjoys hiking with his family, running with his wife, Jennifer (founder of Reach Capital), snowboarding, and motorcycling.

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