Behind the Brilliance 113: Alyse Killeen


What does it look like when your perfect career finds you instead of you stressing out about finding it?

My conversation in this episode answers that question. Alyse Killeen is a venture capitalist, founder of City Fellows and Women in Venture, and a smart (and let’s be honest, woke) woman who roots for outsiders and underdogs.

In this conversation, Alyse opens up about her path from academia to grad school to venture capital. We discuss her philosophies on investing, inclusion, bro culture, and much more.

My favorite part is near the end when she shares the best advice she’s ever received. Lean in when you hear that come up.

Say hi to Alyse and tell her what you thought of this episode: @alysekilleen



Alyse Killeen | Venture Capitalist + Founder, City Fellow Consortium & Women in Venture

alyse-smAlyse was born in Daly City, just south of San Francisco, and grew up in Silicon Valley. Today she is a Venture Capital Investor and Venture Advisor, and consults with select venture investment teams. As an investor who has worked across three venture firms and on thousands of investment opportunities, Alyse has seed stage to pre-IPO investment experience in both enterprise and consumer technologies. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Alyse first learned about business building and entrepreneurship from her grandfather; here stemmed her affinity for builders and innovators.

She has presented globally on blockchain technology, the sharing economy, IoT, and the development of innovation ecosystems for groups and conference events including TechCrunch Disrupt, the International Monetary Fund, Singapore Management University, and USA Today. In 2015 she authored a book chapter in the Handbook of Digital Currency titled: The Confluence of Bitcoin and the Global Sharing Economy, and is currently in the development of a second book with the same editor and publisher to address technology advancements in Digital Banking. She is a Mentor at the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Center in the Fintech and Bitcoin accelerator tracks, and on the Advisory Board of several leading early stage technology companies, including blockchain infrastructure companies Netki and Factom, and machine learning ecommerce company, Swoonery. Alyse is a member of the Board of Directors at BitGive, a startup NGO aiming to modernize the nonprofit ecosystem using blockchain technology. BitGive was Bitcoin’s first 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and has been partnering with international relief efforts and local charities since 2013 to support giving in Bitcoin.

Alyse is the Founder Director of City Fellows Consortium (2015) and Women in Venture (2013). City Fellows Consortium is an innovation-centered private league for top undergraduate engineering fellows, bridging the gap between classroom and community. Women in Venture is a professional social network for women investors in the field of traditional venture capital.

Alyse is a member of the Satoshi Roundtable, an annual retreat for the top 50 thought leaders in blockchain technology, and in 2015, the UN Foundation named her a Top 70 Bay Area Digital Leader.

Prior to working in Venture Capital, Alyse conducted research in the field of biopsychology with a focus on cognition’s impact on cardiovascular outcome and immunological function. She earned an MS degree in Health Psychology as a Maytag Fellow, publishing Master’s Thesis: Chronic fatigue syndrome and natural killer cell function.


TOPICS COVERED (partial list)

-Alyse’s early days and entrepreneurial inspiration

-How and why Alyse brings sincerity and authenticity to her work

-Alyse’s winding path to becoming a VC

-Why inclusion is good for business

-The best and worst pitches Alyse has ever heard

-Alyse’s advice to founders

-The best advice Alyse has ever received

-and much more!


STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE (clickable links below)

Alyse on Twitter

Alyse’s personal website

City Fellow Consortium

Women in Venture

Satoshi Paper

The Agony & The Ecstasy