May 9, 2017

Sarah Tavel joins VC firm Benchmark

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Sarah Tavel has joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital as its sixth general partner, after having been with rival Greylock since 2015. Before that Tavel was a product manager with Pinterest, for which she had co-lead a Series A investment in her prior role with Bessemer Venture Partners.

Why it matters: Tavel is the first-ever female general partner at Benchmark, a San Francisco-based firm known for being the early money in such companies as eBay, Twitter and Uber. She also will have more influence than do new partners at many other VC firms, as Benchmark is a "flat" organization that splits its investment profits evenly among its partners, without employing junior investment staffers. As Axios previously reported, women comprise only 7% of decision-makers at U.S. venture firms.

Background: Tavel's hiring comes about nine months after Scott Belsky stepped down as general partner with Benchmark, but it seems that Belsky had a role in identifying Tavel as his replacement. Per a blog post from Benchmark's Bill Gurley:

About a year ago, we asked... Belsky who he thought had the greatest potential to become one of the best investors of the next decade. He answered quickly and definitively: Sarah Tavel. We've gotten to know Sarah over the last year. While we only very recently revealed our interest in having her join us, our interactions with her over the year amplified our instincts. She especially impressed us with the speed and quality of her thinking around disruptive markets, her ability to influence others with her ideas, and the depth of the relationships she has forged.

Next: Benchmark is expected to begin raising a new fund later this year.

Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The aftermath of George Floyd's death: Everything you need to know

A mural outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, near where George Floyd was killed in an encouner with police. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is in jail under $500,000 bail on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter after a video of him kneeling on George Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes and Floyd's death catapulted the country's major cities into a state of protest.

The big picture: Floyd's fatal run-in with police is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated 12 mins ago - Science

Live updates: SpaceX attempts to launch NASA astronauts Saturday

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.

Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will be the first time a private company has launched people to orbit. It will also bring crewed launches back to the U.S. for the first time in nine years, since the end of the space shuttle program.

Follow along below for live updates throughout the day...

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.