Yes, that’s the hell-bent honey badger Stoffel whose mayhem cannot be stopped…he is my hero.

Oh right…this is the “About Me” page…ok, fine. Here’s my story (which is not nearly as interesting as Stoffel’s):

I was born & raised in a small farming town in Maryland, & grew up surrounded by a family of no-nonsense entrepreneurs & salespeople. As I kid, I desperately wanted to be cool but was a hopeless nerd from the age of 7 when my parents bought me thick, prescription eyeglasses that pretty much set the tone for my social standing over the next 10 years. Though I often felt irregular & isolated, being an outcast inspired me to daydream (a lot) about doing BIG things in life which I credit for the many risks I’ve taken as an adult.

Christen rainbow nerd cropped
Me & my glasses, circa 1986

I left Maryland at 17 years old to attend the University of Southern California in glamorous Los Angeles, home of swimming pools & movie stars…which actually turned out to be a collection of 70s-era suburbs set in a backdrop of mountains, ocean, and smog. At the time, I wanted to be an actress, but realized the waitressing industry wasn’t for me, so I instead pursued a degree in Communications & Business, with plans to attend law school. I held 2 part-time jobs throughout college so I could cover the astronomical tuition at USC, most notably working simultaneously as a Client Relations manager at a high-powered Century City law firm & a private tutor for the children of Ron Meyer, co-founder of CAA, COO of Vivendi Universal, & one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives. My time in L.A. was nothing short of fascinating, and being surrounded by such passionate & driven folks inspired me to keep dreaming big.

My personal journey has led me across various industries (tech, financial, legal, non-profit) and geographies (North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America), and ultimately gifted me with a wide range of formative experiences, fantastic failures, and invaluable lessons that I draw from each & every day.

The experience that shaped me most was joining the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, a former Communist nation. It was during this time that I deeply understood the critical importance of entrepreneurship in building communities, sustaining economies, and enriching lives. Years later, this led me to join Dave McClure in co-founding 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm & one of the world’s leading seed and accelerator programs with more than 900+ portfolio companies spanning 6 continents. Our goal from the beginning was simple: to change the face of entrepreneurship and venture capital on a global scale by finding and funding entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, nationalities, genders, and walks of life.

500 accelerator pic
The 500 Startups Accelerator in session, Mountain View location

These days, I spend my time building community & brand loyalty on a global scale, creating education & content for early-stage entrepreneurs, engaging the full scope of industry participants via value-added models, fundraising to support startup programs and investments, and developing scalable, sustainable pathways for technology entrepreneurship & venture capital around the world.

My eyeglasses are undoubtedly more stylish now, but I’ll always be a nerd who dreams big, accomplishes a lot, and never hesitates to wear rainbows on my shirt.

Feel free to contact me – all feedback or questions on my posts is appreciated > christenmarieob at gmail

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