Arianna Simpson

Katie Haun

Part of succeeding in venture, and certainly in crypto, is being willing to take risks for something that you believe in deeply. Arianna has this trait in spades. After learning about crypto in the context of the hyperinflation she witnessed during her time in Zimbabwe in 2013, she left her job at Facebook for a role at BitGo and didn’t look back, going all in on crypto. Eventually she left to raise her own crypto fund, Autonomous Partners. At the time, raising a crypto fund was viewed by many as a risky move, to say nothing of doing it entirely solo. 

From the first moment I met Arianna several years ago, I knew that she was a force to be reckoned with. Her drive for crypto and for connecting people and ideas was immediately clear during a coffee that turned into several hours of conversation. We promised to keep in touch and team up on some investments together (I’ll admit to asking then and there for an allocation in her fund because she was so confidence inspiring!).

Through our work at a16z crypto and hers at Autonomous, we continued running into Arianna as a co-investor in projects like Celo, Dapper Labs, and Maker. And both our own experience and founder feedback (“instrumental in the launch, growth and exit of our business” “while many talk of being value-add investors, she demonstrates it”) made it very clear to us that we needed to deepen our relationship. So we set about recruiting her despite many who essentially said “why would she want to go work for a16z when she has her own fund?” 

Fortunately Arianna took the long view, knowing that in a16z crypto she’d met a band of fellow travelers where she could use her superpowers to reach an even broader group of founders.   

We had high expectations given what we knew, but she managed to exceed them, even more quickly than we’d imagined. This was despite her first day as an a16z deal partner being the day we shut our offices for COVID and went fully remote for a year. That didn’t stop her from sourcing and supporting exciting investments right away, on display with Eco, Optimism, and Talos. She brings her A game—which means not just her work ethic and smarts, but also her joie de vivre and fearlessness—to every meeting every day. 

And while all this experience, drive, and passion for crypto Arianna embodies is great for us, it’s even better for the crypto community at large and the teams she supports. Arianna has been writing and video blogging about crypto for over seven years—long before the technology was taken as seriously as it is today. She is a veteran of several crypto cycles which makes her an incredible asset to teams learning how to operate and innovate in an industry with so many ups and downs. Arianna is deeply effective at articulating and building excitement for crypto ideas to broad audiences, a skill that has tremendous value for founders and their teams—particularly for recruiting efforts—and makes her one of the most impactful evangelists in crypto working today. 

Anyone who meets Arianna can tell right away that she is focused and also believes in crypto mission and values. She’s got her ear to the ground, she’s plugged in, and she’s well-respected by everyone in the industry. And that’s why we couldn’t be more excited to announce today that we’re promoting her as our newest General Partner in the crypto fund!


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