Yale ICF Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Mary D'Onofrio '18
In this blog series, the Yale ICF will highlight ICF Advisory Board Members who are practitioners from various finance fields and alumni of the Yale School of Management and/or Yale University. Our board members enjoy giving back to the Yale community by participating in panels, guest lecturing, and taking part in Q&A sessions with students. Their generous financial support allows the Yale ICF to host events, sponsor academic initiatives, provide research support to faculty, and much more. The Yale ICF is grateful for their continued support!
Mary D’Onofrio ‘18 is a Partner and Co-founder of Bessemer Venture Partners’ growth-stage investment practice.
Mary is also a new ICF Advisory Board member.
What is your current role and industry?
I am a Partner and Co-founder of Bessemer Venture Partners’ growth-stage investment practice, which has over $1Bn of growth capital under management. I spend most of my time in cloud investing, largely focused on investing in developer platforms like Netlify and LaunchDarkly, data infrastructure companies like Imply Data and BigID, and collaboration and productivity software companies like Canva. I also author Bessemer’s State of the Cloud Reports and Scaling to $100 Million Report and maintain the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index.
How did you get into this field?
I have both a finance and technology background, having worked at Morgan Stanley in tech-focused Equity Capital Markets, and having worked at Apple in semiconductors procurement. I wanted to blend both industries while concurrently helping to build and to grow companies, and this led me to growth-stage venture.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities that professionals in your industry face today?
The vast inflow of capital into the venture ecosystem has made VC more competitive than ever, while the market has propelled prices to historic highs. Navigating this market environment to find returns is a challenge that VCs face today. That being said, we are in the midst of huge technological innovation, between the move to the cloud, the explosion of crypto, new forms of media, and more, and it provides ample opportunity for VCs to discover and to be thought leaders in exciting new areas.
Where do you see the industry going in the future?
Innovations in venture are emerging to keep pace with the changing market dynamics, from the emergence of crossover funds, to private index strategies, to open-ended fund approaches, to specialist funds, and I anticipate that more innovation is to come.
What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?
My advice is to recognize and to appreciate just how small the world – and specifically the VC/tech ecosystem – is. Operators turn into investors, investors turn into entrepreneurs, and any of them can turn into co-investors. Reputation in venture is everything.
About Mary D’Onofrio ‘18:
Mary is a partner and co-founder of the growth investment practice at Bessemer, where she primarily focuses on cloud software investments. She serves as a board member or observer for Netlify, Hyperscience, BigID, GetInsured, and Contractbook, and she also works closely with Bessemer portfolio companies Forter, LaunchDarkly, and Zapier.
Mary is a co-author of Bessemer’s Scaling to $100 Million report, annual State of the Cloud Reports and the 10 Laws of Cloud, and she is a key architect of the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index, which serves as the benchmark for public cloud companies. She also developed Bessemer’s Cash Conversion Score and authors the annual Cloud 100 Benchmarks Reports. Mary was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Venture Capital.
Prior to Bessemer, Mary worked in Equity Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley and held roles at Apple and at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Mary graduated with honors with an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University and holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where she now sits on the Board of the International Center for Finance. In her free time, Mary enjoys cheering for the 49ers, listening to country music, and spending time with her husband, Kyle.