Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: What Moved Me to Join Eclipse

Kaitlyn Glancy

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Jun 22, 2023

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4 MIN

Eclipse welcomes Kaitlyn Glancy to the team as Partner to invest in and build startups developing innovative solutions to real-world physical problems.


By: Kaitlyn Glancy

When Jeff Bezos was the CEO of Amazon, he purportedly said, “One of the only ways to get out of a tight delivery box is to invent your way out.” Ironically, despite the outsized impact that delivery boxes — or to be more specific, supply chains— have on our economy, innovation in the industry has been scant.

I am — and have always been — a builder and operator.  Inspired from a young age by my grandfather who operated his own trucking company, and my father who spent his career building airplanes, I was fascinated by solving complex physical world problems. I started my career as a consultant at PwC and while my peers gravitated towards mobile and social tech,  I — somewhat unsurprisingly — was drawn to supply chain and international trade. I worked with tech giants like Apple, Google, and Adobe, helping them navigate their complex supply chains. At the time, it struck me that even these massive enterprises with seemingly unlimited budgets struggled to solve the supply chain puzzle. If these companies, with all their resources, could not unlock their supply chains, what did that mean for  smaller companies with fewer resources trying to build supply chain strategies?

That’s what drew me to Flexport in 2015. I joined when the company was 20 people in a small San Francisco office, and I spent the next eight years building the company to 3,500 people across dozens of offices worldwide. As Flexport’s VP of North America leading the company’s sales and account management teams, I scaled the region’s revenue from less than $1M to over $2B. I also helped to design playbooks and processes that enabled the organization to scale. For example, after achieving product-market success in our HQ of San Francisco, I moved to New York to open and grow our first office outside of HQ — and wrote the blueprint we’d later use to expand to 10 more North American offices and dozens of offices globally.   

After almost a decade at Flexport,  I reflected on what the team accomplished during my tenure. As I talked with founders and others who were earlier on in their entrepreneurial journey, I realized that my experiences were valuable lessons and skills that could benefit Early-Stage companies looking to scale from seed to Series A, Series B, Series C, and beyond. Around this time, I was introduced to the Eclipse team and I recognized venture capital presented a larger opportunity to have an impact on many startups.  So, I made the decision to join the venture side, specifically Eclipse as a Partner to invest in and build startups developing innovative solutions to real-world physical problems. And, I’m excited to get to work!

I recognized venture capital presented a larger opportunity to have an impact on many startups.

Building a company isn’t easy. It requires passion, commitment, sacrifice, ingenuity, and belief in an idea that can test your resolve, yet still excite you day after day. It requires creating a team of individuals that complement each other's skills and that will work together to reach a common goal. 

However, a strong resolve to succeed isn’t always enough to make it. Startups today face an uncertain economy, a cautious investment community, high levels of competition for talent, and a requirement to scale quickly to meet customer expectations. Founders need partners who can both help fund their big aspirations, and have tough conversations with them about sales, revenue, vision, and staffing. When these conversations arise, it’s helpful to have board members with operating experience — someone who, in their past, has missed a quarter’s revenue spectacularly then had to turn around a new plan; or someone who failed a couple of times to hire the right executive, and had to uncover the root cause. These things are not glamorous (and make for pretty lousy bullet points on a resume), yet they’re the valuable insights that can help an Early-Stage founder move forward after a roadblock.

Building a company isn’t easy. It requires passion, commitment, sacrifice, ingenuity, and belief in an idea that can test your resolve, yet still excite you day after day.

The passion and expertise of Eclipse’s partners perfectly complement that of the founders we work with. The high conviction, high involvement style coupled with the drive to see its portfolio companies succeed sets Eclipse apart and made me want to join this team. Our collective operating experience means we can better understand and guide our portfolio company founders in ways that will drive meaningful impact across the organization and stages of growth. On a more tactical level, given Eclipse’s extensive work with Early-Stage companies within physical industries, many of the companies the firm supports and builds tend to be in supply chain operations or logistics — now we’re talking! 

Eclipse and its portfolio companies are creating and scaling companies to profoundly influence both the evolution of our physical world and the new roles and skills required for those industries. I’m eager to take what I learned to help founders build great companies that will accelerate the Industrial Evolution and enable the fruition of the New Economy.

If you’re building a physical industry Early-Stage company or want to talk through an idea, I’d love to hear from you: kaitlyn@eclipse.vc

For more on today's news from TechCrunch.


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Tags

  • Company Building
  • Early-Stage
  • Logistics
  • Supply Chain
  • Venture Capital

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