The Los Angeles and New York-based venture firm M13 has managed to nab former Techstars LA managing director, Anna Barber, as its newest partner and the head of its internal venture studio, Launchpad.
Designed to be a collaborative startup company incubator alongside corporate partners, Launchpad focuses on developing new consumer tech businesses focused on M13's main investment areas: health, food, transportation and housing.
For Barber, the new position is the latest step in a professional career spent working both inside and outside the tech industry.
Barber got her first taste of the startup world when she was poached from McKinsey to join one of the several online pet supply stores that cropped up in 1999. From her position as the vice president of product at Petstore.com, Barber got her taste of the startup world... and left it to become a talent manager and the co-founder of the National Air Guitar Championships (no word if she managed air guitar talent).
Prior to launching the Techstars LA incubator program, Barber founded ScribblePress, a retail and digital publishing app, which was sold to Fingerprint Digital.
Anna Barber, partner, M13. Image Credit: Raif Strathmann
At M13, Barber will be working to recruit entrepreneurs to work collaboratively on developing startup consumer businesses that align with the strategic interests of M13's corporate partners, like Procter & Gamble.
"We will be bringing in founders in residence who will come in without an idea," Barber said of the program. "We’re starting with a blank sheet of paper and building teams in partnership with entrepreneurs and in partnership with corporate partners who will bring their perspective and their IP. "
The EIRs will receive a small stipend and equity in the business, Barber said.
The starting gun for M13’s Launchpad program was in 2019 and the program currently has managed to spin up three startups. There's Rae, a developer of affordable women’s wellness products; the beauty tech company OPTE; Kindra menopause products; and Bodewell for sensitive skin care, which were all developed alongside Procter & Gamble Ventures.
M13, for its part, is developing a strong team of women partners who are investing at the firm. Barber will join Lizzie Francis and Christine Choi on the investment team, something that Barber said was especially exciting.
“There is no better place for M13’s Launchpad than Los Angeles and no better person to lead it than Anna. M13 is home to a creative, diverse community of entrepreneurs and operators who want to make the world better by applying innovation in everything from media to biotech, prop tech to food," said M13 co-founder Carter Reum. "We are excited for Anna to continue to lead LA’s center of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors with a rigorous Launchpad program and more exceptional partners and cohorts.”