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Denali Tietjen

“When I catch myself wishing I was the developer or scientist who just pitched an idea, that’s the moment I realize ‘we need to back this.’ Real conviction is contagious.”

As a digital native, I grew up with technology-enabled communications and began exploring them seriously in college with a senior thesis about journalism in the age of Twitter. I got my intro to the start-up world as a reporter focused on investing at Forbes and The Boston Globe. Inspired by the many entrepreneurs I covered, particularly the Cymbal team (a startup backed by Rough Draft Ventures), I realized I didn’t want to just write about the future of digital society, I wanted to help create it.

So I joined Rough Draft as a student investor while still at Tufts University. I participated in the Monday evening pitch meetings, voted on investment decisions, recruited talent at universities and tech competitions, and poured my journalism skills into helping teams find their product voice.

As an investor, I’m excited to continue working with student teams through Rough Draft. Student founders have a special energy that drives them to get started now, not someday. I also want to encourage more women to go on the startup journey. That includes working with universities to create the conditions for women to see themselves as entrepreneurs.

I love General Catalyst’s focus on bringing great people together to form teams, and keeping those people close to the firm throughout their careers. By investing in a team, not just a product, we’re in it for the long haul.

I graduated from Tufts (’16) with a degree in economics and film & media studies. I’m a marathon runner (most recently Reykjavik) and am up for pretty much anything outdoors. I would also love to keep traveling, having spent summers exploring in Europe, Latin America and Asia.