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Sarah Daniels

Venture Advisor

Sarah has a passion for purpose. She has helped lead software and AI-driven enterprises involved in everything from network security to education to real estate services, selling three of them to public companies, but these days, “the things I like to build the most have to do with helping people— trying to make the world a better place,” she says. 

In recent years, she has focused especially on educational technologies—which is perhaps not surprising, considering she grew up in a family full of teachers. Sarah was the co-founder and CEO of an edtech AI startup that pulled in VC investment from some top VC firms, and was an early executive at another, DreamBox Learning, that is now used by millions of schoolkids every day. 

Sarah’s also had experience helping struggling companies get back on track. As Chief Marketing Officer at Market Leader Inc. (NASDAQ: LEDR), she helped orchestrate a turnaround that more than doubled revenue to $60 million, increased the customer base nearly tenfold, and ultimately led to the company being bought by Trulia (NASDAQ: TRLA) for $385 million.  

For almost a decade, Sarah has been applying the lessons she’s learned along the way to mentor CEOs and advise start-ups:

“I consider myself a listener and a supporter.”

“First, I listen. What is the entrepreneur’s vision? What are their challenges? And sometimes, what are some of their gaps or blind spots? Then, as a supporter of that person, I ask questions and suggest things,” she explains. 

Sarah brings a coaching mindset to her mentoring, helping executives understand explicitly how and why they make decisions that seem instinctual. “Becoming more aware of why you do things a certain way means you can share that with your leadership team, ‘think out loud,’ and help build it into the culture.” 

“I have a pretty extensive toolbox by now of things I’ve seen or heard,” Sarah says. “When someone I’m supporting is starting to think about the go to market strategy, or financing, or goal setting, I bring out my toolbox: ‘Hmm, have you thought about this?’ or ‘Here’s a person you might want to meet,’ or ‘Here’s something you might want to read.’ It’s always about trying to support that person in any way that they need to reach their goal.”

Sarah holds an MBA from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Yale University. 

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