Founder turned investor Hayley Barna is now a general partner with the early-stage venture firm First Round Capital. The appointment comes roughly one-and-a-half years after Barna — who cofounded the seven-year-old Birchbox, a start-up that mails monthly packages of beauty samples to subscribers — joined First Round as a venture partner.
Barna is based in New York and focused largely on e-commerce opportunities.
Barna is among few female investors that First Round has brought into the fold. Christine Herron, a director at Intel Capital, spent a couple of years as a principal with the firm earlier in her career. CeCe Chang formerly spent two years as director of First Round’s Dorm Room Fund and worked as a junior member of its investing team for a year before that.
Barna had stepped down from her role as co-CEO of Birchbox, which is a First Round portfolio company, in 2015. Her cofounder, Katia Beauchamp, has been steering the company since.
In a Medium post, Barna says she has so far led a handful of investments for First Round, backing both first-time and experienced founders. She also thanks the First Round team for providing her with a “try before you buy” experience by hiring her first into a venture partner role.
“Given that I co-founded a business built on the principles of sampling, it’s poetic that I’ve applied it to my career,” she jokes in the post.
Birchbox has raised $86.9 million to date, including from Forerunner Ventures and Accel Partners. In August, Recode reported that the company was in talks with several retailers about an acquisition, including Walmart.
Walmart, the country’s largest employer, has bought two other Forerunner-backed companies in the last 15 months: Jet.com and Bonobos.
Barna remains a director on the board of Birchbox. She also serves on the boards of the hair products company Madison Reed (which closed on a fresh $25 million just last month), and RAB Lighting, a 71-year-old lighting and electronics manufacturing company where her brother is CEO.
According to a recent study of women in venture capital by Crunchbase, among the top 100 venture firms, the percentage of women partners has edged up to 8 percent from 7 percent over the last year.