Avid Larizadeh Duggan, GV’s sole female GP, leaves to join music tech startup Kobalt

GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) has lost its one female general partner. London-based Avid Larizadeh Duggan is joining Kobalt, a New York-based music tech company that acts as a publisher and provides royalty tracking services for tracks when any sample or full track is played across various digital platforms. 

Larizadeh Duggan, who’d led an investment in Kobalt for GV, takes the title of EVP, Chief Strategy and Business Officer.

Before joining GV, Larizadeh Duggan co-founded Boticca, an online bazaar that sold fashion accessories from independent brands and was acquired by Wolf & Badger in 2015. The HBS grad also spent nearly three years as an associate with Accel Partners beginning in 2006.

Asked about Larizadeh Duggan’s decision to leave, a spokesperson for GV said she had  “found that she really missed the day-to-day operational aspect of building a startup, and Kobalt is a great fit for her. They will benefit from her leadership.”

Her move leaves GV with just two remaining women on its 16-person investing team: principal Terri Burns, formerly an associate product manager at Twitter; and partner Laura Melahn, who previously established GV’s marketing function in London.

Larizadeh Duggan, who starts work at Kobalt next month, was also just one of just two general partners left in GV’s London office, which opened in 2014 with five GPs. In fact, her departure leaves only Tom Hulme, a former design director for IDEO Europe, to oversee the outfit’s investments on the continent.

This does not spell the end for GV in London. Sources close to the outfit say that Hulme will continue to grow GV’s presence in Europe, with GV’s full support, and that the group is close to announcing some investments. 

From what we understand, there will also be more people added over time.

That Larizadeh Duggan was GV’s only female general partner is not unique — proportionally — in the world of venture capital. A study from Crunchbase in October 2017 found that among the top 100 venture firms, only eight percent are investing partners (of any level; not just general), and that women hold 15 percent of the partner roles at accelerators and corporate venture firms.

Kobalt is not your average startup: the company is actually 17 years old, but it has in more recent times been turning to VCs for investment to supercharge its growth, seizing the opportunity created by the rapid rise of music streaming services.

GV had led Kobalt’s $60 million Series C round back in 2015. According to Crunchbase, the company has gone on to raise $205 million altogether from investors, plus hundreds of millions more for its publishing business, from investors that include Hearst Entertainment and Section 32, a new venture firm created last year by former GV CEO Bill Maris.