Lucy Tan

Principal
MelbourneAustralia

What advice do you live by?

I’m not a particularly philosophical person but one quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I read and have kept in my pocket as a nice reminder for all time is this:
“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men-that is genius.”
In less flowery terms, the message is basically: believe your voice has value, and speak openly about what you believe to be true. It’s differentially important in VC as often we have to find the good ideas that look like bad ideas to others. Conviction is the name of the game!

Why did you want to join the SP team?

3 years ago, I spent some time reflecting on qualities that I wanted in a workplace. I was halfway through my journey at Bain and thought ‘you know what, for me to want to leave this amazing company, I have to be clear on what I need to see to beat it’. I wrote down three things:
1. Strong feedback culture – learning is super important to me and I find trial and error to be inefficient (although sometimes necessary). I prefer an apprenticeship model and having strong mentors
2. Access to talented, motivated peopl e at the top of their game
3. Ownership and collaboration – I prefer to err on the side of giving trust and being trusted. Micromanagement drains me
When I interviewed at Square Peg, all these values shone through – I felt the insatiable curiosity of each team member, the generous support they gave each other, and the collaborative environment they had built. And in my own diligence of the company – speaking to the founders in their portfolio, speaking to others in the VC industry, all I heard were positives. So it ended up being a no - brainer!

Where did you learn the most in your career?

In my view, nothing beats operational experience. I joined Go1 in their Series B phase with the sole objective of helping them scale their partnerships channel. At the time, this channel was a nascent revenue generator – we had a lot of partners signed but not a lot generating revenue.
Together with the Head of Partnerships, the COO and an incredible group of account executives and partnership managers, we got this channel humming within 6 months. But it was not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
I learnt that so much of business is about building trust – revenue wouldn’t hum until we had gotten the partner’s Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, sales reps and sometimes even the CEO all aligned that we were great to work with and could be trusted to deliver value to their customers.
On a personal level, I also learnt that I had an obsessive personality – there were days where I couldn’t tear my eyes off the Salesforce dashboard for even a few hours. My happiness lived and died by whether the Partner ARR would tick up or stay stubbornly flat. That’s not a healthy way to live and it’s something I’m still working on to be honest! When I get stuck into something, I can get obsessed.

Who is your greatest mentor?

I won’t call him out by name in case he gets em barrassed but it’s a Bain partner. He’s been there for me at my lowest lows, often with the no - bullshit pieces of advice I needed to hear. I firmly believe everyone should go through life with their own board of advisers – gather them through your life so that when you fall down, it’s easier to get back up.

Where’s the joy in your work?

This is going to sound weird but I’m an empathetic crier – if I see people crying in movies or TV shows, I feel tears welling up. My husband hates going to the movies with me for this reason – I end up sniffling very loudly in a cinema...
What does this have to do with the joy in my work? Well, I also have empathetic excitement as it turns out. When I meet a founder who is so clearly doing their life’s work, the deep passion and enthusiasm they bring gets me excited. I love having a conversation where they share what they have learnt along the way – warts and all – because to me, that’s where true insight comes from – the mistakes you made, the assumptions you held that proved to be wrong and how you changed course as a result. Founder meetings are hands down my favourite parts of the week.

What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?

This has the tinge of recency bias but I would like to erase Monza 2021 so I could experience the sweet, sweet relief of Daniel Ricciardo finally winning another F1 race after a 3 year drought. The Renault years felt like a Siberian winter..
Square Peg Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 164 352 229) is an Authorised Representative of Victoria Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 159 228 314) AFSL 428989