executive in residence

Mary Gao

Mary Gao
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Mary Gao

I studied computer science and philosophy in college, which for me was a natural combination. The authors of the canonical texts of philosophy have shaped how we all think and communicate, and the architects of the software that underlies so much of our world are shaping how we live and interact today. After working in the Innovation Lab at Harvard and coding in Silicon Valley for a climate startup, I gained a deep appreciation for what engineers do - and decided that my career aspirations lay elsewhere.

As employee #1 at Upsolve, which gives low-income individuals a path out of debt, I had a hand in everything. I discovered that I love being part of a committed, passionate team solving a serious real-world problem with transformational technology. I felt the same way as an intern at General Catalyst, which is full of cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary thinkers who are both diligent and insightful.

In my role, I am particularly intrigued with fields on the cusp of big breakthroughs, such as biotech, machine learning, and cybersecurity. I’m part of a generation that grew up with these technologies and thinks about them practically rather than futuristically, so I want to help them live up to their potential in my lifetime.

When I’m not in the office, I’m making videos or studying French. I continue to improve my Mandarin because I was born in China and want to keep bridging the two cultures I know best. I’m also a big believer in supporting both local and global organizations that are addressing the major social issues of our time, such as inequality and climate change.

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Full list of investments can be found here.