Joanna Rees is Managing Partner at West, a Market Accelerator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has significant experience as an investor, entrepreneur, advisor, educator and mentor with deep expertise in helping companies and organizations define their market and build powerful brands.
More About West
West is a Market Accelerator. We provide market development expertise and funding to innovation economy companies from seed through growth. While we apply our practices in bespoke ways across each of our portfolio companies, fundamentally we’re about ensuring product x market fit based on a differentiated value prop that creates a competitive moat. We test our way to traction and only invest when we know we have it. We’re looking for smart, scrappy, imaginative ways to make our way into people’s hearts that make our companies indispensable. For us it’s about driving category leadership.
More About Joanna
A common thread runs through each and every aspect of Joanna Rees’ career is the desire to innovate and, in every sense of the word, do better. At times, that’s meant overseeing marketing and innovation within established companies. Other times, it’s investing in and advising early-stage best-of-breed innovative ideas to help businesses grow. With a rich career history in multiple industries, Joanna tailors her skill set to suit the unique needs of each one of her for-profit and non-profit endeavors.
Career and Background
Joanna Rees currently serves on the corporate board of FICO (NYSE: FICO), Care.com (NYSE: CRCM), Harvest Power, Prelude Fertility, Mursion and Hickies. Joanna is also a Senior Partner of the B Team (www.bteam.org). Most recently, she led the formation and capital raise for Endeavor Catalyst, an impact investment fund supporting high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
Joanna was the founder of VSP Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies combining technical innovation with market development.
Joanna has served on the board of more than 25 venture-backed companies across a broad range of industries She also served on the Board of the National Venture Capital Association (“NVCA), the Coppola Companies (Francis Ford Coppola), and as Chairman of the USA for Madrid-based FON, Joanna was the co-creator of the Build Brand Value CEO forum which she ran from 1997 to 2003 as part of VSP Capital.
For over a decade VSP used Joanna’s thoughtful and market-driven approach to provide crucial end-to-end support for 60+ burgeoning Bay Area companies, weathering the dot.com collapse and helping to establish firms in a diverse range of industries.
Years of business
Bay Area companies supported by VSP
Board memberships with venture-backed companies
Joanna has significant experience in finance and investment banking including positions at BA Securities and a boutique merchant bank, Vrolyk & Co. Joanna held several senior marketing management positions with Groupe Danone, a $20+ billion global consumer products firm, and began her career at DMB&B.
The World Economic Forum selected Joanna Rees as a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT). The Aspen Institute selected Joanna for its Henry Crown Fellows. Joanna serves on the non-profit board of Endeavor Global, The Representation Project and Build.org. Joanna is a seminar moderator for the Aspen Institute. She is also a Senior Mentor for the Henry Crown Fellowship. She earned her MBA from Columbia University (beta gamma sigma) and a BS from Duke University where she was a member of the gymnastics team.
Joanna is always seeking ways to make the most of her business and civic leadership. From her 2011 mayoral candidacy to her ongoing involvement in leadership seminars and classes, Joanna is dedicated not just to making an impact on others — but in helping them find their voices and make their own impact on the world.
This blog will cover Joanna Rees’ interests and involvement in investing, market development, leadership, and more.