Q&A with Sheena Jindal, principal, Comcast Ventures

Sheena Jindal is a principal at Comcast Ventures (CV), US-based mass media group Comcast’s corporate venture capital (CVC) arm, with a focus on real estate, financial services and consumer health.

1. First, just give us a quick overview of who you work for, what you do, and how long you have been doing it.

I am a principal at CV focusing on consumer investing, with a particular interest in proptech, healthcare, insuretech and fintech. I have deployed over $30m in eight new investments across seed through growth stage investments over my last 16 months with the firm and supported follow on financing efforts in Hippo, Acorns and Madison Reed.

2. What attracted you to CVC?

CV brings more than money to the table- we offer the flexibility and risk appetite of a traditional venture fund, combined with the ability to offer our portfolio companies advantages of a Fortune 500 organisation. Our abilities can help de-risk early-stage investments, minimise capital raising requirements, and help our companies grow and generate demand across the country in a matter of months, not years. We provide really tangible value-add through our exclusive services available for portfolio companies, particularly in our ability to provide TV advertising on a fixed cost-per-acquisition basis. This means we especially care about businesses that cater to the masses – those that are in every corner of the country and can be accessed by the Comcast/NBCU Footprint.

3. What have been your greatest successes at your unit?

Eight new investments: Undisclosed life insurance business ($3m seed, 2019), undisclosed parametric insurance business ($3m pre-seed, 2019, roughly $1m seed, 2020); e-commerce home goods business (undisclosed amount of pre-seed, 2019); Nurx (undisclosed amount of series C and series D, 2019 and 2020); Papa ($20m Series B, 2020); Sidecar Health (undisclosed amount of series B, 2020); undisclosed life insurance business for seniors  (undisclosed amount of seed, 2020); undisclosed proptech ($20m series A, 2020).

4    What have been your biggest challenges?

Within the VC community, establishing credibility, learning new sectors and overcoming the fear of putting yourself out there – with founders, other VCs and portfolio companies. There is a mental battle of always knowing there is an opportunity cost for your time – sourcing, deal execution, portfolio support – all of which are equally important, but if you feel you can find a balance and make some progress on each every week, you are ahead of the game.

5. What is your main professional ambition for the future?

VC has always been a dream job of mine – it is one of the only jobs I know of where you get to craft the future of how humans will work, live and communicate with each other in the next five to 10 years. The job lets you noodle on what the world’s problems are, and find the right founders and products that will help bridge those gaps.

6. What do you think all CVCs could do better to make it a stronger industry?

Better branding, better networking, cross-collaboration opportunities, emphasis on the benefits; for example, partnerships with the parent company.

7. And, finally, for colour, what did you do prior to CVC or in your spare time?

Before joining the team at CV, I led strategy and operations for apparel at an e-commerce and fulfillment platform, Symphony Commerce. Prior to Symphony, I was in the corporate strategy group at Hudson’s Bay Company/Saks Fifth Avenue, driving the future of omnichannel commerce. I began my career at the Boston Consulting Group advising clients in the financial services, retail and insurance sector. While in business school, I worked at Bessemer and spent my summer at Google focused on strategy for emerging products. I graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science in economics and an MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.