Ryan Stouffer Smith

Partner, Legal.

Ryan joined Lightspeed in May of 2021 from Goodwin, where she had spent over a decade honing her practice on the exact areas that Lightspeed and its portfolio companies navigate every day.

Her exposure to invention, discovery, and creativity stem from a childhood in Seattle, “where tech and nerdiness are as much a part of the culture as grunge and rainboots.” A member of her elementary school’s Inventor’s Club, her “Beanie Bugs” concept sadly failed to wrest market share from the incumbent. After considering a career in the sciences, and then intellectual property law, she realized what called to her was a different world of ideas.

“As soon as I realized that being a startup lawyer was a thing, I knew that was for me; it’s the perfect mashup of my interests and inclinations. I am really inspired by people who pursue worthwhile ideas tirelessly, and being in the orbit of founders and investors who do so is what makes my job a true pleasure.”

Ryan’s favorite part of Lightspeed is, without question, working with her colleagues, who she says, are “smart, sharp, and ambitious, but also generous, gracious, and grateful collaborators. Lawyers get a bad rap, but we are a deep well of creativity, and here at Lightspeed, we work to figure out a way to make things happen, not shut them down.”

Outside of Lightspeed, Ryan loves nothing more than being with her family. “When I’m not working, I’m with them, and when I am working, I want whatever I’m doing to be meaningful. I assume everyone I work with has similar priorities. If we work together, I hope you feel that I am deeply respectful of your time and your humanity.”

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