Partner

Sydney Sykes

"We're often in uncharted territory when working with startups. It's important to thrive in that ambiguity and find people you want to come along for the ride."

After working with Lightspeed for several years as a Scout, Sydney joined the firm’s Consumer practice as a Partner in 2022. “I believe we’re at the cutting edge of new consumer sectors driven by a wave of burgeoning technologies. We’re at a transition point, where communities and technologies are fundamentally changing,” said Sydney. 

Previously, Sydney was an early stage investor at NEA, where she became passionate about consumer startups and got a taste for angel investing. She also co-founded BLCK VC, the largest network of Black Venture Capital investors and the preeminent organization focused on increasing Black representation in VC. She led BLCK VC as co-CEO for five years, building the non-profit to a multi-million dollar annual budget and a 20,000+ person reach. After several years in Venture, she moved to the operating side and managed the growth, forecasting, and strategy for several native brands at Dolls Kill. It was around that time that she entered the MBA program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and got to know Lightspeed deeply by participating in the firm’s Scout Program. As a Lightspeed Scout, she wrote early checks into companies like Archive and others (not yet announced) that went on to become Lightspeed portfolio companies. 

A Boston native, Sydney moved to San Francisco after graduating from Harvard, where she studied Psychology and Economics and led the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business organization. When she was in college, she was “constantly hearing about exciting new startups like Uber and Snap taking over their industries seemingly overnight.” She was curious about how these young entrepreneurs and new businesses were able to make such a drastic impact in such short time periods. And as she learned more, she discovered the investors behind the scenes providing the capital and support to make these businesses happen. “Startups were fundamentally changing how I interacted with friends, engaged with my studies, and navigated the world, and I wanted to become a part of it — that’s why I became interested in Venture Capital,” said Sydney. 

When she’s not busy growing BLCK VC and advising or investing in startups, Sydney’s main hobby is sewing – she loves to design and make her own clothes. “It’s been an important creative outlet for a long time, giving me the time and space to be reflective while allowing me to keep my creative mind active,” she said.