Hi I’m Mercedes, like the car. 🚗
I started this blog in 2013 after leaving Wall-Street to join the startup world. I began chronicling my learnings in the tech and startup community and today it has morphed into a medley of VC, startup, self-help, and inclusion musings.
I’m currently a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners where I focus on consumer early stage investing. Prior to this, I was an executive at a VR startup and a GM at General Assembly. GA was my first foray into startups and I helped the company grow to ~$100 million in revenue as a product manger and general manager. Prior to 2012 I worked in finance at Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve.
On the history side of things, I grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Cupertino, CA (Bay Area), went to Harvard for college, and did an MBA and Masters in Education at Stanford. I enjoy writing up new business ideas, walks longer than 20 NYC blocks, chocolate soufflés, hiking, camping, off-roading in my Jeep, reading works by futurists and empaths, and dealing playing cards very fast.
Thanks for reading,
I’m inspired by your work Mercedes. Keep going; the world needs you.
I appreciated your touching article in the NYT on your search for meaning in an African memory. Yes, racist amor falls away when we live in a society where black skin is in the majority. For me, my yearly sojourns to Africa and the emotional benefit that I find there is cheaper than therapy. In the African American condition too many of us find ourselves to be Africans without memory and Americans without rights. Your journey is yet another healthy beacon that plots a way forward. Stay string, stay focused and stay well, Esosa. Chester Higgins
I’m a Professor of Language Education at New York University (NYU). I read your article on traveling to Nigeria and Ghana last Sunday, and was so moved by it, I wrote a letter to the editor in response. In case my letter is not chosen to be published in the Times, I’m including it verbatim here.
To: New York Times Editor
May 8, 2019
From: Shondel Nero, Professor of Language Education, New York University
Response to: A Trip All African-Americans Deserve by Mercedes Bent
Ms. Bent’s article describing the sense of belonging she felt as an African American woman visiting Nigeria and Ghana, especially in this Year of the Return – 400 years since the first slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia – resonated with me. As a woman of African descent myself, although not originally from the US (I was born and raised in Guyana), I remember visiting Ghana some 30 years ago, and having those same feelings of connectedness to our ancestral homeland. This summer, I’m about to return to Ghana, this time as a Professor of Language Education from New York University (NYU), leading a group of sixteen New York City (NYC) public schools teachers on an international learning experience, thanks to a generous gift to NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, by the late Brooke Astor, a New York philanthropist, who was a big believer in public education. Ms. Astor’s bequest to Steinhardt is specifically targeted to fund international learning experiences for NYC public school teachers as a reward for the work they do educating the next generation. This year, I was chosen to lead the group. I chose to take the teachers to Ghana where NYU has a site. What an honor for me; what a privilege for the teachers. Ms. Bent said in her article, “I would love to see a philanthropist or foundation fund educational trips to Ghana, Nigeria, and other African countries for black young adults from other parts of the diaspora making this experience accessible to more people who could benefit from it as much as I did.” Brooke Astor has already answered the call. Not only will this trip enrich every teacher that participates intellectually and culturally, but every child, and especially every black child, that each of the teachers teach, will learn about the richness of African culture.