Friday Letter: Who will make our next list of Rising Stars?

We are now taking submissions for our annual list of 40 Rising Stars under the age of 40. Here's everything you need to know.

If there’s one thing you learn quickly in the journalism business, it’s that readers love lists. When I got my start at the San Jose Business Journal, I had a colleague named Dan whose entire job was creating lists. He produced a new one every week. Car dealers, accounting firms, banks, developers, software makers, credit unions, law firms. Dan had a list for just about any industry you could think of. At the end of the year, he bundled them all together into one giant book, which was called (you guessed it) The Book of Lists.

I’ve been thinking of Dan because Venture Capital Journal will soon produce its fourth annual list of 40 Rising Stars in the venture business. It is by far our most popular feature, with tens of thousands of pageviews.

Stars on our previous lists continue their rapid ascent:

  • Adeyemi ‘Ade’ Ajao, co-founder of Base10, was 37 when he appeared on our inaugural list in 2020. He and co-founder Thomas Nahigian were in the midst of raising $250 million for their second flagship fund at that time, and in April of this year they closed on another $460 million for their third flagship fund.
  • Racquel Bracken was also 37 when she appeared on our first list as a vice president on Venrock’s healthcare investment team. Bracken was promoted to partner at the firm the same month our list appeared in January 2020.
  • Yet another rapid riser is David Cheng of DCM Ventures. At 26, Cheng was the youngest vice-president in the firm’s history when he appeared on our debut list. Just one year later, Cheng was promoted to principal.

If you have a friend or colleague under the age of 40 who has accomplished something notable in the past 12 months, please tell us about them. What qualifies as notable? It is up to you to make that call. People on our previous lists were nominated for a variety of reasons, including earning a promotion, playing a pivotal role in a big deal, leading diversity efforts and starting their own firm.

Our list is biased toward people who work at venture capital firms, either as investors, IR professionals or in operations. But we are also seeking nominations for stars at LPs as well as advisory firms and service providers that serve VC clients, such as law firms, fund administrators, placement agents and banks. (Sorry, but entrepreneurs aren’t up for consideration.)

A couple of caveats: nominees must be under the age of 40 as of January 1, 2023, and they cannot have appeared on any of our prior lists of Rising Stars.

You can see our previous lists here:

For all the details on the submission process, go here. (If you still have questions, email me at

Once we get all the nominations, my colleagues and I will pore over them and make the call on who will make the final cut.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, so please make your nominations as soon as possible.

Good luck to your nominees!