Shawn Kung

Venture Partner

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Shawn is a Venture Partner at AV8, focused on enterprise software (B2B) startups.


Prior to AV8, he was a successful operator, leading Products at Aster Data Systems ($300M acquisition in 2011) and SaaS platforms at Tenable Security ($3B IPO in 2018).


With 20+ years of enterprise product experience in SaaS applications, Data, and Infrastructure platforms, he is also a prolific startup Advisor and Adjunct Instructor at Stanford University (BUS 248: Software Startup Formation).


Shawn has a BA from Princeton University, MS Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, and HBX Certificate (Honors) from Harvard Business School.


How are you most helpful to early-stage founders?

As a 2-time startup operator and entrepreneurship teacher (Stanford BUS 248), I've learned how take my past operational experiences and create helpful frameworks for early-stage founders (especially technical, first time founders). I also have deep product domain experience in Data, Infrastructure, and Security and valueable networks that founders can tap into for hiring or customer access. Finally, I have a 4000+ Slack and Clubhouse community called Founders Club that offers advice, support, and networking opportunities for founders.

What's an important professional lesson you've learned?

Often times, the hard decision is not what to do but choosing what NOT to do. Applies to both product and customer development choices.

What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?

2 successful startup exits that are bookends to each other. Aster ($300M exit) was super-early stealth with <10 hires, while Tenable ($3B IPO) was growth stage post Series B. Different challenges but a great unique experience to see the end-to-end spectrum from early Seed through IPO at different startups in different industries in different eras.

A favorite place you've been, that you can't wait to get back to?

Maya Bay, Thailand (The Beach)

What are your passions outside of work?

A bit embarrassingly, hanging out with techies or founders on Discord, Slack, and Clubhouse. Also anything football-related is awesome.

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