Saaya started her career in consulting at Boston Consulting Group, where she worked across a variety of industries and spent some time in their Private Equity practice. But having a background in tech with a degree in Computer Engineering and a lifetime of exposure to entrepreneurship through her own family background, the venture ecosystem has always excited her. Around 3 years ago, Saaya finally made the pivot to Jump Capital where she is currently a Partner.
Jump Capital is an early-stage venture firm based in Chicago investing largely across FinTech and Enterprise SaaS. Their two core pillars that they differentiate on are 1) being thesis-led investors, and 2) being operating-centric. Jump Capital believes deeply understanding the complexities and nuances of the sectors they invest in allow to not only make the most informed decisions but also be incredibly helpful post-investment.
Saaya describes Jump’s culture as having “the freedom to create your own path but you’ll never go down it alone. It’s truly the perfect balance between autonomy and collaboration, both internally and with our portfolio companies.”
Jump Capital is specifically passionate about supporting FinTech founders. Whether it’s infrastructure, consumer applications, workflow tooling, or B2B, they invest across the stack. They are constantly looking to find and fund the FinTech ideas of tomorrow that will enable better access to wealth for both consumers and institutions.
Of late, Saaya is excited about workflow solutions that are enabling highly critical finance employees and CFOs to be more productive, more strategic, and better equipped to take on the volatility of the current environment. Some particular areas of excitement are around FinOps, Data Automation, FP&A, and Billing.
She is also excited to watch how the intersection of AI & Fintech evolves. While cautious of the hype cycle we are currently in, she believes there will be specific pockets of opportunity where the use of LLMs and modern ML will be hugely impactful to how Financial Institutions operate and provide value, such as in fraud and compliance.
Working in a financial industry historically dominated by males, Saaya believes that as a female investor she can empower and encourage new communities through representation. Saaya is always trying to push her boundaries of what she thinks she knows and learn more from others. set aside time each week to uplevel herself, whether that’s just pure reading, experimenting with new tools, or speaking to others in the industry.
Where Saaya has differentiated herself is in her approach to networking. Her ethos is “personal first, professional second.” She thrives on relationship building, and believes that genuine value will follow genuine connection, not vice versa.
One piece of advice that Saaya has resonated with her throughout her life was from her high school tennis coach — “be comfortable being uncomfortable”. Whether it was making a career pivot, joining that new workout class, or moving to a new state – things that are uncomfortable often come with disproportionately positive returns than things that are easy.
More on Saaya
Where you currently live: St. Louis, MO
Family at home: My husband of less than 3 months and our adorable pup, Simba
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Favorite hobby: I’m always finding an excuse to travel. When I can’t, it’s trying new restaurants.
Favorite show to binge: Modern Family
What's the best job decision you ever made?
Pivoting. I knew early on in my last role that I wasn’t going to be satisfied there for long, but there was comfort being in a structured environment where I knew exactly what was expected of me, and exactly what to expect from them. Venture is anything but structured, and I was nervous about coming into a role where I had no background, feedback loops are long (5-7 years in early stage!), and trajectory is often ambiguous. But I also knew venture aligned closely with my passions, and when I finally decided to chase what excited me instead of what comforted me, I knew almost immediately that I had made the right decision. I’m a big believer that your ability to succeed and make an impact grows exponentially when you’re doing something you love, even if it’s not obvious from the start.
Can you tell us about a time someone encouraged you to try a task or take on a project you didn’t think that you would know how to do/or be good at?
A little over a year into my venture career, I was working with one of our GPs to pursue a deal and he wanted me to lead all of it – drafting documents, negotiating with the founders, talking to board members, etc. These were things I had never done before, I wasn’t sure I was ready for, and, felt like a lot to mess up. The GP was hugely supportive the whole way through, at first which felt silly – I thought, if you’re going to tell me all the answers, am I even ready to be doing this? But in the end, it was one of the most valuable experiences of my career to date. It was not only a big steppingstone for me to take on more responsibility in my role, but resulted in my first Board Director seat, an incredibly strong relationship with the founders, and a slew of educational experiences!
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
Imposter syndrome is the worst thing you can do to yourself. It’s often natural, especially in high intensity environments, but from past mistakes I’ve learned that this mentality is the biggest barrier to success. The constant belief that you need to prove yourself will prevent you from asking for help, taking chances, and opening yourself up to new challenges – one of which could change your life! The biggest thing I’ve realized that has helped me overcome this is that funnily enough, everyone thinks they’re an imposter at some point. And if everyone is, then no one is.
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
1. The best way to stay productive is by allowing yourself to be unproductive.
2. We only have 100% to give most days, so each morning think about what work and life are going to demand from you that day and allocate accordingly. It’s okay if the scales aren’t always balanced.
3. Timebox your workday, especially when you work in an environment where there’s always more to do. By giving myself an “endpoint”, I become hyper-motivated to get as much done as possible in that time period.
4. To-do lists are great to stay organized but remember that “it’ll get done because it has to.” It’s an existential way for type A people like myself to remember that if something needs to happen, you’ll naturally make sure it happens, and you don’t always need daily reminders to get you there.