Leah Oppenheimer ‘12 (CLAS/IMJR)

Leah Oppenheimer

MBA Associate, SWAT Equity Partners

Leah is currently an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School (CBS) and MBA associate at SWAT Equity Partners, a venture capital firm for emerging entrepreneurial consumer brands. Prior to starting at CBS, she was a summer associate at LDV Capital and an investment associate at Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs (Techstars). Previously, she spent three years running platform and marketing for UpRamp, the industry accelerator/CVC for the connectivity industry (backed by Comcast, Charter, Cox and 60 others), and worked in business development for boutique consultancies in London. 

Leah Oppenheimer is doing things WerthWatching:

  • Focused on the human side of deep technology, and the impacts that entrepreneurs have on our everyday lives
  • As a summer associate, researched how visual technology is being deployed across the agriculture and food industries to have notable impacts on the global food supply
  • Graduated from the University of Cambridge with a MPhil in Education, and lived in London for three years working at several boutique consultancies in business development and thought leadership

What got you interested in working with startups/venture capital (VC)?

I actually got into VC by accident. I was contacted by a recruiter for an operating role at an accelerator in the video/broadband industry and learned about VC through that job - I had never heard of it before that! Since then, I’ve come to love the passion that early-stage founders have and how the job allows me to spend my day being curious and asking questions.

Where do you find your inspiration? 

I’m always really impressed by founders who worked in an industry, saw something missing, and decided to fix it - their nuanced understanding of the space, whether shown in unit economics and pricing or sales strategy - is so impressive to watch.

How did UConn prepare you for where you’re at today? 

UConn gave me the freedom to conduct research on an area of interest to me (the sociology of education as it relates to war-torn societies). I don’t work in that space anymore, but the freedom given to me allowed me to carve my own path in the following years, leading me to where I am today.

What’s your favorite UConn memory? 

Walking around campus on the weekend in the fall! I love autumn in New England. Also study abroad - I had the fortune of going abroad twice (Granada and Maastrict) and loved both experiences.

What advice do you have for today’s students or emerging entrepreneurs? 

Invest time into getting to know yourself and those around you - a strong network is important, but that starts with understanding your own strengths and desires and leaning into those!

Describe a professional moment you are most proud of, and why? 

Probably getting into Columbia Business School - it’s one of the few moments when it’s been very obvious to me how much effort and energy I put into something and seeing it all pay off in a calculated way.

Which business tool or resource do you recommend to others, and why? 

Make yourself a good to-do list in any form that works for you - whether that’s Inbox Zero or a piece of paper. Especially in entrepreneurship, where you’re juggling so many balls, it becomes easier and easier to drop them - figure out a way that works for you that keeps that from happening.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love houseplants and have dozens of them. I’m also a big fan of technical driving roads - I recently did a really fun road trip along the coast of Italy!