doing the most
A special series about ambition — how we define it, harness it, and conquer it.
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Ashley Batz, Evan Mulling
Sarah Kunst, founder of VC fund Cleo Capital, and Brianne Kimmel, tech entrepreneur and founder of VC fund Worklife, aren’t skittish about talking about money — or trying to make it. Between the two of them, their investments in companies range from Cameo and MasterClass for Kunst to Haus, Tonal (with Serena Williams), and Webflow for Kimmel. Both aren’t afraid to ask probing questions about friends’ and colleagues’ financial situations and freely divulge their own portfolios. Below, they share why it’s important for women to be open about money and why it’s even more essential to invest it.
You both started your own companies before you turned 35. Was it important to you to make a lot of money young?
Sarah Kunst: Starting a fund is weird economics. You don’t usually make a ton right away, even in salary. The other funny thing is tech versus other industries. I started my career in fashion in New York. I have brilliant friends in New York fashion who have been in the industry for 20 years and still might not make six figures because that’s that industry. Whereas in Silicon Valley, when your friends are single-digit billionaires, you think, like, Huh, they’re not that rich. The tech world is just completely insane because you can make so much money. I think that you don’t always think of yourself as that successful until you have Jeff Bezos–yacht money.
Brianne Kimmel: I’m 33 years old, and I feel like I have not had money until last year. I value culture and experience more than cash in the bank, so I’ve always lived in very expensive cities. I’ve spent close to the last decade in San Francisco. When I moved there, it was so unaffordable that when you looked on Craigslist, people were renting out their closets in their kitchens and saying that was a bedroom. So I’ve always been more paycheck to paycheck until I started my …….