Welcome to our new Meet the Team series where we will feature a member from our Team each week to give you a behind the scenes look at the people that make it all happen at NGP Capital.
Feature of the week
Ellen Higuchi – Finance and Administration
Ellen is truly the heart and soul of our office. She joined NGP Capital in 2011 as a consultant and then transitioned her way into various roles. Now she makes sure that Monica's and Upal's calendars are up to date, she oversees the office in Palo Alto, and also handles all of our back office work for the finance department. There's definitely never a dull moment. When she's not at the office, you'll find her on various hikes around the Bay or tutoring a student from her mother's home country Japan in English -- in fact her mother speaks to her mostly in Japanese. Read on to find out more about her background and what .
What was your first job in the tech or VC world?
My very first job was a software engineer position at General Dynamics.
What first got you excited about the tech industry?
I wouldn't say that there is one specific thing I can pinpoint. But I will say, that seeing the technological developments of everyday objects has been pretty amazing. From rotary phones to push-button phones to car phones to flip phones to smart phones; and LPs to cassettes to CDs to Walkmans to iPods to…smart phones!
If you got $1B of funding for your own start-up, what kind of company would you start from scratch today?
I would develop an app to track what I’m browsing, making it easy to cross-shop at different stores and add all things to one cart. It would be a great way to simplify comparison shopping. I could go back and click on whatever I actually want to buy and fill however many carts I want to without having to go back to the site and look for those specific items. Same for articles—it would be nice to collect all the links in one “cart” that I could go back to later to see what I’ve collected for that topic or on that day.
What do you like to do in your free time that does not involve a screen?
Reading (although for me that involves a screen!), hiking, going to SF Giants games, and SJ Sharks games pre-pandemic, getting together with friends.
Diversity and Inclusion is hot topic now. What improvements do you think the industry could make overall?
I think the industry needs to develop and mentor at the undergraduate level, and maybe even do outreach to high school students who don’t necessarily have any exposure to the VC world. It seems that VCs look for people who already have their MBAs—what are the demographics of those potential hires? Is it a diverse pool of candidates? Are they from many different universities? If not, what happened to that huge pool of diverse potential candidates from undergraduate school? We need to look at when the decrease in diversity and inclusion starts and work towards a goal of creating a group of candidates that’s a reflection of the overall population.