February 14, 2024

Welcoming Layne Johnson and Jamie Rhode!

At Screendoor, we focus on serving as a true partner to both our portfolio GPs and our institutional capital partners. Our success requires deep experience navigating the venture landscape in order to find and fuel who we believe are the next generation of emerging managers. Today we're thrilled to welcome Layne Johnson and Jamie Rhode to the Screendoor team as our newest Partners!

Layne Johnson, on joining Screendoor: 

Hello from one of your new Partners! I couldn’t be more excited to join Screendoor to fund who we believe are the next generation of enduring venture firms. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing emerging and established fund managers, many of whom are now GP Advisors at Screendoor.  My past experience with multi-decade VCs has given me insight into what it takes to build and endure as a generational firm. The prospect of using that knowledge to help find and build tomorrow’s leaders, not to mention doing so alongside Lisa, Jamie, and our GP Advisors, is just one of the many reasons why I’m so excited to join Screendoor. 

My experience has taught me that emerging managers can be a massive source of alpha in a broader VC and multi-asset class portfolio. Typically, these managers are laser focused on their core strategy and generally smaller in fund size. They have a crazy work ethic and grit, as they work relentlessly to prove themselves in the market as a new brand. As an allocator, it’s crucial to pick the best ones given high return dispersion in the asset class (which is why we’re here!), but the data¹ consistently shows that emerging managers are a source of upside in a portfolio. That being said, it’s extremely challenging to invest in this area of the market for many LPs due to structural constraints: minimum check sizes, team bandwidth, a preference for established managers because they fit into a traditional framework… and the list goes on. For me, focusing all of my time and energy on not only picking the next generation of breakout managers, but also doing so on behalf of organizations that want access to that alpha to benefit the communities they support is a game changer.

Screendoor also stood out to me because they are extremely relationship-centric. I can’t wait to work closely alongside new VCs throughout every leg of their journey - to foster connections between our GP Advisors and managers who may not otherwise have access to experienced mentorship; to steward relationships between our LPs and Screendoor’s portfolio; and to build connectivity between all constituents of the emerging venture ecosystem in order to achieve greater impact. All of this creates a virtuous cycle of people building together and offering support, which I believe is the only way to be a top investor in this asset class.

I couldn’t be more excited to join the Screendoor team, and these are just a few of the reasons why I’m ready to hit the ground running. I can’t wait to connect with many of you and tell you more about what we’re building!  

Jamie Rhode, on joining Screendoor:

I am so excited to join Screendoor as a Partner after spending over 8 years as an institutional allocator using a data driven approach, actively investing across public and private markets, and building an expansive emerging manager early stage fund portfolio. For years I would invest in managers who were often considered ‘uninvestable’ by conventional LP standards for a variety of reasons - atypical backgrounds, ”too small” to move the needle, nontraditional experience and track records, etc. But venture capital is a power law driven asset class, where roughly 20% of the fund managers produce 80% of the returns², and the winners come out of the edges or the tail. New managers, though unconventional in many ways, can hold the keys to accessing the edges and capturing those winners. Recognizing the lack of institutional investors in this part of the market with the capabilities to invest in the tails, I believe there is still a massive opportunity waiting to be seized. It is crystal clear to me that Screendoor is poised to capitalize on this untapped potential, and I couldn’t resist the chance to be part of this exciting journey.

New funds continue to show up in the top quartile of venture capital, yet accessing and investing in this market remains extremely opaque and complex for most LPs. As an allocator at heart, I recognize that early-stage and emerging venture managers can allow investors to compound capital at extremely high rates and have the potential to offer returns that are difficult to find in other asset classes. But even though outliers are found in the variance, or the edges of venture capital, investing in a brand new or emerging manager that is considered unproven as an allocator can be intimidating when that capital could have been deployed in a more established firm that is deemed “safe”. 

Some of the most successful venture backed companies started off in opaque or complex markets, and yet these companies went on to disrupt industries and or even create entirely new ones. Complexity can lead to novel and surprising outcomes. This is exactly where emerging managers play, as they are the trailblazers who bring fresh perspectives and new networks, and can have knowledge of emerging founders and sectors that are not found inside established firms. These GPs tend to be overlooked or viewed as an underdog, but having to prove oneself because you are different from the crowd is a badge of honor, and I love when underdogs defy expectations. For the readers who don’t know me yet, I am an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan and in the words of Jason Kelce, “An underdog is a hungry dog, and hungry dogs run faster.” 

Screendoor’s role as an LP of GPs is the needed puzzle piece for institutional investors in their portfolios to get exposure to the variance in venture, unlocking opportunities where the winners tend to emerge - the underdogs, the edges. This ecosystem may be complex and opaque, but the Screendoor platform has the team in the unique position to change the way investors access the tails in venture capital. I’m thrilled to now be part of it!

Together with our Managing Director Lisa Cawley, we’re leaning into our work to disrupt how the next generation of enduring venture firms are funded and built. It’s never too early for our team to learn more about your firm-building plans. If you’re an emerging manager contemplating building your firm and would like to share more information with us, we have an open application process and would be honored to hear from you. And if you’re an LP who would like to learn more as we expand our efforts, we welcome you to share your contact info so we can chat!

¹ Source: Cambridge Associates
² Source:
Pareto LinkedIn Post

The views expressed here are those of the individual Screendoor personnel quoted and are not the views Screendoor or its affiliates. Certain information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by Screendoor. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, Screendoor has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; Screendoor has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

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