Cyan Banister

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cyan Banister
Banister in 2019
Cyan Callihan

Tucson, Arizona
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, Investor
Known forAngel investing
SpouseScott Banister

Cyan Banister (born 1977)[1] is an American angel investor and entrepreneur. She is a partner at Long Journey Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund.[2] She was an early investor in Uber, Niantic, Postmates, DeepMind, Carta, Thumbtack, Flexport, Affirm, and SpaceX,[3] and co-founded Zivity, an adult-themed social networking site.[4] Banister was the first woman investing partner at the venture capital Founders Fund, where she led seed and early-stage investments.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Banister grew up in Arizona.[4] At the age of 15 she experienced homelessness and dropped out of high school. Banister spoke publicly about her early life at the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, from living on the streets to becoming a venture capitalist, crediting her success to incrementalism, capitalism, individualism, mentorship, and endless curiosity. She credited being obsessed with making more money — capitalism — as being what eventually saved her life.[7]


Banister started her career in non-executive positions at NBCUniversal, where she worked in systems administration and development support from 1999 to 2001.[8] She was a contributing writer to TechCrunch.[9] She worked at the security startup IronPort from 2003–2006.[10]

A self-taught engineer, Banister held management roles at IronPort, where her positions included Standards and Practices Manager, Manager of Strategic Support, and Senior Manager-Security Operations.[10] Ironport was sold to Cisco for $850 million in 2007.[5] According to The Wall Street Journal, she found herself with money from the acquisition that she didn't know what to do with. She considered putting it in the stock market or in land, but settled on startups. The first check she wrote as an angel investor was to SpaceX."[7][11] Banister invested early in several companies worth more than a billion dollars, including Uber, Affirm, Opendoor, and Postmates.[3]

In late 2007, with her husband Scott Banister and Jeffrey Wescott, she co-founded Zivity, a photography platform company, and in 2010 added nude photos of herself to Zivity's premium section.[12] She served as editor-in-chief until March 2016,[13] when she became the first woman partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund.[14][15] At Founders Fund Banister has invested in companies like Niantic and HQ Trivia. She is also a co-founder of Thankroll.[16]

Founders Fund partner Brian Singerman wrote, "Our team has known Cyan for years and we've been continually impressed by her ability to identify some of the most impactful technology companies in the world at the earliest stages."[6] Polina Marinova of Fortune wrote, "It's difficult to describe Banister as she does not fit perfectly in any box..." Marinova added that Shrug Capital founder Niv Dror said, "She likes to invest in weird things, sees things super early and just gets it."[17]

In March, 2020, Banister announced that she was leaving Founders Fund to join Long Journey Ventures to get back into angel investing.[18][19]

Personal life and political ideology[edit]

She lives with her husband Scott Banister in San Francisco. She identifies as a socially liberal libertarian, and came out in 2016 as genderqueer.[5][20]

The day after Donald Trump in a presidential debate told the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of inciting violence, to "stand back and stand by," Banister tweeted that the group was misunderstood and had "a few bad apples who've claimed to be part of their org but in general not true."[21]

In 2021, Banister had a Twitter account called “Recall Chesa Boudin” that argued progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin of San Francisco should be recalled. She donated $10,000 to a GoFundMe account started by Uber investor Jason Calacanis whose goal was to hire a researcher to investigate Boudin's office.[22]

On August 23, 2021, interviewed on The Ingraham Angle by Laura Ingraham, Banister said, "More and more people are reaching out to me, wondering what it takes to own a firearm in San Francisco. And we don't have concealed carry permits, we don't have very good gun laws at all. And so we are allowed to defend our homes, but if we were to do that, if I were in a situation where I defended my home, what's going to happen to me?" [23]

Awards and honors[edit]

Cyan and Scott Banister won the Angel of the Year Crunchie award at the 2016 TechCrunch ceremonies.[24] Jessi Hempel of Wired wrote that Banister is "an accomplished angel investor who, along with her husband, won TechCrunch's Angel of the Year award last spring for prescient bets on SpaceX, Uber, and DeepMind Technologies."[5]

In 2015, Eugene Volokh announced that the UCLA First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic would be renamed the Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic, "in recognition of the Banisters' very generous gift in support of the clinic."[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Banister, Cyan. "Planned (2)". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  2. ^ "Cyan Banister leaves Founders Fund for Long Journey Ventures". TechCrunch. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  3. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (6 March 2018). "HQ Trivia Banks $15 Million in Venture Funding to Fuel Mobile Game That Pays Real Prize Money". Variety. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b Stillman, Jessica (23 September 2013). "Cyan Banister: Adults Only Startups Deserve Respect Too". Forbes. Archived from the original on 26 October 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Hempel, Jessi (11 October 2016). "The Venture Capitalist Who Is Both a Man and a Woman". Wired. Archived from the original on 9 December 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Chapman, Lizette (29 March 2016). "Founders Fund Adds Banister as First Female Investing Partner". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b Perez, Sarah (5 September 2018). "Cyan Banister shares her journey from homeless teen to VC". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ "Cyan Banister - Person Profile | Startup Ranking". StartupRanking. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  9. ^ "Author: Cyan Banister". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  10. ^ a b "Startup Ranking - Cyan Bannister". January 4, 2024.
  11. ^ Kornelis, Chris (3 December 2017). "A Venture Capitalist Talks About Her Best and Worst Investments: Cyan Banister of Founders Fund offers the lessons she has learned from both winning and losing". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  12. ^ Boutin, Paul (12 February 2010). "Zivity Founder Finally Takes It All Off". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  13. ^ Marshall, Matt (17 August 2007). "Zivity, an adult social network, raises $1M before launch". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 16 Aug 2007.
  14. ^ Loizos, Connie (29 March 2016). "Cyan Banister joins Founders Fund as partner". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  15. ^ Loizos, Connie (22 April 2016). "The next new thing: Women VCs". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  16. ^ Loizos, Connie (25 April 2016). "Cyan Banister has a new startup, and it's looking for seed funding". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  17. ^ Marinova, Polina (3 November 2018). "Founders Fund Partner Cyan Banister on Kanye West, Elon Musk, and the Value of Independent Thought". Fortune. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  18. ^ Banister, Cyan (2020-03-02). "I have news to share!". Medium. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  19. ^ "Cyan Banister leaves Founders Fund for Long Journey Ventures". Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  20. ^ Bernard, Zoë (26 June 2018). "Here are the top 3 qualities you need to succeed, according to a high school dropout who became a venture capitalist at one of Silicon Valley's most prominent firms". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  21. ^ Tiku, Natasha (October 9, 2020) "Silicon Valley is famously liberal. Then, investors and employees started clashing over race.." Washington Post. (Retrieved March 11, 2021.)
  22. ^ Michaels, Samantha; Kalish, Lil (March 21, 2021). ""VC lives matter": Silicon Valley investors want to oust San Francisco's reformist DA". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on 2021-03-31. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  23. ^ Fox News (August 23, 2021) "'The Ingraham Angle' on Afghan crisis, COVID-19 vaccine mandates." Fox News. (Retrieved August 26, 2021).
  24. ^ Shivakumar, Felicia (2016). "Scott and Cyan Banister Win Angel Investor of the Year at the 9th Annual Crunchies". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  25. ^ Volokh, Eugene (18 February 2015). "The Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2018.

External links[edit]