Summit Partners’ Sophia Popova has distinguished herself as a smart and thoughtful technology investor quickly, says managing director Scott Collins. In less than two years, Popova has played an active role in four Summit investments, representing more than $450 million in invested capital. “Sophia has a keen talent for identifying innovative growth-stage companies, building a trusted rapport with entrepreneurs and management teams, and in serving as an insightful and hard-working partner post-investment,” Collins says. “Sophia leverages her technical background to connect quickly with founders and entrepreneurs in a unique way.”
Popova developed her investment acumen through serving in product management and business development roles at startups, including Contactive (acquired by Fuze in 2015) and Recombine (acquired by CooperSurgical in 2016). While at Harvard Business School, Sophia was an investment partner at the Dorm Room Fund, where she advised numerous student founder-led startups. She joined Summit as a vice president in 2017. “There is nothing more exciting than helping category-leading businesses scale faster,” Popova says. “I was drawn to growth equity, because it allows me to analyze what makes businesses tick.”
Popova played a key leadership role in Summit’s $150 million investment in Klaviyo, a SaaS data and marketing automation platform that serves more than 15,000 brands. Popova’s “deep understanding of the consumer marketing landscape and data-intensive technologies helped to build a credible and strong relationship with the company founders and positioned Summit as the investor of choice for Klaviyo’s first major round of funding,” Collins says. “Post-investment, Sophia is actively involved in helping Klaviyo scale the business and navigate its rapid growth trajectory, including assistance in enhancing the management team.”
Popova leads Summit’s efforts in industrial automation, and this work helped to drive the firm’s investment in Markforged, a rapidly growing manufacturer of industrial 3D printers and printing systems. Popova was “instrumental in developing and articulating a thesis around the additive manufacturing sector and its transformational role in ‘Industry 4.0,’ a new chapter of technologically-driven industrial automation and digitization.”
Popova leads the recruiting effort for Summit’s Boston technology team, helping to attract top talent to the firm. She implemented a candidate assessment tool that incorporates the firm’s core values into the hiring process. Popova is generous with her time in mentoring her colleagues on the technology team and beyond, Collins says.
Popova is committed to fostering an inclusive community at Summit. She serves on the firm’s diversity committee and has helped recruit several women to the investment team.
Popova has been an active proponent of the positive impact of growth equity and in supporting individuals entering the industry. At Harvard Business School, she worked with Clay Christensen and Derek van Bever, researching the impact of venture capital on economic development for a chapter in Christensen’s book, The Prosperity Paradox. She has also served on HBS panels covering growth equity. She is an active member of Women in Investing, a Boston network that hosts events for women in private equity.