Laura Buhler

Laura Buhler

Partner, Head of Community

Community is a lot like interest: it compounds and creates abundance with time and consistency.

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Laura leads Felicis’s founder and executive communities, blending her passion for entrepreneurship and her belief in the power of community to unlock the Felicis network as a strategic value driver for founders. Previously, Laura was CEO of C100, the preeminent global community of Canadians in tech. Laura previously worked at Gilt Groupe, a venture-backed ecommerce company in New York, where she led Business Development and Growth teams and also held earlier roles in Strategy and Performance Marketing. At Gilt, she led key product partnerships in the fintech & payments space (Affirm, American Express, MasterCard, Citibank), Travel (Gilt Travel X Secret Escapes), Beauty (Proctor & Gamble), Wine & Spirits (AB InBev, E.&J. Gallo), and Automotive (Fiat). Prior to working in technology and venture capital, Laura was a Project Manager at the World Economic Forum (WEF), and a consultant with McKinsey & Co. in New York, Geneva, London, and Canada. Laura lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Community is a lot like interest: it compounds and creates abundance with time and consistency.

How do you support founders? 

At Felicis, our community includes our founders, their teams, and the deep bench of experts and executives we bring into our work. To support our founders' participation in that community, we host events to help bond, and Felicis prides itself in doing strong customer intros. With each new founder, we do a 1:1 onboarding to learn about them as people, their goals, and top business priorities. This helps us better understand what customer, talent, and or mentorship connections will be most valuable for them in the near term.

What do people misunderstand about community? 

Because the field is young and so multidisciplinary in nature, people have sometimes only interacted with community as a "function" in one way. Maybe they think of events, maybe they think of social media and community-generated content, maybe they think of Developer Relations or customer success. Every business (and every founder) is part of a community. How to engage that community should look different depending on the product, industry, and customer persona, but they all come down to the same general thing: building affinity with the people you serve and helping those people add value to one another.

Laura hosting a founder summit in Napa in 2022.

What books or movies do you think everyone should read or watch and why? 

An atlas! Technology has made the world feel very small, but one flip through a good atlas will remind you how many places—countries, coastlines, cities, and communities—are on this grand earth, and how it looks from your window is not how it looks from anyone else's. Movies: anything "foreign" to you (for the same reasons).

How do you recharge or find balance? 

By plugging "in" to the great outdoors where I can be under the sky and smell the trees! I like to jog and hike in the summer, and I do a lot of Nordic ski touring and downhill skiing in the winter. And if I spot wildlife, I pretty much forget about everything else. I also have spiritual practices like meditation that help me to build perspective and not take myself too seriously.

What do you like about interacting with and connecting to founders?

I have a very strong belief in the power of entrepreneurship and its impact on humanity. Interacting with founders and entrepreneurs that are building something important to them or to their community will always be rewarding to me. Not all entrepreneurs are "founders" or even "tech founders." Some lead nonprofits, pioneer new research, or are community organizers. But the spirit of entrepreneurship is the same, and I think entrepreneurs benefit from people rooting for them and supporting them because the force of inertia from incumbent institutions and the “status quo” will always be a constant. I look at entrepreneurs with huge admiration for the courage and effort it takes to counter-act that force of the status quo.

Laura enjoying the great outdoors.