Christen O’Brien

Chief Marketing Officer


Christen leads NFX marketing including content, brand, growth, PR, and network development. Equal parts builder and writer, she believes exceptional companies are first and foremost a function of language.


She previously co-founded 500 Startups where she helped create and scale a brand that become one of the most well-known seed funds in the world in just 18 months. Within 5 years, the fund had $200 million under management and invested in more than 1,500 companies globally including unicorns like Twilio, Intercom, Credit Karma, Talkdesk, Udemy, Grab, Canva and GitLab. She also led international programs in which she tracked market trends and built relationships with key technology influencers across more than 22 countries.


Before 500, Christen had the fortune to work with companies in their earliest stages on content and communications like LinkedIn, Twilio, Box, AdMob, Poshmark, Loopt, and Atlassian.


Most recently she was a Managing Director in the Early Stage group at Silicon Valley Bank where she oversaw the group’s most important acquisition channels and relationships., including working on the Stripe Atlas partner product, collaborating with C-level executives, developers, and designers on both sides.


A writer at heart, she has been interviewed live on The Today Show and her work has been read and shared by celebrities and everyday people alike. One of her pieces is currently being made into a documentary by a group of award-winning NYC filmmakers who have worked with President Barack Obama, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ken Burns. Another piece was recently selected by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull and the BLKSHP organization for The New Renaissance project.


Passionate about global economics and philanthropy, Christen served in the Peace Corps as an elementary English teacher in Bulgaria. That experience shaped her world view and taught her the importance of entrepreneurship to political and economic stability.


Adventure traveler, recently joined a conservation initiative in the jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia to trek and become an advocate for the critically endangered orangutan; Lifelong piano player, has written several original compositions; Loves learning foreign languages, fluent in Spanish and Bulgarian and conversational in Italian after a few grappas; Best friend to a Great Dane named Virginia Woof.

Education & Affiliations

B.A., Communications & Business, University of Southern California

Volunteer, United States Peace Corps (Bulgaria)