Alumna Vanessa Larco Transforms the World of Tech and Finance


Sofia Cruz

Vanessa Larco returned to Gables on Thursday, Dec. 9 while in town to visit Biology teacher Mr. Molina.

Sofia Cruz and Isabel Donner

Coral Gables Senior High alumna Vanessa Larco wholeheartedly represents the Cavalier spirit as she has cultivated a successful career in the fields of Finance and Technology. Pioneering as one of the few Latina women in Silicon Valley, Larco’s journey tells a tale of one Gables graduate making her mark on the world.

A part of Gables’ International Baccalaureate Class of 2004, Larco looks back on her high school memories fondly, crediting her teachers, like Ms. Ochoa, for inspiring her to take on a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and appreciating the lifelong friendships she formed at the school. Larco also volunteered as an athletic trainer at Gables, working closely with science teacher Mr. Molina when he led the program. She credits Gables for teaching her how to “hustle” and find the fun in everyday life.

“We had a lot fun in the training room. We also had awesome math teachers…My best friends from my whole life, we all went to school here at Gables together and we still hang out,” Vanessa Larco said.

There’s no substitute for working hard. I wasn’t the smartest kid at Gables, I wasn’t the smartest kid at Georgia Tech or any other places I’ve been to, but I think the hustle, working really hard and being street smart actually gets you pretty far,

— Vanessa Larco

After graduating from Gables, Larco went on to study Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She then took on a job at Xbox, expanding her background in gaming for around three years before moving to San Francisco, a city that she loves for its transformation of failures into improvement. There, she worked for Disney for over a year and created her own startup, which she sold. She then moved on to work at Twilio and Box, where she served as the Director of Product Management. She also worked at Microsoft and has filed several patents for innovative technology.

Over time, Larco refocused her career path to enter the world of venture capital, focusing on investing in promising new startups. In 2016, she became a partner of New Enterprise Associates, one of the world’s largest firms with $25 billion in invested capital. With her team at NEA, she went to Wall Street to take the well known trading application, Robinhood, public in 2021.

Larco also notices the impact that being a Latina in her field has had on her experience. At Xbox, she was one of a handful of women out of hundreds of employees. She states that gaming is one of the most difficult industries for women. However, she has seen a steady movement towards the growth of opportunities within the broader tech industry, where there are more female leaders like her making strides towards equality. Larco works toward creating more space for Latin investors by volunteering as a board member of Latinx VC.

Despite this adversity, Larco has found great success in both her gaming and finance careers. The San Francisco Business Times recognized her as one of its 40 under 40. She was also one of the Women of Influence chosen by The Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2015. Glamour Magazine also acknowledged her as one of 35 women under 35 who are changing the tech industry.

When it comes to her long-term goals, Larco notes that the more she achieves, the more her aspirations change. Her current aim is simply to work with great people and do what she loves. She has already worked with memorable figures such as Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently attended a brunch she held. Larco also co-invests with rappers such as Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy, and Jay Z, and is close friends with Robinhood Co-founder Vladimir Tenev.

Larco advises current Cavaliers to help others and always pay it forward, taking on the mindset that those who are currently in your life will come back around later on to someday return the favor. She also highlights the importance of not being afraid to take risks. Additionally, she emphasizes the need to become financially literate early in life. To do this, she led the first investments in Greenlight Card, a company that provides debit cards for teens and educates them on things such as compound interest.

“I’m investing in companies that are teaching young people how to invest, manage money and participate in the U.S. financial markets…I think that’s key: building wealth, the earlier you start, the more it compounds,” Vanessa Larco said.

Having returned to Gables on Dec. 9 to visit Mr. Molina, Larco was able to reminisce on her times as a fellow student and staff member. The Cavalier will keep making her alma mater proud as she continues to create opportunities in the world of business for entrepreneurs, women and minorities alike.