Fern Mandelbaum

Fern Mandelbaum
Contact Info
Lecturer in Management


Fern Mandelbaum is an entrepreneur, coach, lecturer, and investor.   Ms. Mandelbaum is the Managing Partner at Vista Venture Partners.  She focuses her investments on companies that help people reach their full potential.  Her portfolio includes: Guild Education, BetterUp, MissionU, Andela, Sparta Science, Pique Tea, Tinkergarten, Vocate, Fauna, GridSpace, popchips and PicnicHealth.  She is an advisor to Accompany, Pair Eyewear, ClockWise, and HelloAva.  

Since 1998, Ms. Mandelbaum has worked with CEO’s helping them develop their leadership style, refine their business concepts, recruit management teams, key advisors and board members, implement fund raising strategies and establish strategic alliances.  Ms. Mandelbaum also works with companies on building more diverse and inclusive environments.

Ms. Mandelbum was co-founder and CEO of Skyline Products, one of the premier toy invention firms that was sold to IDEO.  She has also worked at Metcal, Bain and Company, SRI International, Hewlett Packard and the Kyoto Shinyo Bank (in Kyoto, Japan). 

Ms. Mandelbaum received her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1988 and her B.A. in Economics from Brown University in 1984. Fern was raised in New York City, and now calls Palo Alto, California home. She enjoys running, cycling, yoga, and going on walks with her family, friends, and teammates. She is married, and has two children, Miles, 16 and Skylar, 22.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Stanford GSB
  • BA, Economics, Brown University

Professional Experience

  • Managing Partner, Vista Venture Partners
  • Partner, Monitor Ventures
  • Co-founder & CEO, Skyline Products
  • SRI International
  • HP
  • Kyoto Bank
  • Bain and Company


Degree Courses


This seminar showcases the diversity of entrepreneurs and the range of entrepreneurial paths they pursue. Thirty-five entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, primarily woman and under-represented minorities, will share their personal and...

This course equips you to create and build equitable organizations. We will discuss the power of inclusion as it relates to the employee and customer experience. We will study effective strategies for building diverse and inclusive companies,...

This seminar will showcase women entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. We will explore the challenges and opportunities they encountered in starting and growing their ventures, and the personal and professional choices they have made. The...


This seminar showcases the diversity of entrepreneurs and the different entrepreneurial paths they pursue, Twenty-five entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, with an emphasis on woman and under-represented minorities, will...

We will discuss effective strategies for building diverse and inclusive companies, and will address the barriers that can often exist. We'll study approaches to organizational design that limit unconscious bias and produce more objective...

Stanford Case Studies

Branch Metrics: \"Failing\" into the Idea | E586
Fern Mandelbaum, Susan Pohlmeyer2015
Ditto | E508
Fern Mandelbaum, Julieta Duek, Jessica Morgan2015

Insights by Stanford Business

March 21, 2017
Industry leaders discuss the value of storytelling and folding culture into the company charter.
December 9, 2014
Stanford lecturer and investor Fern Mandelbaum discusses the climate for women entrepreneurs and the value of creating an inclusive culture.