Fern Mandelbaum


Fern Mandelbaum

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. Mandelbaum 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

Awards and Honors

  • MBA Class of 1978 Lecturer, 2018-2019

Stanford Case Studies

Fern Mandelbaum, Dione Chen
Fern Mandelbaum, Susan Pohlmeyer
Fern Mandelbaum, Julieta Duek, Jessica Morgan

Insights by Stanford Business

March 21, 2017
Industry leaders discuss the value of storytelling and folding culture into the company charter.
December 09, 2014
Stanford lecturer and investor Fern Mandelbaum discusses the climate for women entrepreneurs and the value of creating an inclusive culture.

School News

December 10, 2019
As rates of suicide and mental illness rise, Stanford’s Social Innovation Fellow will connect underserved young people with therapy through Hopebound.
December 12, 2018
The MBA Class of 2018 broke records for salaries for the fourth consecutive year, yet their career choices were not about chasing the money.