AgentSync’s Jenn Knight On Diversity, Community And Finding Investors Who Share Your Values

As co-founder and CTO of AgentSync, Jenn Knight is building the tools and infrastructure powering the insurance industry. 

Knight has spent much of her technical career as one of the few women in the room, which makes her even more focused on hiring a diverse team at AgentSync and finding investors who share her dedication to diversity. 

Throughout her career – from LinkedIn to Dropbox to Stripe – she has benefitted from a supportive community and incredible mentors, and she’s passionate about paying it forward and doing what she can to help others navigate their careers.

Jenn Knight headshot
Jenn Knight

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I love solving problems. It’s at the center of what I do and has guided each role I’ve held along my career journey – from LinkedIn to Dropbox to Stripe, and now at AgentSync, the company I co-founded. I’ve been lucky enough to work at awesome companies with incredible teams, tackling complex problems, and at the end of the day problem-solving is what entrepreneurs do. It was not necessarily a lifelong goal to “be an entrepreneur,” but I finally landed on a new problem that needed to be solved, and I’m setting out to do that with an amazing co-founder and team. 

Q: Why did you choose to enter engineering?

I have a non-technical undergrad degree and fell into engineering when the head of IT at a company I was working at out of college asked me if I wanted to learn to code. I found that not only did I have a knack for it, but I loved it! Growing up, my parents had us tackle logic workbooks over the summer, and writing my first lines of working code took me back to that powerful feeling of solving a puzzle for the first time. It was an amazing rediscovery after my time focused on the liberal arts in college. At the time, I was one of the very few female developers specializing in Salesforce, but along the way I’ve had incredible mentors, colleagues, and cheerleaders who have pushed me to learn and grow into the CTO and co-founder I am today. 

Q: How did you network, find communities, and make the connections you needed to succeed? 

I’ve been lucky to work and connect with some amazing community-builders throughout my career, and because of this, I’m very aware of the power of community. I’ve worked hard to translate that same sense of community to my coworkers and industry colleagues – because I’m an engineer with a nontechnical background, I’ve found that sharing my experience and helping others navigate similar career transitions to be very fulfilling.

Q: What is your advice for other female founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys?

Identify and nurture relationships with your own advocates and mentors, and cultivate community among your team, within your company, or with industry colleagues outside of your company. Always remember to thank those who helped you along the way and pay it forward by actively mentoring and lending a hand to others who can learn from you. 

It’s going to feel lonely along the way, and at times you will have to navigate challenges a male founder wouldn’t experience. It’s important to actively acknowledge those moments, put words to them, and work through them. Conserve your energy for the real problem you are tackling.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as the founder of your own company?

Make hiring a diverse team a priority from Day One. Teams, products and companies are all better when there’s a diversity of voices, thoughts, opinions and perspectives shaping them. It creates a better environment and company culture, which pays off so many ways long-term – from retention to workplace culture. 

Q: How did you know you were choosing the right investors? What have they brought to the company?

All of our investors bring something unique to the table, but I’m particularly proud that Operator Collective invested in our last round. Operator Collective is a group of operators, investors, and founders from diverse backgrounds that invest in and accelerate the next generation of B2B tech – 90 percent of LPs are women, and 40 percent are people of color. Having access to a community of the most inspiring leaders and doers in the tech industry is an invaluable resource. 

Q: What qualities do you possess that you think have contributed most to your success?

I love nothing more than solving complex problems, and I don’t shy away from daunting challenges – in fact, that’s what fires me up. Each step in my career has been in pursuit of a new, bigger, tougher challenge – founding AgentSync and building an extremely complex product is the next step in that journey. 

As co-founder and CTO of AgentSync, Jenn Knight is building the tools and infrastructure powering the insurance industry. Knight began her career at Linkedin as the company’s first Salesforce engineer and eventually built out the Salesforce engineering and solutions architecture team. In her next role, she joined Dropbox to build out sales systems, financial systems and migrating the company’s ERP prior to its initial public offering.

Most recently, Knight built the internal systems function at fintech leader Stripe. She is now tackling the insurance industry’s biggest compliance and licensing challenges at AgentSync, a company she co-founded with her husband, Niji Sabharwal. Knight is fiercely dedicated to building a diverse team, especially engineering and product because she fundamentally believes that will make for a better product and company. 

  • Originally published February 3, 2021