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Jess Leão


Jess is a partner at Decibel where she invests in founders building AI-native infrastructure software companies including developer tools, data engineering, and cybersecurity. She focuses on the earliest stages of company building and enables founders to find product-market fit. 

Before joining Decibel, Jess was at Maverick Ventures, where she led early investments in open source LLMs and AI-enabled applications. Her investments included MosaicML (acquired by Databricks for $1.3 Billion), Wild Moose, Comity AI, and Atomic Semi. She works closely with founders at pre-seed and seed stage to find great early adopters, recruit essential talent, and overcome the daily challenges of nascent startups. 

Earlier in her career, Jess worked at Palantir as a forward deployed engineer in their renowned “R2D2” team. She worked on the seminal platform release for Palantir’s Gotham product, which included Palantir’s AVA assistant that was a precursor to Palantir’s Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP). She has remained passionate about AI-based products ever since.

Jess grew up in Salvador, Brazil, and moved to the United States to pursue a college education. She has a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She now lives in the Bay Area and you can often find her taking walks with her 90lb dog.


Founders call me when

They have a hard problem. I run towards the fire.

I am best known for

Making things happen. There is always a way.

When I am not helping founders

Playing chess, reading, and cooking up something new.