Rex Woodbury

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In Conversation

How did your love of film lead to a passion for consumer technology?

REX– As a kid, I was lucky enough to star in a movie that my dad made. While I'm sorry to say that my film career never took off, I fell in love with media, content, and storytelling. I grew up memorizing box office numbers and Oscar winners, which morphed into a fascination with digital culture. I approach investing through the lens of how people and technology intersect.

We’re in a consumer renaissance. People are spending time in new ways: gaming, livestreaming, user-generated content. The pandemic has compressed decades of behavior changes into months. The companies created today will define the next generation of culture.

How did your time at Airtable and as an online creator change how you view the future of work?

REX– We're living through the greatest disruption to work since the Industrial Revolution: new tools are changing how we work, and new platforms are creating entirely new forms of work. At Index, we’ve seen companies like Slack and Figma drive a more collaborative future of work. As organizations become more distributed, tools like Notion and Airtable are becoming central nervous systems. The next generation of tools will make work more flexible and productive. We may even see the death of meetings (though that may be wishful thinking).

In a past life, I made a living as a creator on Instagram and in the future, more people will become online creators. New platforms are enabling new careers. We’ve seen this in the Index portfolio with game developers on Roblox and artisans on Etsy. My hope is that this reimagining of work breaks down barriers to economic mobility, unlocking new levels of innovation and opportunity.

What do people misunderstand about technology and Silicon Valley?

REX– Tech isn't moral or immoral—it's amoral, and we're seeing a backlash to some ways it's been misused. But we can't lose sight of the fact that technology is broadening access and improving lives. I'm deeply interested in how the internet creates community. When I was in college, I started an organization called Worthy that helps LGBTQ+ mentees find mentors for support and guidance. Worthy couldn’t have grown without social media, which gave people a place to connect and find belonging. Later, working in impact investing at The Rise Fund, I saw that tech is a force multiplier: it accelerates impact across every sector. To take on our generation's biggest problems—climate change, income inequality, access to education—we’ll need innovative startups and bold entrepreneurs.

Rex focuses on venture and growth investments in internet, media, and consumer software. He’s particularly interested in marketplaces, content platforms, and the future of work.

Prior to Index, Rex worked at Airtable, where he focused on their go-to-market motion. Rex was previously an investor at TPG Growth and The Rise Fund, TPG’s global growth equity and social impact funds, where he made investments across internet, retail, education, media, and healthcare. At The Rise Fund, he oversaw the incubation and launch of Y Analytics, the first public benefit corporation to measure social impact.

Rex graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Economics. He was a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University, where he pursued an M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an M.A. in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Rex writes Digital Native, a weekly blog about technology.