Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Me and the VC/PE Worlds

OK, so I intend to write about some of my experiences with the Venture Capital and Private Equity industries. See my Venture Capital FAQ Series for a list of possible topics (and leave a comment if you want to see something else). So, what makes my prose worthy of reading?

Perhaps nothing.

I'm just a regular guy with lots of time in the world of high-tech startups. I've seen a few things, learned a few things (mostly the hard way and on the street), and enjoy teaching, coaching, motivating, and mentoring. I'm a unique combination of technology, business, leadership, and personality. I've made a lot of mistakes. I've had every variety of luck. And, I'm only 42 years old, so there's time enough for me to experience it all over again before retirement!

This post has significant Transparency, and I'm trying to keep it fun and fresh. Something more like a resume can be found in my About Me post. PersonalDNA considers me to be an "Advocating Leader", whatever that means.

Here's the business side of me by some numbers (where I can share numbers):

  • 22 years writing software, leading teams, and building businesses

  • 2 IPO SEC filings:

  • 1 startup company acquired (Allocity, acquired by EMC)

  • 4 times as founder or co-founder of a startup, including:

    • 3 VC-funded startups

    • 1 startup that failed to get VC funding, but allowed me to find my co-founding team at Cassatt

  • >10 rounds of VC funding done by companies that I co-founded

  • >$150M VC raised by companies that I co-founded

  • 4 VC-focused legal firms worked with (different one for each company)

  • 6 top-tier VC's + a handful of corporate VC's funded the companies that I co-founded

  • 15x return was my best return as a startup investor in 2006 (not founder or employee)

  • >4 companies acquired by companies that I co-founded

  • >1,500 employees hired by companies that I co-founded

  • 1 of my startups seed/bridge funded prior to Series A to find a syndicate partner

  • 1 of my startups did a tranched Series A

  • 1 Open Source / Free Software contribution (CVS)

    • >19,000,000 unique users access it each month at

    • 17 years of usage and counting

  • 10 patents granted

  • 1 patent pending

Some of these numbers are not ones that I am particularly proud of. Like the fact that my companies have received so much Venture Capital money. Too much money is not always a good thing. ChannelPoint ended up being a somewhat classic Internet Bubble disaster company (while this is not my fault, if you're not part of the solution...). I will write a post rehashing that experience for you (from $800M pre-money valuations to IPO filing in March 2000 to the bubble bursting two weeks later to withdrawing the IPO in October 2000).

There's a lot that I am proud of, though. I have experienced much and have worn nearly every hat in my 22 years. I am more entrepreneur than investor today, but that is changing (oddly enough, my short-term investor track record is much better than my long-term entrepreneur track record).  I have learned that I like working with multiple companies concurrently as opposed to one company serially. It just suits me better. I will focus the next 22 years of my career on early stage investing and building enduring businesses with great entrepreneurs.

I am actively pursuing a position as Partner or Venture Partner with a VC firm in the Bay Area. Please write to me if you would like to chat.

I know far less about the Private Equity world than I know about the Venture Capital world. I learned a bit about the PE world while incubating Cassatt at the offices of Warburg Pincus in Menlo Park. The PE world really is different, and I will try to cover the differences when I think I know enough about how they differ.

Join me for the journey. It may even be entertaining. Drop me a comment sometime!

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  1. Hi there, Brian. I just came across your blog (thanks to Technorati).

    I especially enjoyed your career synopsis - it will be interesting to read your insights moving forward. Adding you to my newsreader as I type ...

    I'm not terribly plugged into what is happening in the Bay Area, but I wish you luck!


  2. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the friendly comments and for adding me to your feed reader. Keep those comments coming!


  3. Hi Brian,

    Just found your blog through My Way, The Entrepreneur Network. Impressive background and interesting blog! Looking forward to your next posts.


  4. Thanks Dmitry,

    Glad to have you along. FourthElephant looks like a nice business. Best of luck!


  5. [...] lots of reading between the lines, a deep knowledge of their markets, and exposure to the Private Equity world, I think there is an opportunity for EMC to get some serious leverage out of their VMware asset. [...]

  6. [...] lots of reading between the lines, a deep knowledge of their markets, and exposure to the Private Equity world, I think there is an opportunity for EMC to get some serious leverage out of their VMware asset. [...]


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