I had the dubious distinction of starting my career in the hedge fund industry in 1987 (when there were only a handful of funds) -- working for both Michael Steinhardt and Soros Fund Management -– and then I started an ultimately seriously-funded venture-backed internet company in 1994 (which was sold honorably, but by no means lavishly to AOL in ’03) – and I’m still not rich! What a schmuck!
Fortunately, I must have done a few things right along the way and my entrepreneurial zeal and optimism remains strong – and I still love building companies from scratch. Most significantly, I have two business partners who I trust like brothers – and who compliment my skills and temperament almost perfectly. I’ve also learned to surround myself with fantastic engineers, artists, and staff members.
I’ve also suffered through the slings and arrows of outrageous investors – and one of the most important things that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur – is to surround myself with investors who can provide encouragement, guidance, discipline, and wisdom -- together with capital, connections, and domain expertise.
My partners and I are honored that First Round Capital has invested in all three of the companies that we’ve helped to found (VideoEgg, mSnap and “NeoSurf”). For full disclosure – Howard Morgan (one of First Round’s founding partners, was our lead investor in our last company and a close mentor). Today, First Round held their first CEO Summit for their portfolio companies – and I think that everyone who attended left feeling as positive as I did about the day. As startup CEOs – we’re a busy bunch. Since First Round’s leader (Josh Kopelman) certainly wouldn’t want us to waste a minute (let alone a full day!) – the content and speaker program were refreshingly relevant and useful.
All attendees were sworn to secrecy regarding what was said and by whom – however, the agenda itself is fair-play so I’m posting it here:
Startup CEOs face major headwinds. I think that all attendees left feeling buoyed by each other, and by the speaker program. Much thanks to Josh, Howard, Chris, Rob, Judy and Carly -- for putting on a great program!
Now, I better get back to work!