Baroda Ventures LLC
Residence: Beverly Hills
Education: B.S., business, University of Southern California; M.B.A., finance, University of Michigan
Previous Jobs: After working as management consultant at Andersen Consulting, he later became vice president of marketing at Legent Corp. In 1994, he founded GeoCities Inc. one of the most visited Web sites in the late 1990s which was acquired by Yahoo Inc. in 1999.
Venture Capital Start: "It really came from my own activities as an entrepreneur, having founded several startup ventures, which led to Geocities. And it came from my interest in working with startup companies."
Target Market: Technology, primarily Internet services and Internet commerce
Financing: Very early to early stage. Preferred investment of $2 million. Having made the bulk of his fortune through the sale of GeoCities, investments are funded out of pocket.
Investment Philosophy: Invests in companies that meet the changing needs and desires of Internet users. Most of all, looks for people that not only have an idea, but can see that idea through. "My primary focus is investing in people that I believe have the passion and the experience and the work ethic within a market segment that I'm interested in."
Recent Fundings: LowerMyBills.com, a Santa Monica bill management service; Xdrive.com, a Beverly Hills online storage and file-sharing service; and two out of state companies: MediaVast.com, a visual content provider for media and advertising; and Gamesville.com, online games
Boards: Serves on board of MediaVast.com. He has served on the boards of Stamps.com, Netzero, NCR Corp. and other companies.
Gripe: "One of the most common mistakes is a lack of market testing and not enough competitive due diligence. I've seen a number of entrepreneurs with ideas that have already been developed. So the idea might not have been unique and that wouldn't have been hard to find out with a little market research."
Exit Strategy: Typically will cash out of an investment through IPO or sale of company. But like many venture capitalists, he has no specific timeline for cashing out. "My exit strategy is based upon maximizing return to the shareholders independent of a specific time horizon."
L.A. Market Outlook: "It's a great market for entrepreneurs looking for both human capital and financial capital. I've always felt it was an advantage to be in Southern California because there isn't as much competition in the technology sector as there is in Silicon Valley or certain East Coast areas where there is a very high concentration of investors focused on technology companies."
Biggest Challenge: "I would say the restructuring and recapitalization of Xdrive, which led to an ultimate sale to America Online. The company went through bankruptcy, so the bankruptcy and reorganization of Xdrive was the most challenging. I think prospecting and identifying entrepreneurs who have the will and the talent to succeed and those that share similar values and vision is a challenge."
Biggest Winner: The Web site Gamesville.com, which gives cash prizes to members for playing games. "It was successful I think because of the uniqueness of the business model and the overwhelming demand for the service."
Biggest Bust: "There was a handheld PDA software application startup, but I don't want to mention its name."
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