General Partner, Redpoint Ventures
Age: 35 - Residence: Los Angeles
Years in Web Finance: 5 - Companies Funded: 10
First Significant Deal: Leadpoint, a marketplace for the exchange of customer leads.
What I Look For in a Business Plan: Anything that provides a competitive advantage that can't be replicated.
What Surprised Me About Investing: How hard it is to build a company of meaningful size from scratch.
Secret of Being a Good Tech Investor: You should only make investments that can yield really big businesses. Fundamentally, it is just as hard to build a small business as a big business.
If I Were Not a Tech Investor, I Would Be: An entrepreneur. I love the notion of starting and growing businesses and creating value, and being a venture investor enables me to do a lot of those at a time instead of only one.
Hints for Entrepreneurs: Realism. They need to convince us they have a really big idea and they are the team to do it, but they need to be realistic about the fact that there is competition.
Chief Executive, Montgomery & Co.
Age: 48 - Residence: Brentwood
Years in Tech Finance: 15
Companies Funded: Too many to remember
Total Fundings: $45 million in 2007
First Significant Deal: I Beam Broadcasting (online broadcasting network).
Reason I'm a Tech Investor: Because I am good at it. There is an efficient market out there.
What Surprised Me About Venture Capital: The fragmentation.
Secret of Being a Good Tech Investor: Making the investments is the easier part. Helping the companies be successful is the hard part.
My Worst Deal: MyBike.com, customized bicycles on the Web a really stupid idea.
If I Were Not a Web Investor I Would Be: Doing what I am supposed to be doing running Montgomery & Co.
Hints for Entrepreneurs: Be succinct, know your clients. Remember, it is a small world, ask for advice not money.
My Vision of Web 3.0: Wireless, global, rich multimedia and highly targeted.
Director, Greif & Co.
Age: 40 - Years in Tech Finance: 14
Companies Funded: Close to 50
How I Broke Into Tech Finance: Prior to joining Greif & Co., I was a director in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, where I started my investment banking career.
What I Look For in a Business Plan: Did the entrepreneur clearly identify a problem or pain in the market, and how does his technology or service solve that problem? What is the experience and depth of the employees and management team? How big is the market? What are the growth rates? What is the business/revenue model? Is it scalable? Does the company have a unique technological advantage?
Reason I Advise Tech Companies: I enjoy helping entrepreneurs optimally position their companies to ensure that they receive the best value for their businesses.
Hints for Entrepreneurs: Start early; don't underestimate the time it takes to raise capital. Research potential investors to ensure that there is a good fit. Take advantage of market windows and raise capital when valuations are attractive not when you urgently need the next round of capital.
Partner, Greycroft Partners
Age: 35 - Residence: Los Angeles
Years in Tech Finance: 10
Companies Funded: 17 at Greycroft
First Significant Deal: Trigo, an enterprise software company. A couple of former venture guys that I knew started it.
What I Look For in a Business Plan: Great people with relevant experience and "proof" of entrepreneurial drive, as well as a clear market need or consumer demand.
Reason I'm a Tech Investor: Right out of college, while working at McCaw Cellular, an incredibly entrepreneurial company, I got hooked.
What Surprised Me About Venture Capital: It's still a very inefficient market. You have to know someone who knows someone, and the process is still very mysterious to many entrepreneurs.
Best Career Moment: Craziest maybe was sitting in the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi, when I was 21, and managing the bidding process for McCaw/AT & T;'s cellular license in India and hearing the primary contact from our Indian partner being fired because he was suspected of corporate espionage very surreal.
If I Were Not a Web Investor I Would Be: Maybe an archaeologist. I like putting together the pieces of the past just as much as trying to solve the puzzle of the future. Although, actually, I would probably be starting companies myself.
Hints for Entrepreneurs: Prior to approaching VCs, look at their portfolio and background to make sure your company makes sense for them. Choose your investors very carefully do due diligence on investors just as they will do on you.
My Vision of Web 3.0: All content will be delivered to any device/display via the Web in a super simple, consumer-friendly way.
Partner, Velocity Interactive Group
Age: 44 - Residence: Los Angeles
Companies Funded: 50 +
Value of Fundings: $1.5 billion
First Significant Deal: My first transaction was during my tenure at CBS Sportsline.com, where I was part of a team that acquired a small startup called Commissioner.com, which went on to become the fantasy-sports engine for the company. More prominent, I acquired MySpace.com for News Corp.
What I Look For in a Business Plan: Vision, drive and an appetite to succeed. The plan needs to be "smart," but more importantly, the entrepreneur needs to be flexible and have a great drive.
What Surprised Me About Venture Capital: I am always amazed at the commitment levels from people who start companies. The risk and exposure they have is not for everyone.
Secret of Being a Good Tech Investor: Branch Rickey once said, "Luck is the residue of design." As an investor, planning and anticipating are two things that can help both your fund and your funded companies.
Andy J. Funk
Managing Director, Funk Ventures
Age: 31 - Residence: Santa Monica
Years in Tech Finance: 8 - Companies Funded: 12
How I Broke Into Tech Finance: First I had to tell my parents that I wasn't taking over the 130-year-old family business in Europe. Then I bought a one-way plane ticket to America at 19. Then I founded and sold three companies by the time I was 24. And then I realized that I was destined to be a venture capitalist and so I founded Funk Ventures.
What I Look For in a Business Plan: Honesty, clarity, precision and the perfect blend between big dreams and reality, excitement and caution, and vagueness and detail.
Reason I'm a Tech Investor: Funk Ventures focuses exclusively on industries that make a social or environmental impact.
What Surprised Me About Venture Capital: How few entrepreneurs actually understood the intricacies of the VC business. Another surprise was the overall lack of material available for entrepreneurs to learn about venture capital.
Secret of Being a Good Tech Investor: Never to ignore my gut.
Hints for Entrepreneurs: Learn about the VC firm you are approaching before submitting your business plan, and use an introduction if possible. Getting your plan reviewed without a proper introduction can be challenging.
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