Joining Founder Collective: Hanging up a new whiteboard in NYC

My entrepreneurial adventure began in 1998 when I hung my first whiteboard (slightly off-center) in my L.A. apartment, where I co-founded my first business.  Having hung whiteboards as co-founder of three tech businesses, I’m proud to be hanging a few more at our new 27th St office in NYC.

I will be joining Founder Collective as Venture Partner to lead the fund’s NYC office. I’ve been actively angel investing since 2006. I’ve served as a Founder Partner since FC’s inception and invested in and advised over a dozen start-ups. However, up until today, I’ve always been operating a company. Now I’m dedicating myself full-time to seed investing.

Founder Collective is an embodiment of everything I love about the tech community. The partners have all been operators and ridden the thrill of creating and growing a company, while seeing firsthand the challenges of building something from scratch.

Over the years, I’ve identified traits that I look for when taking money from an investor. First, I choose investors who are passionate and have high conviction in their investments, in good times and most importantly, bad ones. Secondly, the best investors don’t sit in an ivory tower. They dig into the business. Investors serve as valuable sounding boards while avoiding “drive-by pattern matching.” Lastly, I believe in stage-focused rather than thematic-focused investing. I’ve built products for everything from food safety to dentistry, but the common experiences of early stage development remain consistent throughout. I know my partners at Founder Collective are also committed to this ethos and I will do my best to live it as I invest with the team.

I’ve had the privilege to work with Eric Paley and David Frankel for over 10 years. Eric and I hung our first whiteboard together when we co-founded and built Brontes Technologies starting in 2002. I’m really proud of what Eric and I built together and ultimately sold to 3M. Without David, there would never have been a Brontes. Before the term super angel became popular, David was the original seed investor in the company and bet on us when the idea and tech was still early in its incubation.  Eric, David, myself and the other Founder Partners have invested in over a hundred start-ups together since, including Opower, MakerBot, Uber and Sample6 (a company I co-founded in 2010).

Since moving to NYC, I’ve been energized by how welcoming and collaborative the local tech community is.  I have enjoyed getting involved with the thriving tech scene that’s emerged here, including TechStars, NYU, Columbia, Cornell Tech, and NYC’s e-Lab, among others.

I hope to help entrepreneurs build a new generation of great businesses in NYC and beyond. I look forward to working with many talented entrepreneurs in the coming months and years, and the serendipity that lies ahead. I can’t wait to start hanging whiteboards all over NYC, as long as our founders don’t mind them slightly off center.