2015 Venture Investing Update

It’s been a while since I posted a missive on our venture investments and I felt it was long overdue given the fundamental changes we’ve made to our strategy. We are now investors in a mind-boggling 182 startups! We had 56 exits, 26 successful and 30 unsuccessful with an average exit multiple of 5.5x. We’ve also been on fire of late with the IPO of Alibaba Group and Lending Club, the exits of Brightroll and Sunrise and several of our seed investments passing the billion dollar valuation mark like Delivery… Read More

marketplaces

Building Marketplaces

I gave a few speeches last year on building marketplaces. I covered the evolution of marketplaces, what it takes to build successful vertical marketplaces, marketplace design, how to growth hack liquidity and manage your suppliers. Even it’s missing the commentary, I felt some of you might appreciate the supporting slides…. Read More

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FIAF Pilier d’Or Acceptance Speech

It was an honor to be awarded the Pilier d’Or by the FIAF on December 5 at the Plaza. Receiving the award was the culmination of an extraordinary year. In the FIAF’s words: “The Pilier d’Or recognizes a leading business figure, diplomat or philanthropist for outstanding contributions to the French-American community.” I was really surprised to be given the award. It’s historically been given to captains of industry. Last year’s winner was Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan-Renault. I am humbled that they chose a relatively young Internet entrepreneur. It was a privilege to be introduced… Read More

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Silicon Cabarete MVP

It is common knowledge that it’s unwise to fight Russia in the winter. As such, I have been trying to convince my programmers in Ukraine (and Romania) to move to Cabarete. The setting and quality of life are extraordinary in Cabarete. Besides, I would much rather fly to Cabarete for in person meetings and have everyone on New York’s time zone, rather than have to deal with a 7 hour time difference and flying 11 hours on Ukrainian Airlines several times a year…. Read More

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Yahoo to acquire Brightroll for $640 million in cash!

Sometimes you just bet on people. I mostly invest in consumer facing startups, especially marketplaces. However, in July 2006, my good friend Auren Hoffman introduced me to Tod Sacerdoti who was CEO of POSTroller, a video ad company (which became Brighroll in November 2006). I have to admit I did not know much about the video advertising market and had limited expertise in ad tech. It was obvious that video advertising was eventually going to be big, but I was not sure what the best way to tackle the market was. Fundamentally, I really loved Tod. He was… Read More