Rush to Early Stage: NY Venture Capital & Beyond
As the capital requirements of launching and running a startup continue to fall, more investment activity is shifting towards seed and early stage deals. Featuring a diverse collection of accomplished early stage venture capitalists, the panel will explore trends, opportunities, and strategies emerging from this evolving technology and investment landscape.
R.A. Farrokhnia `04 - Professor, Columbia Business School
Professor Farrokhnia's entrepreneurial and multi-disciplinary career encompasses principal investments, M&A in investment banking, operations management, and turnaround/restructuring of established and startup ventures, with an emphasis on financial services, banking, and technology firms. He currently leads the Ventures division of StoneCastle Partners, a $3 billion asset management and finance firm, where he is responsible for deal origination, investment, and execution of various startup ventures in banking and financial services. He previously served as the Managing Principal of 1776 Capital, an international private equity fund, the CFO of a financial technology company acquired by NYSE Group, and the co-Founding and Managing Partner of an emerging-markets' focused private equity fund. Prof. Farrokhnia earned both his Bachelor and MBA degrees from Columbia University in New York, and remains active in various teaching and mentorship capacities at Columbia Business School. He has an extensive global professional experience, including long-term residency abroad and fluency in several languages.
David Aronoff - General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
David is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners whose investment interests and experience include the semiconductor, internet & mobile infrastructure, data center, video and digital media sectors. David currently manages the firm's New York City office and sits on the boards Flybridge portfolio companies Calxeda, Crashlytics, Immedia Semiconductor, and Sand9. He is also a board observer at JouleX, and was previously a director at Blackwave and CHiL Semiconductor (acquired by International Rectifier) and MOBIVOX (acquired by SabSe). Prior to joining the firm in June 2005, David spent nearly a decade focusing on early-stage investing at Greylock Partners where he led several of the firm's successful investments in the communications and systems markets. During his time at Greylock, he built a strong investment track record including investments in Akara (acquired by CIENA), Cimaron (acquired by AMCC), e-Dial (acquired by Alcatel), Ikanos (IPO), Sandburst (acquired by Broadcom), SiTera (acquired by Vitesse), Xedia (acquired by Lucent) and Xros (acquired by Nortel).
Charlie Kemper - Founding Managing Director, Revel Partners and Co-Founder and Managing Director, ER Accelerator
Charlie is a Founding Managing Director at Revel Partners, an early expansion stage venture firm focused on digital advertising technologies, and a Co-Founder & General Partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a leading NYC-born seed-stage investment fund & accelerator program.
Before helping launch Revel and ERA, Charlie was a Principal with Steelpoint Capital Partners, a media & technology growth equity firm he joined in 2005. While at Steelpoint, he led or participated in numerous successful investments in the media & communications fields including AdSpace Networks, Atempo, Boingo Wirless (IPO), Jitterbug, PacStar Communications, PrivaSys, Promptu, SeaMobile, Topica, WMI Media Solutions, and WorkShare.
Previously, Charlie worked with Darby Overseas Investments, a global private equity firm led by Nicholas Brady, former US Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of Dillon Read & Co, where he helped launch plan an early-stage venture fund focused on Latin America. Earlier in his career, Charlie was a Co-Founder & Managing Director of a Chicago-based digital media agency, KMF, focused on intranet design and e-commerce system integration.
Charlie is also a Founding Officer & Chair of the New York City Venture Connection, a networking organization comprised of the leading venture capital firms in the Greater New York area. He also serves on the investor board of Venture for America, a nonprofit that places top-flight college graduates in cities of economic need and entrepreneurial promise. Charlie is also a Venture Partner at TigerLabs Health, a healthcare technology focused seed stage fund. Charlie holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.
Lawrence Lenihan - Founder and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital
Lawrence Lenihan is a Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital and focuses on seed and early stage investments companies that provide technology-based solutions for industries such as retail and fashion; finance and insurance. He also has extensive experience in building data and analytics companies. Prior to founding FirstMark, Lawrence founded Pequot Ventures in 1996. He started his career at IBM in the IBM sales organization and later founding a business within IBM providing interactive kiosks for retailers. He later joined Broadview Associates, where he was a senior member of the M&A advisory team. Lawrence is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and NYU’s Stern School of business and teaches a popular course called “Ready, FIRE! Aim”. He holds a BSEE from Duke University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Follow Lawrence on Twitter at @lawrencelenihan and read his blog at www.lawrencelenihan.com.
Joy Marcus - Venture Partner, DFJ Gotham Ventures
Joy Marcus joined DFJ Gotham Ventures as a Venture Partner in May 2011. She recently led the firm’s seed investment in Dailyworth, a digital media company focusing on the financial lives of women. Prior to joining DFJ Gotham Ventures, Joy was General Manager, US for video website Dailymotion, from its US launch through its acquisition by Orange (France Telecom) in January 2011. During her tenure, Joy more than quadrupled the site’s US audience and made it a partner of choice for content owners and advertisers. Prior to Dailymotion, Joy was SVP Global Marketing at Time Warner where she worked closely with major advertising clients on integrated marketing campaigns across AOL, Turner, Warner Bros. and Time Inc. An industry veteran, Joy served as VP Business Development of Barnes&Noble.com, which she helped take public in 1999, and was VP International Business Development at MTV Networks, facilitating the launch of new channels around the world. She began her career as an M&A lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton. Joy was named to the Digital Power 50 by the Hollywood Reporter in 2009 and 2010, and is a regularly featured speaker at industry events including OMMA, NATPE and Digital Hollywood. Joy serves as an observer on the Board of Dailyworth and on the Advisory Boards of Viewbix, an Israeli video commerce company, MeeGenius, a children’s ebook platform and the Sedara Fund, based in Israel and the West Bank. She is also a member of the Boards of Directors of Young Audiences New York, a non-profit that promotes arts education in New York City public schools and of Hoops4Hope, which teaches life skills to children in South Africa and Zimbabwe. She is a graduate of Princeton University and New York University School of Law. Joy lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Dave Pakman - Partner, Venrock
As a Partner at Venrock in New York, David focuses on early stage venture investing in internet and digital media companies. His active investments include Media6Degrees, Smartling, Klout, Dollar Shave Club and Singly. Previously, Pakman was the CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes in number of downloads sold. After buying eMusic from Vivendi Universal, in the three years that Pakman ran it, he grew the business by more than 850%, from $7M in revenues to more than $68M. Pakman transformed the business from an obscure also-ran with 50,000 subscribers to the second largest digital music retailer in the world, with more than 400,000 subscribers and more than 12% market share. Prior to joining eMusic, Pakman was Co-Founder and President of Business Development and Public Policy at Myplay, Inc., the company he co-founded in 1999 in Redwood City, CA that introduced the “digital music locker” and pioneered the locker category. In 2001, Myplay was sold to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. Before Myplay, he was Vice President at N2K Entertainment, which created the first digital music download service. He also was the co-creator of Apple Computer’s Music Group. Pakman is a graduate of and a former member of the Board of Overseers at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science with a degree in Computer Science Engineering and is an avid musician and songwriter. He serves on the Board of Trustees of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and networking technologies and holds a board seat with the New York Venture Capital Association.