Despite the popular wisdom that VCs make bad founders, I’ve counted a surprising number of VCs-turned-entrepreneurs, especially at the junior investor levels. I’m sure I’m missing tons of names, but see below for all the ones I can recall in no order:
Shawn Carolan, CEO of Handle (previously an MD at Menlo Ventures) – Handle is a web and mobile productivity platform that has raised about $12M to date from firms including Menlo and Kapor.
Eddie Lou, CEO of ShiftGig (previously GP at OCA Ventures) - ShiftGig is a marketplace for on-demand work in the service industry that allows companies to recruit by the shift; it has raised $13M in total, including (shameless plug) from my firm GGV Capital.
Ben Jacobs, CEO of Whistle (previously Associate & EIR at DCM) – Ben co-founded Whistle, a connected device company for pets. As of their Series B, they have raised $21M and distribute direct via their online store as well as retail partners. His co-founder Steve Eidelman was also formerly an investor at Spectrum Equity, a tech-focused growth equity firm.
Amanda Bradford, CEO of the League (previously investor for 9 months at Sequoia) – The League is a mobile dating app that has raised $2.2M to date.
David Haber, CEO of Bond Street (previously Associate at Spark Capital) - Bond Street offers flexible small business loans online, and just raised $110M in equity + debt from Spark Capital & Jefferies to scale its platform
Sean Bender, CEO of Phoenix Labs (previously Senior Associate at GGV Capital!!) - After spending 4.5 years at GGV (where he sourced our Pandora investment), Sean then became VP of People and Special Projects at Riot Games before founding a gaming company, Phoenix Labs, which is headquartered in my beautiful hometown of Vancouver, Canada.
Rohini Chakravarthy, CEO of Inksedge (previously Partner at NEA & Senior Investments Manager at Intel Capital) – Inksedge is an ecommerce site for stationary and invitations in India, which raised $1.4M in Dec ’14.
Lynn Jurich, CEO of SunRun (previously Associate at Summit Partners) - SunRun is one of the biggest residential solar power lease and installation providers in the US. The Company filed its S-1 in Jun ’15 and counts nearly 80,000 customers across 13 states.
Bipul Sinha, CEO of Rubrik (previously Partner at Lightspeed & Principal at Blumberg Capital) – Rubrik integrates data protection, recovery and devops tools to allow easy search and restore across different types of infrastructure. They’ve raised at least $51M to date from Lightspeed and Greylock.
Matt Salzberg, CEO of Blue Apron (previously Senior Associate at Bessemer) – Blue Apron sells subscription recipe kits with pre-measured ingredients for people learning how to cook. They’ve raised nearly $200M to date and by all accounts continue to grow rapidly.
Alain Harrus, CEO of Kateeva (previously Partner at Crosslink Capital & GP at Compass Venture Partners) – Kateeva is an inkjet printer company that protects OLED displays, improving longevity, yield and reducing production costs, with possible customers being OEMs for TV displays, smartphones and wearable electronics. The Company has raised over $110M to date.
Jack Jia, CEO of Trusper (previously Partner at GSR Ventures) – Trusper is a mobile, image/video-based advice sharing network that has raised over $26M to date from DCM, Hillhouse, SAIF and various angels.
Adam Marchick, CEO of Kahuna (previously investor at Bain Capital Ventures) – Kahuna is a mobile-first marketing automation and customer communication company that has raised $13M to date, including an $11M Series A led by Sequoia in Feb ’14.
Gautam Gupta, CEO of NatureBox (previously investor at General Catalyst) - NatureBox provides subscription boxes of healthy snacks, and has raised nearly $60M from General Catalyst, Canaan, Globe Founders Capital, Softbank and others.
Chris Morton, CEO of Lyst (previously Associate at Balderton Capital / Benchmark UK) – Lyst is a high end, personalized fashion discovery platform and marketplace with over $60M in funding to date.
Kane Hsieh, Co-Founder of Brilliant Bicycles (previously associate at RRE Ventures) - Brilliant Bicycles is a vertically integrated bike company that launched in May ’15 with $1.5M of seed funding from RRE and a few other NYC-based seed funds and angels.
Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO of AirPR (previously EIR at Shasta and Senior Associate at Sierra Ventures) - AirPR is an analytics platform for PR campaigns, and previously operated a PR hiring marketplace that it sold to the CHR Group in Feb ’15. The Company has raised $5M total from Crosslink, Correlation and Mohr Davidow.
Sophie LaMontagne, Co-Founder of Georgetown Cupcake (hey, non-tech entrepreneurs count too!) – I used to get cupcakes from this place all the time when I lived for a summer in DC, and I only found out much later that Sophie used to be an investor at Highland Capital Partners, and I was told that she sourced their Lululemon investment!
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