Tag Archives: venture capital

When Venture Capital and Pop Culture Collide

Not sure if this VC is giving or taking.

As an investor in private companies, aka venture capitalist or equivalent, I have one of those jobs that seems highly mysterious to many people.  It is not the kind of job that you can easily explain to your grandparents or in one line to a stranger at a cocktail party (if said party occurs more than 75 miles from Silicon Valley).

I usually solve the problem by saying, “I invest in young companies and help them grow,” although most people who aren’t connected to the business in some way still find that fairly opaque.  Often you get something like, “oh, like a stockbroker?” or “you’re a consultant?” or, “yeah, ok, whatever.”

For this, and other reasons, I just love it when venture capital collides with popular culture, as it helps give the world context and me explain what the heck I do all day (to the extent I am clear on that myself).

Pommes frites, Belgian style

A month or so ago I was in Belgium and found myself at a communal table with a bunch of recent MBA graduates from

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Healthcare Venture Capital, Medical Comedy Relief, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

School Daze

This is the longest stretch I’ve gone without writing since I started the blog two years ago.  The reason for the lack of production is this: I’ve been on (and am still on) a 10-day trip with my family to look at colleges.  My daughter is at the age where next year she will finish high school.  So off we went to eyeball all the places she might consider as the ideal location at which to arrive after breaking my heart by leaving home.

It has been an interesting if grueling journey: somewhere between a rock star concert itinerary and the Bataan Death March.  6 states and 13 schools in 10 days.  We should have gotten t-shirts with the names of each location printed on the back for a truly authentic vibe.  Given the pace and the hours and the driving, no writing time for me.  All my extra time has been spent wishing my kid were little again.

The higher education system is interesting in that it is the only other significant U.S. economic sector where the end-user of the service is not typically the payer of the

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Posted in General Business Issues, Healthcare, Healthcare Venture Capital, Private Equity, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anatomy of a Venture Capitalist

This week I had occasion to make a presentation at a meeting of one of the investors in my fund, Jacobs Capital Group.  Awesome folks, the people there, and they specifically asked me to present the “Anatomy of a Deal” in which I would describe one of my portfolio investments and its associated twists and turns.

In addition to being asked to be professional and informative, I was told, “Be funny.”  No pressure.  So I decided to ditch the professional and go for funny and informative (the informative part being a description and demo of PatientSafe Solutions’ product and our investment in the company).  To kick off my Anatomy of a Deal discussion, I started with a little anatomy lesson for the crowd of 50 or so venture capitalists, strategic investors, lawyers (there are always lawyers!) and assorted other people in the Jacobs Fund community.

I am not a doctor, but a healthcare VC, so I had to focus my anatomy lesson on something I am qualified to describe, that being the anatomy of my esteemed colleagues in the field.  It was so well-received (so much for informative, funny

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Posted in Healthcare Venture Capital, Medical Comedy Relief, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

11:59 and Not a Second Later

Okay, I know it’s kind of cheating, but I am re-posting my column from New Year’s 2011 where I turned Auld Lang Syne into an ode to venture capital.  Why? you ask. Because I haven’t been able to come up with another decent New Year’s song to parody and I have been drinking far too much this holiday season to come up with something entirely new. Let’s hope that some of that cell regeneration stuff that my colleagues are funding will help me out in the year to come.

Just not hip anymore, alas

As for potential alternative New Year’s songs to work with, there is an unfortunate dearth of options.  Unlike Christmas, which is full of good music that everyone knows, New Year’s has been left in the dust.  There is, of course, Barry Manilow’s Just Another New Year’s Eve, but I deemed that too depressing; plus it has become remarkably unhip to admit you know the words to Barry Manilow songs.  There’s also Dan Fogelberg’s Just Another Auld Lang Syne; you remember–the one that starts, “I met my old lover in the grocery store…”  Had to

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Posted in Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Venture Capital, Private Equity, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized, Venture Capital | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Newsflash: Grass is Green, Sky is Blue, VCs are White Men

 Yeah, I love being famous. It’s almost like being white, y’know?—Chris Rock

On Monday November 21 the National Venture Capital Association and Dow Jones VentureSource released the results of the 2011 Venture Census, which reported statistics about ethnicity, gender and other characteristics of the venture capital industry garnered from a poll that included 600 VC industry participants.  Not surprisingly, the Census reaffirmed what most of us already knew:  it’s good to be a white male.

Of the total 600 respondents, 87% were Caucasian, 9% were Asian, 2% were African American or Latino, and 2% were of mixed race.  This is pretty much exactly the same as when the survey was done in 2008, when 88% were white guys.

The only thing worse than being non-white when it comes to your chances of getting a VC job is being female.  While 79% of the survey respondents were male and 21% were female, it’s a misleading figure since so many of the women respondents were not in true investment roles. According to the NVCA, of those who identified themselves as investors, 89% were male and 11 percent were female. This is actually

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More on “Hey, Where Is Everybody Going?”

Last week I published a post called “Hey, Where Is Everybody Going?” which was about the many venture capitalists who are leaving the practice of life sciences.  It was, interestingly (to me anyway), my most popular post to date.  I guess there are a lot of us healthcare VCs that are worried that the next time we open the door there will be a new guy in a black hood holding a scythe–and he’s not the same guy that usually comes to the partners’ meetings.

Anyway, the Burrill Report called me and asked me to elaborate on the topic in an interview for their weekly podcast so here is the outcome of that endeavor for those of you just dying to hear my voice (hi mom!).  You can listen to the podcast by clicking HERE and following the link on the Burrill Report website.




Posted in Healthcare, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Leadership and the Business of Baseball

Well, the season is over for my beleaguered SF Giants, but I just got back from seeing the movie Moneyball and it was a worthy substitute for a day at the ballpark.  I loved this Michael Lewis book when it came out and remember it as my all time favorite book about business.  I know millions have written about Moneyball, but the movie made a big impression and reminded me why I loved the book so much so I thought I’d make a note here.

Unlikely baseball inspiration

Moneyball is ostensibly about how the Oakland A’s of the early 2000′s blew up conventional baseball by adopting Sabermetrics:  the art of selecting players based on statistical models instead of old-school scouting. Sabermetrics was “invented” by a guy named Bill James, who was a baseball fanatic and a security guard at a pork and beans factory.  It was popularized by A’s General Manager Billy Beane, a former baseball player who failed after being hailed as a golden boy prospect on the field.  As the story unfolds, it appears Beane has virtually lost his mind after losing in the play-offs and sets

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Posted in General Business Issues, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Venture Capital, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

VC in a Box

Today I saw a spoof video made by Foundry Group, a well-known technology venture capital firm, that just totally cracked me up so I thought I’d share it with those of you interested in such things.  Nothing healthcare here, but a great send-up of how so many people see those of us in the VC world.  It’s especially hilarious because it is a play on those funny digital short videos that Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island Productions does on Saturday Night Life…yes, that’s the one…with the box.  Say no more.  There are plenty of people out there that, when they hear “[rhymes with chick] in a box,” immediately think: “Oh, there must be a venture capitalist in that box!”

This video and it’s press release are so funny on their own that I don’t think I can improve upon them, so I will excerpt directly from the press release here:

Today, Foundry Group, a venture capital firm investing in seed and early stage US-based technology companies, premiered a documentary film illustrating through complex metaphors and stunning montages the secret lives of venture capitalists which has been

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Man! I Feel Like a Woman!

Today’s post was generated as a result of a request by PE Hub’s editor, Jon Marino, who asked me to author a piece for his publication about how male venture capital and private equity executives could “redeem themselves” in the eyes of women in the field.  As you can see if you read further, I took another tack with the story, as I am pretty confident that most of the men in my profession don’t view it as their job to redeem themselves for this purpose.

I have been fascinated by the feedback I get on the articles I write on the male/female interaction in my field, as nearly 100% of the emails and written comments I get are from men.  Women colleagues will sometimes mention they have read them, but male colleagues take action and write—very interesting.  The comments I get from my male fans and detractors range from telling me I am completely off-base and borderline insane (hard to argue with that one) to resounding apologies that men are, in fact, the root of all evil, at least when it comes to the gender-based tensions in the

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Healthcare private equity, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Peer Pressure Cooker

There was an article in the August 8th issue of Venture Beat entitled, “Do teens make good founders? 6 teenage teams make their debut to find out.”  As the parent of a teenager, my immediate thought was, “yeah, sure, right after they clean up their rooms and set the table, they can be totally awesome founders, as long as they can tear themselves away from the latest installment of the Twilight series.”   What do I know? As it turns out, some kids actually do get off the couch and take action to be the next Steve Jobs.

The VentureBeat article I mentioned above is about an entrepreneurial incubator put together by Teens in Tech.  The Teens in Tech Incubator is an 8-week summer program which helped six teams of young entrepreneurs launch six products over the course of a summer.  Teams come with ideas, get paired up with mentors and resources, and are guided through the process of bringing their ideas to life.  At the end of the 8 weeks, the teams present their startups to a group of venture capitalists, tech influencers, members of the

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Posted in Girls Rule!, Private Equity, Uncategorized, Venture Capital, Women in Venture Capital & Private Equity | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment