Today, I’m announcing that I will be joining TechStars as Managing Director in New York City.
I love New York. When I first moved to this city eight years ago, living on the sordid shores of 12th Avenue, I discovered a peculiar energy and vitality that I had never quite felt before and have never felt anywhere else since. Throughout my subsequent moves and journeys throughout NYC as well as places around the world, this is the city I’ve always considered home. At one point in the mid-2000s, Manhattan was on the verge of becoming an investment-banking dormitory, but a lot has changed since then, both in the world and in New York City itself. The tech community here has blossomed, becoming a powerful force in its own right. I’m excited to continue to play a role in fostering this incredible group of people, as I’ve been doing for the last several years.
These are exciting times for all of us – with the industry at an inflection point, entrepreneurs are nervous and commentators feed the echo chamber with every new article on the “Series A Crunch”. But the tide will eventually shift, as these macro pendulum swings have a tendency to do. Dry powder in the venture capital industry, which peaked at nearly $80 billion in 2001, has finally worked its way back down to the 1985-1995 trend line. While tech companies that have recently gone public are still on average 30% off their highs of last year, they have made steady gains since the depths that were reached in the latter months of 2012. The degree to which the valuation of private startups (and the industry as a whole) has been tied to the immediate state of the public markets has always been a mystery to me, considering the years it takes to build a great company can last longer than the average American marriage. Real returns in tech don’t come from hopping on the latest bandwagon. But fickle valuations are a fact of life. No one can predict with accuracy where sentiments will go—as the banks in Greece or houses in Spain have taught us—but the world is far from over.
Through all these ups and downs, great entrepreneurs just put their heads down and focus on building great companies, and I am as committed as ever to help build those great teams and nurture their great ideas. One of the most wonderful experiences in my life was in bringing together a community of talented people as director/producer of my first film, an indie documentary. It was exhilarating, and it was an early, intense lesson on how a small group of passionate individuals can work to create something valuable out of nothing. Over the years, as an investor at NEA and Warburg Pincus, I’ve had the privilege of helping to nurture the dreams of numerous teams and businesses, providing resources for them to flourish.
As I look forward to beginning this new chapter in my life with the amazing people at TechStars, I will forever be thankful to my mentors and colleagues at NEA. Above all, I look forward to continuing to foster the wonderful, burgeoning tech community I have come to know and love in New York City.