During the holiday season of 1985, my parents gave my brothers and me a large box wrapped in festive Hanukkah wrapping paper. The three of us didn’t waste a second and tore at that wrapping paper with fury. To our surprise and delight, it was a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was love at first sight. I now had endless opportunity to escape into lush pixelized worlds. Mario. Zelda. Punch Out. Mega Man. Metroid. The NES was life changing, intoxicating and mesmerizing. Ever since that fateful winter day, I’ve had a fascination of and passion for technology. While my obsession with technology started with 8-bit video games, it quickly evolved to computers and eventually to the internet.
By the time I enrolled at Northeastern University’s School of Business, I didn’t know much other than I wanted to carve out a career path in technology. I chose Northeastern because it’s the pioneer in experiential learning and cooperative education, which integrates six months of classroom study with six months of professional experience. I reasoned that if I followed my passion for technology and gained experience in the field, I’d have no problem landing a tech job upon graduation. My two co-ops were valuable and formative. The first internship was with Andersen Consulting’s Tax Technology Group where I performed QA for personal income tax software. The second was with Microsoft’s Venture Integration Team in Redmond. Here, I was a PM for DealPoint which helped monitor more than a hundred strategic, venture-style investments Microsoft had made during the dot-com era. These experiences were my first exposure to software development, corporate finance, product management and the VC-industry.
After graduation, I packed everything I owned into two large duffel bags and moved to the Pacific Northwest so I could join Microsoft full-time. I was part of the very first Finance Rotation Program, where I rotated into a new role every six months – Internal Audit, Treasury, Financial Planning & Analysis, and GAAP accounting. While I picked up a number of valuable skills, I knew I didn’t have the passion nor the love of Excel and Powerpoint to pursue a career in corporate finance. Following the two year rotation program, I joined the Microsoft Business Division’s Strategy and M&A team, which was responsible for identifying acquisition targets, incubating new product lines and setting the long-range business plan for the division. In this role, I learned about analyzing emerging markets, modeling acquisitions and presenting to executive leadership.
After four great years in Redmond, I decided to join the startup Massive in New York City so I could obtain a new set of operational experience and be closer to family and friends. Massive was an advertising network for video games that was acquired by Microsoft. Here, I helped manage the Network Projections team, which was responsible for forecasting network inventory, building a variety of tools for the sales team, and packaging the inventory into channels. A year into my time at Massive, I had the unique opportunity to move home to Boston to work for The Kraft Group as Director of New Ventures. The Kraft Group owns and operates the greatest sports franchise of all time (The New England Patriots) and other businesses in paper and packaging, real estate and private equity. While there, I worked on dozens of projects including venture investments, fund investments, digital media strategy, acquisitions and new business incubations. This was my dream job but ultimately I could feel a strong desire to start or join a startup.
Seeing the flurry of startup activity in NYC, I knew this is where I wanted to spend the next phase of my career. To me, NYC seemed like it was poised to become the next great city for innovation. That’s one of the reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to join NYC-based Stickybits as the first non-technical hire. I was enamored with the vision to turn ‘dumb’ physical objects into digital media channels by leveraging their mobile barcode scanning app. The company had just scored a seed round from First Round Capital and Lowercase Capital. While brands like Pepsi, Toyota, Ben & Jerry’s loved our platform, we struggled to grow our audience and drive engagement. We ultimately decided to pivot the company and launch Turntable.fm. This was both a humbling and valuable experience in what it takes to build and launch a successful consumer brand and product.
Several months after I left Turntable, I landed at Lerer Ventures, one of NYC’s most respected seed-stage VC firms, as a Principal to help operationalize their investing and support activities. In the two years at Lerer, I was involved in over 50 transactions and provided support to dozens of entrepreneurs. I had found my calling. This was an incredible experience to learn the venture business from Kenny and Ben Lerer, Eric Hippeau, and Jordan Cooper. I am forever grateful to them for the shot and mentorship. For the last four years, I’ve been at RRE Ventures, one of the pioneering VC firms in NYC. I decided to join for a variety of reasons including the opportunity to invest in both seed and Series A in order to expand my focus and skillset. While at RRE, I’ve invested in both B2C and B2B companies such as Giphy, Managed by Q, Breather, Groups, and theSkimm. As you can tell from my experience, I’m a bit of a mutt so I try not to focus on any one sector. I let founders and their visions drive my investment decisions.
Outside of the office, I love spending time outdoors, riding my bike and practicing yoga. Meditation is also a big part of my life. I also have a strong thirst for knowledge so you’ll often find me devouring non-fiction books in the subway and consuming podcasts when I’m running around the city. When I’m at home, I’m often helping my wife Eliza build her company The Sill, an e-commerce site for plants. She’s the most important entrepreneur I work with and learn from. I’m incredibly grateful for all the experiences I’ve had so far in my career. My father always used to say to me, ‘if you can match what you love with what your good at and make money doing it then you’ll end up very fulfilled.’ Thankfully, I listened to him and followed my passions.