Founder & Managing Partner with BNM since September 2012
I left college early (before that was the thing to do) to join Walker digital. Turns out that working there was like business school on steroids, and one of the best decisions I’ve made. Working with Jay Walker quickly showed me that all ideas are ultimately made possible by technology. While I was there we developed and patented concepts that solved current problems or anticipated how markets and industries would evolve in the future. One of those concepts became the foundation for priceline.com. I was fortunate to be part of the team that founded and launched one of the companies that forever changed the travel industry.
One of the things that fascinates me about technology is the duality of it. Any innovation can have both a positive and negative impact. There also appears to be a natural balance between the two.
When a product speaks to me as a customer, it really catches my interest. If there’s a smart team behind it and a good market opportunity, it’s usually a good match for BNM. Of course, timing is the most important consideration for any new product or technology. I have some battle scars, as both an investor and an entrepreneur, from being wrong on timing.
Building and fixing businesses is truly my passion…especially working with the long shots and finding the unpolished gems. I love a good challenge – executing complex transactions, re-engineering business models, solving tough business problems… financial reward is simply a byproduct of solving the problem.
To be a good founder / CEO, you need to be hungry, dedicated and smart… Having experience is great, but not really necessary. You do have to be tough – it definitely takes an iron stomach to succeed as an entrepreneur.
I consider developing great CEOs one of my specialties. I work well with founders who are truly committed to success because I can empathize with the fears and challenges they’re up against. I’ve been there and had both good and bad outcomes. It’s important to be really honest … I don’t pull punches. And once I start working with someone, I’m committed. I’ll go to the mattresses for him/her.
One of the most fulfilling things about this work is being able to see and contribute to other people’s success – not only the companies we work with, but the growth of everyone on the team as well.
I’ve been fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for over 10 years, directly and through my work with Curetivity. Visiting the hospital was a life changing experience. The talented team, world class facilities, and ground-breaking science are only outmatched by the courage and spirit of the brave children and their families who battle pediatric cancer on a daily basis. I lost both parents to cancer, so I’m all too familiar with that battle. One of my favorite things about St. Jude is the story of how the hospital came to be (a worthwhile google search for anyone reading this). Danny Thomas founded St. Jude with a single mission “that no child should die in the dawn of life”. In my opinion, Danny was the epitome of a true entrepreneur, and to see what St. Jude has become and the impact it’s had on so many, is the definition of true success.