Photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

In 2005, I decided to watch every best picture movie. I consumed the movies during my commute in 20–30 minute increments on a video iPod. It took about five years, but it was an great journey that I chronicled in a previous post.

One trepidation I had at the start was whether I possessed the stamina to get through older movies. I, like many others, dismissed most old movies as lousy. The craft evolved, visual effects got better, topics today are more relevant and relatable. But older movies have something over new ones: the passage of time. We can look…

“How do you not know that movie?” my wife would routinely ask. Surely there are worse ways to emasculate a man. You see, my wife was the chief executive officer of the movie review site While it did not become a dot com titan, it was an effective way for her to write off movie tickets as a business expense. It’s what you expect of a tax accountant. A natural consequence is that she’s seen a lot of movies.

Her regular astonishment at my movie illiteracy became increasingly hard to endure.

At a weak moment, I decided to shove…


In 2000, I went on a trip to Yosemite National Park to cleanse my mind before starting business school. It was a near-religious experience.

It would take me 19 years to return. When I did, I spent four days hiking the park, and although it seemed impossible, it was an even better experience than the first trip.

Yosemite is a special place. It inspired famed naturalist John Muir to start the Nature Conservancy. Its photogenic sheer granite cliffs inspired Ansel Adams at age 12 to take up photography. The Yosemite Valley campgrounds have accommodated generations of rock climbers who dared…

There are many things that bind us together at Origin. One of our values — and a daily refrain — is that we believe it’s a privilege to work with entrepreneurs.

Working with startups is not all glory and fame. While we are not taking nearly the risk of entrepreneurs performing high wire acts with no nets, we ride through the ups and downs of companies’ fortunes alongside founders. The founder of modern venture capital, General Georges Doriot, warned, “if you want a peaceful life, don’t go into venture capital.” …

PE and VC resources

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

This list of resources that was originally composed for my students in Chicago Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital lab as an augmentation to the class. I’ve assembled it since 2001 when I started in venture and continue to add when I find interesting resources in my work at Origin Ventures. It was designed to assist less experienced students learn more about the industry and for advanced students the ability to go deeper on topics of interest. Over the years, it’s grown to the point I decided to make it public to help others interested in the business. …


In 2018, I went on a trip to Glacier National Park. It was an incredible trip, and as we traveled through the park in our car and on foot, every direction could have been a postcard. This post is designed to make planning and visiting Glacier a less overwhelming experience with the hope it will lower the barriers to travelling there and inspire more people to visit this amazing wilderness.



Glacier National Park is in northwest Montana and hugs the Canadian border. The park is dominated by mountains and various rock formations carved by glaciers that remain active to this…

One of my more popular stories was a discussion of macro factors shaping the VC business. It was published in Hackernoon.

Since Steve Miller and Bruce Barron founded Origin Ventures in 1999, one piece of feedback we get consistently is that the Origin team brings an authenticity to all of its interactions: whether with investors, entrepreneurs, or other venture capital firms. While Steve and Bruce’s individual selflessness, integrity, generosity, and accountability have come to define Origin’s external persona, we have done our best to maintain this principled personal style as our firm has scaled.

Bruce and Steve

Since Steve Miller and Bruce Barron founded Origin Ventures in 1999, one piece of feedback we get consistently is that the Origin

With every incremental partner, senior…

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First, I want to give credit to Brent Hill. In 2003, Brent overheard me one day dreading an impending car purchase. He told me not to buy a car until I talked to him about a “system.” Brent proceeded to walk me through a series of steps to minimize the pain and maximize the success of a new car negotiation. Much of what is outlined below is a derivative of his methodology.

I’ve purchased two new cars in my life. With car 1, I’d give myself a “B” grade. I thought a lot about how to improve “the system” for…

The deep irony about the venture business — a business that lives and dies by innovating/disrupting other industries — is that it hasn’t experienced much change since General Georges Doriot aimed to get veterans back to work after WWII.

That’s changing now. Crowdfunding and new software platforms are commoditizing the primary activities of a venture fund (sourcing, fundraising, assisting companies). In the first roughly 70 years of the business, firms have set themselves apart with access to capital and/or proprietary access to deals. As these advantages erode, funds that do not adapt will slowly die out.

The Catalysts

The equity…

Jason Heltzer

Dad, venture capitalist at @OriginVentures, @chicagobooth professor, Chicagoan. I was a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd.

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