Expanding the G20
When we talk about G20, we try to use the same communications discipline we preach to entrepreneurs: Pick a story, and stick with it every time. Ours is (hopefully) familiar by now:
Early traction capital for East Coast enterprise tech startups, backed by the power and expertise of 20 of the Northeast’s most accomplished entrepreneurs.
The truth is around the time we raised our second fund we expanded the backing of our Members beyond the original 20, adding a few people with whom we’d worked closely and held in high regard both personally and professionally. Today I’m pleased to announce the addition of six new Members to that team, bringing the actual number of G20 Members to 30.
What does it mean to be a “Member,” exactly?
At the most basic level becoming a G20 Member means signing up to help entrepreneurs. We only invite people we’ve seen do that brilliantly in the wild, and the first and most important job of the G20 is to support our portfolio companies with operating experience, contacts, functional expertise, and whatever else they need. Our G20 Members are a primary source of deals for our fund, help us evaluate opportunities, perform diligence, and explore new sectors of interest. All participate in the carry of our fund, and have the option to invest in it (about a third of our first and second fund capital actually comes from our G20 Members.) There’s a social component to the group — which operates more on relationships than it does on process — and as a result we look for people who work and play well with others, who listen, combine talent with humility, and respect how incredibly hard it is take a startup from zero to sixty.
Plus, no one can whack you without a sit-down.
The New Kids
Bill, Bob, and I are thrilled to welcome new G20 Members Tom Caputo, Bob Geiman, Brent Grinna, Sue Graham Johnston, Jim Matheson and Jules Pieri. These exceptional people all know what it means to build a business, and to invest in one. All are close friends of the fund, accomplished leaders, and people we learn from and enjoy.
Tom is the Chief Product Officer of Boston startup-gone-public phenom CarGurus. Tom spent five years as the Chief Product Officer at Fiksu, a mobile marketing innovator, where he successfully led the company’s product strategy and development. He also served as the Vice President of Product Management for x+1, acquired by Rocket Fuel in 2014, and Group Product Manager at Microsoft. Tom holds a BA in Computer Science from Dartmouth College, and both an MBA and MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford.
Few people have crossed over from operator to investor and back again as gracefully or as well as Bob Geiman. In his career, Bob has sourced and/or led investments in over 30 companies, representing over $300 million in invested capital. Bob is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence with Warburg Pincus focused on making investments in mobile and artificial intelligence. Bob continues to serve as a Venture Partner with Cava Capital focused on early stage investments in digital media, mobile and e-commerce companies. Previously, he was a General Partner at Polaris Venture Partners focused on investing in early stage and later stage companies in the mobile and media sectors. Bob started his career as an associate at Summit Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, where he focused on making investments in technology businesses.
Bob is a proven operator in mobile and digital media companies. In late 2014, Bob co-founded Confirm, a mobile-based identity authentication as a service software company and served as the company’s Chairman and CEO until acquired by Facebook. In 2011, Bob co-founded EveryScreen Media, an advertising technology and data science company and a Cava Studio project, and served as President and CEO until 2013 when the company merged with Media6 Degrees to form Dstillery. Prior to EveryScreen, Bob was a member of the management team of MCK Communications, a VoIP-based communications software and hardware company, where he oversaw corporate business development, was in charge of sales, marketing, product management development for the communications service provider division and was a member of the management team that grew MCK from an unprofitable, 25 person company with $5 million in run rate revenue to a public company with $60 million in run rate revenue and significant cash flow and profitability.
Bob has been an active angel investor and serves or has served on the Board of Directors or advisory boards of over 20 internet, mobile and digital media companies.
Brent Grinna is the Founder & CEO of EverTrue, and among the most actively engaged and highly respected leaders of his generation in the Boston startup community. Brent founded EverTrue after serving as a volunteer fundraiser for his alma mater, Brown University. At Brown, Brent was captain of the varsity football team and was a leader of the Senior Class Gift campaign. He began his career in Chicago at William Blair & Company and Madison Dearborn Partners. Prior to founding EverTrue, he received his MBA with honors from Harvard Business School. With Brent’s leadership, EverTrue participated in Techstars Boston and was selected as a winner of MassChallenge. EverTrue subsequently earned the backing of Bain Venture Capital and Boston Seed Capital. (To get to know Brent, be sure and check out his episode of the How Hard Can It Be podcast.)
Sue Graham Johnston
Sue Graham Johnston is the President of 128 Technology, where she focuses on meeting the challenges of a high-growth startup changing the world of networking. Previously she was Managing Director (CEO) of BOC UK, Ireland and Africa — a $1.7Bn division of the industrial gases leader, The Linde Group where within two years she delivered the highest profitability in the group. She has spent the majority of her career at the intersection of new technology and operational excellence, having held Vice President positions in Operations, Engineering and General Management at Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
Sue was previously Chairman of the Board of Afrox, a JSE listed company. She is also on the Board of the San Francisco Opera and involved with additional charities including the Museum of Science in Boston, and Circus Center and Make*A*Wish in San Francisco.
Sue holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering & Product Design, an MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and an MBA all from Stanford University. (To get to know Sue, be sure and check out her episode of the How Hard Can It Be podcast.)
Jim Matheson is the Co-founder of Patriapps, and a Special Advisor to both The Engine at MIT and Breakthrough Energy Ventures. He’s a highly respected clean technology visionary and leader who became the President and CEO of Oasys Water in 2013. Jim helped pave the way for Oasys’ global expansion and pioneering technology platform. Previously, as a General Partner at Flagship Pioneering, Jim spearheaded the venture capital firm’s sustainability practice. Before embarking on his second career in sustainable technology investing and entrepreneurship, Jim was a decorated Navy F-14 and FA-18 pilot and TOPGUN Instructor. Jim retired in 2008 as a Commander in the US Naval Reserves and earned his BS from the United States Naval Academy and his MBA from The Harvard Business School.
Jules Pieri is Co-founder & CEO of The Grommet, a site that has launched more than 3,000 innovative consumer products since 2008. The company’s Citizen Commerce™ movement is reshaping how products are discovered, shared, and bought.
Jules completed her undergraduate degree summa cum laude at the University of Michigan and people tell her she is the first designer to graduate from Harvard Business School, where she is an Entrepreneur in Residence Emeritus. Jules is an investing partner with XFactor Ventures and serves on the board of the University of Michigan Alumni Association.
Jules started her career as an industrial designer for technology companies and was an executive at Keds, Stride Rite, and Playskool. The Grommet is her third startup, following roles as VP at Continuum and President of Ziggs. In 2017, Ace Hardware acquired a majority stake in The Grommet.
She was named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013 and one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Interesting Entrepreneurs in 2014. Her first book, “How We Make Stuff Now: Turn Ideas into Products That Build Successful Businesses,” will be published by McGraw-Hill in April 2019. (To get to know Jules, be sure and check out her episode of the How Hard Can It Be podcast.)
Please join us in welcoming them to the family!
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