[Partner Program] The Great Debate: East Coast v. West Coast VCs

Graphic courtesy: CommonBond

Our partner, CommonBond, is hosting a wonderful event that explores the differences and similarities of venture capital in Silicon Valley and NYC. The event will take place Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT) at 524 Broadway — 6th Floor, New York, New York 10012.

Attendees will hear from some of the nation’s leading VCs from both coasts, like Tripp Jones, Brian Hirsch and Charlie O’Donnell, who will discuss differences in ideology, approach, and what it all means for fundraising CEOs.

The panel will wrap up with a Q&A session and time to chat with panelists and guests. CommonBond is also providing pizza and beverages. Sign up here

East Coast Team

Charlie O’Donnell, Partner and Founder at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Charlie is the sole Partner and Founder at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. The fund makes seed and pre-seed investments and was the first venture firm located in Brooklyn — where he was born and raised. Brooklyn Bridge invested in the first rounds of Canary, Orchard Platform, Tinybop, Hungryroot, Clubhouse, Ringly, and goTenna among others. He previously had investment roles at Union Square Ventures and First Round Capital.

Charlie has a reputation for being early to identifying important companies. Nick Bilton identifies him as an influence on early Twitter investors in his book, Hatching Twitter. Dennis Crowley credits him as having helped kick off the first funding of Foursquare before other VCs had said yes. At First Round Capital, he sourced the firm’s investments in Singleplatform (sold to Constant Contact) and GroupMe (sold to Skype). Charlie discovered GroupMe at the hackathon where the service had been built. He also sourced investments in Backupify (which was an idea he had tweeted to the founder, a friend of his), chloe + isabel, and Refinery29.

Charlie bikes to work, has done four triathlons, the NYC marathon, and runs the kayaking program in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The longest he has consecutively been outside of the five boroughs of New York City is three weeks.

Brian Hirsch, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Tribeca Venture Partners

Brian is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Tribeca Venture Partners. Prior to starting Tribeca Venture Partners, Brian was a founder and Managing Director of GSA Venture Partners, formerly the venture arm of Greenhill & Co (NYSE: GHL). Prior to GSAVP, Brian was a Principal at Sterling Venture Partners and a Vice President at ABN AMRO Private Equity.

Brian has invested across a broad number of sectors during his career including fintech, edtech, mobile, healthcare, online marketing and media/publishing.

Brian has a BA in economics and American studies from Brandeis University.

“When I was ten years old while most kids were reading comic books I was reading all of my father’s business magazines. I mostly enjoyed reading the long profile stories of entrepreneurs that were building great companies against all odds. It was the 1980’s and entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy and Scott Cook were changing the world through technology. What fascinated me was the process of taking an idea and transforming it into a reality. Fast forward thirty years and I feel lucky to spend my days helping this generation of entrepreneurs build tomorrow’s great tech companies.”

West Coast team:

Tripp Jones, General Partner at August Capital

Tripp joined August Capital in 2011 and focuses on investments in rapidly-growing Internet and software companies. He led August’s investments in ADARA, CommonBond, Paperless Post, Quandl, Rocketmiles and Wattpad.

Prior to joining August Capital, Tripp spent the previous four years at Menlo Park-based Spectrum Equity Investors. Earlier in his career, Tripp was an investment banker with JMP Securities and BMO Capital.

Tripp has a BA in Psychology from Princeton University.

Laura Kolodny, Principal at Aspect Ventures

Lauren Kolodny has experience in marketing, product management and early stage investing. As a Principal at Aspect Ventures, she is focused on sourcing and conducting diligence for investments across consumer and enterprise mobile technology.

Previously, Lauren worked in product marketing at Google, where she led a number of launches for the Google Apps for Business team, including Google Drive. She also worked in early stage tech investing at Cowboy Ventures. Lauren began her career in partnership development at the Clinton Foundation facilitating large scale clean technology & infrastructure development in India.

Lauren earned her BA, magna cum laude, from Brown University and her MBA from Stanford GSB. Lauren also completed an MS in Sustainable Design from Stanford.

Lauren is a Trustee Emerita at Brown University where she served as the university’s youngest board member. She is currently a member of the President’s Leadership Council and the Advisory Committee on Computing and Information Technology, where she continues to advise university leadership on the adoption of education and enterprise technologies.


David Klein, CEO & Co-Founder at CommonBond

Prior to founding CommonBond while he was a student at Wharton Business School, David worked in consumer finance at American Express, as Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development, where he led a team that managed a $250M annual portfolio. Prior to American Express, he worked at McKinsey & Company, where he advised clients in the financial services industry. David graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in Politics, Economics, and International Business. He is an alumnus of Wharton Business School and served on the Board of the Bronx Charter School for the Arts in New York

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