Wharton FinTech
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Wharton FinTech

Tackling Big Hairy Problems with Marc Weiser, Founder & Managing Director of RPM Ventures

The Path of Successful Startups

In our latest episode of the Wharton Fintech podcast, Miguel Armaza (WG’21/G’21) is joined by Marc Weiser, Founder & Managing Director of RPM Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Marc also sits on the boards of NASA and the James Beard Foundation.

Joining the Board of NASA

In this interview, Marc shares:

  • Why he decided to Co-Found QuantumShift, a SAS company, in 1996 and the reason why he calls this experience a “successful failure”.
  • Launching RPM and the challenges of starting a Venture Capital fund in the year 2000.
  • The reason why after several years of operations, RPM narrowed its scope to invest only in Mobility and Fintech.
  • His conviction that most startups that win are the ones that generally fall over in the right direction and then pick themselves back up and then fall over again in the right direction again. The ones that do this process faster are the ones that win.
  • His fascinating journey as an early stage investor and advisor of SoFi.
  • What an RPM entrepreneur looks like. Hint: “We look for entrepreneurs that can run up the beach at the machine gun nest while simultaneously biting the heads off of chickens.”
  • The importance of investing in companies that have no rational chance of success.
  • His journey to becoming a board member at NASA and why this is his proudest personal achievement.
  • Going from restaurant investor to board member of the James Beard foundation. The devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the industry and how the James Beard foundation is helping save the restaurant industry.
What an RPM Entrepreneur Looks Like

Marc Weiser is the Founder and Managing Director of RPM Ventures, a seed and early stage venture firm where he focuses on investing in mobility and autonomous vehicle companies. Over the last 15 years he has served on over 20 boards of directors and currently sits on the boards of: BountyJobs, the leading contingency recruiting marketplace; Mobi, a machine learning, multi-modal, dynamic route planning system; and Polysync, a platform for delivering safe and reliable autonomous vehicles.

Prior to forming RPM, Mr. Weiser was an internet and software entrepreneur. He co-founded and led technology development at QuantumShift, a provider of web-based business-to-business technology and services focused on corporate telecommunications needs. He was also an early employee at MessageMedia (acquired by DoubleClick) where he pioneered some of the original methods for e-commerce and helped lead the company’s IPO.

In addition to his board roles for RPM, Marc serves as Vice-Chair of McKinley, Inc., and the Board of Trustees of the James Beard Foundation. Previously he was the founding member of the Board for the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and Wolverine Venture Fund at the University of Michigan, where he was adjunct professor. He is the recipient of the University of Michigan College of Engineering Alumni Distinguished Service Award for his efforts in founding the CFE, the TechArb (student accelerator), and the Masters in Entrepreneurship (a joint program between the College of Engineering and Ross School of Business). Additionally, he and his wife led the creation of the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan. This Center provides national leadership in food allergy research and a path to a cure for those that suffer from food allergies.

Marc graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan with a BSE in aerospace engineering and an MBA with highest honors.

COVID’s Impact on Startups
Fintechs Can’t Continue Losing Money
Joining the James Beard Foundation

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Miguel Armaza

Miguel Armaza

🎙Co-President/Podcast Host @WhartonFintech. Fintech investor @ Gilgamesh. 📚MBA/MA Candidate @Wharton/@LauderInstitute. Author of Fintech Leaders Newsletter✍️