Earlier this year I sat down with Bob Niehaus. He’s my former boss at GCP Capital, a $1B+ private equity firm spinout from Greenhill & Co., and the parent company for the VC fund I co-managed, GSA Ventures. Over lunch, I discussed the opportunities ahead, as I was planning to leave GSA. He was excited for me.
I was a bit nervous talking to Bob about this, as I knew what obstacles there are in starting a new thing, but he pointed out that his leaving Morgan Stanley and joining Greenhill and starting a new private equity group was the best thing that ever happened to him. And, he continued: Bob Greenhill, Neihaus’ boss at Greenhill, himself, left Morgan Stanley then moved on from Smith Barney; he founded Greenhill & Co. with his dog, his assistant, and a million dollars which he never touched (according to the lore). And that was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Moving on from what they were doing before is probably the hardest thing that an entrepreneur does. Most of the time, it’s a crazy compulsion that an entrepreneur gets, and they can’t let go. Starting the business is just what they have to do. I love hearing those stories, as I felt that same feeling of exhilaration when I started my first tech company in the mid-90s during the first Internet boom.
History suggests that every tech boom is bigger than the one before it. This current wave powered by smart mobile devices, wireless broadband infrastructure, social media and cloud computing (some call the Second Internet) will make the First Internet of the late 90s seem quaint. As venture capital and entrepreneurship continues to democratize at a societal level, in the region, the country, and the world, I am more excited than ever about the opportunities ahead.
Hence, I look forward to continue hearing those stories… in a new opportunity that is currently in formation that I am exceedingly excited about. At the moment, I cannot announce the details. As to my fund obligations I’ve transitioned my day to day fund administration duties, but will stay on a few boards from GSAV and SAVP as appropriate.
There is a world of opportunity in the tech world that awaits– that despite to doom and gloom in the news today, will be bigger than it’s ever been, and beyond anyone’s expectation. At 43, with half of my business life over, that day has finally come for me to move on and I look forward to sharing that adventure with you.
And to all those entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs that read my blog: seize the day–and start that business. America needs the growth and the real sustainable jobs that only we entrepreneurs provide. I’m excited to have been a part of that so far, and look forward to the future with you. If I can be helpful, please do reach out to me, and I’ll do what I can, especially if it’s in my wheelhouse of expertise and interest.
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