Over a year and half ago, I was transitioning out of a startup job and unsure of my next move. Uncertainty used to bother me a lot, but then all of a sudden, it didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s understanding the world is bigger than you. Who knows. Yet at every uncertain turn, around the corner is someone really interesting.
In May 2012, I went to a Big Data conference at Stanford. Doesn’t sound too exciting, but I ran into my friend Alex (that’s @alex_gurevich on the twitters). We’d met a few times before. I think he’d emailed me a few times. He watched a few videos I’d done. “What are you up to these days?” he asked. “Well, I don’t know. Transitioning out of my current job,” I replied. “Why don’t you come and hang out with us at Javelin for the year, until you figure out what’s next?”
(Sweet.) So, I did. And over that time, as I’ve written about before, it was a windy path into venture and investing for me, and it simply wouldn’t have happened without Alex’s generous offer and the team’s near-immediate acceptance of me. Now, I wasn’t surprised Javelin was able to raise their third fund, which was announced this week — the founders of the firm have real entrepreneurial track records with multiple hits as founders/operators (and not bolstered through social media promotion), and with some sleeper hits waiting in vintages I and II, doing III is a no-brainer.
What’s most exciting for me — on a personal level — is that Alex is now a full partner in the fund alongside Jed and Noah. Alex got there the hard way. He worked at a startup, sure…then he had some VC exposure, yeah, no big deal…and then when he got to Javelin, I think Jed and Noah realized how passionate yet steady Alex was at all facets of the game that is venture, specifically his ability to find and attract great people, his ability to sort through information to find signal, and his desire to help build company value once the ink begins to dry on a check. Even though he was leading investments at Javelin before this announcement, now he’s official in the community, and what’s great about Alex’s rise is how he’s gotten there — using scrappiness to find great founders and products that don’t seek out the bright lights of Twitter PR, companies that I was excited to get to work with like Thumbtack, Engrade, theHunt, and many more. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s always able to find signal in the noise of information and pitches, and then focus in on what he wants to do as an investor. Folks on Sand Hill have remarked to me that they don’t know who Alex is, but they were surprised to see what companies he was working with. That’s probably just how Alex wants it.
Anyway, I’m writing all of this because I’m excited for my friend, because I’m excited about what he’s done as well as “how” he’s done it, and that Jed and Noah created an opportunity for someone to mentor and grow in their own new business. I also wanted to encourage readers of this blog follow him and get to know him as you’re building your companies or thinking about the next one. He’s not going to grab your attention through the blogs or by tweeting witty things, and that should be music to the right founders’ ears.