First Round Capital

Josh Kopelman

Managing Partner

Josh Kopelman has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – and took it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1996. Josh founded in July of 1999, and led it to become one of the largest sellers of used books, movies and music in the world. was acquired by eBay in July 2000 – and Josh remained with eBay for three years, running the business unit and growing eBay’s Media marketplace to almost half a billion dollars in annual gross merchandise sales. In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world's first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later.

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Notable Investments

Clover Health, AppNexus, Flatiron Health, LinkedIn, BazaarVoice, Aster Data

Questions & Answers

Origin Story: In a couple sentences, how would you describe your path to becoming an investor?

I first experienced the wild ride of starting a company when I was in college at Wharton. While others were cramming for tests at all hours of the night, I decided to co-found a company called Infonautics Corporation and was fortunate to take it public on the NASDAQ in 1996. I then had this crazy idea to allow anyone to buy and sell used books, music and DVDs online and launched in July of 1999. The timing worked out and we were acquired by eBay in July of 2000. I followed with one more company called Turntide that Symantec quickly acquired. So, when I had the opportunity to start a VC firm after operating for a decade, it made sense to work at the seed stage, helping other founders make the most of the blank slate you only get at the very beginning. We didn’t try to attach a growth fund or expand internationally, or get into the next hot Series C. We chose to specialize, and that gives us clarity of purpose.

Investment Approach: What are the key factors you consider when evaluating a founding team?

It starts with an initial, compelling, and unique insight. I want to understand what about your thesis is contrarian (i.e., why do you think the existing players are wrong) -- and why you think a startup (and yours specifically) will win?

What's your style and approach when it comes to working with founders post-investment? What are the characteristics of founders you've worked well with?

The founders I love working with the most are purpose-driven. They’re biased toward action and make decisions quickly. When they choose wrong, they’re confident in how they communicate what happened and what they learned. Most importantly, they’re willing to rethink conventional wisdom and never accept the way it’s always been done.