GVC Partners


Venture Partner

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Notable Investments

Quantum Metric

Questions & Answers

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

I didn’t become an investor until I was an entrepreneur, and I didn’t become an entrepreneur until I was fired. My firing got a lot of ink but not a lot of sympathy. I had little choice but to start the company that I wanted to start inside of Time Warner (my former employer), outside of Time Warner. Synapse, the result, also begot Priceline.com. The monetization of those businesses became the foundational capital for Loeb.nyc, our self-funded venture collective with two dozen startups, most built de novo, and our passive investments.

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

The founder. True entrepreneurs have many identifiable qualities – intellect, drive, endurance – but most important of all, is the insistence on winning. Entrepreneurs know no barriers. A blocker? They go through it. Or over it. Or under it. Or around it. But they will not be denied. An entrepreneur with these qualities inevitably builds exceptional teams that are devout.

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?

I was once given extraordinary advice: be the founder’s friend. Curious? It’s lonely at the top. Founders are like hockey goalies with a half dozen pucks on the ice and bereft of defensemen. Decisions have to be made fast and furiously with too little data and no time for contemplation. Teams simply cannot be informed of all the consequences – they would be frozen in fear. Every business that I have founded or funded has survived life extinguishing events. Great entrepreneurs survive and thrive in these circumstances, but having a steady hand and a calm mind to tell them “we’ll get through this” is often the most impactful contribution that can be made

If I'm coming to pitch to you or your firm, what's the one piece of advice you'd give me?

Tell the truth. Don’t exaggerate. Lay bare not just the positives, but also the negatives and the risks. Your audience, VC’s and other investors, are discerning, discriminating and intelligent.  They are all-seeing and all-knowing. Don’t try to fool them. They know better and your credibility will be ground to dust.

How would you describe your own personal mission and values, and how do they impact the way you invest?

I’m impressed with the words of John Keats “here lies one whose name was writ in water”. This is on his tombstone as a big f#@k you: you and your memory will disappear in an instant. Me? I’m carved in stone.I want to build disrupting, inventive, enduring businesses. My sum and substance will be when generations forward take notice and say “that one was cool”.

What do you like best about investing in NYC, and what’s your outlook on the future of NYC tech?

There is no energy like New York energy. The city itself serves as a fuel for rebels, creatives and free-thinkers, giving them the drive it takes to build interesting, great companies. New York City has a greater student population, more cultural offerings and a greater expat community than any other American city, making it easier to attract almost any kind of talent (and developers are rapidly coming around).

The best non-American startups almost exclusively use New York City as their American or North American headquarters, bringing in talented workers with international resumes and perspectives. The abundance of people and ideas creates an energy you don’t really get in the Valley. It fuels innovation and gives us the wherewithal to tackle those 60-hour work weeks.

New York City has long been a leader in many industries in the past, but its growth in the tech industry is changing the way people think about education, career paths, and where companies are launched and nurtured. In the last decade, New York City has focused on a digital transformation that’s rivaling even Silicon Valley.

Although NYC still has a ways to go to reach the heights of the Bay Area, for the second year in a row it's been ranked as the second largest tech hub in the country and the world behind Silicon Valley. According to the New York Times, NYC is now the second largest tech hub because it was able to do this by transforming its current industries first.

“Many of the city’s tech jobs are not in technology companies. Instead, they are tied to industries where the city has long been positioned as a world leader — like finance, advertising and media.” Once NYC established itself as a digital player, more and more tech startups in NYC began to launch and with those launches came increased venture capital funding. So much so that NYC ranked 2nd in funding availability and quality in 2020.

COVID has given most of us time to reflect what is most important to us. As less founders travel to US to chase the American dream because of the pandemic, I see the energy fuelling the amazing locals of NYC to push for more out of life - both in their personal and professional lives. The future of NYC tech will be driven by local talent short-term.