Redeye VC

Josh Kopelman

Managing Director of First Round Capital.

espite being coastally challenged (currently living in Philadelphia), Josh 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 – an Internet information company. In 1996, Infonautics went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

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Monthly Archives for 2010

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25 First Round Capital Cyber Monday Deals

Cyber Monday HomepageAt First Round Capital, we’ve been big believers in the future of online commerce - and over the past few years have invested in many eCommerce companies, all at the seed stage.  These companies have now gone on to to raise over $350,000,000 in follow-on capital and will be shipping hundreds of thousands of products this holiday season to customers all over the world.  Whether it’s Birchbox with discovery through subscription, Fab with curation, Warby Parker building a vertically integrated brand, or Modcloth inverting the supply chain, these companies have set out to redefine traditional eCommerce models while building a product consumers truly love - and we couldn't be more excited.

Today I'm thrilled to announce that over 25 of our portfolio companies have come together to make gift giving just a bit easier and cheaper this holiday season.  And we put together a small site showcasing these exclusive Cyber Monday offers.  We hope you’ll take advantage these offers today – before it’s too late.  Go check it out and give a more unique gift to your loved ones this holiday season:

And no - this isn't meant to replace our annual holiday video.  Stay tuned ;-)

Telling the First Round Capital story...

It is a busy day today.  In addition to announcing Bill Trenchard’s arrival at First Round Capital, we're also excited to share a new website experience with the world.

Coming into this redesign we knew we wanted to do a few things differently.  Almost all websites for venture funds focus on partner bios and logos of their portfolio.  For us, we had a few unconventional goals in mind - we wanted to:

  1. Create an experience that goes beyond learning about partners and companies - we wanted to share the knowledge our Community and collaborators produce to help people build better products and companies
  2. Help tell the stories of the people and companies we've been fortunate enough to partner with over the past 7 years
  3. Tell the First Round Capital story and how we help our 150+ companies win
  4. Open up our previously closed Community (just a bit)

Keeping these objectives in mind - and utilizing an entirely new visual design – we built out a few areas of the experience that we think are different:

Homepage: the new First Round homepage is a dynamic collage of our companies, entrepreneurs and content we produce.  It’s up to date and will change multiple times a day - always showing what's new and important.  Coming to the homepage, you might find breaking news about First Round companies, a recap of a recent workshop we held or a new article from our Library that’s authored by a First Round Founder.



Library: every year we put together over 40 different events for the First Round Capital Community.  We bring in dozens and dozens of speakers that range from CEOs of the largest technology companies in the world - to marketing and engineering practitioners; all with the goal to help our companies and entrepreneurs win.  We’re excited to begin to share some of this content with the world - that was previously only accessible to our entrepreneurs – and think it will help make the whole startup community better.  We hope this becomes an area not just to learn about First Round, but to also learn about the latest in engineering, marketing, management and entrepreneurship. 



Company Profiles: We rethought what a company profile page could be in an effort to better tell the stories of our companies.  When you go to a profile page, you'll be able to learn more about what each company does, learn about the founding team, see relevant videos, milestones and key press about their progress. It really is the history of the company in one page.



About: We do a lot of things differently at First Round - and the way we support our companies through our partnership and platform is a core part of what makes us unique.  As a part of the site redesign, we wanted to begin to better tell our story and how we work with our 150+ companies.  You'll have a chance to learn about how we help our companies recruit world-class talent, learn from one another, leverage pooled data through our research team and connect with each other through Network.  You'll also get to see a bit more about how our investment team engages with our companies and the stage we invest. 




We hope you like what we've built, but this is by no means a finished product.  Just like the companies we work with, we'll be iterating and changing parts of the product in the coming months - so do let us know what you like, but most definitely what we can do to make this experience even better.


Welcoming Bill Trenchard

Bill Trenchard_HeadshotI’m super excited to announce that Bill Trenchard has joined First Round Capital as a partner in our San Francisco office.  I’ve known Bill for almost 20 years – first meeting him when he was a student at Cornell and his web development company did work for my first company.   And we’ve remained close as he started Jump Networks (which was quickly acquired by Microsoft), joined idealab! (where he worked with my partner, Howard Morgan), founded CallCast (in which I invested – and merged to become LiveOps.  Bill ran LiveOps until 2007, scaling it to a $100M run-rate with 250 employees), and at Readyforce (in which First Round Capital invested).

Bill is an experienced entrepreneur and investor (he’s done angel investing on his own – and previously was affiliated with Founders Collective).  And he has been a mentor and advisor to countless startups – and knows what it takes to be a successful founder.   Bill has begun a blog where he plans to share lessons learned, tips, tricks and other insights into entrepreneurship.  His first post is here.

While we did not have any plans to hire an additional partner at this point in time (having just promoted Kent and Phin to partner positions), when we heard that Bill was considering taking a full-time venture job, we knew we had to try to get Bill to join First Round Capital.  Bill shares our values – he’s founder-focused, he understands seed-stage, he can empathize with founders because he’s been in their shoes, he works hard to help his companies succeed, and he is an all-around-great person.  

After Bill spent the summer “in residence” with First Round, we were even more convinced that Bill is a great addition to our team.  He’s already led two (still unannounced) investments for the fund – and has brought a number of great ideas on how we might expand the suite of products and services we offer to our portfolio companies.   And since our partnership is now larger (by around 15%), we’ve decided to increase the size of our current fund (FRC IV) by approximately 15% as well.  This is the first significant fund-size increase we’ve made in over five years – and it does not reflect any change in our strategy. 

In fact, today we’ve also announced the launch of our new First Round Capital website to better communicate our strategy, values and value-add.   We wanted to tell the First Round Capital story and how hard we work to help our 150+ companies win – and to begin to share the knowledge our Community and collaborators produce to help people build better products and companies.   Check it out here

Announcing hackPR – a New Way for Startups and the Press to Connect

At First Round Capital, we build and deliver dozens of products, services and events to our portfolio every year - and today I’m excited to announce our newest experiment hackPR entirely new way for press and startups to connect.

Through building, investing and supporting over 200 companies, we've seen the disconnect between reporters and startups countless times.  Reporters are constantly seeking interesting new people, companies and trends to cover – and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been contacted by a reporter/blogger asking me questions like “do you have any portfolio companies that have been sued for patent infringement” or “what are some crazy things that startup companies do to attract and retain good employees”.  And startups are always looking to connect with those same reporters.  These two parties often struggle to find each other and lack an efficient marketplace to connect.  

hackPR is our attempt at creating a marketplace between press and startups. By giving reporters the tools to connect directly with companies and entrepreneurs, we hope to provide the means for more in-depth journalism while helping startups gain additional PR opportunities.  Here's how we think it will work:

  1. A journalist will be able to send a request out to a range of startups based on size, sector or location with just a few clicks.  Their request could range from anything like "I'm doing a piece on collaborative consumption, what are the startups I should profile?" to "We're doing a piece on college recruiting in startups - have any great stories on how you won a candidate?"
  2. Based on profile data that startups will complete, the appropriate startups will be able to respond.
  3. If the journalist is interested, a match will be made – and the responses will be sent to the journalist
  4. The journalist will receive the contact information of the entrepreneur – and the reporter can make the decision to reach out or not.  (Since the startup will not get the reporters contact information, the reporter will not get spammed.)

This service will be available to any venture backed startup – not just the First Round portfolio.   Like most marketplaces, scale matters and we think everyone will be better off  if it's an open platform.

This is not a new idea – there are other similar services like Profnet (which charges companies to participate) or HARO (which is not limited to startups).  But after using both of those services, I think there is real value that can be delivered by creating a platform exclusively for venture backed startups and the press that covers them…

We plan on launching the first iteration of hackPR in December 2012 – but be sure to grab your place in line as access will be opened very slowly to build the highest quality marketplace. We'll be aggressively iterating on our product as we approach launch – so if you're a startup or journalist, be sure to tell us what you'd like to see.

I strongly encourage any interested reporters or entrepreneurs to sign up at today to gain early access and help us beta test.

The Dorm Room Fund

I was a dorm room entrepreneur. 

I co-founded my first company, Infonautics, back in 1991 while I was a Junior at Penn.  By the time I (barely) graduated, we had 20 employees.  It was through this personal experience at Penn that I first learned that college campuses are wonderful ecosystems for creating disruptive ideas.  And I'm not the only one that noticed and took advantage of this.  For other examples, look no further than today’s largest tech companies -- it’s not surprising that Facebook, Microsoft, Dell, Yahoo, Google all started in a dorm room. 

As I look at the environment facing today’s dorm room entrepreneurs, I notice a few things.  Never in history has it been cheaper or faster to start a company.  In my own startup career, the costs to get to “first product ship” went from $5 million in 1991 (Infonautics), to $2.5 million in 1999 ( and to $750,000 in 2004 (Turntide) – and that doesn’t even take into account the amazing strides and cost reduction platforms of open source software (mysql, memsql), flexible programming languages (python, ruby), cloud infrastructure (AWS, heroku) and new platforms (facebook, iOS6 and Android).   The result has been that products can come to market and create massive user engagement quicker than ever.  It took AOL 66 months to get to one million users.  eBay and Amazon did it in 24 months.  Foursquare in 13 months.  And Path in around 15 days! 

But just because it takes less capital to build a company now, doesn’t mean it doesn’t take any.  And, for a student population already taking out five figure loans to pay for school, finding and obtaining that additional capital is often extremely difficult. Friends and family are usually stretched thin, and in most cases, already do whatever they can to ease the burden on their college relatives.  At the same time, we’ve seen the growth of many wonderful incubators and accelerators – but those often require a student to drop out (or take a “leave of absence” from college).  And traditional venture capitalists are not optimized to write $25K checks to fund a student’s idea while they are still in school.  We’ve heard from several entrepreneurs claiming that it was “much harder to raise our first $25,000 then our next $2 million”.  Given this, I just wonder how many amazing companies we would be talking about today had they received that first small check.  Instead, I hear stories about how amazing students, under the giant burden of college debt, abandoned their startup dreams and chose to take full-time positions at established companies. 

Over the past few years we’ve invested in companies that are disrupting financial markets – from Upstart (which provides a revolutionary new way for college students to raise money to pursue their dreams) to Funders Club (which is pioneering an innovative way for startups to raise capital) to On Deck Capital (which uses technology and data exhaust to underwrite small business lending).  With these as inspiration, I spent some time thinking about how a new venture fund could bridge the disconnect between dorm room ideas and the capital to bring them to life.  In my opinion, a fund would:

  1. Be run by students – not suits  A student investment team would know the entire student and campus ecosystem – allowing them to find, screen and invest in the best ideas

  2. Be located on campus, so that it constantly has a feel for the vibe on campus

  3. Students are engineers, marketers, financers, writers, doctors, lawyers and researchers – and allow them to focus on investing in companies that disrupt big markets that they (students) have expertise in
  4. Finance students based on their needs.  Students are scrappy and often just need that first $10,000 - $20,000 in order to build their product and ship a minimum viable product – let’s call their current stage the dorm room stage

That’s why, today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the first Dorm Room Fund, with a pilot in Philadelphia.  This isn’t a business plan competition.  It is a student run investment fund and First Round Capital will be committing $500,000 in capital (or $15,000 on average per Company) to the fund – for them to invest in startups that are founded by a current student at (or recent graduate of) a Philadelphia-based university (such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, etc).  While First Round Capital will be the initial investor in the fund – and I’ll be helping them by serving as an advisor and member of the Investment Committee while they get it off the ground – our goal is to make this an independent, student-run fund…and for them to raise additional outside capital in the future. 

We will be selecting the initial Investment Team of eight students – and our plan is that they will be responsible for selecting their replacements in the future.  If you are a Philadelphia –area student at Penn or Drexel, and if you are interested in applying to serve on the investment committee, please visit .  We’ll be holding an on-campus information session this Thursday (September 27th) and we'll email the details to every student who goes to the website and signs up

While this is clearly a "pilot", if it's successful we expect (and hope) that Philadelphia will be the first of many cities where we bring the Dorm Room Fund.  And our hope is that this Dorm Room Fund allows for more companies to be built while providing an unparalleled learning experience for the students on the investment team.  Choosing Philadelphia as our first city underscores my commitment to creating a stronger and more vibrant Philadelphia start-up community.  Over the years, we’ve seen amazing companies make it out of Philadelphia’s dorm rooms (Invite Media, Milo and Warby Parker, to name a few), when the capital finds them.  And we can’t wait to add many more to this list.

Welcome Perceptual Networks

Anyone who has been on the Internet for a while remembers HotOrNot -- it has been called "one of the most viral product launchs in Internet History."  And they were one of the first "freemium" companies that showed how you can monetize a free service.

When HotOrNot launched I was still at -- and we were launching a cool tool called the Price Patrol.  This was a browser plug-in that monitored your Internet browsing -- and anytime you went to a product page on a shopping site, it alerted you to a cheaper price at  The technology was built by a company called ClickTheButton, which was founded by Cheyenne Ehrlich.

Today, I'm super-excited to announce that we've invested in Perceptual Networks -- a company founded by Jim Young (a co-founder of HotOrNot) and Cheyenne Ehrlich (the founder of ClickTheButton).  Even more exciting (to me) is the fact that both Jim and Cheyenee moved to Philadelphia -- choosing to locate themselves (and their company) in Philly.

Both Jim and Cheyenne are in my "300 baud club" -- a group of people who have been actively using, playing, and creating online since the days of the 300 baud modem.  And I'm not the only one who is excited by them teaming up.  Indeed, we were joined in this investment round by a "who's who" of angel investors including founders of Youtube, Paypal, Bebo, Demand Media, Delicious, and many others.  

Perceptual Networks is hard at work developing a suite of products that make it easier for people to find "the best people to connect with" and hopes to launch soon.  I'm thrilled that we continue to find "the best people to invest in" -- and am excited to welcome Jim and Cheyenne to the First Round Capital family. 

More about Perceptual Networks can be found here and here.

Hello Philly!

Warning - long blog post ahead.  

For those of you who just want the punchline, First Round Capital is moving our headquarters from the suburbs of West Conshohocken to the City of Philadelphia  Here is why:

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area for over 20 years – ever since I was a freshman at Penn.  I helped to found three startups in the Philly area.  I launched First Round Capital in the Philly area.   Yet, for most of my professional career I’ve been “bi-coastal”.   Recognizing that Silicon Valley is the center of the technology ecosystem, I’ve made countless trips out there.  I’m there so often that I know the flight attendants on the PHL-SFO flights by name.  It’s why this blog is called RedEyeVC – and why it has carried the subtitle “A view of the startup ecosystem from a coastally challenged VC”. 

As a result, I’ve often found myself making a mental distinction between my “professional community” and my “personal community”.  Philly is where I live and socialize – and it is where my wife and I have chosen to raise our family.  But while I live in Philadelphia, First Round Capital is a national firm.  And as a result, I feel like I have stronger professional ties to San Francisco and New York (where we also have offices).   When I’m in Philly, I spend far more time talking to NY or SF-based entrepreneurs on the phone (and videoconference)  than I do meeting entrepreneurs face-to-face in my office.  And the First Round Capital portfolio reflects that – with over 80% of our portfolio companies based in either California or New York.

Over the years I’ve been contacted by many Philadelphia-based organizations that have sought to improve Philly’s tech ecosystem.  And while I’ve tried to help, it was always in a limited fashion.  I joined the boards of Innovation Philadelphia and the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center.  I’ve spoken at dozens of local events and met with hundreds of local entrepreneurs.  But I never picked up the “Philadelphia Tech” torch myself --  I always played a more supporting role…providing advice from the sidelines.   And when people have asked me “how do we make Philly more like Silicon Valley” I’ve always thought that was like someone saying “how can I make Philadelphia Chinatown more like China”.

Yet over the last few years, I’ve seen several encouraging changes. 

  • First, I’ve seen capital get portable.  When I co-founded Infonautics back in the early 90’s there were several Silicon Valley venture capitalists who offered us term sheets on the condition that we move out west.  Yet today, capital is more geography agnostic.  With e-mail, instant messenger, skype, videoconferencing – and cloud-based reporting platforms that encourage transparency – distance doesn’t matter as much.  And like First Round Capital, more VCs are investing outside of their core geography. 
  • Second, we’ve seen the growth of more efficient ways of knowledge transfer.  As recently as 10 years ago if you wanted to start a technology company, the only dedicated publications that catered to you were magazines such as Upside and the Red Herring.  And most startup knowledge was passed on from person to person – you learned from in-person interactions with other entrepreneurs and investors.   This created real network effects for technology ecosystems (like Silicon Valley).  Today, however, there are so many online resources to help people shorten their learning curve and build their own networks.  From Techcrunch (and their awesome Crunchbase) to PandoDaily (where I am an investor) to AllThingsD, it has never been easier to keep up to date on the industry.  Tools such as Angellist, Gust and FundersClub connect entrepreneurs to capital.  There are dozens of blogs written by venture capitalists and founders.  Online communities such as Hacker News have emerged.  And social media has made everyone and everything much more accessible. 
  • Finally, it’s gotten much cheaper to start a company.  I (and hundreds of other people) have blogged about this before.  Five years ago if you wanted to build a mobile app you needed to plan on spending a year negotiating with AT&T and Verizon.  Today, anyone can build an app from their dorm room in a few days.   

And as a result of these changes, I’ve seen more and more interesting startups get created in more and more diverse places.  Cities such as Boulder.  Austin.  Portland.  Providence.  And, yes, Philadelphia.  From Invite Media, Monetate, Curalate, Relay Network, PackLateSolve Media and Warby Parker (which we were fortunate enough to invest in) to AdMob,, Milo, Venmo, DuckDuckGo and Lore (where we didn’t invest) we’ve begun to see more really exciting companies get their start in Philadelphia.   Every year I see more entrepreneurial activity at Philadelphia’s universities.  Indeed, just last week PandoDaily suggested that the University of Pennsylvania was like “the Stanford of the East”.  And we’ve also begun to see other positive signs in the ecosystem.  Grassroots organizations such as Philadelphia Startup Leaders (which I recently joined the board of) have emerged to provide some “connective glue” for the ecosystem.  Incubators like DreamIt and co-working spaces such as IndyHallVenturef0rth, Benjamin's Desk, SeedPhilly, and many others have begun to emerge.  Several of our portfolio companies have already expanded into Philly – such as Uber and PublicStuff (which is powering Philadelphia’s mobile 311 app).  We’ve seen the launch of Philly tech blogs like Technically Philly.  And Mayor Nutter is a regular speaker at startup events (like Philly Tech Week) and a real booster for tech entrepreneurship.

Change doesn’t occur overnight.  I’m a big proponent of the what Fred Wilson calls “the Darwinian Evolution of Startup Hubs” – and recognize that in order for an ecosystem to grow you need the alumni from successful companies.  And while it takes multiple generations of successful companies to create a true startup hub, I’m encouraged by the quantity and quality of the current generation of startups.  Monetate, for example, employs over 100 people in the Phialdelphia area (and is looking to hire another 25 people now).  Their team is incredible -- and has the technical chops of a Silicon Valley company.  It isn’t random luck that the company’s founder and CEO, David Brussin, was the CTO and co-founder of Turntide – an earlier Philadelphia success story that sold to Symantec.  The best way to create a more vibrant startup ecosystem in Philadelphia is to help the current class of startups succeed – so that Monetate’s employees will be our next batch of upcoming entrepreneurs.  This doesn’t just create value today – but it also has a compounding effect as today’s successful companies create the next generation of entrepreneurs through their alumni. 

That’s why I’m done sitting on the sidelines.  And so is First Round Capital.  And I am super-excited to announce that First Round Capital is moving our headquarters from the suburbs of West Conshohocken into the city of Philadelphia.   I’m trading my sterile suburban office park environment (and short commute) for proximity to Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs.   We’ll be opening a 10,000 square foot facility in University City – right next to Penn’s campus.  In addition to housing our Philadelphia team, the office will have space for startups – both for our portfolio companies (such as Uber’s Philly team, Curalate and Perceptual Networks) as well as other companies (like Technically Philly – who will be locating their offices there as well).  It will have space to host educational and networking events.  And it will have space for entrepreneurs to hang out and work. 

But for me this is more than just an office move.  It is my acknowledgement that I can do more to help local entrepreneurs get their business off the ground.   And while I don’t expect that I will slow down my travel schedule or that our new office location will immediately result in us funding dozens of Philadelphia area companies – I do want to play a more active role in helping the current generation of Philadelphia entrepreneurs make their mark.  I’m not trying to turn Philadelphia into Silicon Valley (or Chinatown into China) – but I do think we can enable more great companies to be built here in Philadelphia. 

And I can’t wait to get started.

Welcome Upstart

College-student-debt$1 trillion.  A number we normally associate with national debt can now also be used to describe student debt, the result of an exponential increase in college tuition.  At current, two out of every three college students take out an average of $23,000 in college loans; loans that need to be repaid to the tune of hundreds of dollars a month upon graduation.  Add this to post-graduation ‘real-world’ expenses (such as apartment rent) and this is forcing graduating students to find alternative ways to save money, as some choose to move back in with their parents, or earn money, by forgoing their real passions and accepting a job for purely monetary reasons.  All of these financial constraints limit choices and dissuade risk-taking.   

This is why I'm thrilled to share that our newest investment, Upstart, is looking to tackle this problem with an innovative new approach.   Upstart allows graduating students to raise capital in exchange for a modest share of their income over the following 10 years.  This means that students finally have the freedom to make the best choices for them, regardless of short-term income flow.  As the company writes:  

Upstart was founded to help people do what they were meant to do. Many talented college grads take jobs they’re not excited about, rather than following their true passions. Whether constrained by debt or just comforted by traditional career options, too many students take the perceived “safe path.” Upstart aims to provide a modest amount of risk capital - where repayment is tied to the student’s future success - paired with guidance and support from experienced backers, to help grads pursue less traditional and more inspiring careers.

Upstart is launching with five pilot universities in the fall that include Dartmouth College and University of Michigan.

The Upstart team is comprised of a number of ex-Googlers and is being lead by Dave Girouard, who formerly lead all of Google Apps – so if you're a user of Gmail and Google Docs, you're familiar with his work.  Dave joins a number of other First Round Companies that are also shaking up the funding and financing landscape like On Deck Capital, BillFloat, AxialMarketGiveForward, and FundersClub.

Please join me in welcoming Dave and Upstart into the First Round Capital portfolio and Community.






Welcome FundersClub

If we think back over the past decade, software has done a great job of making inefficient markets more accessible and efficient.  eBay made it easier for buyers and sellers to find and exchange products.  One of our portfolio companies, TaskRabbit, is creating a marketplace for labor that efficiently connects those who need tasks completed with those that can perform the work.  Kickstarter is enabling, and making it easier for, the world's most creative people to turn their dreams into reality.

But, software and the web have yet to make connecting private companies with seed-stage capital more efficient.  There are some burgeoning platforms, like AngelList and Gust, that are moving in this direction; but the transactions still happen offline,  and usually require large blocks of capital.  If someone is looking to invest $1,000 in a private company, it's still virtually impossible.

And as someone who spends over 30 hours a month on planes/trains, I know how hard it is for someone who doesn’t live in Silicon Valley full-time to stay connected and get access to the strongest startups. 

FundersclubFor these reasons, I’m really excited to announce First Round Capital’s investment in FundersClub.  FundersClub makes it easy for companies to raise capital from individuals without hassle.  Companies have just one shareholder (the FundersClub fund) – and don’t have to deal with the hassles of chasing down individual shareholders for signatures/approvals down the road.  And for investors, it eliminates many of the monetary limitations - it allows investors to invest as little as $1,000 - as well as the geographic limitations of a normal seed stage round.  (You still need to be an accredited investor, though).

FundersClub just launched last week with several companies from the current batch of Y Combinator companies – and if history is any benchmark, the startups listed on the platform will be heavily oversubscribed shortly after YC Demo Day on August 21st.  What FundersClub provides for everyone, is insider access.  If you aren't one of the 300 people to get an invitation to YC demo day, this is your chance to invest in these great companies.  The initial available companies include FundersClub itself, Virool, Sponsorfied, TracksBy, and Coinbase.

Please join me in welcoming Alexander Mittal, an accomplished founder named one of BusinessWeek’s Best Young Entrepreneurs, and Boris Silver, founder of Sport Interactiva, and their Company, FundersClub, to the First Round Capital Portfolio and Community.

Welcoming Mango Health

2921FEvery day 149 million Americans (almost half of the U.S. population) take at least one prescription medication – with many taking more than one - and that does not even include the number of supplements/vitamins taken.  At the same time, approximately three out of four adults in the U.S. report not adhering to physician prescribed treatment regimens in one or more ways and almost half of adults report forgetting to take prescribed medication.  This means worse healthcare overall and leads to anywhere from $100 to $300 billion in cost to the system – we think a sufficiently large and hard problem. 

This is why today I’m thrilled to announce our investment in Mango Health – an entirely new mobile solution for managing healthcare.  The team at Mango Health is trying to help consumers take control of their health with fun, elegant and easy to use mobile applications.  They’re attacking the problem of managing healthcare by focusing first on the drug adherence market with a simple and elegant mobile app that will incentivize users to take their medication on time, everyday, while also warning them about potential harmful interactions, thereby increasing their safety.

When we first met the team back in January, the first thing that impressed us about Jason Oberfest and Gerald Cheong was their passion for utilizingatheir social gaming background to make mobile healthcare more accessible and fun.  Before starting up, Jason served as a VP of Social Applications at ngmoco and SVP of Business Development at MySpace.  Gerald was the Lead Engineer at ngmoco, and has previous experience at VM Ware, Ariba and Microsoft Research.

Over the past year, we’ve continued to see incredible opportunities in healthcare that are fundamentally driven by both ubiquitous smartphone use, as well as a trend in consumers continued desire to be more active in their healthcare – and I can’t wait to share a few more investments in the coming weeks.  In addition, we’re starting to see the next generation of healthcare companies that can move at startup speed without the traditional multi-year build cycles that have been historically tied to anything in healthcare IT.

Please join me in welcoming Mango Health to the First Round Capital Portfolio and Community.