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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Too long...

Yes, this blog is still alive.  I’ve gotten several emails over the last few weeks commenting on the slow pace of my blog posts.  The last few weeks have been pretty busy and the blog suffered as a result.  But I’m now working on several new posts that should begin to appear over the next few days.  In the meanwhile, a few small items:

  • Now that First Round Capital has over 30+ companies in our portfolio, one of my goals for the new year is to help make stronger connections between our portfolio companies.  Most early-stage companies share similar challenges (recruiting, business development, customer acquisition) and I think that there is a real benefit to sharing best practices.  That was the thinking behind the  First Round Capital CEO Summit – which we held last month in Menlo Park.  It seems that the feedback from the attendees was very positive and we're looking to make this an annual event.   I'd like to  thank the CEO’s of our portfolio companies for their active participation, as well as our guest speakers including Michael Arrington (Techcrunch), David Rose (the Pitch Coach), Greg Mrva and Bradley Horowitz (Yahoo), Jorge Espinel (AOL), Heather Harde and Adam Bain (Fox Interactive) and Chris Sacca (Google) and a few of our friends from other venture firms.   Also - major thanks to Rob Hayes and Carly Spoljaric on the First Round Capital team for putting the day together.  Pictures can be found here.
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  • I just finished reading Safa Rashtchy’s massive report on Internet Advertising.  It’s over 400 pages and full of stats…one of the best reports on the space that I’ve seen – and it’s free.  It is around 6MB and you can download it here (Warning - pdf file takes a while to load).
  • I wanted to join Rob Hayes in welcoming aboard First Round Capital's first Analyst, Mazen Araabi.   Maz has a strong entrepreneurial background, with stints at, ResponseBase, and ReachLogic.  He also already has his first woulda coulda shoulda -- he was part of the founding team at, but left in 2004 to get his MBA.  Welcome aboard Maz!

Friendly competition?

Techcrunch20cWhen Mike Arrington of Techcrunch announced his new Techcrunch20 conference yesterday, I was both excited and disappointed.

I was excited because I think that “launch platform” conferences are a great idea.  They provide a bright spotlight on new companies, technologies and products – and generate meaningful visability amongst press, analysts and investors.  I was excited because I think that having more opportunities to view great companies is better than having fewer.  And I was happy for Mike Arrington, who has really turned Techcrunch into a meaningful brand.  This promises to become a must-see event that I can’t wait to attend.

I was disappointed, however, by Mike’s not-so-veiled attacks on the DEMO Conference.  Rather than taking the high-road (and creating the same sense of “friendly competition” and “mutual respect” that he seems to have done with GigaOm and other competitors in the blog space) Mike choose to attack their integrity and value.  And while some might consider the timing of his announcement great marketing, I think it was bad form.

I think DEMO is a wonderful venue – that provides meaningful value to companies, press and investors.  That’s why First Round Capital has been a partner/sponsor with DEMO for the last several years.  In fact, during the last 8 years, I have either helped to found (, Turntide) or fund (Aggregate Knowledge, Jingle Networks, Riya, Krugle, VideoEgg) almost 20 companies that have launched at DEMO.  I think DEMO provides a ton of value to its demonstrators. 

Does DEMO charge a fee for presenters?  Yes they do.  However, that fee is equal to one or two months cost for a decent PR firm – and I’d like to see that PR firm get you an audience with almost 50 key reporters (from the WSJ, the NY Times, Businessweek, the Associated Press, etc) and dozens of venture capitalists.  And I’ve seen firsthand how DEMO helps companies that can’t afford it – either by making introductions to funding sources or by providing lenient payment terms.  I’ve known Chris Shipley (Demo’s Producer) for years – and she has worked hard to build a well-deserved reputation for integrity, intelligence and humility.  The way she responded to Mike’s announcement is illustrative of her class and style.

I’m a huge fan of both Mike Arrington and Chris Shipley – and I’m fortunate to count them both as friends.  I think they both have built great personal brands.  I think they both offer extremely insightful thoughts on the technology startup scene.  And I look forward to attending both of their conferences…