Venture Capital Investing
Recent high profile IPO exits by venture capital backed companies have caused a resurgent focus on the asset class. How are VCs adapting to the shifting exit environment? How are VC investors managing the frothiness around valuations in certain parts of the market? What has been impact on venture capital opportunities given the excess supply of capital and recent changes in funding regulations? Outside of technology, what areas are seeing the largest capital inflows? How has the growth of New York as a VC mecca affected the industry?
Dawn Barber is the NY Tech Meetup co-founder and former co-organizer. Dawn has extensive experience in planning and organizing groups and events in and around the New York technology community, having been deeply involved in NYNMA, and also having helped plan the Personal Democracy Forum over the past four years.
Habib Kairouz is Managing Partner of Rho Capital Partners, Inc. (www.rho.com), a private equity firm with $2.5 billion under management and offices in New York, Palo Alto and Montreal. Rho's business units span various classes of private equity investments, including venture capital in early stage and growth equity technology and healthcare companies (Rho Ventures and Rho Canada), and fund investments in all classes of venture capital and private equity funds (Rho Fund Investors). Over the years, Rho Ventures has been a significant early backer of a number of industry-leading venture companies including Capstone Turbine, Ciena, CommerceOne, Compaq Computers, Diversa, Human Genome Sciences, MedImmune, Nitromed, Senomyx, Silicon Graphics, and Vicuron.
Habib is a General Partner in Rho Ventures, the direct venture capital arm of Rho, focusing on multi-stage investments in information technology, new media, telecommunications, alternative energy and healthcare companies. He is also a member of the Investment Committees of Rho Fund Investors, a private equity fund of funds as well as Rho Canada, an early stage venture capital fund focused on Canadian companies.
Habib is a member of the board of directors of a number of companies in which Rho Ventures is an investor. His current and recent board seats include Bluefly.com, Dashlane, Innerwireless, Intralinks, iVillage (sold to NBC), Public Mobile, ReachLocal, Tacoda Networks (sold to Time Warner), Travel Ad Network, Tripod (sold to Lycos), Verified Person, Everydayhealth and Yantra (sold to AT&T).
Prior to joining Rho in 1993, Habib worked for five years in investment banking and leveraged buyouts with Reich & Co. and Jesup & Lamont. Habib received a B.S. in Engineering and a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Danny has worked closely with private early-stage and mature public companies in the communications, media and technology industries for over two decades. He has been active investing in and helping guide several successful entrepreneurial start-ups prior to co-founding Atlantic Venture Partners, the predecessor to DFJ Gotham Ventures.
Danny focuses on investments in financial services, digital and social media, e-commerce, network infrastructure and mobile technologies. Currently, he is a member of the board of Magnolia Broadband, Panvidea, Pivot Solutions, Seamless Receipts, Totsy.com, ViVOtech, Worktopia and Yipit.
Danny led Gotham's successful investment in XOsoft (acquired by CA) and was responsible for Gotham’s investment in Massive through its successful acquisition by Microsoft. Additionally, he sat on the board of Pantero (data integration middleware) through its sale to Progress Software and was a board member of SMART System Technologies (contactless payment and CRM platform). His personal successful investments include SMARTS (acquired by EMC), Insulair (acquired by Georgia Pacific), Active Impulse Systems (acquired by Phillips) and PassLogix (acquired by Oracle).
Prior to co-founding DFJ Gotham, Danny was a senior banker with Lehman Brothers in the Equity Capital Markets groups in both New York and London focused on technology and emerging growth companies. He is a member of the Investment Committee of the endowment fund of the American Friends of The Hebrew University and is the Assistant Treasurer and a member of the National Board of Governors of AFHU.
Danny is a graduate of Columbia University where he received his bachelor's degree in Economics. He and his family reside in Westchester, New York. Outside of work and family activities, he can frequently be found at roughly 10pm somewhere in Westchester playing ice hockey.
Laura is since 1998 a founding General Partner of StarVest, a New York-based venture capital firm with approximately $400 million under management that is funding technology-enabled business services companies throughout the U.S. She has been active with StarVest's investments in Connected Corporation (acquired by Iron Mountain in 2004), MessageOne (software-as-a-service company acquired by Dell Computer in 2008), Newgistics- now the leader in returns management, iCrossing-now the largest privately-held digital marketing services company, Fieldglass (leading human capital management software-as-a-service company), ideeli (one of the leading online members-only, off-price, private sale/event-based retailers in the U.S.), Veracode (first on-demand, application security solution that provides automated application security testing through SaaS delivery model), NewComLink (a payment network platform that connects retail consumers), and Lucid Commerce (improves the performance of direct response television advertising). The firm’s value-added partnership maintains a laser focus on five key emerging technology and services sectors: Software as a Service, Internet Marketing Services, eCommerce Services, Software Security Services and Data Aggregation Services. StarVest gained national recognition in 2007 as the lead venture capital firm in NetSuite, whose December 2007 initial public offering opened with a $1.6 billion market capitalization, the highest market capitalization of any venture capital–backed technology IPO since Google.
Prior to founding StarVest, Laura was responsible for direct private equity investments at Gabelli Securities where she sourced digital media investments in Multex Systems (acquired by Reuters) and the first institutional round of Digital River. In the early 1990's, Laura identified digital media as a growth area and founded Sachar Capital, which sourced Redgate Software (merged into AOL in 1994) as an investment opportunity for its Advisory Counsel.
Laura was the Founding Chairman of the New York New Media Association Angel Investors Program, a professional nonprofit organization in which she assisted hundreds of early-stage New York area companies in accessing initial capital. Laura has a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, a MBA from the Columbia Business School and she is a member of the Young President’s Organization (since 2003).
Neil S. Suslak has more than 20 years of experience in the venture capital and investment banking industries, largely in the energy space. Prior to co-founding Braemar, he worked at S.G. Warburg and Co. and Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) in the corporate finance area and was in charge of the bank's equity capital markets business in North America. During his career, he completed numerous financing and advisory assignments for clients in the energy, communications and transportation sectors.
Mr. Suslak has an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. from The University of Rochester, where he was a member of the Varsity Lacrosse Team. He is a former secretary and member of the executive committee of the Alumni Board of the Rye Country Day School and a board member of the Henry Street Settlement in New York and chairman of the Steering Committee. He is also on the board of directors of the Venture Investors Association of New York (VIANY), the North American Advisory Board of The Cleantech Organization and is a member of the New York City Investment Fund Cleantech Sector, and the Venture Capital Advisory Panel for the Governor’s Task Force on Diversifying the N.Y. State Economy. Mr. Suslak is also on the boards of several Braemar portfolio companies including Enerkem, Inc., Fractal Systems Inc. and Afina Inc. and is an observer to the Board of Directors of Utility Associates, PowerGenix, and Powervation.