Say hello (and congrats) to our new Partner

One of the things that makes companies work well is when members of the team rise to the occasion. It feels great when you can promote people internally.

We have a bit of a history here at Spark for doing just that. Alex joined us at the very beginning as a Principal and became General Partner with our second fund. Mo came to us as a Principal and then became a General Partner several years later as well.

We met Andrew Parker back in 2007 or so when he was working at Union Square Ventures. We had/have a number of co-investments together and enjoyed getting to know Andrew professionally and valued his perspective.

A few years later Andrew called and told us he was moving to Boston for personal reasons. It was easy to picture him on our team and we were delighted when he officially joined. He started as an Associate and quickly became a Principal

Over the past 3+ years Andrew has become an extremely valuable member of our team. He has led investments in a number of high growth startups like Kik, Upworthy & Quntopian in addition to a number of very promising seed investments like Timehop, Socratic, BloomNation and Panjo.

But his talents go beyond leading interesting investments on behalf of our firm. 

Andrew is a tireless advocate for entrepreneurs everywhere — whether they are inside or outside our portfolio. And his team contributions at our firm range from high level strategy to details like hacking Google Hangout for our needs or fixing our video conferencing system in his spare time. He is always available to help in a moments notice.

I love this guy.

So today, I’m excited to share another internal promotion.

Andrew is now a General Partner at Spark Capital. I’m proud to call him my partner and look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with him for many years to come. 

Why I love recruiting for our portfolio companies

There are several things I consider before investing in a startup company.

The talent and passion of the team. The product. Their vision and the why behind their company. If the product has launched I will certainly look at the metrics of the product/business. 

But in the final moment when I’m contemplating if I’m in or out, I try to picture myself working at the company. Can I imagine working for the founders every single day. 

If I can’t comfortably answer that question positively then I tend to back off.

I’ve made the mistake of investing in a startup with a great team and interesting idea but without a strong connection and it just didn’t work for me.

Maybe I’m doing this VC thing wrong but the way I look at investing is similar to how I would look at it if I was a prospective employee.

In many ways the employee is making a choice with something much more valuable than our venture capital funds — namely, their precious time. 

These days I spend a significant amount of energy helping our portfolio companies recruit the best possible people for their mission.

I love it. It’s one of the favorite parts of this job of mine.

And it feels good to say that every company I work with is one that I would feel fortunate and passionate to work at.