NYC, continued

It was grey, cold and a bit raw in New York City yesterday. But rain or shine I love that city and while I visit nearly every week, it feels different every time.

I also was happy to finally meet Cubby Graham. Cubby is one of the most positive people I have ever met. He’s an amazing photographer and does wonderful work at charity: water. Over a cortado, we exchanged stories about our lives, our loved ones and how we got here.

I’m thankful for meeting Cubby and look forward to seeing him again soon.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

A new fund and a new partner

Nine years ago, Todd and Santo decided to start Spark Capital. The idea: to be the very best partner to entrepreneurs as they get their startup going. They asked me, Alex and Paul to join and by the summer of 2005 we were in business with our first fund.

Late last year, we announced our most recent fund, Spark 4 with a total of ~$1.4B under management. And our little company is growing up, from a bunch of guys over a shoe store to an expanded awesome team with offices in New York, Boston and soon in San Francisco. 

The best part of all of this has been the founders we get to work with every day. From the early days we have seen them build insanely great products and companies at Tumblr, AdMeld, OMGOP,, Twitter, Oculus VR and others. 

While we love early stage investing, we have observed a meaningful long term opportunity to also invest in venture growth companies within our existing areas of focus. Some of these companies will be backed by other venture firms in earlier rounds, some Spark will have invested in previously, and some may not have had any institutional financing.  

But the key was finding a partner we could work with to help us with this complementary strategy.

That leads us to Jeremy Philips

We have known Jeremy for many years. Jeremy has an amazing track record as an entrepreneur, a senior executive at News Corporation and a public CEO. He has also been a successful investor in a number of great companies and serves on the board of publicly held Trip Advisor. And he’s a terrific person and a very good friend. 

Jeremy has a passion for the same investment areas we pursue at Spark but with an eye towards growth stage investments. So we decided to join forces.

I’m proud to announce we have raised Spark Growth, a new $375MM fund. Jeremy is now a general partner at Spark, focused exclusively on Spark Growth, and based in New York. Like the rest of us, he will travel anywhere in search of the best teams going after the most compelling opportunities. 

Spark Growth will have a dedicated investment team, based in New York and San Francisco. We are in the process of building out that team, starting with hiring two associates based in New York. 

Many thanks to our limited partners for your continued support. And a deep, heartfelt gratitude to the entrepreneurs in the Spark family. We would be nothing without you. 

AT&T Microcell review (continued)

About 4 years ago, we were living in a different house. Cellular coverage in that house was pretty spotty. At the time I decided to give the AT&T microcell a try.

It didn’t work for me

Fast forward  and we are in a different house. Unfortunately cellular coverage indoors is still spotty. 

Having had enough of dropped calls, I decided to walk over to the AT&T store last week. I asked the sales rep if he had a microcell in stock.

“Yes, we do. They are great. These things get about 5k feet of coverage”

“Wow, that’s awesome!”, I replied. So psyched. Of course 4 years in tech land would mean that my cell coverage woes were over. I handed over my credit card, he put the box in a nice bag and I was out the door. 

At home I opened the bag and couldn’t believe it. The exterior of the box had a picture of the microcell. And it looked exactly like the one I tried in 2010.

Okay, ever the optimist, I thought, they must love this form factor but I’m sure the hardware and software are different.

I was wrong. It’s the same exact device, warts and all. 

I’m (still) crushed. 

These things shouldn’t need a device sitting on my network. They should just gracefully switch from cellular to internet and back with ease.