Happy birthday, Spark #10years

Exactly ten years ago today we launched Spark Capital

If memory serves we came up with the name at our partner Todd’s apartment one night over a bottle of wine. 

The other names were pretty boring. The one other leading candidate was the school newspaper where Todd went to high school. It was a horrible name. We debated, made jokes, had some laughs and debated some more. And we made a decision as a team. The firm was going to be called Spark Capital. Once we made the call we never looked back. 

We don’t make decisions over wine these days, and our team has expanded quite a bit over the years, but we still make team decisions with the same passionate debates and our sense of humor is alive and well.

We had so many ideas about what we wanted to be when we grew up. What types of startups, how we would invest, how we would treat founders, and how we wanted to change vc industry norms. We learned so much together through our shared mistakes, success and luck along the way. 

I am proud of these last ten years. In every possible way the journey has exceeded my wildest expectations. I can’t believe I get to work with our team every day. I’m thankful to our limited partners that backed our first fund and each fund since. And I’m especially grateful to the founders that have given us the opportunity to serve them. It is a true honor and privilege. 

And a special shout out to our families who have supported us over the past ten years. All the crazy travel and late night meetings seemed endless at times. I know it hasn’t been easy and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

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https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196464558/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Yesterday @nabeel and I recorded the 20th episode of our podcast Hallway Chat. During the podcast we also broadcasted the video live with Periscope which is in private beta but here’s a dropbox link to the video 

Show topics include:

-Live mobile video streaming apps: Periscope and Meerkat
-Apple Watch
-the state of valuations and financing in startup land

Thanks for listening 🙂 

http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/153580080/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Todays show, @nabeel and I talk about our favorite new iOS apps (timeshel, swell, fobo), the Kinect for Windows announcement, the implications of the Uber round, & a quick recap on WWDC.

As always, please send us your feedback and suggestions for next week’s (ish) show 🙂

http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140989350/stream?client_id=N2eHz8D7GtXSl6fTtcGHdSJiS74xqOUI?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

Hallway Chat #18 with Nabeel Hyatt (@nabeel) and Bijan Sabet (@bijan)

Today’s show: “What does Sony’s entry to VR mean for Oculus? Plus Calendars, Secret, and Reed Hastings latest moves.”

We recorded this show Friday afternoon but finally had a chance to post it today. Please send us your feedback and suggestions on topics  you would like us to cover on our next episode!

Getting the band back together

I had intended to write about about our most recent investment in 1stdibs today.

But between the press coverage, my partner Todd’s post, and my colleague David Haber’s guest TC post on marketplaces…well, I think it’s well covered. 

So instead I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite things — getting the band back together. 

One of the hardest things to do in startups is putting a team together. It’s always nice when you can bring a team back together that has worked well in the past. Before I became a VC, I had this experience of working in Silicon Valley with the same team back to back in different companies. It’s a joy.

And when we started Spark Capital, it was similar. I had previously worked with my partner Santo at Charles River Ventures. He was a partner over there and I was an entrepreneur in residence. 

The 1stdibs investment is also bringing the band back together. We previously backed the 1stdibs CEO David Rosenblatt at Group Commerce which he cofounded and is chairman. And we were on a board together at Twitter.

I’m delighted we continue to see the band being put together again across our portfolio in recent months. 

A few additional examples:

Our recent investment in Lift, has me and Ev on a board together again after we were on the Twitter board together for more than 3 years. 

John Maloney served as Tumblr’s President has now joined the board at Storenvy (we are investors in Storenvy). 

Earlier this month we announced our investment in Picturelife. The founder & CEO Charles Forman was previously the founder at OMGPOP which we backed. 

Ran Harnivo was the cofounder and CEO at 5min which was acquired by AOL. We were investors in 5min and Ran joined the board of another Spark portfolio company, Onswipe, earlier this year.

Fareed Mosavat worked with my partner Nabeel at Conduit and Zynga and just joined Runkeeper as head of product. 

There are other examples for sure but all of this came to mind as I was thinking about 1stdibs. We are delighted to be investors in the company. It’s an exciting one for sure. And I’m personally delighted that we are back together again with David Rosenblatt.

RunKeeper

At Spark Capital, we have always believed that one social graph was insufficient. 

And we have put our money where our mouth is investing in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Boxee, Svpply, Exfm and others. A passionate focus from the founders + targeted engaged community is something we care a great deal about. 

We like it even better when the service is targeted directly at the user

Boston based RunKeeper is a service that represents all of this goodness.

Jason Jacobs is a man on a mission. He’s completely possessed and his passion is infectious, as anyone who knows him will tell you. 

Jason and his team built one of the first iphone apps just as the as the app store launched. They were focused and built RunKeeper as the best way to keep track of your fitness and wellness. Today they have over 6 million users

The vision was always bigger than an app. Recently the company launched the Health Graph API so third party apps and devices can integrate. Getting the platform in the hands of developers is smart and they are seeing lots of support from the community. 

I’ve also been a big fan Runkeeper as a user.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that last week we became investors and led a new round of financing. We were joined by Revolution Ventures (founded by it’s Chairman Steve Case and AOL’s cofounder) and existing investor Bryce Roberts at OATV. 

If you haven’t already, give RunKeeper a try!