Aluna, Casana, Kolide, Luma, Markforged, Owl Labs, Trisk Bio
Oculus VR (﹥ Facebook), Ctrl Labs (﹥ Facebook), Echo Nest (﹥ Spotify), Care.com (﹥ IPO), Sqrrl Data (﹥ Amazon)
In 2005 I started a company called Tabblo that Matrix backed and which we sold to HP where I became one of their CTOs. That exit culminated a fifteen year run in startups where I’d begun as an engineer at the beginning of the web and was fortunate enough to manage teams in engineering and product through three companies. So for my first time at the helm, it was important to me to partner with folks at Matrix who could make a CEO out of me.
When I came to the US for school from Venezuela, my entire picture of American culture was framed between Star Wars and the Apple II. Imagine what an amazing surprise it was to learn that I could do entrepreneurship and technology in one career. Up until that point all of the entrepreneurs in my family had done basic staples like food, soap or beer and it took them decades to get to where the world’s greatest lever — technology — could get equally hard working entrepreneurs in just a few years here in the US. Once I figured that out, I was hooked.
When William Gibson wrote that the “future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed” he surely didn’t know about the great hack to that problem that is early stage investing. Every day I meet with founders who are pulling that future forward towards the rest of us and it’s been both an honor and a pleasure to invest in some of them: from intelligent machines (Echo Nest) to personal fabricators (Markforged), from the holodeck (Oculus) to telepresence (Owl Labs) to name just a few.
Services and hardware are turning into software and software is leverage in its purest form — be it for single users or large companies. I’ve spent enough time thinking about this both prior to and during my time in venture that helping founders build companies feels like a great way to pay back for the front seat to the future. And, to provide for other founders what Matrix did for me during my time in the arena.
To that end, one of my favorite insights on how to help as an investor comes from our founding partner, Paul Ferri. He taught me the key to being effective in the boardroom is realizing you're not there to outsmart everyone — but to help during the few critical moments when, whether through experience or because of what you’ve learned from the privilege of being on the board, you can give entrepreneurs just a bit more leverage on what stands between them and the future they are trying to create.
Tabblo, Founder & CEO
The Boston Consulting Group
AB Phi Beta Kappa