I joined Lightspeed ten years ago. It’s been an amazing ride. We announced $1.2bn of committed capital in our latest fund family last month and four of us have been listed on the CB Insights/NY Times list of top 100 Venture Capitalists.
The partners here had made many great investments in consumer companies before then — companies that resulted in successful IPOs like BlueNile and eHealth in the late 90s. But I was the first person to solely focus on consumer investing. Since then, as a team, we’ve been fortunate enough to invest behind the vision of the founders of some tremendous consumer companies across messaging, social media, e-commerce, Internet of Things, marketplaces and gaming. Some of the better known companies in our consumer portfolio include Affirm, Bonobos, DianPing, Giphy, Grubhub, Nest, OutBrain, Oyo Rooms, Playdom, Snapchat, Stitchfix, Nest, Grubhub, TaskRabbit and The Honest Company.
I grew up in Australia and I played rugby when I was younger (and much, much fitter!). I was never very good. But one of the things that rugby teaches you is the importance of relying on your team. Whether you’re trying to win a lineout, rolling a maul, or looking for support as the cover defense closes in, your success and that of your team depends on your teammates being there for you, willing to do the hard yards to have your back.
For that reason I was thrilled when Aaron Batalion joined as my partner in November. He’s the cofounder and former CTO of LivingSocial, and over the past few years has angel invested in companies such as Shyp, LendingHome, Walker & Co, and also sits on the board of a YC alumni ThinAir. His nickname is Tank and I wouldn’t have minded having him as a teammate in my rugby playing days either, holding me up in the scrum!
Today, I’m even more thrilled as we have added two new people to our consumer team. Alex Taussig joined us as a partner from Highland Capital Partners where he spent the last 7 years as a venture capitalist. He led investments in several online marketplace businesses across apparel (thredUP) and real estate (RentJuice/Zillow) and pioneered the firm’s push into emerging sectors like virtual reality (JauntVR). He studied physics and materials engineering at Harvard and MIT and received his MBA from Harvard Business School; so, Alex combines a deep technical background with terrific business and consumer sensibilities, as well as a passion for helping entrepreneurs build their dreams into reality. Check out Alex’s post on joining Lightspeed over on his Medium.
In addition, Jon Steinberg has also joined us, as a Venture Partner. His full time job is CEO of Cheddar, the OTT video company he founded, and where Lightspeed is the lead investor. In addition to his day job as CEO, Jon will be working closely with Lightspeed, bringing his expertise in online media from his time as President of Buzzfeed and CEO of Daily Mail Online, as well as his fantastic connections in the NY tech startup scene.
In Venture Capital as in rugby, a well functioning team is so much more than the sum of its parts. Given that the parts are thought-leaders like Aaron, Alex, and Jon, I am just incredibly excited about Lightspeed’s ability to bring actionable technical, product and strategic insights to the entrepreneurs that we work with.
The last ten years have good to Lightspeed on the consumer side. As a team, the next ten will be even better.