Aaron has always been fascinated by technology. At 10, he wrote his first line of code. At 22, he earned a degree in computer science. At 23, he led development of Steve Case’s RevolutionHealth. At 25, he cofounded Hungry Machine, later known as LivingSocial. And since 2015, he’s been a partner at Lightspeed with a focus on consumer technology.
But Aaron’s career in tech nearly wasn’t. In addition to a degree in computer science, he earned a degree in East Asian philosophy, which, after college, took him to Japan. There, he planned to lead his life as a Buddhist monk.
“But,” he says, “I realized my ADD wouldn’t let me sit still for 50 years.”
It turned out to be a good thing. As CTO of one of the first “unicorns,” Aaron helped grow LivingSocial from four employees in 2007 to more than 4,500 in 2011. At its height, the company reached over 80 million consumers, scaled to 25 countries, and hit billions in global sales. The company was later acquired by Groupon.
“After LivingSocial, I took time off to spend with family,” Aaron says. “But I was drawn back to startups, because I loved the excitement of going from a whiteboard to the first million users and more.”
Aaron spent three years as an angel investor and advisor, where he worked closely with 40-plus companies on technology, product, and growth. As a recent founder himself, he realized he wanted to help entrepreneurs full time and was lured to Lightspeed by Jeremy Liew, who not only led Lightspeed’s investment in LivingSocial in 2010, but also served on the company’s board.
Why did Aaron join Lightspeed? “The founders of the fund are still here, they’ve taken dozens of companies to IPO, and there are 20-plus unicorns in the portfolio today—I knew I could bring a unique perspective to the team but also learn a lot from them.”
Still, it’s his recent experience on the founder’s side of the table that affords Aaron insights into the company-building process, from an empty git repository to billions in sales. “I don’t see this as a job,” he says. “I wake up every morning excited to help founding teams build tomorrow, today.”