“In the Studio,” Kent Goldman Discusses First Round Capital’s Platform Approach

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil

“In the Studio” continues after last week’s Disrupt conference by hosting a guest who, after various stints in finance, venture capital, and at one of the Valley’s storied Internet companies, joined a small but scrappy early-stage venture firm that, in the past few years, has grown into its successes and pioneered new approaches to investing in young technology companies.

Kent Goldman, now a Partner at First Round Capital, works alongside six investment professionals and six colleagues who work on the firm’s platform initiatives, all spread out between their offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. For an early-stage fund with $135M under management and a portfolio of well over 100 companies, Goldman and his partners needed to find a way to scale their approach. Their solution — to create a platform — turned out to be quite forward-thinking.

In this video, Goldman discusses the steps First Round took to conceive of and build the firm’s platform, based largely on the belief that one of the highest-value items they, as investors, could add was to facilitate discussions between founders they’d backed, both online and offline. Building a platform is the type of move investors are making to reinvent venture capital services in an industry that is being challenged by a number of unrelated forces. This would be an important discussion for early founders and investors considering their choices and/or changes to their model, as First Round’s choices over the past few years have helped position the firm as one of the leaders in early-stage investing.