In the Fall of 2005, I met Louis Toth, Deepak Sindwani and David Horowitz of Comcast Ventures (fka Comcast Interactive Capital) in the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania for an introductory interview. My prior employer, Flarion Technologies, was being acquired by QUALCOMM and I decided to explore new opportunities. For irreconcilable reasons, I decided that staying with QUALCOMM and moving to San Diego wasn’t right for me… after all, why live near the beach with amazing weather and endless nature to explore.
Although I was able to interact with Flarion’s venture investors during my tenure, I wasn’t drawn to pursuing venture capital as I enjoyed being in an operating role. The energy and camaraderie of working at a start-up was enthralling. But that fateful meeting in a dank NYC hotel lobby changed my life in immeasurable ways. I was drawn to how humble and approachable Louis, Deepak and David were, but what piqued my professional interest was a balance between investing and working with entrepreneurs to build businesses.
I was fortunate to get an Associate offer from Comcast Ventures and so I packed my minimal life belongings and moved to Philadelphia, a city that I had only been to two times prior. It was arguably a poorly calculated decision as I had no friends or family in Philadelphia, knew very little about venture capital and knew very little about Comcast. But the Comcast Ventures team that I met through the interview process was inspiring, compassionate and welcoming so I thought, “let’s give it a shot.”
Learning the venture capital business through apprenticeship as an Associate and Principal was incredibly eye opening. For one, investment capital is a commodity; success is a function of time management, establishing rapport with entrepreneurs, and forensic diligence into unexpected downside and upside potential. When I became a partner with “check-writing” ability, the thrill of success and failure crystalized. The first deal that I pursued with conviction was Vox Media (fka SB Nation). Hustling to conduct diligence, build a relationship with CEO Jim Bankoff and then convince my partners to trust me on my first deal ever was all consuming. Ultimately winning the deal was incredibly gratifying and I went on to win and lose many deals. But working with entrepreneurs post investment through the typical ups, downs, lefts and rights was the most gratifying.
5,383 days later and that initial feeling that I had about Comcast Venture is unshaken. Comcast and Comcast Ventures by extension, is a family business of remarkable people. Through my 15-years at Comcast Ventures, Comcast grew as a company, Comcast Ventures grew as a venture capital fund and I grew as a person and a professional. I gained friends and a family, and eventually moved from Philadelphia, to New York and then to San Francisco. I was empowered to be creative, empowered to work across the organization to effectuate change, empowered to advance Comcast and Comcast Ventures and empowered to speak-up when I disagreed. Now that’s pretty cool! The opportunity to work at Comcast Ventures is a source of pride.
And so, when I was debating whether to accept a new role externally, it was the toughest decision of my life. Footnote, the decision to marry my wife was easy
As I transition out of Comcast Ventures, I will forever cherish with admiration the amazing people of this organization. Comcast Ventures has had a profound impact on my family and for that, I will be forever indebted.