Author Archives: Paul Holland

Announcing FCT3

Posted by Paul Holland

PrintIt was 30 years ago this week that I arrived in Silicon Valley to start my first job out of school. Over those years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have helped build two exciting startup companies with two great CEOs, Reed Hastings and Mark Gainey. As a VC, I’ve advised companies that started out with a simple idea, and are household names today. For example, I spent five years helping Dan Rosenweig and his team at Chegg build a company oriented to helping young people save money to pay for their education.

I meet brilliant minds at work, there’s no doubt. But the minds that truly amaze me are the ones I meet at home everyday. I have three teenage daughters, and they have a way of looking at the world that often leaves me astonished.

I expect to have a similar reaction when I listen to the teens who will be visiting our office in Menlo Park to talk about tech at our FCT3 event on October 2nd. We have invited students from several Silicon Valley high schools to talk about how they relate to tech — and its role in their future. We care about what they think — and we want to hear what they have to say.

It isn’t a contest. It isn’t the Tech Bee. It’s just a platform to share ideas, viewpoints and to talk about trends, and to imagine the future –together.

This isn’t new for us at Foundation Capital. We believe in mentoring young people. I founded the Young Entrepreneurs Program in 2010 as a way to bring young graduate students participate in the process of identifying exciting new startups. Now, we’re going a step farther. And I’m very excited about it.

Here’s the formal press release:

FOUNDATION CAPITAL TO BRING TEENS TOGETHER TO TALK TECH AT FCT3 EVENT

October event to feature students talking technology with industry leaders from Netflix and Instagram

Menlo Park, CA – September 3, 2014 – On October 2, 2014, Foundation Capital, a leading Venture Capital firm in Menlo Park, will host its second Teen Tech Talk, or FCT3. The event gathers students from Silicon Valley high schools together to talk about how they view and use technology, what trends they see fading and rising, and their own vision for the future of different industries.

At the event, students will hear from leaders at companies they admire such as Netflix and Instagram, and will have the opportunity to “pitch” their ideas to a panel of media and investors about their views on the future of technology and the innovation they hope to drive. Students can choose to discuss any trend that matters to them, whether it’s communication, entertainment, healthcare, or technology.

Foundation Capital has been investing in young startups and young leaders for more than 18 years. Its Young Entrepreneurs Program helps build relationships between graduate students and top schools and startups in order to pave the way for brilliant careers. Schools represented in the 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Program include Stanford, Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, University of Chicago, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, and Berkeley.

“Foundation Capital is deeply committed and passionate about supporting education and the next generation of innovators. I founded the Young Entrepreneurs Program to bring young grad students into the venture capital process and help them to help us source new ideas.” said Paul Holland, General Partner at Foundation Capital. “As the father of teenagers, I was inspired to create an event with the primary goal of listening to what young people have to say.”

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Thursday Oct 2, 2014

Time: 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: Foundation Capital, 250 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park

For more information: https://www.eventfarm.com/FCT3

About Foundation Capital

Foundation Capital is dedicated to the proposition that one entrepreneur’s idea, with the right support, can become a business that changes the world. Foundation Capital has helped companies like Atheros create the mobile Internet, EnerNOC invent the energy demand response market, and Netflix revolutionize media distribution and consumption, among many others. Foundation Capital is currently invested in more than 80 high-growth ventures in the areas of consumer, information technology, software, semiconductors, and clean technology including BoardVantage, Chegg, Coverity, Lending Club, Simply Hired, Sunrun, and Venafi. Foundation Capital’s twenty-two IPOs include Control4, Envestnet, Financial Engines, Netflix, NetZero, MobileIron, TubeMogul, Responsys and Silver Spring Networks. For more information, visit http://www.foundationcapital.com.

MobileIron is Poised to Lead the Way to Mobile First

Posted by Paul Holland

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If there’s one thing better than being in the right place at the right time, it’s having great relationships with entrepreneurs who always seem to be in the right market at the right time.

That has defined our relationship with MobileIron, which has just announced its IPO.

Four years ago, I got a call from John Donnelly – a friend and former colleague who has worked closely with me on several startups. John had just joined MobileIron as VP of sales, and he was getting ready to take their mobile IT platform to market in a serious way. “You’ve got to find a way to get involved in this company,” he said.

I quickly got in touch with CEO Bob Tinker and the founding team. Within a few weeks, Foundation had successfully pitched an offer to lead MobileIron’s Series C round.

In just a few years, MobileIron has grown faster than any other enterprise company I’ve worked with. Today, they have more than 6,000 enterprise accounts – including more than 350 of the global 2,000.

There are many factors behind this growth.  First and foremost is MobileIron’s world-class talent – from the founding team to the executive team, to the outstanding sales team John leads today.  I particularly enjoyed working with the board, which included representatives from Sequoia Capital, NorWest Venture Partners, Storm Ventures, and Institutional Venture Partners.

In addition, MobileIron has been perfectly aligned with the right market from the very beginning. The company first launched their mobile security and IT management platform at the same time as the iPhone and Android devices were beginning break BlackBerry’s virtual monopoly on enterprise users. As users increasingly brought their own devices to work, MobileIron was perfectly positioned to take advantage.

At Foundation Capital, we couldn’t be more proud of MobileIron’s impressive growth.

For my part, I’ve been happy to be a part of their journey and to help in ways I could.  In the early days of our relationship, we made sales calls on behalf of John and his team, helped recruit key executives and partners, and helped scout three important acquisitions – including the acquisition of another Foundation Capital company.

In the process, MobileIron has grown to become one of the strongest companies in the space.

As more and more companies embrace mobility as a primary computing platform and transform the way they do business, MobileIron is becoming more and more indispensable to them – and to the future of mobile work.

At Foundation Capital, we pride ourselves on helping build great, market-shifting companies. MobileIron has already proved it is both of those things, and that their IPO begins an even more exciting chapter in their remarkable story.

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Congratulations, Coverity!

Posted by Paul Holland

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Congrats, Coverity!

By Paul Holland

Nearly 10 years ago, I received a call from a former colleague, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, with exciting news.  John Hennessy, now president of Stanford University, had discovered at Stanford four incredibly bright computer science students and their professor, who had invented a new way to find errors and security vulnerabilities in complex source code.

Reed made introductions, and soon I was hearing about the product – Coverity Prevent – straight from the group’s leader, Seth Hallem.

Our network of relationships further affirmed just how exciting Coverity’s work was when Aki Fujimura,  another friend of Foundation Capital and early board member at Coverity, also introduced my partner Mike Schuh to the company.

It was clear early on that Seth and his team had a fantastic product – one poised to usher in a fundamentally new generation of software development technology.

In 2006, Coverity invited Foundation Capital to lead its Series A investment, and I joined the Board of Directors. Bruce Dunlevie from Benchmark Capital took an observer seat, and his  insight proved invaluable in helping to scale the company. In just a few years, Coverity’s client list grew to include 7 of the top 10 aerospace and defense companies, 9 of the top 10 technology hardware companies, and hundreds of Global 2000 companies who have come to rely on the Coverity platform to protect their brands and their bottom lines from software failures.

What began in a Stanford computer lab with four college students and their professor has grown to become the trusted standard when it comes to developing a secure infrastructure for the modern global economy. And today, we are excited to announce that Coverity has been acquired by Synopsys.

This is more than a monumental day for the company and a vote of confidence in the work of CEO Anthony Bettencourt and his team – it also represents a strong statement by Synopsys. In the development testing business, Coverity is second to none. And together, the two make an  extremely powerful combination.

Our relationship with Coverity has been more about an investment of time, energy, and support than actual dollars. To help Coverity commercialize and grow its client list, Foundation helped recruit the entire management team, introduced them to key strategic partners and customers, and also connected Coverity to the significant players at large financial institutions. In doing so, we leveraged longstanding relationships and institutional knowledge developed over years of helping companies go from being nascent to being dominant.

Coverity’s success is an affirmation of Foundation Capital’s commitment to seeking out the best ideas being generated at educational institutions like Stanford, and to building the lasting  relationships that can turn those innovative ideas into world changing companies.
Our investment in Coverity is one in a long line of successful ventures that began in university environments – including Financial Engines, Atheros Communications, EnerNOC, and others.

Foundation’s Young Entrepreners Program, whereby graduate students think and act like VCs on campuses across America, is also in service of our commitment educational institutions. The program gives students a chance to identify promising ideas, provide analysis, pitch ventures, and develop relationships with the entrepreneurs who are dreaming up tomorrow’s game-changing technologies.

So while Coverity is unique, I strongly believe its path to success is not. In the coming years, we’re going to hear more and more success stories like theirs.

In the meantime, we at Foundation offer our heartiest congratulations to Anthony and the team at Coverity as they embark on this new chapter.

Celebrating Chegg

Posted by Paul Holland

When I was first introduced to Chegg  several years ago, the company’s original concept was to be a Craigslist for college students. But soon after launching, the founders discovered that what people needed more than anything else were used textbooks.

At the time, it was far from certain that a business could be built around distributing used textbooks.  After all, most people felt that need was being adequately met in the dusty backrooms of college-town bookstores. However, standing here today at the New York Stock Exchange celebrating the company’s IPO, I can say that we have once again seen the success of an approach that involves more than simply funding a company and hoping for the best.  In the course (pun intended) of working with Chegg for the past several years, we began to see striking parallels between Chegg and other iconic companies that had found success.

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