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Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo, General Partner

What he does: Builds the next big idea – sometimes in the middle of the night

What he invests in: Steve invests in products people love, built by entrepreneurs on a mission.

Steve is on the board of directors of Aquion Energy, AutoGrid, Control4 [CTRL], Pocket, Sentient Energy, Beepi and Sunrun.

Past investments include PrivateCore, which was acquired by Facebook.

Steve launched his first startup when he was 13 years old. Steve’s Snowblowing Service taught him what it meant to be entrepreneur -- and to grasp every opportunity he found, even if his hands got cold and numb in the process.

The kid that wanted to be a race car driver grew up to be an entrepreneur who works at the intersection of business, technology, and design. Steve’s innovations have won him over 40 patents and several design awards, including the Business Week Design of the Decade Award, red dot design award 2009, IDEA99 Gold and Bronze Awards, NeoCon Gold and Most Innovative New Product Awards.

He came to Foundation Capital in 2007 from Ning, a social platform he helped launch in 2004 and where he was Vice President of product and engineering. Before Ning, Steve was Director of Engineering at Immersion [IMMR], which pioneered the field of tactile feedback and human touch technology. Previously, Steve was a project leader and design engineer at IDEO, where he developed more than a dozen successful products for market leading companies including Cisco, Nike, BMW, Steelcase, McDonalds, and Caterpillar.

The riskiest thing he's ever done: Compete against my wife in a robotics competition.”

Profile: Steve wants to drive overland to the South Pole from Silicon Valley one day. Until then, he’s happy to build Lego robots with his three children and bicycle with his wife and best friend, Trae. He collects giant slide rules and beautiful manhole covers.

The best advice he ever heard: There is no try, only do.”

Training: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

Steve's assistant: Ashley Kuhl: akuhl@foundationcapital.com