One person I plan to chase down and interview on ‘Panic With Friends’ is Josh Kopelman. In the meantime my friend Patrick O’Shaughnessy has a masterclass interview with him.
My guest today is Josh Kopelman, the founder of famed venture capital firm First Round Capital. Prior to starting First Round, which has invested at the earliest stages in companies like Square, Uber, and Roblox, Josh was a three-time entrepreneur, so our conversation spans early stage investing, business building, and entrepreneurship. I’ll not sure forget his analogy distinguishing between navigators and cartographers, nor the rest of the interesting ideas he shared after seeing and investing in so many great businesses. We also discuss how First Round has bucked the trend to build what I’d call a platform adjacent to the core investing business which does a lot for their entrepreneurs and is a model for other professional investing firms, both in venture and elsewhere. Please enjoy my conversation with Josh Kopelman.
Josh is one of the best in the business. He started founding companies in college and has a beef with conformity.
One of my favorite quotes from the podcast is Josh quoting his partner Howard Morgan on being early:
‘I have made a lot money funding ideas early and I have lost a lot of money funding ideas too early’.
His story of Ebay trying to build a competitor to Paypal offers some great lessons.
For founders he likes to ask:
‘If you could own/dominate one term in Google’s search engine for your product/company, what would it be?’
Josh believes the best investors ask the right questions, they do not steer the ship.