This week, bitcoin startup 21 Inc. emerged from stealth with $116M in venture funding from big name backers including Andreessen Horowitz, RRE Ventures and Qualcomm. Among the co-founders of 21 is Balaji Srinivasan, one of eight general partners at Andreessen Horowitz, who will now move to a full-time role at the bitcoin company.
Venture capital investors entering or re-entering operating roles at startups is nothing new but doing both at the same time is rarer. Kevin Roose, a writer at Fusion, recently stirred the pot with the tweet below. The tweet has since garnered dozens of replies from VCs including Khosla Ventures’ Keith Rabois, Founders Fund’s Geoff Lewis, Greylock’s John Lilly and Freestyle’s Josh Felser among others:
Is this sort of thing kosher? VC firm funding a company started by its partners, while they’re still employed there? http://t.co/4AebsqRiGh
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) March 10, 2015
And so we took a look at 10 such startups that were co-founded by current venture capital investors at the time. Three of the companies have gone public and others have risen to substantial valuations in the private markets (Palantir, Oscar). All 10 of the companies were backed by the venture firms these co-founders were associated with including Thrillist (Lerer Hippeau Ventures) and Workday (Greylock) and OpenDoor (Khosla Ventures).
The list of companies as well as their co-founder/VC links is below.
|Company||Co-Founder/VC Relationship||Total Funding||Outcome|
|Workday||Aneel Bhusri is co-founder and CEO of Workday and has been a partner at Greylock Partners since 1999. Greylock was a Series A investor in Workday.||$195.6M||IPO, Mkt Cap: $15.3B|
|Verisign||David Cowan was co-founder and chairman of Verisgn, which was started at Bessemer Venture Partners, where he was a partner.||–||IPO, Mkt Cap: $7.4B|
|Zillow||Rich Barton is co-founder and executive chairman of Zillow. He joined Benchmark as a venture partner, which he remains to this day, in the same month as co-founding Zillow. Benchmark was a Series A investor in Zillow.||$81M||IPO, Mkt Cap: $6.37B|
|Palantir Technologies||Peter Thiel is co-founder of Palantir Technologies as well as a founder of investment firms Founders Fund, Mithril Capital Management and Valar Ventures. Joe Lonsdale is also a Palantir co-founder and a founding member of VC firm Formation 8. Founders Fund is an early investor in Palantir.||$1.04B||Alive/Active|
|Oscar Health Insurance||Joshua Kushner is founding CEO of Oscar as well as managing partner of Thrive Capital, which has backed Oscar in each of its financing rounds.||$150M||Alive/Active|
|Addepar||Joe Lonsdale is co-foudner and executive chairman of wealth management software platform Addepar and a founding member of Formation 8, a backer of Addepar.||$65.8M||Alive/Active|
|OpenDoor||Keith Rabois is co-founder of homebuying startup OpenDoor as well as a senior investment partner at Khosla Ventures, which was the startup’s lead Series A investor.||$29.9M||Alive/Active|
|Thrillist Media Group||Ben Lerer is a co-founder and CEO of digital media company Thrillist and a managing director at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, which participated in its Series A funding.||$15M||Alive/Active|
|Wildcard||Jordan Cooper is co-founder and CEO of mobile card browser startup Wildcard and a venture partner at Wildcard backer Lerer Hippeau Ventures.||$10M||Alive/Active|
|Spring||Dave Tisch is co-founder and chairman of mobile shopping app Spring and managing partner of early stage fund and Spring backer BoxGroup.||$7.5M||Alive/Active|