I have always said that Josh Kopelman is one of the top few marketing and business geniuses in the country. I think we have seen further proof in the last few weeks. Josh has had a simple objective over the last few years: Make First Round Capital the premier early stage fund in the country.
The key here is differentiation. What makes taking money from First Round more appealing to an entrepreneur than taking money from someone else?
Just a few of the things I have seen FRC do:
- Web 2.0 Summit: At the annual Web 2.0 summit hosted by O’Reilly and John Battelle, they had rented out 8 of the 9 conference rooms on the mezzanine level to host breakout sessions. FRC rented out the 9th and created a room for their investment companies to demo their products. They served margarita’s one day and popcorn the next. Every attendee of Web 2.0 passed through that room at some point. It was in that room that the now semi-legendary MyBlogLog/Yahoo introduction was struck by Josh.
- The First Round CEO Summit: This annual event for companies that First Round invested in is an incredibly popular event that gets incredible press. Part of what FRC does well is invite next stage investors to participate and build relationships with FRC and their investment companies. The result is great networking, not just great presentations.
- Now they have rolled out the share exchange program. Regardless of how you feel about this program, for your average entrepreneur, this is really appealing. Every investment they have done prior to investing in your seed stage company has credibility that your company does not: They raised money! The result is that an entrepreneur is essentially offered the chance to trade-up by swapping shares of their company for shares in a larger, more established portfolio of companies at a low price.