I wrote here about my decision in May 2014 to limit my focus in Koa Labs to go “all in” on Tamr, referencing it as “the best way to non-incrementally improve Cambridge/Boston’s start-up infrastructure is to create more strong, independent companies that remain independent in the long term.” As Tamr continues to grow, I believe this principle even more strongly today. My great friend Christopher Ahlberg has been a powerful role model as he’s been builing Recorded Future into the leader in cyber threat intelligence. Christopher’s mentorship and the support of all my Tamr stakeholders (especially Rich Miner, Peter Barris, Jerry Held, Lisa Coca and Mike Stonebraker) has been a powerful inspiration for me.
Not surprisingly, as Tamr grows it’s also naturally taking more of my time and needing even more of my focus going forward — leaving me even less time and bandwidth to support the Cambridge ecosystem directly. I’m proud of the portfolio that we’ve built at Koa, and have been looking for indirect ways to continue my support but limit the time/overhead required. Over the past 5 years, I have increasingly relied on my good friends and trusted colleagues at Founder Collective as a way for me to continue to support first-time founders and the Cambridge startup ecosystem while preserving my focus on Tamr. I’m thrilled to formalize this transition by joining as a “Founder Partner” at Founder Collective, a role that is ideally configured for people like me that have a full time startup gig but want to help entrepreneurs. David’s formal announcement is here.
The Koa Labs portfolio is going strong with great companies such as Recorded Future, Upstart, PillPack, Desktop Metal, Twine Health, Openbay, Kuvee and Conjur. While I’m not making direct new investments, I will continue to support these and other companies (although most of them have far outgrown the kind of founder mojo that I bring to the table).