Coverflow onstage at Vator Splash Sept. 30

Five more rockin' reasons to attend our celebration of entrepreneurship

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 24, 2010
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Do you want to see a couple venture capitalists from Mayfield and Norwest and startup executives from Blippy and Facebook do their rendition of Lady Gaga's Poker Face? You can, by going to Vator Splash (Sept) next Thursday evening, at Cafe du Nord, in San Francisco.


There's one more week until Vator Splash. We gave you some reasons to attend yesterday. Today, here's five more reasons: Mayfield's Raj Kapoor, Norwest's Tim Chang, Blippy's Phil Kaplan, Facebook's Prashant Fuloria and Ethan Beard. Together, they make up the band - Coverflow.

You won't get many chances to see this group perform and rock out onstage. We first saw them at our last Vator Splash event in May. It was only their second time performing as a band together, which was quite surprising, given how fluid they were.

Once again, they will be gracing our stage at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco on September 30, Thursday, during the afterparty, which starts around 9:30 pm and ends at midnight.

Anyone registered to the event can get into the afterparty for free! Register now before ticket prices jump up on Tuesday. If you just want to attend the afterparty, without a ticket to the main event, it's $10 at the door.

I know what you're thinking. What can you expect to hear?

At Splash, you'll hear some great songs, like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" -  Yes - Raj will be singing her popular song. But don't expect him to be wearing lingerie. The band is also expected to play Green Day's "Basket Case" and Violent Femmes' "Blister in the sun" and The Vapo's "Turning Japanese" - one of my favorites.

You can't miss it. In preparation of their performance, here's an inside scoop on why they're musicians at night, Silicon Valley VCs and executives by day.

When did you start playing an instrument? Never. Learned how to sing in the shower in 1994 at Harvard Business School.

Do you secretly want to be a rock star? Absolutely

Who's your favorite artist? Foo Fighters

What's your favorite song you like to play? Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Did you play in your high school band? No

How is performing onstage, similar to performing your jobs? You are selling as a VC (entrepreneurs, BD partners, recruits, your partners). Performing is a form of selling. 

Favorite genre? Atl Rock

When did you start playing an instrument? I started playing guitar when I was 12, but switched to drums when I was 15.

Do you secretly want to be a rock star?  I think every musician fantasizes about being a rock star.  But realistically, being a professional touring musician is like being a broadway actor, or even a doctor -- there's very little flexibility and you have a super-rigid schedule.  Even though being a startup entrepreneur is a 24-hour-a-day job, it's more flexible, and freedom is important to me.  That said, if Van Halen called me up and asked if I'd join, I'd say "f** yeah."

Who's your favorite artist? My biggest musical influence is a prog rock band called Dream Theater. Though lately I've been listening to a lot of Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Green Day, Matisyahu, and Iron Maiden.  My favorite bands as a kid were Van Halen and Motley Crue.  Growing up I was also really into death metal bands like Deicide and Suffocation. Eminem and Jay Z are great too.  

What's your favorite song you like to play? The crowd really gets going when we play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, which is fun.  "This Love" by Maroon 5 is a really simple song, but it's got such a funky groove that it's really fun to play.  We're also working on a Lady Gaga song (really) that I think will be awesome.

Did you play in your high school band? I was an outcast in high school and played drums in a death metal band called Nefarious that pretty much scared away any potentially normal friends I could have had. Here's a YouTube clip.

How is performing onstage, similar to performing your jobs? I constantly compare consumer internet to music, probably to the dismay of my co-workers.  For example, anyone who works with me has heard me say "this design needs a lead singer" when I think there are too many links drawing attention away from the main task.  In general, making a website that people love is very similar to writing a hit song -- there are some formulas involved, but it's mostly an art.    

Favorite genre? Metal. The heavier the better. 


When did you start playing an instrument? Started playing guitar when I was 10.

Do you secretly want to be a rock star?  Would love to be a rock star. Got a slight taste of it (!) during college days in Delhi, playing for Euphoria (, which later became India’s largest selling rock band.

Who's your favorite artist? Guitar extraordinaire, Steve Vai.  

What's your favorite song you like to play? Still of The Night by Whitesnake. Getting rusty on it though.

Did you play in your high school band? Yes

How is performing onstage, similar to performing your jobs? It’s all about the team.

Favorite genre? 80’s rock


When did you start playing an instrument? Like all good Chinese kids, I started (not by choice) on classical piano at age 7. Quit to play rock guitar instead in high school. Started fooling around on bass a year ago or so.

Do you secretly want to be a rock star? Pursued it seriously since college with various original projects. Closest I got was with CitizenX, my funk-rock outfit that I played with during my Tokyo days. We almost landed a development deal with Sony Music, and toured SE Asia including a stint at the Hard Rock Hotel Bali. I currently play bass with my primary band, BlackMahal, playing Punjabi hip-hop/funk -- we toured Canada this past Spring, performing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and headlining music festivals in Vancouver and Toronto.

Who's your favorite artist? Too many to list! Influences range from Sting to Peter Gabriel, Me'shell ndege Ocello to Tribe Called Quest, John Mayer to Dave Matthews, Miles Davis to Incubus, Seal to Sade, Bassnectar to Thievery Corporation.
What's your favorite song you like to play? Rush's "YYZ" is a fun instrumental jam to cover, as is Living Colour's "Cult of Personality"

Did you play in your high school band?
Played in high school jazz band, pissing off the teacher with over-embellished improvisation :). And of course, the usual after-school groups rocking out INXS, Winger, Van Halen and Joe Satriani at student assemblies and parties

How is performing onstage, similar to performing your jobs? Similar, but sweatier. Also: VC day jobs don't attract any groupies. If anything, there are a lot of the opposite!  :)"Sweatier

Favorite genre? Currently into nu-metal meets dubstep

I've been playing guitar since I was a teenager in high school.

My favorite band is Radiohead although I love lots of different artists and music.

I spend a lot of timing talking and presenting to audiences of all sizes so being on stage playing music has a lot of similarities.  It's nice that we don't have to do a QA session at our gigs.

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Bio: Tim is a proven venture investor and experienced global executive, and was named on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of Top 100 Dealm...