Today's Entrepreneur


Today's Entrepreneur: Duncan Davidson

No. 1 mistake: Timing; Davidson is a managing director at Bullpen Capital

Innovation series by Sylvie Leotin
July 25, 2011
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Vator is the home to entrepreneurs who embrace their passion and follow their dreams. 

Today's Entrepreneur is Duncan Davidson, Managing Director at Bullpen Capital.

Duncan is an investor and serial entrepreneur with a rich background. A self-proclaimed "experiential" -- which he defines as having a bent for experiencing different things rather than doing the same thing over -- he has enjoyed a broad and successful boundary-crossing career.  

Duncan was a computer programmer before going into law. He later found law too "backward-thinking", and decided to go into business. He worked as a venture capitalist, and later as an LBO consultant -- in the golden days of LBOs. Duncan also enjoyed a long tenure at Gemini Consulting, where he advised Apple and many iconic Silicon Valley companies. He subsequently ran Regis McKenna's consulting firm.

After consulting for many years, Duncan eventually got the itch to launch an idea from concept to execution and become an entrepreneur. He founded Covad and Skypilot Network, led InterTrust IPO, and helped form Xumii. Having successfully built and sold several companies, he reached that moment when he asked himself what he was going to do for the next 20 years of his life. He toyed with the idea of starting a radio talk show, but then chose to become a venture capitalist.

Duncan joined VantagePoint Venture Partners, where he spent six years as Managing Director. In 2010, he and Paul Martino, who had been his cohort at several companies, saw an opportunity to fill the gap between super angels and VCs, and decided to join forces to start Bullpen Capital. They teamed with Vator to co-host Venture Shift last week, a conference on the evolving landscape of venture investing.

Outside of work, Duncan likes travel, photography, and has three very creative children. 

In his own words:

You are a(n):


Name companies you've founded or co-founded:

Covad, SkyPilot

Name companies you've invested in:

Livescribe, Widevine, AllVoices, FlashSoft, Assistly

Name startups you worked for:

Covad, InterTrust, SkyPilot, Xumii

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Best doesn't always win.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?


What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Get the whole product right 
Rock star team 
Listen to the market

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Bullpen Capital
Angel group/VC
Description: Bullpen Capital is second round investor who invests in companies previously seeded by the Super Angel funds.
Bio: Duncan is a serial entrepreneur turned venture capitalist who co-founded Bullpen Capital, a seed fund which focuses on the "pos...

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