In the past couple years, exits have been tough to come by. Yet Charles Moldow, General Partner, Foundation Capital, has managed to get a few executed. Charles has taken the lead on roughly 10 investments since joining Foundation in 2005. Four of them - Xoopit, Powerset, Weblistic and AdWhirl - were sold in the past couple years. Powerset was sold to Microsoft for roughly $100 million, Xoopit was sold to Yahoo for $20 million, Weblistic sold to Spot Runner for about $20 million as well, and AdWhirl was sold to AdMob for an undisclosed amount.
In this interview, Charles talks about what Foundation, and, specifically, he invests in.
Charles invests across the board - early to late stage. But he's inclined to invest in the earlier rounds, and his expertise is in "consumer" products. What does he look for in an investment? People.
"We invest in great people first, and big markets," he said. He pointed to Steve Newcomb and Barney Pell (the founders of Powerset) as well as Bijan Marashi and (JK) Jonathan Katzman (founders of Xoopit) as reasons he invested in Powerset and Xoopit. He also pointed to Jim Everingham, founder of Pixazza, as the reason he invested in that company. The conversation with Jim goes something like this, Charles recalled.
"I will support you and write whatever check you need of me," he said. "You tell me the idea when you have it. They had no idea when we invested... It was 100% a people investment."
(Coming up: Segments II and III with Charles, in which he talks about his view on the exit market and the state of the venture capital industry.)