When shopping for funding, a startup company is well served to identify investment firms able to provide resources as well as money to the company. Investors with a team approach among its partners, a network of contacts, and experiences and successes in the technical area, are able to invaluable practical assistance as well as funding to a new company. Investment firms that do this successfully have a competitive advantage over less developed investors. First Round Capital offers another unique advantage.
The keynote speaker at the Building Human Capital to Drive New York’s Innovation Economy was Howard Morgan, Ph.D., a partner at First Round Capital. First Round Capital offers a unique network for its companies to access not only First Round Capital’s team, but also other companies similarly situated. First Round Capital’s website includes a highlight about this competitive advantage: “We’re probably one of the only venture firms with engineers on staff, building new technology to connect our entrepreneurs and wire up our community. That network lets our CEOs ask questions, share content and learn from each other, so better decisions get made faster. Every year brings hundreds of questions and thousands of great answers.” In addition, entrepreneurs have the support of the entire First Round Capital team to provide support on their boards, assist with testing and iterations of products, raising additional capital and providing connections.
In his presentation, Howard Morgan reviewed types of new technology companies, and the “beyond STEM” skills these companies need from their professionals. He spoke about the importance of developing the ability to use knowledge as well as the knowledge, the importance of being able to work in groups or teams, to self-educate, and stay open to change. This is the “beyond-STEM” human capital necessary to transform New York’s research investment into successful companies that contribute to New York’s economic success.
Howard Morgan, Ph.D. is a partner with First Round Capital, a venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia that primarily makes early round investments. He was previously Professor of Decision Sciences at the Wharton School and Professor of Computer Science at the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1985. He has been a Visiting Professor at the California Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School. Dr. Morgan has been President of the Arca Group, Inc. since 1989, working with early stage companies from seed stage through initial public offerings. In 1996 he was a founding investor of Idealab and now serves as a director. He has served on several public company Boards, such as Franklin Electronic Publishers and Internet Brands, Inc. He is Chairman or a member of the board of many private companies including Fab.com, AxialMarkets, and PublicStuff as well as nonprofits like Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and Math for America. He served as CEO of Kentek and Franklin during transitional periods. He was named Delaware Valley Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997. Dr. Morgan received a B.S. in physics from City College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University. He is an author and frequent speaker at industry conferences.