Fund: Kepha Partners
Posted by cereal on 2008-01-17
Jo fought hard to get into our first round. It takes moxie and pull to get a first round completed through a big partnership, and you can't be afraid of first stage risks, of which there are plenty. You have to walk the walk. Jo actually rushed from behind, in terms of due diligence, and he impressed me with his ethics, risk tolerance, connections, and zeal. That was when Jo was with Highland.
When he mentioned starting Kepha, I applauded him since I think Boston desparately needs some smaller funds, which can move more aggressively to grab very early/exciting deals. And Jo can do early stage well.
After his investment was completed in my company (a few years ago), we started to see an amazing amount of value at the board level. I thought he would be helpful, but I frankly underestimated the degree. Jo's personal contribution was critical in helping us recruit other board members, find and hire key executives, help me push for measured growth at the board level, help us land more rounds with more top-tier firms, and perhaps most impressive: my company is still using sales leads which were derived from leads he gave us years ago! Those are things he did for us pretty much solo, by himself.
I highly recommend that all entrepreneur CEO's reference check your prospective funders. You are going to be married to your VC's for a while. The feedback I got for Jo was excellent, and painted the picture of a very different kind of VC. He will work very hard for you, and he won't give up. He has also seen things gone very wrong, as all experienced early stagers have also, and he is known for fair and often generous problem resolutions. That is important to me. Things will go wrong. Finally, he is known for not doing anything rash. I value that too. All that feedback resonates with my personal experiences with him.
Finally, Jo is known for supporting people over several companies, and over many years. He can be a powerful booster for you out there on your next deal, even if he doesn't invest in your last one.
He has a big fan club. Ask around. You can't miss them. That says a lot right there.PRIVATE: Members Only (1628 Characters)