Fund: Aberdare Ventures
Posted by MartyManley on 2007-11-28
Paul Klingenstein invested in my startup as an angel when he was in transition from Accel and invested four more rounds in Alibris over the next six years.
My first experience with Paul was a nightmare -- for him. I called him to say roughly the following: "as you know, Paul, we are closing our financing tomorrow. But this afternoon, I got a call from a guy who works at the small company I just bought. He advised me that the FBI had just entered our data center with their guns drawn and seized our servers".
I am not making this up.
For most VCs, having the federal government seize your servers would be what is known as a "red flag" -- a hint that perhaps not everything is as we thought and that a touch more diligence would be in order. Especially since your capital is about to be consumed in litigation.
Paul wrote his check. This was not a check from a fund of OPM -- other people's money. This was a very healthy personal check. He had decided that he believed in the business and in the management team, so he would see it through -- and he did.
Paul is better at working with CEOs than any VC I know. He gives thoughtful advice. He is happy to ask if you even want advice. And when the time comes, he is not remotely bashful about beginning a sentence "If you want to remain CEO of this business.....".
Every venture investment is based on extraordinary optimism -- but the test comes when times turn bad. Alibris is not the kind of investment that Aberdare usually makes -- they focus on health care technologies, especially device and drug discovery. Paul frankly does not know much about e-commerce. But he is an experienced financier, he knows how to work with management teams, he is smart, and he brings very strong professional values to the table -- and not every VC can claim that.
Paul has assembled a wonderful team at Aberdare. Jake Odden was consistently thoughtful and Vince Kim and Naheed Ismaili appear to be leading next generation VCs, although I did not work with them directly.
Paul does an annual party with his portfolio companies. At the level of drinks and dinner, these are some pretty happy campers, but that is not data and I do not speak to the folks who don't attend.
Would I use them again" In a heartbeat. If I were a health care technology startup, Aberdare would be my first and second phone call.
-- Marty ManleyPRIVATE: Members Only