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Charlie O'Donnell: Our Very Own E.F. Hutton He Talks and NYC Tech Listens!

Fund: First Round Capital

Posted by Sean Black - Founder & CEO, SalesCrunch on 2011-01-10

PUBLIC:

If you remember the old E.F. Hutton commercials and know Charlie then you will appreciate the reference. If not, let me explain - I met Charlie over a year ago through his active involvement in the New York tech start-up community. At the time I was founding VP, Sales at Trulia.com. I told him I was about to start another company but wasn't interested in VC funding yet. We got to know each other over the next few month, during which time he respected my decision and never brought up the funding again. I was impressed with how highly active and giving he was to the community. I was even more impressed with how highly regarded and respected he was by the community in return. In my opinion, the tireless championing of the New York tech community by Charlie, Scott Heiferman (Meetup) and Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures) is a big reason NYC is becoming a start up mecca and a true alternative to the Valley.

I was so impressed with Charlie during those months that he was one of the first people I talked to when I was ready to open the funding gates to VC, despite having been on the founding team of a company backed by Ron Conway, Sequoia and Accel. Charlie had me meet with Chris Fralic that week and pitch at the partner meeting the week after that. We had a check from them two weeks later. While Chris took the board seat as a Partner, I asked that Charlie take a board observer seat, as I knew his deep involvement in the community, ideas and willingness to help would keep us moving forward.

Its been several months and Charlie has lived up to all these expectations and more. He has at least one killer idea for us each time we meet. More importantly, he is willing to leverage his following to help us recruit talent, get the word out and promote our events. In fact, it was Charlie who gave us the idea to host "SalesSchool" events. We decided to do our first event in December with one week notice. Charlie jumped right in to help. He secured the large forum at NYU that holds 400+ people through his connections and promoted the event in his newsletters and in a separate email to his network. We hoped to have 100 people at the event, but we had over 380 people RSVP, largely due to Charlie's help and the fact that when Charlie speaks, the New York tech community listens. He has earned that respect after five or six tireless years supporting and nurturing it.

Yes, Charlie is involved a ton of stuff and is a busy guy. But rest assured he makes deep commitments selectively and invests in them heavily once he does.

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