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Clearstone Venture Partners  CERTIFIED

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.5 / 5.0 by 30
Track
Record
3.3
Operating
Competence
3.4
Pitching
Efficiency
3.3
Favorable
Deal Terms
3.7
Execution
Assistance
3.7

Firm Homepage:

FIRM OVERVIEW: Medium Private VC founded in 1997 based out of Santa Monica, USA (US West)

FIRM DESCRIPTION: Early stage technology focused fund looking to back strong founders with market changing businesses. Target industries include internet, software, communications, and mobile.

TEAM MEMBERS: Bill Elkus, David Stern, Erik Lassila, Jim Armstrong, Leonid Kazovsky, Steven Kan, Sumant Mandal, Vish Mishra, William Quigley,

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Very Slow to Respond

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Wentil on 2012-07-16

PRIVATE: Members Only (1314 Characters)

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Not Interested in Social Network Plays

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-07

PUBLIC:

These guys have a great portfolio but are not sure of facebook application based startups. I got a quick response and they said they are uncertain of exits for these kinds of plays.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Great VC to Have - India & US Presense Works Very Well

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-19

PUBLIC:

I raised series A from Clearstone Venture Partners for my forth Company in India, and while I was spoilt for choice amongst VC's to choose from, (this was March 07) Clearstone truly stood out for me. Rahul Khanna - the India partner has worked in start up's as well as large business formats in the US and India and really understands the ground realities of business. He is well connected in India and funnels some high quality contacts and resumes to his invested companies. Sumant Mandal who is US based and also on my board has a vast experience of investing in start up’s and imparts high quality of board guidance. His connections in the US often shine. The duo makes a great team and it’s a pleasure having them as partners. They set the right benchmarks, are flexible, and while they ask tough questions, they also provide high quality of solutions to entrepreneur problems. They would be the ideal ‘go to’ VC

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Great Fund: Solvency Issues

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-03

PUBLIC:

There is no question that Clearstone is a top tier fund in an under-served market. Word on the street is that they have been trying to close a new fund for too long, and the firm is facing solvency issues.

PRIVATE: Members Only (178 Characters)

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Pitched Steven, Sumant & Dave

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by kickinit on 2008-11-01

PUBLIC:

Really liked Sumant, helped we had a mutual and although meeting went well, initially found Steven a little arrogant and follow-up pitch to Dave, he was definitely arrogant. Still, pitches went really good. Didn't think we could pitch the product any better, alas, they took a pass.

PRIVATE: Members Only (170 Characters)

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Good Quick No, and Thoughtful Comments

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by KuH on 2008-08-13

PUBLIC:

Just pitched William Quigley. He listened well, asked questions when he didn't understand, and focused in on key issues well. I also appreciated the honest feedback on what the key issues were with our pitch.

PRIVATE: Members Only (314 Characters)

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Good Feedback

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by JamesMc on 2008-07-03

PUBLIC:

Their associate Steven called me out of the blue and wanted me to go through our pitch (we're in online content). It wasn't the ideal situation to be pitching: over the phone, no notice, but I went with it. Steven seemed to have a good idea of the space and asked some good questions and gave some good feedback.

PRIVATE: Members Only (128 Characters)

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Interested but Not Ready to Talk Seriously

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by rcwhiting on 2008-04-07

PRIVATE: Members Only (287 Characters)

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Liked the Team, Disagree with Their Business Mo

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-23

PUBLIC:

I had an introduction to them and really liked them. They took the time to do the right research and asked good, intelligent questions.

PRIVATE: Members Only (334 Characters)

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Your Mba School VC

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-21

PUBLIC:

We pitched to Sumant, This guy has no technical clue, he kept asking boiler plate MBA school questions. Also no real world logic either. I wish he would have invited a technical guy along. Stay away on Semi-space from these guy's.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Top of My List

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-15

PUBLIC:

For frame of reference, in the past few weeks I completed a successful Series B funding process where we were able to meet all of our targets. While I came into Clearstone with an introduction, I had no prior relationship with the firm or its partners. I can say without reservation that of more than a dozen firms I met with, Clearstone was the best experience I had. Jim Armstrong was prompt, professional and direct from the first meeting. No games, no posturing - just a professional investor interested in entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ideas. The team we interacted with, including Phil Ressler and Anil Patel, were absolutely top notch - I would look forward to working with folks like this over the long term. One of the best pitching and due diligence experiences I have ever had - I highly recommend Jim and Clearstone if you are pitching a big idea.

I was not solicited by anyone to write this review.

PRIVATE: Members Only (96 Characters)

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Who is in Charge?

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-19

PUBLIC:

Clearstone is widely regarded as one of the best funds in Southern California. Jim Armstrong is clearly the reason. Jim is a great guy. The problem is that Jim often refuses to take a stand with his partners. Bill E. and William Q. are fundamentally different personalities and have a very different view from Jim. As a result it is tough to understand who is really in charge and who you should pitch. Going to Clearstone without having Jim involved would be a mistake but keep in mind that you *also* need to spend time with the other partners. They are smart investors with a relatively good track record and reputation. They are just a bit quirky. I also think that this issue will get better in time as Jim takes a more prominent role and gets more comfortable taking a firmer stand with his partners.

On a personal note, everyone at Clearstone is very nice. They are smart and can be great validation in addition to a good long term investor. They tend to be a bit emotional at times (so be sensitive to this) and they do have a bad habit of going dark for weeks at a time which is always extremely frustrating when you are trying to close a financing.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Co Founder of Spock.Com

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by jaybhatti on 2007-10-28

PUBLIC:

The Clearstone team has a good combination of consumer internet balanced experience with business know-how.

David Stern is one of the most detailed and engaging VCs to work with. He takes the time to understand your business model and give proactive advice and introductions to the right people. He focues on the right issues.

William Quigley, given his deep experiences is really good at helping us think through strategic issues affecting the business. From business development to boardlevel decisions, William's experience and his mentality to do what's best for the company is really valuable.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Not a Good Experience

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-22

PUBLIC:

Vish was quick to respond and fixed up a time to interact. Never called up at the appointed time and the secretary mailed to indicate that he was busy. Then finally called after an hour only to say that he is running late for another meeting. Less than 10 min chat with no response later.

PRIVATE: Members Only (338 Characters)

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Professional and Courteous

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-08

PUBLIC:

Met with this firm very recently and only have positive things to say. Our team was impressed with their team and their thoughtful approach to our presentation. They asked good questions and followed up with additional ones.

PRIVATE: Members Only (361 Characters)

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Clearstone Silicon Valley Office

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-08

PUBLIC:

David Stern is very aggresively trying to build Clearstone's presense in seattle and the valley given their traditional LA focus. As a former entrepreneur, he's very understanding of the challenges that come with running a company. Good guy - absolutely always looking to help his companies. Very, very smart with regards to online advertising - probably one of the best thinkers in the VC space when it comes to online advertising.

PRIVATE: Members Only (433 Characters)

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Phil Ressler

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by ricey on 2007-05-05

PUBLIC:

Phil has strong operating experience which is rare for a VC. He works most closely with Jim Armstrong and helps package his deals.

PRIVATE: Members Only (490 Characters)

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Focus on Jim

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09

PUBLIC:

Jim has a great reputation, but some of the others are less valuable.

PRIVATE: Members Only (134 Characters)

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Peter Lee at Clearstone is Top Notch.

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by primefactor on 2007-04-26

PUBLIC:

Clearstone is an excellent firm and I strongly recommend Peter Lee who is an associate there. He is an extremely sharp guy that understands business and technical aspects equally well. If your idea/company is really good and you are having hard time with 2nd tier VCs, approach him. He will get it and if he likes what you are doing, you will receive a lot of hlep and he will become your champion inside Clearstone. You will need that help as top tier firms like Clearstone get way too many pitches every day. Watch out for him, in a few years he will be one of the big names in VC world.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Had Choices; Glad I'M with Clearstone

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by sv on 2007-04-19

PUBLIC:

Clearstone and specifically William Quigley have been relentless supporters of my company. Clearstone thinks big and helps bolster early stage ideas into standalone businesses. I interact with a few of the portfolio companies and everyone feels the same way. Quigley is a great guy, deeply interested in the dynamics of the business and has seen just about everything before. This is important because he is the type of guy that just wants things on the table so they can be addressed. If you can get in I'd seriously consider going this direction.

PRIVATE: Members Only (621 Characters)

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Vish Mishra is Useless

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by FounderBelle on 2007-04-17

PUBLIC:

Vish is all talk and no substance.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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La Fresh

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-03

PUBLIC:

Clearstone is a refreshing firm to work with. They represents the best out of the idealab concept and have a team that is an ideal combination of experience and motivation to succeed. Unlike some Valley VC's, their egos have not outgrown their desire to be involved and be truly helpful. They are well balanced with presence inside the Valley, LA and India. I have been impressed with their extended network and outreach.

PRIVATE: Members Only (746 Characters)

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Great Firm that Really Backs Their Entrepreneurs

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Max232 on 2007-03-24

PUBLIC:

Jim Armstrong gets behind big ideas and doesn't flinch when the going gets tough. It's been a pleasure to have him as my investor and board member. The extended team at Clearstone has been very generous with their time and relationships.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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CEO Portfolio Company

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-03-23

PUBLIC:

Bill Elkus has been very helpful to me in thinking through issues I face as a CEO of an early stage company. I particularly appreciate his sharing of thoughts on how different constiuents (investors, me as CEO, founders, employees) will view a situation versus having a narrow "investor" point of view. The broader team at Clearsotne has also been extremely helpful providing our company great connections to people and comapnies that have been helful.

Big thumbs up on Bill and the firm.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Hungry, No Nonsense, Entrepreneur Friendly

Fund: Clearstone Venture Partners

Posted by naval on 2007-03-22

PUBLIC:

Easy to work with, move quickly, believe in and back entrepreneurs. I go to Jim Armstrong *first* with any deals or funding requirements. Yes, they're not as branded, but in general branded VCs are very controlling.

PRIVATE: Members Only (126 Characters)