Last week was my last at Corigin Ventures.
Two years ago I was coming off a failed startup and looking for what was to be my first “real job” out of college. Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be entrepreneurial like the rest of my family, but for the first time in my life I wasn’t sure what direction that was going to take me. Broke, experiencing burn out and confidence somewhat shaken, I took a few months to self-reflect and research what I wanted to do next…That decision ultimately surfaced as early stage Venture Capital.
In January of 2015, I was lucky enough to be introduced to and hired by David Goldberg at Corigin Ventures. Two years later, along with Claire and Ryan — we’ve grown the portfolio from 15 companies to 35, refined our vision, launched a dedicated Corigin Ventures website, built out a strong internal infrastructure and now, an ever growing community for our portfolio companies. The opportunity to join Corigin Ventures, the autonomy they gave me, the internal debates they pushed me in regularly and so much more are things that I’ll be forever grateful for.
For my next chapter I’ll be working alongside GLG, Thuzio, Voray, United Hatzalah and AMHF Co-Founder Mark Gerson as a Principal on a number of new projects. Together we’ll be working on a variety of diversified business, investment and philanthropic initiatives. One of which will be a continuation of the seed investing that I have been doing at Corigin Ventures.
Before I make “the jump,” I’d like to acknowledge some of the people that made this experience as incredible as it was and have helped me evolve into the person that I am today:
To David Goldberg — It should go without saying that I owe a great deal to you and will be forever grateful for the opportunity that you gave me. You took a shot on me as your first hire and I hope that I lived up to expectations. You’ve been an incredible mentor, colleague and friend and I’m sure will continue to be. You taught me to have conviction and not to let the noise get to me. You pushed my communication and debate skills like no one has before, and you gave me the freedom to formulate my own strategy and personal brand like few others bosses in venture capital would.
To Ryan Freedman — Without you I wouldn’t have this new opportunity. Nearly every conversation we’ve had over the last two years has taught me something new and you push everyone around you to be better. Your evaluation of deals is the most refreshing perspective that I’ve witnessed in venture and I think it’s a testament to the fact that you’re not stuck in our startup world bubble. I’ve always been impressed by your priorities and practices around self-development and culture, all of which are things that I’ll be implementing in my future roles. You put us in a position to succeed.
To Claire Fauquier — I really couldn’t have asked for a better colleague. Your innate ability to support but push your co-workers, the amount to which you care about the Founders you’re working with, and your ability to evolve your thought processes/analysis are all incredible traits. Witnessing you go from a recovering banker with a model/traction first approach to a Founder-first investor in the last 18 months has been very impressive. You have a lot of skills that other early stage investors don’t have and they can add a great deal of value to your portfolio companies. Thanks for always being there in many aspects. I’m excited to see what you’ll become.
To our Portfolio Company Founders — There are more than 50 of you. While I didn’t get to know or work with every company on an intimate level, I was involved in the decision making process and got to work closely with more than half of you. Initially when I took this job I was most “fired up”about working with and adding value to incredible Founders. Without a doubt I got to work with incredible Founders. Meanwhile, I hope I lived up to my side of the bargain as well.
With that said, the one thing that I did not mention in my first blog post 2 years ago was how excited I was to learn from each of you. Little did I realize how much I would get back in return.
To the Founders that I was “primary” on who allowed us to invest and were open to me working closely with them after coming on board 2 years ago, thank you for everything. From teaching me about lending/credit models to hardware development, fundraising skills and running a board meeting, eSports or bus transportation, each and every one of you taught me something. Although I won’t be at Corigin anymore, I don’t look at this as the end of our relationship at all. I have already reached out to many of you, but for the few remaining I hope that you will always look at me as a resource as I’m always happy to help.
The Rest of Corigin — Not too many people in the startup world understand the relationship dynamics between Corigin Ventures and the rest of the holdings company. However, without you all, my experience would not be the same. The energy that you all bring to the office is incredible. Your willingness to answer questions during diligence on real estate tech or to give us your thoughts on random consumer concepts was extremely helpful. Watching some of you experience VR for the first time was epic and the holidays parties were even more fun. While I want to thank each and every one of you, I especially want to thank Joe, Bill, Angela, Jasmein, Ilya, MK, Arely, Michael, Spencer and Radima who especially made my/our jobs easier with the back office support. Two years of work may not seem like a long time, but the relationships that I made with many of you while at Corigin are ones that I’ll have for life. The opportunity was incredible, but the experience was even better. No blog post could do that justice. Thank you.
As I open up the next chapter of my life I’m excited to continue investing in great Founders and learning from someone who has helped build some incredible companies and non-profits. I owe a huge thank you to my mentors who made themselves available during this process and helped me think through this transition. Until we get things up and running with our new site I’ll be available via email at JShuman@USInvestmentPartners.com. I look forward to connecting.