Month to month shared office space available in Cambridge

Mass High Tech is reporting that my company, OfficeDrop, has some extra office space available in our new facility in Cambridge. They are right!! While we hope to grow into this space eventually we’d like to offer desks, chairs, fast internet connections, diet coke and coffee to other startup(s) in the area looking for some month to month office space.

We’ve got four spaces available, two that are small and would be great for a single worker (but these spaces can handle two workers who are friendly!) There are also two larger spaces that can fit three to four comfortably. Probably actually three comfortably and four OK.

We are located a healthy walk from the end of the red line at Alewife. Since we’ve been here there has been well available, free street parking. A Whole Foods, Trader Joes, CVS and Chipolte are a short drive away from the space.

Ping me at healy (at) officedrop (dot) com if you are interested in learning more.

Read More

Wishing Healy Jones the best of luck!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Healy Jones all the best and a great success in everything he will do beginning 5 PM this evening.

If you are reading this, you may already know that Healy is leaving Atlas Venture to work with startups. You see a lot of entrepreneurs giving up startups and joining VCs but not the other way around. I am sure Healy is nervous but having known him for about 4 years and having worked with him on a number of different projects, I believe he will do fine and come out on the top.

I got to know Healy while at Wharton School when working together on building the Follies Set. He is one of those few people who once commits to something will give it his 100%. In the last 20 months since founding Pixily, Healy has been a great sounding board and a trusted friend. Even though he is (was) a VC, I never hesitated in asking him questions that people would rather not ask a VC. He always gave his honest opinion and objective input. If you have interacted with him, you will know what I am talking about.

In the last couple of months, he has been helping us at Pixily by working on some marketing initiatives. We enjoyed having him on board and I am looking forward to working with him everyday.

Healy, wish you all the best!

Read More

Leaving venture capital

Those of you know me well have probably heard the news over the past few months, but this is more of a formal, general announcement: this Friday will be my last day with Atlas Venture. I’ve been having discussions with a number of people I trust in the Boston area technology startup and venture scene and think that this is the right time to exit the venture industry finally try my hand at something entrepreneurial.

Leaving the comfort of a venture/investing gig is a pretty big deal for me – finance is pretty much all I’ve known, and getting a VC position has been a career goal for a long time. When I was a baby investment banker in San Francisco at the tail-end of the dot.com boom I remember meeting with venture capitalists and thinking, “man, how do I get that job?” I worked my down the capital structure, doing some buyout investing at a small fund in San Diego and then later-stage technology investing at Summit Partners. As the end of my two year position at Atlas approached I did a lot of… soul-searching is not the right word, probably navel-gazing is more appropriate. Anyways, I realized a few things:

  1. I spent my whole life learning how to be the best at finance, but the world of finance just committed harakiri (or as my friend says, “Harry Caray.”) It might be a good time to learn some new skills! One of my partners always says “is this the planet we want to land our spaceship on.” He’s talking about if we, as investors, want to get involved in a particular industry. Putting that same sort of analysis into venture makes me very afraid for the industry over the next few years. I think I’ll direct my spaceship away from Planet VC for now…
  2. VC is less fun these days. I went into technology banking @ H&Q because I loved the idea of working with young technology companies. And I still love the rush of hearing about a new technology and working with an entrepreneur building a dream. These days, there is a ton of effort is being spent re-sizing existing portfolio companies and doing downrounds. Sure, some new investments are still getting done (and Atlas is in a very solid state to make new investments, with a new fund and committed partnership). But all the Excel cap-table anti-dilution modeling and nasty negotiations with co-investors over companies that aren’t meeting expectations just isn’t enjoyable, and it isn’t really why I got into venture in the first place. I’d love to spend more time growing companies, but given the pressures that any VC with an existing portfolio must be having right now the best place to help grow a business, for me, is going to be within an actual startup.
  3. The best venture capitalists that I have interacted with have all helped grow businesses. They have a very different grasp of a company’s strategy. My finance training of “let’s look at the metrics” will hopefully be useful in the real world, but I know I’m lacking some of the experiences that would make me grow up to be a great venture investor. I’m not sure that I will want to be a venture investor in 10 years, but even if I do want to be one I need to broaden my skill-set.
  4. My opportunity cost is very low. The venture industry is shrinking. Well-known fund after well-known fund is cutting the next fund’s size. There are going to be fewer VC positions out there, and I’m willing to bet that compensation has to come down. While headhunters have started calling again with VC jobs, I’m not yet convinced this just isn’t a head-fake.
  5. This is the right time for me to take some smart risks. I’ve got a great sugar-momma in my wife, so we can afford for me to try to get something new running. And if I fail, well, let’s hope I follow my own advice and fail fast.
  6. Most importantly, I’ve always wanted to help grow a business! My wife works at a great startup, Hubspot. In the morning, when our alarm clock goes off, I’m jealous of what she gets to do that day. It’s my turn to do something fun and crazy and emotional!

I know there is a very good chance I’m going to suck in the real world. I don’t have the hard skills or experiences to be certain that I’m going to succeed. I’m sure if you listen carefully next week, you’ll hear the none-too-gentle thump of me hitting reality, hard. Venture is a cushy job, probably in more ways that I currently realized. But it’s time for me to stop being a “thinker” and to become a “doer.”

I’m ready to step up the passion. Most of the really great investors that I’ve worked with have been amazing at dispassionately evaluating investments. Emotions can cloud the rational calculations and thoughts that go into deciding where to place your investors’ money. But, as a great entrepreneur Andy Palmer recently told me, startups run on emotion. You don’t convince great technologists and business people to leave comfortable/well paying jobs at big companies unless they buy into the excitement of changing an industry. It’s time to run through a few walls and try to accomplish something crazy!

This promises to be a very fun summer for me. I’m going to be doing a couple of interesting things while I sort out how I’m actually going to get/create a paying position for myself. I intend to help Prasad over at Pixily with his fundraising and his sales & marketing for a few months. Additionally, Shawn Broderick has invited me to hang out at a desk at Boston TechStars. Hopefully I can help the TechStars companies understand how to approach and interact with funding sources. It should be exciting!

Of course, once I’m out of venture I am no longer bound to keep all of the precious venture secrets. I think I’ll celebrate my status as a recovering venture capitalist with a blog on Monday on the real way VCs value startups…

*per a couple of people who pinged me, my going-forward email address is healy (at) startable dot com.

About Healy Jones

Healy is a former venture capitalist with Atlas Venture in Boston and Summit Partners in Palo Alto. He is now the head of marketing for OfficeDrop. OfficeDrop is a cloud filing systemscanning software provider and document scanning service that helps small businesses manage paper and digital documents. OfficeDrop provides tools that sync businesses’ desktops and scanners with an online search engine and cloud filing cabinet. The affordable service saves businesses time and money by enhancing paper based collaboration and workflows, and by bringing paper to digital platforms.

Read More

About Prasad Thammineni

If you were wondering where the “E” or the co-host of this blog is, here I am. No, I have not been vacationing, even though I wish I was. I have been super-busy preparing to launch my new startup Pixily and only now I have had a chance to get some time to do my part towards Startable.

I am a serial entrepreneur and spent majority of my adult life in the Boston area. Pixily is my fifth startup which I co-founded with Anand Rajaram and Vikram Kumar in August 2007 shortly after graduating from Wharton. Prior to Pixily, I founded and ran jPeople from 2000 to 2007. jPeople is a high-end technology consulting firm providing technology leadership across all stages of a project for clients like Fidelity and IBM. Some of the projects we provided leadership include Fidelity NetBenefits and Fidelity.com. We were considered experts in a number of technologies that powered the web and that experience is proving very useful with Pixily.

I got my start with entrepreneurship accidentally in 1995. I was playing with a beta version of Windows 95 and realized that it lacked a Launch bar – yes, the launch bar we have come to depend on in windows XP was conspicuously absent.  Sensing a need, I started developed a launch bar and released it for free on the web under the name Launchpad 95. Soon people started downloading and giving great feedback. They wanted to know how much it cost. After doing some research on the web, I started charging anywhere from $9.95 to $29.95. By the time I stopped maintaining the product, I had sold over 10,000 copies all over the world.

This entrepreneurial experience taught me some great lessons in market segmentation, pricing, packaging, product development and more importantly customer service. I still use these lessons today.

I met Healy while at Wharton and got to know him quite well while working on the stage as a Stage Manager. A lot of people volunteered to work on the stage but he was one of the few who showed up when he said he would and worked hard. I strongly believe in “do what you say” and not “say what you would like to do”. Commitment and delivery are must have qualities for entrepreneurs since meeting milestones is so integral to the success of a startup. I am happy that he moved to Boston and I am co-hosting this blog with him. 

I live in Boston now with my wife Shivani Grover, who is a big support in my endeavors and without whom I would not have gone to Wharton nor would I have this much progress with Pixily. 

 

Read More

About Healy Jones

I am Healy Jones, a former venture capitalist living in Boston currently trying to see if I can survive as an entrepreneur. I am the head of marketing for Boundless, a provider of free textbook alternatives. Marketing to college students is a lot of fun – they are mobile, digital natives and don’t put up with services that don’t quickly provide value. I am enjoying applying some of my touchless sales tactics to drive higher app engagement.

For several years I worked with Prasad at OfficeDrop, an online cloud storage company. I helped the company grow to be over 200,000 users, up from a few hundred when I joined the company. I’ve had a lot of success with marketing mobile apps, and have launched 3 apps in the top of their respective app marketplaces. This is partially why I blog so much about the mobile market – mobile and tablets are changing the way people interact with their data, and it is driving a lot of our growth.

In May of 2009 I left Atlas Venture, where I had focused on early stage investments in technology. Previously I was with Summit Partners in their Palo Alto office, where I spent a lot of time hunting down later stage venture investments in communications and internet service companies (I also evaluated a large building product company’s buyout.) Briefly I worked for a small, service business focused, buyout group in San Diego. There, I learned how profitable portable toilet servicing companies are, and also that you should not wear a new pair of shoes to such a company’s service site… I started my career during the dot.com boom in San Fransisco, where I worked for the technology investment banking group of Hambrecht & Quist. I enjoyed the bubble, and stuck it out all the way until the bust, surviving a couple of mergers and ending up with a JP Morgan business card.

Healy Jones hard at work as a venture capitalist

Prasad, my co-blogger and the CEO of OfficeDrop, and I became friends at Wharton while we were getting our MBAs. We took a trip together to South East Asia and worked on building the Wharton Follies set. While I was busy trying to network into venture capital firms, Prasad was conceiving OfficeDrop and writing code.

Healy Jones Speaking

I’ve only recently realized that I should be keeping track of the places that I’ve been speaking! In general, I tend to talk about how to grow a lightly funded startup, lean startup techniques (OfficeDrop has had a few pivots to reach a point where we can actually offer something people want) and online/app marketing. A few of my recent talks are:

More Healy Jones Stuff

I enjoy cooking, the ocassional glass of wine (I was president of the Wharton Wine Club) and Boston’s pretty amazing sporting culture.

Besides the MBA from Wharton, I have an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth.

My employer, OfficeDrop, is not responsible for any of the posting on this blog. All of the items posted by me are my own personal opinion, and are not endorsed by OfficeDrop or any of my former employers.

You can reach me by email at: healy (at) the name of my blog.com. Obviously my blog’s name is startable.com…

Read More