About me

I'm the Founder and CEO of Blue Apron-- we deliver original recipes and all the ingredients you need to cook a meal in the right proportions to home chefs around the country.

Previously, I was a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners where I invested in mobile, software and digital media start-ups.  Before that, I spent time studying entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, learned finance during the LBO-boom at Blackstone, and even ran a multi-location laundry company.  I love food, traveling, science and try to go scuba diving whenever I can. 

Find me online

Sunday
Jun122011

Digital art collecting

On a recent trip to California, I bought a collection of original, hand painted computer game art from legendary production company Sierra On-Line, which pioneered the graphic (VGA!) adventure game genre in the late 80s and early 90s.  The collection itself contains over a hundred hand-painted color panels, some overlay cells, and hundreds of pencil sketches and storyboards from Gabriel Knight I (1993) and King's Quest VI (1992).

If you are also a collector of Sierra artwork and are interested in trading for some of my art, contact me and I'd be happy to share photos.

As I've done research into the world of computer game art collecting, I've observed that the digital medium as been gaining more and more acceptance as legitimate art.  Cartoon cells like bugs bunny and daffy duck have long been a popular item for the art collecting bunch because of the nostalgia they stimulate in collectors.  Younger generations today spend most of their media time on the internet or playing games on the computer.  As these generations get older, they'll be seeking art that reminds them of these early experiences.

Interestingly, some in the art collecting world are already beginning to take notice.  One project I'm a fan of is the Art of Sierra project, which is archiving and publishing a book dedicated solely to Sierra.  CNN recently ran a front page story on video game art collecting, and the Smithsonian is hosting an exhibit in 2012. 

Art collecting is just like investing in companies-- you need to see a trend and get ahead of it.  Hopefully that's what I've done here, but quite frankly, I'm just happy to find and preserve a piece of my childhood.

Sunday
Apr102011

Apperian and enterprise mobility

I’m excited to announce the latest investment I’ve been involved with at Bessemer—the $9.5m Series A financing of Apperian.  Apperian is what you would call a mobile application management company—a new breed of software which helps enterprises create, deploy and manage mobile applications for their employees.  

Why is this necessary?  Smart phones and tablets are making their way into corporate settings at a rapid pace and IT departments need a private and secure way to manage internally generated apps.  iTunes doesn’t cut it, as managers don’t want internal corporate apps visible in such a public way.  They also need tools to push updates and lock employees out from sensitive data once they leave the company. 

In essence, Apperian’s most popular tool, called EASE, is an internal enterprise app store—designed to look very similar to the Apple app store, except with better tools to manage an entire organization at once.  The company is also rolling out a suite of cloud services to help enterprise developers build secure, enterprise-grade apps easier.  Here's a quick video demo:

Enterprise mobility has been a new roadmap area for us for several months.  The ownership model for corporate mobile devices is changing

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb052011

Roadmap investing: the mobile data crunch

One of the ways I search for investments is through the lens of a “roadmap.”  A roadmap is typically a set of criteria for companies in a sector that might be attractive for investment.  We start with a belief about a major trend or transformation taking place in the world and use that belief to identify categories of companies that stand to benefit.  We then narrow the list further by creating criteria to look for in a potential investment in one those companies. 

At Bessemer, we each focus on several roadmap areas at once.  I call one of mine the “mobile data crunch.”  I alluded to this roadmap in my last post about Intucell.  Today, I’m going to give you a glimpse of our thinking in this area and give an abridged example of what a roadmap could look like.

Here’s my high level belief: mobile data traffic, driven by the smartphone adoption, is exploding faster than carriers can expand capacity.  If you look at the trends, global mobile data traffic will increase by 26x between 2010 and 2015, of which nearly 2/3 will be related to mobile video.  Cisco has done some of the most widely cited research in this space:

Cisco Forecasts 6.3 Exabytes per Month of Mobile Data Traffic by 2015

Mobile Video Will Generate 66 Percent of Mobile Data Traffic by 2015

To keep up with this demand, carriers have had to undertake very expensive capacity expansion projects and have so far been unable to increase ARPUs in line with this growth.  Even with massive amounts of new investment, networks won’t be able to satisfy the anticipated increases in demand.  There is a need for services to help carriers both add new capacity and optimize existing resources.  Many categories of companies seek to scratch this itch, including video compression technologies, CDNs, network optimization tools, wireless backhaul technology, other types of network hardware and more.

So what are the barriers to investing in this space?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan312011

Introducing BVP's latest: Intucell

I’m very excited to announce the latest deal I’ve been working on at Bessemer—a $6m Series A investment in Intucell Systems.  Intucell is an Israeli software company that developed a very unique technology to help wireless carriers squeeze extra capacity out of their overburdened networks.    The core of Intucell’s technology is something called “Virtual Drive Testing,” (“VDT”) a technique which they pioneered.  Do you remember the old Verizon commercials where somebody physically travels the planet asking, “Can you hear me now?” to test the network quality? Well, archaic as it sounds, carriers actually do this and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to test their networks in this way. 

That’s where Intucell comes in.  Intucell can ping all idle phones on a carrier’s network and instantly measure the signal strength, signal-to-noise ratio, and other useful parameters of each, providing a real-time view of the state of the Radio Access Network (“RAN”).  This is a pretty revolutionary idea for carriers, who could not get this information in real time before.  The data from frequent VDTs allows operators to make automatic adjustments to their network settings in response to rapidly changing RAN conditions.  The end result: less capital expenditure, more available bandwidth and less operational complexity.  Intucell represents an early lead in achieving the grand vision of Self Optimizing Networks.

I have been spending a portion of my time developing a view around what we call our “mobile data crunch” roadmap. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan172011

Mobile could be the paradigm for the entire internet 

Soon, every device you own is going to be connected to the internet.  Aside from the hundreds of different SKUs of mobile phones, tablets and laptops, there will be internet connected TVs, cars, alarm clocks, bathroom scales, mirrors, and even ski goggles.  With such a rapid proliferation of connected devices, it’s safe to say that more people will access the internet via mobile device than desktop very soon.  Mary Meeker, a well known industry analyst, predicts this will happen by the end of 2013.  At the rate the mobile internet is growing, who knows, perhaps it could be even sooner.

 

So, what does this mean for the future of web technologies like those used in the advertising industry? 

Click to read more ...