Early stage venture capital firm First Round Capital is opening a New York office, the firm announced today, adding to its Philadelphia-area and San Francisco offices.
First Round partner Howard Morgan will run the office, and Union Square Ventures vet Charlie O’Donnell will join the firm as entrepreneur-in-residence, looking at deals and setting up the office.
O’Donnell is well known in the New York tech community as founder of NextNY, a networking group for entrepreneurs, and as cofounder and CEO of Path101, his most recent startup. He’s also an occasional contributor to this site. (Our Path 101 coverage archives here.)
Charlie tells us that he and cofounder Alex Lines will be turning Path101 into a “nights and weekends” project to firm up the product before figuring out what’s next. He explains in a blog post:
So what about Path 101?
You’ve probably seen the maths—half of all funded startups don’t make it and become zeros, a bunch go sideways, and then a select few shoot the lights out and return your portfolio several times over. Well, suffice it to say that Path 101 isn’t going to be one of the shoot the lights out deals, but I’m cautiously optimistic that it isn’t going to become a zero either—and may even have some upside. It’s definitely not going anywhere. It may just take some time to return what went into it—more time than it’s cash resources will allow.
The three of us—myself, Alex, and Hilary—are no longer going to take a full time salary, small as it had been, from the company after September. We’re just a couple of weeks away from launching our first revenue generating features—thanks to their hard work on the technical side—but those features probably won’t ramp fast enough to sustain a full time commitment for a team of three. Therefore, Alex and I will move to a nights and weekends approach—a “born again” startup if you will. Hilary will move on.
Alex Lines, meanwhile, will join NYC-based startup shop Betaworks as “hacker-in-residence.”
The obvious strength of the NYC community was on display in the incredible conversations I had at our Office Hours event at Live Bait and in those between entrepreneurs at Meet-Ups around the city, at ShakeShack, at the quality of entrepreneurs involved in First Growth, and in the NextNY community to name a few. As we looked for ways to support this community, to listen to and learn from entrepreneurs and to help them build great companies in the city, I could not think of a better way to begin than by working with Charlie as our first Entrepreneur in Residence. Charlie’s belief that great companies are lead by great CEOs but also are born from great communities matches my experience as both an entrepreneur and an investor. His work as an organiser, supporter, and participant in the NY tech scene over the past several years has been amazing and I could not be happier to have him join the First Round team.