One of New York’s newest and most active startup investors is barely old enough to rent a car. But Joshua Kushner, founder of Thrive Capital, is also no typical 25-year-old.There’s obviously the family connections: His dad is real estate mogul Charles Kushner, and his brother Jared owns the New York Observer and is married to Ivanka Trump.
But young Joshua is also already somewhat of a veteran Internet entrepreneur.
In 2007, as a junior at Harvard, Kushner and his classmates Daniel Kafie and Mario Schlosser cofounded a social gaming startup called Vostu, which has become the sort-of “Zynga of Brazil.”
Vostu, headquartered in NYC, has some 35 million registered users and 180 employees. The company has raised more than $15 million from Intel and General Catalyst, with “revenue in the high double-digit millions of dollars and ‘very profitable’,” according to a recent write-up in the Wall Street Journal.
Kushner, who is chief strategy officer, is now taking the knowledge he’s gained from Vostu and investing in early stage technology and digital media companies, via a $10 million fund, whose backers include media executives, public media companies, and venture capital firms.
Over the past year and a half, Kushner has invested in 15 companies, including 12 in New York; his portfolio includes red-hot Group.Me, Paperless Post, email startup Sailthru, and Hot Potato, which was just acquired by Facebook. (And others, which he declined to talk about.)
Now he’s looking to do a bunch more deals in the consumer Internet, digital media, and social media industries, participating in seed rounds and early VC rounds.
Kushner has assembled a solid roster of advisors, including Jack Dorsey, who created Twitter and cofounded Square; Joel Cutler, co-founder of General Catalyst, and Kayak board member; Strauss Zelnick of Zelnick Media; Sam Lessin of Drop.io; and Justin Shaffer, the former MLB.com exec who founded Hot Potato and is now at Facebook.
And to top things off, in addition to running his fund and working at Vostu, Kushner is also taking two days of classes per week at Harvard Business School.
A busy guy, but his youth and native Internet knowledge should help him continue to get into good deals, especially in New York.
As one seasoned New York investor and Internet executive says of Joshua, “He is very young but actually very smart with good connections.”
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