Monday, April 16, 2012

SCV Startup -- an important accelerator hits the market

Clearstone was excited to sponsor this event and to aid and abet the unchecked enthusiasm that is Erick Arndt in his quest to harness the talent around him into an accelerator program...
click title above for link....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

LAVA Awards

I am on the board of LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) and they have increasing amounts of energy. I wanted to pass on the results of the LAVA Venture Awards...

11301 Olympic Blvd. #376
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Venture Capitalist Jon Funk, 7 ENTREPRENEURS

Santa Monica, CA. – March 15, 2012 – The Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) held its Ninth Annual Venture Awards Dinner Wednesday evening to recognize Southern California’s best venture-backed companies, and to celebrate the induction of Jon Funk into the LAVA Hall of Fame. The awards dinner was attended by over 230 leaders in the Venture Capital community, including CEOs and founders of successful emerging companies. It was held at Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

This year's LAVA Hall of Fame inductee, Jon Funk, has been directing startup investments in emerging information technology companies in Southern California since 1986. Jon currently serves as the founder and Managing Partner of Ocean Road Partners. Ocean Road Partners is a venture capital firm serving the venture capital and technology communities of southern California.

Jon also serves as a Managing Director with Allegis Capital and has held that position since Allegis’ founding in 1996. At Allegis, Jon sourced and directed several of the firm’s top investments in its history, all Series A financings backing southern California technology companies. These investments include Sandpiper Networks (Westlake Village, acquired for $630 million in 2000 by Digital Island), (Santa Monica, acquired for $430 million in 2004 by eBay) and Shopzilla (West Lost Angeles, acquired for $560 million in 2005 by the E.W. Scripps Company), cumulatively producing over $1.6 billion in liquidity for their shareholders. and Shopzilla represent two of the top 10 venture-backed IT winners for the period 2001-2010.

“This is one of LAVA's signature events and it continues our tradition of showcasing Los Angeles' top emerging companies, entrepreneurs and investors,” says Randy Churchill, President of LAVA. “Earning recognition in trying economic times is especially challenging, and this year's nominees all deserve congratulations and admiration for their accomplishments.”

The seven award winning companies were selected by a panel of judges comprising the region's top venture capitalists from 19 nominees in the following categories:

Best Venture Funding in Internet/eCommerce: TrueCar
TrueCar, Inc. is an automotive solutions provider focused on changing how cars are sold by providing a significantly better consumer experience while helping qualified dealer partners gain incremental market share and reduce costs. (

Best Venture Funding in Internet/Ad Technology: SocialVibe
SocialVibe is a digital advertising technology company that powers engagement advertising for some of the world’s top brands. (

Best Venture Financing in Clean Technology and Energy:CODA Automotive Headquartered in Los Angeles, CODA Holdings is a leading developer of advanced Lithium-ion power battery systems comprised of three key business lines: CODA Automotive, CODA EV Propulsion Systems and CODA Energy. (www.codaautomotive,com)

Hottest First Time Venture Funding: BetterWorks
BetterWorks’ company mission is to help small and medium-sized businesses recognize, reward and retain employees by “Making Work Rewarding”. (

Best IPO Exit: Cornerstone OnDemand
Cornerstone OnDemand is a leading global provider of a comprehensive learning and talent management solution. (

Best M&A Exit: Riot Games
Santa Monica based Riot Games is a leading developer and publisher of premium video games that target video game enthusiasts. (

Most Capital Efficient Exit: Accordant Technologies
Polycom is the global leader in standards-based unified communications (UC) solutions for telepresence, video, and voice powered by the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform. (

About the Los Angeles Venture Association:

LAVA is Los Angeles’s premiere Venture Capital focused industry organization that provides a forum for Entrepreneurs, Investors and the community of businesses that assist companies in their formation and growth. LAVA celebrates 28 years of service to the community. It is led by a team of volunteers that provide program, sponsorship and leadership in the Venture funded community. For more information, visit

Leonard Lanzi,
LAVA Executive Director

Monday, January 30, 2012

Never Suspend Your Judgement

At Clearstone, we were having a great discussion today around wisdom, and what it takes to make consistently better decisions. Decisions about life, about work, about investments. As is the case with many "big ideas", the conclusion can me trace to a simple concept. Become aware if you are ever, in ANY way, suspending your judgement, AND then NEVER suspend your judgement.

In my business I have become a pattern matcher. It is an occupational hazard and drives those people closest to me nuts. In evaluating investments, company and people every day you learn to focus on the meta data -- the data that describes the data.

One pattern I have discerned from the most successful, and often most experienced, at starting and building great companies, is that they act as if they are always the PRINCIPAL (not the AGENT) in every activity they do and evaluate. They become absolutely trustful of their mind and their sensibility to makes sense of all situations and to judge all situations (sometimes harshly). They become the gifted athlete who, having learned the basic skills of the game, becomes free to operate on a higher level. They quickly hone in on the flaw of any plan, product, process, service or value proposition. I believe they do this by freeing their mind to question everything anew, and quickly give a "yeah or nah" vote to each premise they uncover.

If you consider the mistakes you have made in your past, you may find that buried in that decision was a premise or assumption that was commonly held as true, or you held as true, that slipped through real examination. You may also find that you did not feel compelled to push your thinking into that decision as work was already done in that area by "experienced, smart people." That is suspending your judgement. Pushing yourself to not smuggle in any hidden assumptions is the first step in getting wise.