New York VC Steve Schlafman has a new gig with Primary Venture Partners – TechCrunch

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Steve Schlafman has been an East Coast investor for roughly a decade — scouring offers for the Kraft Group forward of becoming a member of Lerer Hippeau as an early worker, then spending greater than 4 years as a principal with RRE Ventures earlier than asserting on Twitter, to the shock of some, that he was leaving the New York agency.

Many guessed that Schalfman, like a rising variety of individuals proper now, was setting off to create his personal enterprise outfit. In the present day, Schlafman say it was a consideration and that he did a little bit of analysis towards this finish, however that as an an identical twin, he’s not likely programmed to work on his personal. Enter Main Enterprise Companions, a seed-stage agency in New York that was beforehand referred to as Excessive Peaks Enterprise Companions and has backed quite a few high-profile startups — and Coupang amongst them — even whereas flying low itself.

Schlafman had been pals for years with cofounders Ben Solar and Brad Svrluga, coinvesting with them within the civic app startup PublicStuff (acquired in 2015 by a better-funded peer), and turning to them for recommendation as he was determining his subsequent strikes. After they instructed that he be part of them as a enterprise associate, he thought the transfer made excellent sense. “It looks like purchase a inventory that’s on the rise in some methods,” he tells us.

Extra from our dialog yesterday, edited for size:

TC: Why did you allow RRE while you did?

SS: It was an extremely onerous choice, however after soul looking out about what I wished to do long run, I simply felt that seed investing is the place my coronary heart is. RRE tends to be a Sequence A investor, and whereas I get pleasure from Sequence A, my tremendous energy is de facto recognizing founders early and serving to them alongside that journey.

TC: Had been you fascinated about launching your individual fund?

SS:  I used to be underneath the idea on the time that I’d go begin a fund as a solo GP, however after doing work [on the idea] for 4 or 5 months, I made a decision I didn’t need to work alone. I’m a collaborative individual by nature, and the thought of working by myself for the subsequent 18 to 36 months as a solo GP simply wan’t engaging. I used to be in contact with Brad and Ben and so they stated, ‘What would consider becoming a member of forces with us?’ They’d been serving to me suppose via totally different fashions, and it developed that I may carry lots to Main.

TC: You’ve led offers in some corporations that appeared on the market on the time. I nonetheless bear in mind chatting with you years in the past about Breather, the on-demand community of assembly rooms, and considering it was fairly far on the market.

SS: I have a tendency to love the bizarre issues. I believe a part of the explanation Main works so properly is that Ben has labored with transactional marketplaces, and Brad [knows] business-to enterprise functions and I’ve traversed each worlds. I’ve additionally accomplished issues like [crime reporting app] Citizen, [indoor farming startup] Bowery Farming, and Teams [an opiate treatment center and community]. That’s simply my model, so I believe they’re excited to get my mind to the desk and produce a brand new perspective.

TC: ‘Enterprise associate’ means various things at totally different companies. Is that this a part-time function?

SS: We did spend numerous time speaking about this, and there are just a few roles that I’m gong to play for them. Actually, I”ll be being lively on the funding group. I’ll even be serving to with the broader agency technique given the angle I’ve gained by working in three funding companies beforehand.

However over the past six months, I’ve additionally been going via coaching to turn out to be an government efficiency coach, which is one thing I actually consider in. Not solely solely have I personally gotten the advantage of teaching, however founders who’ve labored with coaches will inform you the expertise transforms the best way they lead. I plan to carry that to Main, too.

TC: That’s attention-grabbing. Whose teaching program is it, and the way concerned is it?

It’s 250 hour of classroom [learning] and training at Management that Works, an accredited coach coaching program that [renowned VC-turned-coach] Jerry Colonna and different coaches at Reboot [a coaching firm Colonna cofounded nearly four years ago] have gone via. I selected the one which they went to.

For me, I’m married to a founder, and he or she’s been an enormous inspiration for me as an investor and taught me lots concerning the each day grind of operating an organization. [I’ve learned much more about] not telling a founder find out how to run their firm, however asking questions that in the end assist them make the robust selections themselves. On the finish of the day, I’m exhibiting up for them and assembly them the place they’re of their course of and hopefully serving to them get to solutions themselves versus being a conventional investor who tries to have all of the solutions.

TC: Are you on any boards proper now?

SS: I’m not. I’ll rolled off all my RRE boards after I left the agency.

TC: A yr from now, will you be a basic associate with Main? I’m listening to the agency is elevating one other fund after closing its final fund with $60 million in 2016.

SS: A part of the enchantment of working with Brad and Ben — and far of why I consider in Main’s present trajectory — is that it’s constructing out the one true fund that’s centered on New York as a seed platform. Proper now, I plan to spend half my time with them, and there might be a sure portion of my time spent evaluating different paths, by way of possibly beginning an organization, or teaching may actually be a kind of paths I determine to take.

I’ll be working from Main’s workplace day-after-day like a group member, however I’ll have a little bit of flexibility to discover quite a lot of avenues. It’s a fluid function. I think about I’ll get entrenched fairly rapidly, although.

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