September 30, 2009

Branching my secret identity

I enjoy a fulfilling business life. I have a great role at Sun helping make Java a preeminent platform for innovation. I've enjoyed success before Sun, interacting with folks way smarter than I am while building insanely cool consumer products we are all very proud of.

Along this journey I realized, like many before me, that I had accumulated two assets I could use to help other entrepreneurs; resources and expertise. A few years ago I used those assets as a private investor to help a startup, Shelfari, take off. Interacting with Shelfari as it grew was a tremendous experience. I realized that the risk and role of advisor and angel investor was something I thoroughly enjoyed, building from my previous experience starting companies myself.

I continued this effort more formally by creating a small venture firm, Klein Venture Partners (KVP). We've made a few subsequent investments and advise a small cluster of consumer focused startups. The companies are carefully chosen to be insanely good, non-competitive with Sun, and aligned with KVP's areas of expertise. It's as much a labor of love as an investment. The real joy is working with startups from the day they are created, watching and advising the climb from zero to a million plus users.

I'm in the process of setting up KVP's web site, and tweet about KVP progress relatively frequently. For folks who know me personally or through my work with Java, the KVP tweets were confusing, especially without context. I realized it's best to further separate the two discrete threads of my business life. So I'm doubling down on my Twitter investment. For commentary on all things Java, technology, and me, I'll continue via the Twitter username sircoolio. I've created a new Twitter address, kleinvp, that focuses on venture capital, angel investing, startups, and Klein Venture Partner announcements and progress.

The path of every angel investor starts with a single investment. I've enjoyed the first steps along the path, and have no idea where it will eventually lead. I do know it makes me happy helping small startups grow, and I know the effort helps me be a better manager and contributor at Sun. So I'll keep both parts of my business life well fed and see where the road leads.

If you know of any great startups focused on media, entertainment, mobile, or consumer, let me know! If you don't have my contact information, reach out to me via LinkedIn.

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