Deadly Sin#8: Sartorial Perfection. David J. Blumberg, Blumberg Capital, Meticulous Attention to Detail.
To review, the 7 Deadly Sins are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride except in France where the translation for “lust” is “desire”. Desire is not a sin, but a source of joy, maybe not in American, but certainly in France. As you literate and Biblical types know, there is no 8th Deadly Sin, but if there were one, David J. Blumberg of Blumberg Capital would define it and it would be sartorial perfection.
I first saw David on a panel for “Israeli Startups in Silicon Valley.” I noticed him because he was impeccably dressed. The other side of the sartorial perfection coin is attention to detail and pattern recognition–two key elements of entrepreneurial success as well as VC success.
David’s Israeli Startups presentation with the DoubleVerify founder was profoundly moving. When the DoubleVerify founder first met David, he had no product, no money, no customers, was older than 21 and was located in Israel. So DoubleVerify didn’t have the winning team (the jockey) that most VCs look for or the big customer or really any high profile or even low profile investors, but David’s attention to detail and pattern recognition talent encouraged him to place an “early bet” on this plucky entrepreneur. David’s DoubleVerify Quick Pick® won him one of the Silicon Valley lotto jackpots.
I sat down with David yesterday, April 5, 2012, in the conference room of his San Francisco Headquarters on Howard Street. I photographed him standing in front of a couple of maps because he has portfolio companies located all over the world. All you have to know about David is that he travels a lot (he is headed for Cartagena, Columbia soon at the invitation of the government there), he speaks several languages and he is impeccably dressed (he mostly wears a British brand called “Hackett”). His current portfolio contains 40 companies and oh yes, he is also lucky.
Have You Had Any IPOs? Yes: DSP Group, CREO, Electronics for Imaging, CheckPoint Software Technologies.
Areas for Early Bets? Augmented reality (AR): Dekko and Mishor.
IPO Predictions? Nutanix.
Peter Thiel? Yes, David actually knows him, after all “birds of a feather…..” and is not just hoping to meet him.
What is Your Brand? Fueling innovation.
What Do You Do with the Zombies (“walking dead”)? This is something no one likes to think about, but David deals with it in a very humane way. Instead of abandoning them, as most would do, he encourages them to pivot or sell or merge so they can continue and find success in a different form.
Takeaway: If you are NOT Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, you may have to wear a suit sometimes, maybe to raise money or to pitch your company. If you need a sartorial role model, take notes on what David is wearing. He is always appropriately dressed for the occassional and yes, he even owns a tux. If you are looking for a life-cycle investor, one who isn’t trying to figure out your exit strategy before you have a product or who is only concerned with how much $x he can make on you, then look to David. He can see your potential, even before you can, and isn’t afraid to make “early” bets where other VCs would be afraid to tread.Preview: This blog concludes the 7 Deadly Sins Series: lust (CarWoo), gluttony (Mobil Spinach), greed (iSocket), sloth (Zanbato), wrath (ZipZap), envy (Addepar) and pride (VideoGenie). The next series will be famous historical battles (i.e. Thermopylae, the Alamo) and their associated startups (“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”) to show you the importance of using the lessons of history to make your startup successful.