There's no straight line to success for startups and early-stage ventures.

The success stories typically have this in common: The founders are constantly experimenting. They experiment in designing and creating their product. They experiment in finding its market. 

They experiment in all that they do until they find that sweet spot that aligns their product with a market that will pay for it and investors who will support it. Only then does their "experiment" become a "company" – with revenue and a path to success.

But founders can't make it alone. They need a small team of key players who share in the founder's vision and commitment, and they need mentors – VCs, board members, or advisers – who can help navigate the waters of experimentation. 

Meet the Expert

Scott Russell

Consultant Scott Russell
Co-founder, General Partner, Managing Director, Softbank Technology Ventures
San Francisco, CA
  • English
  • Japanese: 日本語

About Scott

  • More than 30 years of private equity, technology operating and international experience, successfully helping to raise seven venture funds and investing over $2.5B in technology startups.
  • Co-founded SOFTBANK Technology Ventures (aka Mobius). As general partner and managing director, invested in more than 40 software, financial services and Internet companies.
  • Investments included Supportsoft (NASDAQ: SPRT); E*Loan (EELN); Buy.com (BUYX); Prio (acquired by Infospace); Invesmert (acquired by StanCorp Financial); Personalogic (acquired by AOL). Other portfolio involvement included E*Trade (NASDAQ: ET), Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN), Intertrust (acquired by Sony), Multex (acquired by Reuters) and Zip2 (Compaq).
  • Helped co-found, along with several other prominent alumni, Carnegie-Mellon University's (CMU) Silicon Valley campus. The campus offers PhD and master degrees in software engineering. Scott is an adjunct professor, teaching and mentoring engineers on how to commercialize their intellectual property; he is a member of CMU's School of Computer Science Dean's Advisory Board and an advisor to the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at the Tepper Business School.
  • Advises FinTech Studios, NYC-based financial technology-focused incubator founded by Jim Tousignant, the former President of Multex (a portfolio company successfully sold to Reuters).

Skills and Expertise:

Experience

Founder and Managing Director • eCarnegieTech
2007 — 2015
  • Created eCarnegieTech to more formally mentor, incubate, co-found and invest in Carnegie Mellon University startups:
    • Investor/advisor, Dynamite (mobile video/social networking)
    • Investor, RedZone Robotics 
    • Investor/mentor, Roamables (mobile software)
    • Investor/mentor, Greenback Systems (two-factor mobile security)
    • Founder/CEO, ChronoSearch (time-based search experiment)
    • Founder/CEO, BizReferrals (ecosystem social network experiment)
    • Investor/advisor, SoFi (social finance)
    • Advisor, Prosper.com (social finance)
    • Advisor, FinTech Studios
  • Keiretsu Forum - Angel Investor
General Partner • SOFTBANK Technology Ventures (aka Mobius Venture Capital)
May, 1996 — Aug, 2003
  • Cofounded venture capital firm that raised six funds and invested $2B.
  • Notable investments included: Yahoo!, E*Trade, E-Loan, Buy.com, USWeb, Verisign, Critical Path, GeoCities, 1-800 Flowers, Prio, Zip2, Comergent, Art.com, Cybercash, UTStarcom, Firefly Network, Invesmart, 2Way Media, BackWeb, PointCast, Digimarc, Career Central, Concentric Network, Intertrust, VxTreme, Art Technology Group, Impulse Buy Network, ServiceMagic, TheStreet.com, Service Metrics, Stratify, LRN, Danger, Infineon Technologies.
  • Served as investor and advisor to:
    • Silicon Valley BancVentures LP
    • Technology Partners Affiliates VII, Palo Alto, CA
    • Flatiron Advisors, NYC
    • SOFTBANK Capital Advisors, Boston
    • Softbank China Venture Capital, Shanghai City, China
    • SupportSoft (NASDAQ: SPRT), enterprise software company founded by Mark Pincus, Cadir Lee and Scott Dale. Series A investor; co-invested with Accel. IPO, 2000. Board member and member of audit committee.
    • Buy.com (NASDAQ: BUYX), Series A investor in one of fastest-growing e-commerce companies. Member of board of directors.
    • E-Loan, public e-commerce/financial services company founded by Chris Larsen. Series B investor; co-invested with Sequioa, Benckmark. IPO, 2000. Board observer. Helped establish Japanese joint venture (E-Loan Japan).
    • E*TRADE Financial Corporation, public e-commerce/financial services company. Co-invested with General Atlantic. Helped establish Japanese joint venture (E*Trade Japan).
Managing Director • Diamondhead Venture Capital
Jul, 2003 — Jun, 2006
  • Notable investments: Cavium Networks, Passmark Security, Danger, Entercept Security Technology
Executive Director • SBC Warburg
1988 — 1996
  • Technology operating executive, 1996, based in Tokyo. SBC (Swiss Bank) acquired S.G. Warburg
  • Managing director, S.G. Warburg New York, 1995-96.
  • Director, information technology, S. G. Warburg, based in London, 1991-95.
  • Division director, S.G. Warburg Japan, based in Tokyo, 1988-91.
Associate/Analyst • Goldman Sachs
1984 — 1988
  • Associate, Goldman Sachs Japan, Tokyo, 1986-88.
  • Analyst, Goldman Sachs New York, 1984-86.

Education

Carnegie Mellon University
BSC, Computer Science, 1982

Boards

  • Advisory board member, Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper Business School, 2008-present.
  • Member, Dean's Advisory Board, Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, 2007-present.

Committees

  • Founder/Co-Chairman, Kids Cup Charity Tennis Tournament, EPATT, 2014. East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring (EPATT) is a non-profit organization which helps underprivileged children from East Palo Alto. Stanford University students and volunteers provide after school tutoring and tennis lessons, which help children prepare for college and life.
    • Organized the largest charity tennis tournament in California to raise money for the kids. Recruited former tennis legends Tracy Austin, Brad Gilbert, Scott Davis, Alex O'Brien, Dan Goldie, Jonathan Stark, Jeff Tarango, Jeff Salzenstein and others to play. Raised more than $170,000 in three and half months.
  • Co-Founder/Co-Chairman Charity Cycling Fundraiser, Davis Phinney Foundation, Menlo Park, CA, 2005-2007. Davis Phinney is a two-time Tour de France stage winner who was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in early 2000. 
    • With a small group of cycling friends, organized two highly-successful fundraisers, each including a cycling event and gala dinner, to raise $700,000 for Parkinson's Disease research.
    • Davis Phinney's former 7-Eleven teammates (Eric Hedin, Bob Roll, Ron Kiefel, Alex Stieda, Chris Carmichael, Jeff Piece, Max Testa, Jim Ochowicz) were recruited to lead donors on a "Tour de Woodside."
    •  Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin were recruited to emcee the gala and interview former stars including Floyd Landis. Robin Williams , the late actor/comedian, was a surprise special guest star at the second gala.

Panels

  • Panelist/speaker, VC Task Force
  • Panelist/speaker, Pitchforce

Academia

  • Adjunct Professor, Software Engineering & Entrepreneurship, Carnegie Mellon University West, January 2007 – December 2012 
Packages with Scott starting from $600

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