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Charles River Ventures  CERTIFIED

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.1 / 5.0 by 37
Track
Record
3.3
Operating
Competence
3.0
Pitching
Efficiency
3.0
Favorable
Deal Terms
2.9
Execution
Assistance
3.1

Firm Homepage:

FIRM OVERVIEW: Large Private VC founded in 1970 based out of Menlo Park, USA (US West)

FIRM DESCRIPTION:

TEAM MEMBERS: Austin Westerling, Bill Tai, Bruce Sachs, Chris Baldwin, Devdutt Yellurkar, George Zachary, Izhar Armony, Joe Monaco, Joel Rosen, Jon Auerbach, Mike Zak, Rick Burnes, Saar Gur, Sarah Reed, Ted Dintersmith,

0
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0
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Crv Has Definitely Evolved...

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-03-21

PUBLIC:

CRV used to be the class of the Boston VC community, and the firm's mid-90's-vintage funds ranked among the very highest performers anywhere. But their early-2000s funds stalled and they even returned capital from one fund without investing it.

Since then, CRV has come down off the WInter Street hill in Waltham, hired a whole new crop of young, aggressive partners to replace those who are retiring on their success (where have you gone, Ted Dintersmith?), and immersed themselves in the Kendall Square/Cambridge community.

10 years ago, you mostly went to CRV later in the process, when it was time to scale up with a Series B and were looking towards an IPO. Then, CRV's bets were big ones, and you didn't even talk to them for less than $5-10 million.

Now, according to a partner we pitched recently, they rarely do Series B's -- concentrating on Series A investments. One common thread, though, is that they get most excited by size of market potential, and want to see a company that has a plausible story that could get them to a $1B market cap.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Jon Aurbach is Great.

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by RenaissanceMan on 2011-03-01

PUBLIC:

Jon was a pleasure to deal with at CRV. Was able to move extremely fast and was completely understanding of any issues that stood in the way of financing. We're just getting started but are very excited to be working with CRV.

PRIVATE: Members Only (103 Characters)

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Smart People

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-08

PUBLIC:

Very honest and knowledgeable talk with Izhar.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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0
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Quickstart

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-05

PUBLIC:

Wanted to apply for quickstart, sent info and got a response but they said hard to pick a winner in my business space. Nice folks but I don't think the quickstart program is really alive and kicking.

PRIVATE: Members Only

2
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3
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Good Experience

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-29

PUBLIC:

Pitched them. Were fast to response and follow up. We were too early for them.

PRIVATE: Members Only

1
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2
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Good Guys

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by level on 2009-09-27

PUBLIC:

These guys had funded a friend's company and we were starting to pitch to them. It wasn't a good fit for us, but my friends gave them high marks. The partner (why am I so bad at names??) went the extra mile to help their company - even coming in to our offices and making sure everything went well when we were exploring integrating our technologies. My friend also compared them very favorably to his angle investors. For what it's worth.

PRIVATE: Members Only

3
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Great Experience

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-20

PUBLIC:

Did a pitch for these guys and had a great experience. They clearly had done prep-work before the meeting and had intelligent questions and comments. The meeting was productive for both sides of the table.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Charles Rivers Ventures

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14

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Very Pleasant and Quick

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-28

PUBLIC:

Pitched to Bill Tai and he passed, was very pleasant and quick. He was good enough to admit that he did not understand the business model, he was straight forward and direct which was refreshing.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Charles River Ventures: Quick Start Program

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-12

PUBLIC:

Considering the current economic situation and the predictions of the market’s future described by Sequoia and others, I have the following questions.

a) Should we hold off on submitting to Charles River Ventures - QuickStart program"

b) Does anyone have any information as to whether CRV has placed a hold on funding companies for this program"

c) Or has stopped taking a serious look at companies applying for this program"

We are beyond the idea stage and actually have the technology proven and are in a private beta. We are seeking seed money and have developed our product/service with very little capital by keeping our burn rate very low and with sweat equity. Even when we receive seed funding we have planned on maintaining a low burn rate.

Any thoughts and insight would be appreciated.

Thank you.

PRIVATE: Members Only

6
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2
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George Zachary: Class Act

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by mad1tim2 on 2008-06-12

PUBLIC:

I have hardly met another VC who is as professional, interested and engaged as George. I was impressed from the moment I met him to the week later he gave us a term sheet, to the 9 months later as he has become involved in our company. I would definiteyl show him your plan, as I believe he will give a quick response and move fast to secure a deal.

PRIVATE: Members Only (124 Characters)

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Would Have Loved to Work with Them

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by termsheettremors on 2008-05-05

PUBLIC:

Met George Zachary and was hugely impressed. These guys have lots of their own capital at stake and take the companies they like seriously. If not for an eleventh hour conflict of interest, we'd likely be working with them now

PRIVATE: Members Only (335 Characters)

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Getting Aggressive

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-16

PRIVATE: Members Only (589 Characters)

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4
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Crv You Want for the Name

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-19

PRIVATE: Members Only (382 Characters)

3
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2
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Charles River/Quick Start/Susan Wu

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by pc-vip on 2007-11-16

PUBLIC:

Seeing the mixed bag of reviews and ratings of CRV, CRV-QS, and Susan in particular makes me think "yeah, that's right". Mixed Bag.

I followed the steps for CRV-QS, and knowing that Susan was the assigned gatekeeper reached out to her seperately. She was polite, direct, and reasonably prompt.

Is that the goods news or the bad" I'm not sure. While I'm a big fan of smart people trusting their own judgement and instincts in making decisions, I found Susan's rationale for rejecting us from consideration to be incredibly short-sighted, especially given the small nature of a CRV-QS investment and the firm's ability to structure the deal any way they chose.

Sure, nobody enjoys hearing that their baby is ugly...and Susan didn't really say that. What she did say (I'm not kidding), is that the SMB space is too fractured to make investing in a company that is trying to do business there make any sense.

That might be enough to frustrate anyone, but in my case, I asked for a referral to a partner responsible for more traditional VC deals. Susan simply ignored the request.

As I said: mixed bag.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Quickfart

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by johnnyonetime on 2007-11-01

PUBLIC:

The Quick Start program is kind of a joke. We were asked to come in and pitch our idea and told we would receive a response by day's end. We were given 30 minutes to pitch, which really isn't enough time to explain a dynamic market. I'm a proponent of "short and sweet", but every other VC alloted us 1:30 hours to explain our approach.

After the meeting we never heard back from CRV for 45 days! Pure radio silence. Once we did hear back the response was, "there isn't enough information to pursue this opportunity at this stage." No kidding"""" Maybe 45 minutes would have afforded us enough time to provide a sufficient amount of information:)

Susan Wu was the lead on our meeting and we very much liked her. I have worked with Ted Dinnersmith in the past and he too is great. I can't really speak about the others beyond a general angst they cast when you meet them.

CRV has done some interesting deals, but the quick start program is not as advertised. Conceptually it sounds great, but in practice I have to say it just doesn't work.

We are funded at this stage, so I hold nothing against CRV, but I do recommend they retain some brand equity and kill the program.

PRIVATE: Members Only (75 Characters)

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Crv is Tough but Fair

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by douglaird on 2007-10-08

PUBLIC:

Let me start off by saying that I am the CEO of a semiconductor startup so I have zero experience with Quickstart. I am a portfolio company of CRV so you can say my opinion is biased. This is my third start up. The first one went belly up the second went public and we are pre-revenue on this one. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly since I have worked in silicon valley since 1978. Needless to say I have been up and down Sand Hill Road more than I care to admit so I can honestly say that I have seen it all when it comes to venture capital. The name of the game in venture capital is to touch as many companies as possible to find the next "Google." Consequently many times people don't call back you just have to accept it as the normal course of business. I found CRV to be tough but fair in their analysis of my business plan. Quickstart is a new program so I'm sure CRV is still working out the kinks. It sounds as though there needs to be a more formal process of reviewing plans with a target date for follow up. The Quickstart program is a good idea that could benefit both CRV and entrepeneurs with a little more structure to reduce the fustration.

PRIVATE: Members Only (363 Characters)

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Susan Wu

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by anonymous on 2011-03-05

PUBLIC:

Looks like funded reviews and comments are working, CRV in that direction, recently they hired an EIR.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Sarah Reed is Unprofessional General Counsel

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by anonymous on 2007-10-01

PUBLIC:

Avoid dealing with Sarah Reed. She oversteps her bounderies as general counsel, as though she is a decision making partner. As an attorney we'd expect her to be fair and unbiased, but in our experience she's anything but. Arrogant ego.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Definitely Quick, Maybe Rushed

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-25

PUBLIC:

Dealt with Susan Wu who gave a quick no for QuickStart. I appreciated the quick no, and she gave a brief explanation: she wanted our business model to copy a couple of large firms in our space. This was a topic other investors asked us about, but it seemed like Susan didn't have time to dialog.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Strong Fund Based on Lots of Experience W/East Coast Office

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by stupatterson on 2007-08-14

PUBLIC:

CRV has a great deal of experience and a remarkably successful track record. While it's understandable that many entrepreneurs who are turned down by them have posted on here, readers shouldn't take it as an indication of CRV's overall quality. CRV has been a pioneer in the VC space in trying to address endemic/systemic problems like too much money chasing too few quality deals and the obvious need to share learnings across/among portfolio companies. Along with Matrix, General Catalyst and a couple others, they're still leading the top tier of the East Coast funds.

PRIVATE: Members Only (702 Characters)

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Common Courtesy

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by pharkins on 2007-07-11

PUBLIC:

I will never understand why any business person, who sought you out, refuses to return a follow up call or email -- amazing. My experience with CRV

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Quickstart Only for Social Networking"!

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-07-03

PUBLIC:

Chris told me that Quickstart is ONLY for Social Network Businesses !" WHAT"

PRIVATE: Members Only

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CEO

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-01

PUBLIC:

Bad Experiences with CRV

PRIVATE: Members Only (408 Characters)

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Simply "Shrinking" the Traditional VC Model Does Not Work

Fund: Charles River Ventures

Posted by goodform on 2007-05-18

PUBLIC:

When it comes to Seed Level Funding, The Problem is:

1) The Seed Level Funding pool is shrinking (+/- $500K)

2) Sourcing of Seed Level Candidates is haphazard at best.

3) Seed Level Funding is not economical in terms of ROI, Time, Overhead and Personnel Costs for Traditional VC Firms

4) The Seed Level Funding process is viewed by Funding Candidates as "Cautious" at best and "Adversarial" at worst - The Candidates genuflect and the VCs pontificate

5) After-Funding oversight of the Candidate is not consistent or effective

The Solution is Found in The Following Assumptions:

1) Funding a Candidate to Viability is getting less expensive - open source software, cheaper hardware, ASP-based services to handle back office processes, Web 2.0 buzz . . . .

2) The Funding Candidate is the "Customer" - simply spending less per investment while still maintaining the passive VC investment model will not work. Understand the Customer. Live in the Customer's World.

3) Seed Organizations want their Customers to succeed - incubators, local tech organizations, tech transfers, universities

There is a Solution to the Problem / Opportunity of Seed Level Investing - The START Fund

PRIVATE: Members Only