Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

130 E 59th St., Floor 17
New York, NY

Blog

We're Hiring: Platform Content Intern

Maria Palma

For over twenty years, RRE Ventures has been one of the premier venture capital firms in New York, investing in companies such as Buzzfeed, theSkimm, and Business Insider, among many others. We pride ourselves not only on investing in great entrepreneurs and delivering stellar returns for our investors, but also on being supportive partners to our founders, company executives and the broader startup ecosystem.

RRE’s platform efforts focus on providing valuable resources to our existing entrepreneurs and communicating the RRE brand and values to potential future entrepreneurs.  To help us with these efforts, we are hiring an intern to assist with social media, content creation, and event coordination.  This candidate is extremely passionate about technology, an active participant on social media and an excellent communicator and writer. We’re also looking for people that are fun and excited to roll up their sleeves up and learn.  If you are someone who loves left brain-right brain problems, where you can be creative but also be analytical and learn the tech industry, this is the perfect fit.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Develop and execute social media and content strategy (including blogging and PR articles)
  • Plan, coordinate and execute events for RRE entrepreneurs and the NYC tech ecosystem
  • Support the Director of Platform in all aspects of platform initiatives and branding

REQUIREMENTS

  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate program
  • Commitment of 10+ hours/week during the school year / full time during the summer
  • Demonstrated passion for technology, startups and the NYC ecosystem
  • Desire to keep learning and contribute in a fast-paced environment
  • Availability to help with night events 1-2 times per month
  • The role will be based in NYC with a start date of mid May

HOW TO APPLY

Send the below information to talent@rre.com with the title “Platform Intern: Your Name”

  • A brief bio
  • Resume
  • Links to social media presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Other work (hacks, designs, blog posts, etc.)
  • What is a current trend you think is interesting in the tech community?
  • Why are you interested in this role?

Sadness: Remembering Bill Campbell

Will Porteous

Bill Campbell’s remarkable impact as a coach, CEO, and mentor will get a lot of attention in the coming days, as well it should.  He was an extraordinary person who gave generously of his time, energy, and insights to help other people grow and develop.  In the process he had a massive impact on the technology industry and particularly on the way technology companies are built.  As an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Business School, I was fortunate to work with Bill in a very special setting- the classroom.

 From approximately 2004 to 2009, Bill Campbell was a regular guest in the Venture Capital Seminar that Stuart Ellman and I teach at Columbia.  During this time he was in tremendously high demand as he served as Chairman of Columbia University, as an advisor to Google’s management and board, and as a Director of both Intuit and Apple, all while mentoring a number of CEOs. 

 In spite of these commitments, every year Bill would make time for us.  Talking about human capital and the development of high performance teams has always been a core part of our course and I think that’s what kept Bill coming back.   Every year we would hold a closed-door session with just our students and Bill.  The sessions were never announced publicly and we kept everything off the record- no tweets, no posts – so that Bill would feel comfortable talking openly about the companies and CEOs he was close to. 

 And talk he did, telling stories from the early days at Google and recalling tough moments as CEO of Intuit.  We dug deeply into topics like hiring, performance reviews, and firing, and even how to do a layoff.  We talked about the role of founders and some of the challenges faced by founder CEOs in dealing with investors.  We talked about values and how to build an organization around them.  Some years we were joined by former Intuit executive Bill Strauss and longtime Intuit Board Member, Chris Brody, who had both worked with Bill for years.  They would get him going on a particular memory and Bill would go off.   The students loved it.  And as a young partner in the venture capital industry, I loved it.  Bill taught me a great deal about how to be a good investor and board member.  Eventually the university found out about these sessions and wanted to film them.  We knew that many of Bill’s stories could never be made public. We dodged them for a few more years and then Bill made it clear that he had to step back.

 Bill possessed a deep, powerful humanity that one doesn’t encounter very often.  I don’t know whether it was a product of his modest upbringing in western Pennsylvania or his passion for football and coaching, but he knew how to connect with every sort of person.  He had vast reserves of energy, and compassion and he was fiercely loyal.  No matter how long he had been away, he always greeted you with a big hug and a slap on the back - a not so subtle reminder that he was counting on you to do your best.  When I was moderating these sessions with Bill, I sometimes found myself on the receiving end of a sharp glance or a suspicious look if I asked a question that didn’t really flow with his thinking.   He always expected the best of the people he committed to – and he was there to help us hold ourselves accountable. 

 When my father died of cancer in March 2006, I received a single, one word email from Bill. “Sadness” was all he wrote.  It turns out that Bill had lost his brother in the same week. With just one word, he reached out to make the connection, to let me know that I wasn't alone in going through something tough.  Bill’s great strength was his incredible humanity.

I feel immensely fortunate to have known Bill and to have helped him share his experience with our students.  My RRE colleagues and I want to express our deep sympathy to Bill’s family, his many friends and all the people he influenced throughout his long career.  Today we are all touched by sadness.

Smartphones; the latest invisible ally of the Fed

James Robinson

Throughout my business career of some 60 years, I have always been fascinated by change — the dynamics of change and how businesses, governments and people respond to change. Or fail to respond. Throughout history, major technological trends have had a profound, and often invisible, impact on governments and traditional institutions.

In the digital era, this pace of change is amplified and relentless. While the tech and business communities are naturally immersed in these dynamics, many institutions are not reacting fast enough to how technology is changing our economy — and their own destiny.

I’ve been a student and a fan of the Federal Reserve since the 1960s. Having been involved in the banking and financial sector, including as the former Chairman/CEO of American Express for many years and now as a venture capitalist, I’ve always had to think about how the broader policy decisions were affecting the markets. From the business vantage point, it has been fascinating to watch how technology has both complicated and helped the Fed’s policy decisions.

For instance, one of the main missions of the Federal Reserve is to keep inflation low. Yet, it’s important to remember that for inflation to happen, someone has to raise prices. In this regard, over the last couple of decades, Walmart and then Amazon have been invisible allies of the Fed in accomplishing this goal. The latest invisible ally of the Fed in this regard is the smartphone.

With the smartphone, the power of pricing has shifted into the hands of the consumer even further, keeping downward pressure on retail prices. Today, mobile e-commerce represents 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce, but, moreover, a recent study found that 90 percent of retail shoppers use their smartphones in-store to check prices, product information and reviews. This translates to an environment where everyone can compare prices and features, both online and offline.

So, unless you are in a unique luxury category, your ability to increase price is limited. Moreover, when you think about the growth of price comparison engines in other sectors outside of retail, such as Kayak for travel, NerdWallet* for credit cards, CoverHound* for insurance and others, it really drives the point home that the mechanics of price adjustment are more and more driven by transparency and choice in the marketplace.

So in effect, everyone with a smartphone becomes a deputy central banker…helping to keep prices in check.

That’s just the example using the smartphone. The broader point is that many of the old models and beliefs on which our fundamental economic and monetary policies are built need to be inspected through a different lens, embracing how technology will impact the economy of the future.

One example of this is the old equation economists have considered for years, MV=PT, where the money supply x velocity of money is equal to price x transactions. Most of the monetary policies in the last 50 years have been based around the money supply being the main driver for things like inflation, currency appreciation/depreciation and interest rates. The reality though, is that money velocity is extremely important, and virtually impossible to impact directly, let alone control.

For instance, the long-held adage that too much money chasing too few goods and services will cause inflation must be questioned. In the last few decades, the money supply itself has embraced so many definitions. The ability to trade or move money without an actual tie to the money supply seems endless. Given this, it makes sense to question the underlying assumptions around how much money supply itself can drive economic policy. This is just one example demonstrating how the implications of change can challenge fundamental beliefs.

Over the past couple of decades, technology has been a major driver of change and, although change can be scary or frightening, one thing is for sure: Change is inevitable.

So whether it is technologies that have been around for many years or new technology challenges, such as blockchain and cryptocurrency, change is not going away. This means institutions, central bankers and governments need to be paying attention to how the economy around them is changing. How and when will all this affect their own modes of operation or assumptions? The question is whether many of these institutions are reacting fast enough.

If I have learned anything from my experience in the private sector, the slower you are to react to change, the more painful it is to adjust once you must. Do you lean into change or risk being disintermediated by someone else? That’s a question all businesses must address — so too must the government, their agencies and political leaders.

*NerdWallet and CoverHound are RRE portfolio companies.

Investing With a New Purpose

Steven Schlafman

RRE's investment strategy empowers each individual to invest in areas they are passionate and knowledge about, with the philosophy that brings out their best—we wanted to take this opportunity to share the latest investing philosophy and areas of interest of our principal, Steve Schlafman:

Several weeks ago, I was hanging out with Lindsay Ullman of Sidewalk Labs and we were talking about some of the companies I’ve backed at RRE and Lerer Ventures. She paused at one of them and asked, “Do you believe this company is good for the world?” Candidly, I was caught off guard. I wasn’t expecting such a direct question and didn’t consider it much when I was making the initial investment. I didn’t know what to say.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought about my conversation with Lindsay at least a dozen times. Her question forced me to be honest with myself about the reasons why I funded this startup, and the rationale behind some of my other investments too. I realized that my investment philosophy had been slowly changing for some time, and our conversation was a kind of tipping point. I finally arrived at the following conclusion: If a company doesn’t solve a worthy problem and make the world a better place, then I have no business investing in it. 

That’s a big statement, I know. But this isn’t just another watered-down plug for “impact investing” or an attempt to make myself feel better about being a VC. This is what I believe, and I think it’s important to explain why I feel a responsibility to invest in companies that solve worthy problems and why I believe that doing so can make the world a better place and drive returns. 

The longer I spend in the venture business, the more I realize that investors are in a unique position to help create the future. Let’s be honest. The large majority of VCs don’t perform the hard work that founders do on a daily basis. We don’t sacrifice years of life on a single company, and we don’t deserve the credit for successful outcomes. That’s just a fact. Where we do play a role is in deciding what gets funded. For better or for worse, that’s in our control. We’re enablers and supporters of change. I’ve come to believe that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to be supporters of positive change. 

If I’m completely honest with myself, I’ve invested in some companies without seriously considering whether they actually make life on earth better. Those days are over. Starting today and going forward, I will not hear a pitch or make an investment unless I truly believe the effort is improving the world. While applying this filter will help me say no much faster and save time for founders and myself, that’s not really the point. And while I can only make so many new investments each year, that’s not the point either.

The point is that I genuinely believe values-led investors are better investors and values-driven investments drive superior returns. And personally, I feel a responsibility to search for companies aligned with my values and worthy of my time. What follows obviously isn’t a complete list of worthy problems that need to be solved, but these are some categories that are important to humans across the planet. It’s impossible to predict which problems innovation will solve next, so it’s critical for me to keep an open mind, but these are a few categories that matter to me as an investor: 

1.    Life extension: Products, services, and digital therapies that improve our health and extend our lives. 
2.    Self-expression: Products that enable us to create, express ourselves openly and be heard. 
3.    Productivity / automation: Apps and services that enable us to reallocate our time to more meaningful activities. 
4.    Financial flexibility: Services that enable financial freedom by helping us earn, save, borrow and protect money. 
5.    Sustainability: Apps, services and hardware that support the conservation of resources and production of renewable energy. 
6.    Mobility: Apps, services and vehicles that enable cost-effective, reliable and high scale mass transportation. 
7.    Brain boosters: Apps, services, hardware and institutions that educate and enrich the mind. 
8.    Food: Software, services and products that make it possible to feed and nourish billions cost effectively and efficiently. 
9.    Decentralization: Services and platforms that cut out a middleman or central authority. 
10.    Shelter and housing: Software, services and hardware that provide access to more affordable housing. 
11.    Exploration: Services and products that enable us to experience the world and discover new places. 
12.    Connectivity: Services that provide affordable and ubiquitous access to the Internet. 
13.    Diversity: Founders and companies that level the playing field. 

As I explore these themes and meet with individual companies solving specific problems, I’ll ultimately be forced to decide which few companies I’d like to partner with on. Of course, my decisions will inevitably be based on a number of factors. But now and going forward, first among those factors must be values. 

I know that all sounds good in theory, but how about in practice? Let’s be honest about one more thing: VCs are in the business of making money for limited partners. We have to invest in companies that we think will make money, and stay away from ones that we fear won’t. That’s my job and I’m okay with that. Why? Because I really believe that in looking for founders and companies focused on solving real problems and making the world a better place, I’ll find massive companies that generate outsized financial returns. While making money and making a difference are too often seen as being in conflict, they don’t have to be. My job—today, tomorrow, and as long as I’m in this business—is to look for companies committed to doing both. 

(Thanks to my colleague Cooper Zelnick for reviewing this post.)