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Meet a VC: Steve Murray .

Nasdaq is highlighting the venture capitalists that built the startup landscape we know today. 

This week, meet VC: Steve Murray of Revolution Growth Partners

Meet a VC: Steve Murray

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How did get your start in the venture capital community?

In 1996 as the commercialization of the Internet was just beginning I joined Softbank. Softbank, a Japanese headquartered technology business, had recently opened offices in the US and was a big believer in the power of the Internet. They purchased some of the biggest influencers of technology at the time, Ziff Davis and Comdex, and began aggressively investing in some of the early leaders in the web including Yahoo and E*trade. Over time and with my involvement, Softbank launched a series of venture capital funds that funded some of the most important companies in technology in the last two decades.

What’s a day in your life as a VC like?

The beauty of life as a VC is that no two days are the same. Many days I’m working closely with management teams and board members on a particularly difficult personal issue or funding strategy. Other days, I’m working with entrepreneurs helping to evaluate whether they would be good investment opportunities for Revolution. Still other days I’m working with and coaching our internal team on how to best handle a new or challenging situation in one of their portfolio companies. It’s this constant variety of tasks that makes this job extremely rewarding and always challenging.

How many companies have you invested in and what is your overall investment?

I’ve invested in and sat on the board of 20 or so companies over the last 15 years. That breadth of companies across a wide range of industries and over several technology and economic cycles has afforded me a wealth of experiences that hopefully help me do what I do better every day.

What stage do you focus on and how much capital do you look to deploy for each portfolio addition?

I focus my current new investment energies on growth stage technology enabled businesses taking advantage of powerful changes in a market that can become important companies operating in significant market opportunities. We generally deploy $25-50mm of capital in each company we work with.

What matters to you most when evaluating a company as a potential fit for your firm and how does that relate to the ambitious companies that you have worked with in the past?

I look for great founders/CEOs that have passion for their business, a proven ability to hire great people and a willingness to motivate and challenge them to win. Business is a lot like team sports, you need a great head coach to set vision and strategy, but equally important you need a complementary and highly functioning team to consistently win.

What advice do you offer to a first time founder?

The advice I give founders is to set ambitious but realistic goals, don’t be afraid to make decisions and to seek the advice of people in and out of your company.

What is the one common denominator that stands out to you across all great investments your firm has made during its history?

The common denominator across all great investments is almost always the combination of two powerful forces; excellent market timing and superior execution. One without the other can often produce a good company. Both will produce a great company and investment.

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