Meet a VC: David Hall of Revolution .

Highlighting the venture capitalists building the startup landscape. This week, meet David Hall, Partner at Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

Meet a VC: David Hall of Revolution

David Hall Nasdaq Meet a VC

David Hall is a Partner at Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and is responsible for investment sourcing, execution, and oversight for Revolution portfolio companies. David began his career with Revolution in 2006, serving as an investment professional for Revolution and has been working with the portfolio companies ever since. David has worked closely with and served as a Board Observer for Revolution Money (American Express), Booker (formerly GramercyOne), VinfolioKoofersSnagFilmsBenchPrep and Homesnap.

How did get your start in the venture capital community?

After I graduated magna cum laude from Morehouse College in 1997, I moved to New York City to work in banking as an M&A specialist for Morgan Stanley and then I moved to Akamai Technologies, where I built much of their financial infrastructure and focused on M&A deals.

After Akamai Technologies, I pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School and then in 2003 I joined the Washington Post Company to work on deals at the intersection of media and technology – long before Jeff Bezos bought the company, they were heavily focused on the future of digital media and how technology would change their business. When I was at the Washington Post, I read an article about what Revolution and Steve Case were building. I found a classmate who worked at Revolution Health, one of Revolution’s earliest investments, and got connected to the firm. Soon after, I received an offer to join.

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

Revolution recently launched its $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, which is backed by iconic investors, executives, and entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, Sheila Johnson, Howard Shultz, John Doerr, Adebayo Ogunlesi, David Rubenstein, and Meg Whitman. I am a partner on that fund where we make early-stage investments in companies based outside of Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston. I spend most of my day sourcing deals from cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Charlotte and also work extensively with our existing portfolio of companies on their business needs.

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

Today, Revolution has $1.3 billion under management and we are invested in around 120 companies. The firm’s initial investments range from $100,000 to $50 million depending on which fund is making the investment.

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

I focus on investing in early-stage companies based outside of the major tech hubs – Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston—through our Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and look to deploy between $100,000 and $1 million initially into each investment. We typically invest 10-20% of a round and do not lead rounds, preferring to partner with other investors, particularly regional funds. We like to think of this method as providing catalytic capital that will encourage regional investment and connect companies to other people and organizations that will help accelerate their growth.

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?

Broadly speaking, we are really looking to invest in startups outside of the major tech hubs that are using technology to disrupt major industries like food, healthcare, transportation, and agriculture – these are sectors that impact our everyday lives and require relevant domain expertise. I also look for strong, flexible founders, who bring an entrepreneurial spirit, a deep and diverse connection to their local networks, and a desire to win.

What advice do you offer to a first time founder? 

Considering the all-encompassing nature of start-up entrepreneurship, I always suggest that first-time founders find a mentor who can give them both solid business and personal advice to help with balancing home and startup life. I’ve found that the best founders typically have all facets of their life operating at maximum efficiency.

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

In addition to focusing on investing outside of major tech hubs, we have always invested in founders and companies that are leveraging technology to build disruptive, innovative companies that are attacking large, traditional industries with new products and services. For example, Revolution’s portfolio includes a healthy school meal provider, a software company that helps subcontractors increase profits and reduce costs, and a company that uses artifical intelligence to identify, upskill and curate software development teams.

Can you provide a few examples of companies that you are working with that excite you because of their business concept or their leadership? 

I’m very excited about a company in Baltimore, MD called Catalyte, which uses predictive analystics to find and train software development teams. Additionally, Columbus, OH-based SafeChain is using blockchain to execute secure title management and real estate transactions in under 30 seconds and 75F that takes an "internet of things" approach to save energy by sensing and reacting to variables like the weather, the number of people in a room, time of day and other factors to control air quality, temperature, lighting and ventilation.

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