For the first twenty one years of my career I built companies as an entrepreneur learning many lessons along the way. For the last thirteen I’ve been helping entrepreneurs build their own startups. Today I’m lucky to work with an incredible group of founders and executives who I learn from every day.
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I first fell in love with technology as a teenager when I taught myself programming and started building and selling applications before I went to University. That passion for solving problems through technology evolved in to a passion for business as I realized that innovations don’t get adopted without talented organizations behind them and a differentiated way to go the market with a business model that builds value.
Putting technology, people, and business strategy together became the foundation for the rest of my career. As an entrepreneur I founded / co-founded and worked with great teams to build a variety of different companies that spanned CAD/CAM, document management, workflow, imaging and collaboration, security, and analytics.
To learn the discipline of investing, I became a VC and turned my focus to helping entrepreneurs build their own businesses. For me, investing is a continuation of what I’ve always loved: bringing together groundbreaking technology, amazing people, innovative market making and game-changing business models. After over a dozen years of investing I saw an enormous amount of change and went on a listening tour to meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors in the ecosystem. I learned a ton. We’re now building a new kind of partnership, Underscore.VC, based on what we heard entrepreneurs want and need for the future.
I’m still focused on backing great entrepreneurs around market changing technologies such as Cloud Computing, and disruptive business models such as, Open Source. In these areas I’m currently focused on SaaS Applications in areas like eCommerce, new platforms such as IoT and the resulting Big Data/Analytics/Machine Learning need. And I’m always building new investment theses based on trends like the shift from offline to online Marketing. But I’m the first to admit that if a great entrepreneur had an idea outside any of these areas, I’d be focused on their vision and potential above and beyond all else.
That conviction has given me the opportunity to work with a group of incredible entrepreneurs and executives at companies like Acquia, Apperian, Cazena, Demandware (NYSE:DWRE – acq by Salesforce), Salsify, Unidesk and others like Actifio and REVOlution Analytics (acq by Microsoft) where I am passionate about the team or space.
My main hobby is Photography and so I try to use my own photography wherever I can. All the background images for the site are personal images. You can see more of my photography on instagram @mjskok.