May 6 2019

The Long Arc of A CEO / Investor Friendship

Last week, Return Path announced it was being acquired by Validity

My fellow board member Fred Wilson wrote a great history titled The Long Game and Matt Blumberg wrote a beautiful tribute titled OnlyOnce, Part XX.

I’ve been involved in Return Path as an investor since 2001 when Return Path and Veripost merged as part of a funding done by Sutter Hill (Greg Sands), Flatiron Partners (Fred Wilson), and Mobius Venture Capital (me). I wrote the very long story in a post titled Return Path Acquires Netcreations in 2004. This post has a ton of Return Path history in it in case you want to go back in time 20 years. And, if you want to only go back in time 10 years, take a gander at Happy Birthday Return Path which is a post about Return Path’s 10 year anniversary and includes the story of the negotiation between me and Fred to merge Return Path and Veripost.

I count my involved in Return Path for 20 years since my investment in Veripost (which became my investment in Return Path) was done in 1999.

Today, Matt is one of my closest friends. In addition to our personal relationship, we’ve had a number of other work experiences besides Return Path. Matt has served on two boards of companies I’ve invested in – FeedBurner (acquired by Google) and Moz. Matt was an early, and engaged mentor in Techstars. Matt introduced me to Scott Dorsey, which led to our investment in High Alpha. Finally, Matt – working with Andy Sautins, Cathy Hawley, and Tami Forman – co-founded Path Forward which was spun off from Return Path.

I’m proud to have been involved in all of these companies with Matt.

Finally, Matt’s been a strong supporter of my quest to do a marathon in every state in the US. We’ve done two together – New York and Idaho.

Twenty years is a long time to be involved in anything. When a VC talks about a quick exit, you can mention that you know a few (Fred, Brad, and Greg) who has a 20-year board experience. As Fred says, “entrepreneurship and startup investing is a long game. It requires patience, resilience, capital, commitment, and much more.”

Matt – and everyone at Return Path – thank you for letting me be part of your journey.