Self-awareness is a beneficial quality in many circumstances: Working under pressure. Identifying personal weakness. Inspiring humor. And for startup success, according to Founder Collective Partner Micah Rosenbloom, a founder’s self-awareness can be a make-or-break factor.
Rosenbloom has developed his own founder chops over three startups, beginning with Handshake.com, which produced web software helping consumers schedule services, and raised over $20 million in VC funding. In his second year at Harvard Business School, he co-founded Brontes Technologies with Eric Paley — now a peer at Founder Collective — and led the dental imaging company as General Manager through its 2006 acquisition by 3M for $95 million.
Rosenbloom’s excitement to grow the NYC startup scene and continue working with past business partners like Paley eased the decision of jumping to the other side of the table as an investor at Founder Collective.
“It’s really about the people…they could have been baking cookies,” says Rosenbloom of Founder Collective’s inspiring team. His enthusiasm for talented leadership extends to investment decisions, where founder abilities are just as big a risk as the actual business plan.
In addition to honing a preference for founder teams of 2-3 people, Rosenbloom says one of the most common questions he asks himself is whether “a founder is the right founder for this type of business.”
“We try to provide a lot of mentorship. Most of the time, it’s just engaging with the founders when they need a sounding board,” says Rosenbloom.
Like many NYC tech leaders, he is an evangelist for Silicon Alley — he tells us that NYC’s concentration of talent and resources is a major benefit, and notes on the Founder Collective website that, “The NY scene is truly energized right now, and I want to help entrepreneurs build the next generation of great companies here and beyond.”
However, as an investor — and a successful observer of tech ecosystems — he believes Silicon Alley startups could learn from Silicon Valley’s ‘product orientation.’
“We’re not going to be as big as the Valley. The entire economy of the Valley is based in tech,” Rosenbloom says.
It’s a self-aware assessment for the Big Apple, to be sure, but regardless of sheer size potential, Rosenbloom and his partners at Founder Collective are bullish on NYC innovation. The team recently invested in fast-growing ‘meal kit’ delivery site Plated, based in Manhattan, and Rosenbloom’s investment focus stretches across clean technology, healthcare, mobile and enterprise startups. Rosenbloom’s developed his eclectic business interests while an undergraduate at Cornell University, where he surrounded himself with entrepreneurial friends, took several “key classes” and wrote an extensive business plan in his spare time.
Of course, a passionate founder can never truly take his skin out of the game. Rosenbloom’s most recent startup, Sample6 Technologies, develops technology platforms for detecting food-borne pathogens and other illness-causing bacteria. The Boston-based company features six Ph.Ds on its Board of Advisors — similar to Rosenbloom’s past companies, Sample6 is all about the people.