F|R Interview: 2 Founders, 2 Careers’ Worth of Funding Tips

Founders Gary Swart and Stephen Pieraldi presided over the Venture Capital and Seed Financing Workshop at GigaOM’s recent Structure 08 conference . This week, the pair sat down with Found|READ to share additional lessons from their careers in fundraising.

Swart is CEO of oDesk, a staffing platform that lets companies hire and manage their global talent virtually. Previously he co-founded Intellibank, which he described as “an ill-fated XRM startup that taught me many lessons, most significantly the importance of focus and product-market fit.” oDesk was seed-funded by its founders and angel Ron Conway. Since Swart joined in 2005, oDesk has raised $29 million in three venture capital rounds.


Stephen Pieraldi is the founder of Iforem, which offers e-escrow services so companies can store their digital assets, in perpetuity. This is his second stint as a founder, and his seventh startup overall. Iforem was seed-funded with $2 million by Gabriel Venture Partners, where Pieraldi is an EIR. Read More about F|R Interview: 2 Founders, 2 Careers’ Worth of Funding Tips

A Personal Note: Pause & Read

The passing of Tim Russert, a man I greatly admired, came as the result of a massive heart attack, an event that cannot be predicted. Having suffered a heart attack myself earlier this year, I know this firsthand — the heart is no match for the high-stress, multitasking lives that so many of us lead. And before we know it, our poor habits catch up with us. It’s why I urge you to get yourself to the doctor and get your much-delayed physical. You would be doing yourself, your family and even your startup a favor.

As part of my recovery process, my cardiologist Dr. Eduardo Rame of UCSF suggested that I take some time out of my busy life and spend it on projects that are focused on helping others. It is the best and most effective way to de-stress – doing good and breaking your routines. So I decided to get involved with UCSF and help them raise some funds. (If any of you would like to help, please drop me a note.)

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Shawn Fanning, Ready for a Rupture

Last night at a holiday party hosted by super angel, Ron Conway, I ran into Shawn Fanning, who in the past started Napster and Snocap, and talked to him about his most recent start-up, Rupture. Angel investors like Conway and Joi Ito have invested in the company. (Snocap has been on the ropes and might be down for the final count.) Unlike his past two efforts, this one has nothing to do with music and instead is focused on gaming.

While he would not go into specifics, he did say that the new company would help game-fiends connect in a social sort of a way. The news of Rupture was first reported by Business Week last December, and since then the company has been in a beta test mode. Fanning said that the company was going to come out of stealth in a few weeks. I will keep you posted.

Photo Credit: Joi Ito via Flickr