Monday, September 12, 2005

Rob Stavis Led Skype Series A

Thank you Rob for chasing down two elusive programmers in Amsterdam (Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis), and leading Skype's first round of venture capital. The acquisition by eBay generated a record multiple for us, and in under 2 years.

Venture capital is a career change for Stavis, who had previously succeeded Meriwether as head of Salomon's global arbitrage trading desk. After years of serving on Salomon's executive committee, Stavis spent a few years as an angel investor, funding novel financial service firms like reinsurer PXRE (now public on NYSE), and technology ventures like Arbinet (now public on NASADAQ). More importantly, Stavis led the funding rounds of New York's hottest restaurants (Union Pacific, Calle Ocho, Django, and Rain) and toughest golf club courses (Friar's Head, ranked #1 by GolfWeek).

Stavis joined Bessemer's New York office as a part-timer in 2000, but we have since managed to suck him in full time. Other Stavis investments include Gerson Lehrman Group, Soleil Securities, and Revver (a stealth venture in P2P video). He is an insightful, athletic and genuinely nice guy who both maddens and inspires you by just naturally doing everything so well: skiing, golf, math, diving, cooking, and, now, venture capital.


  1. Anonymous8:04 AM

    100x? Word on the street is Bessemer invested at a valuation in the hundreds of millions. You're saying Bessemer's post-money is <$30M?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Congratulations to Rob and Bessemer. I'm glad to see that someone is recognizing others that were influential in getting this company rolling in addition to the "Father of Skype"

  4. Forgive me for being a skeptic, but I still fail to see what justifies Skype's hefty $2.6 billion price tag when it's competitive advantage can easily be undermined by open source lead projects such as Asterisk and software giants such as Microsoft. I envision Google getting into the fray as well once they figure out a profitable business model synergetic to their core business. I'm actually of the opinion that Rupert Murdoch made the right decision to pass-- thus far I've associated Skype with hype. However, that said, my father (an early adopter of technology for his generation) is absolutely in love with it.

    Anyway, congratulations!

    John Yau

  5. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Great job hiring Rob!

  6. I've edited my blog title to remove the words "Skype's First VC" since Stavis has pointed out to me that there were other VC's (Mangrove, Draper Luxembourg) who either invested alongside Bessemer or had committed capital prior to the A round in some form or another.

  7. Anonymous2:15 PM

    As a frequent VC oriented blog reader/poster, I find the "I love Rob" post fascinating.

    Nice return on Skype and I'm sure Rob did a great job, and is a great guy.

    Rob Stavis for President!