Robert Simon completed his first marathon this year at the San Francisco Marathon on July 28. A partner at Alta Partners, Simon turned in a time of 3 hours and 26 minutes, pretty respectable for a first-time event by the 43-year-old who invests in IT companies. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Simon had just completed a climb of 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier in Washington State one day before the marathon. It was his fourth 13,000-plus-foot summit, including Mt. Shasta, Mt. Whitney, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, and Anna Purna Base Camp in Nepal.
Simon shrugs off the accomplishment with a compliment to his pace-runner, WaldenVC’s Phil Sanderson. Sanderson was not actually registered for the event. He just showed up to keep Simon company in his first outing. Sanderson has completed 30 marathons this year, including five ultra-marathons – 100-mile runs that take the better part of an entire day. He’s been running distance since high school and keeps in shape with 70-mile practice weeks. He works out in San Francisco’s Presidio most mornings, and offers to meet portfolio companies or hear pitches over a lunch run. Apparently entrepreneurs are so desperate these days that none has turned down the running-pitch offer.
Pumping Up VCs
As of this writing, the kooky California recall was in full force, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was gaining momentum. Seems he has some deep VC ties. He’s an investor in no less than 14 private equity funds, with anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million invested in each, according to documents filed with the state. He mostly invests in buyout funds. Among the VC funds he has invested with are Acacia Venture Partners, Dawntreader Fund, Redpoint Ventures and Terra Lycos Ventures. At least one VC hopes the Republican actor wins. “He could be a really fantastic governor,” Tim Draper gushed to the San Jose Mercury News.
A Berry Odd Request
For a 25th wedding anniversary, a spouse can expect any number of requests: a trip to Paris, a cruise on a luxury ocean liner, a bigger diamond. Enterprise Partners’ Bill Stensrud got a request that proved to be a taller order than most.
“The one thing she wanted for our 25th anniversary was for me to leave my cell phone, my laptop and my Blackberry behind,” he says. The couple enjoyed a peaceful time in Canada sans electronic devices, which didn’t dampen spirits at all.
“You can tell the venture capital community that it is possible to live without a cell phone, Blackberry and laptop,” Stensrud says. “Difficult, but it is possible.”
When the Dalai Lama comes to town, the Nobel Laureate and spiritual leader of Tibet can be expected to meet with the usual roster of Buddhist celebrities – from Richard Gere to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. One entrepreneur wants to put venture capitalists on the guest list.
Tenzin Khangsar is the founder of Healing the Divide, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving ancient Himalayan culture through modern technology and entrepreneurial business practices. “This will strike a chord with one person,” he says. “In this business, if you have the right person who is involved, it can make all the difference.”
Khangsar, who was born in Tibet and raised in Canada, is no monk or spiritual fad-chaser. He comes from a business background and knows the venture world well. As the founder of video transmission management service provider Invidex, he secured funding from Investissement Desjardins and angel investors.
Joe Knows Tech
Stumping in Silicon Valley, Presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) visited Nanosys Inc., a nano startup headed by VC-turned-entreprenuer Larry Bock of the CW Group in San Diego. Bock told the Associated Press that it’s hard to find politicians who understand tech. “Sen. Lieberman gets technology, and he also gets innovation,” Bock said.