Two months ago, readers of Philadelphia Magazine were treated to an extraordinary tale of covert military missions and technology investing. It was about Mike Burns, co-founding managing director of Guggenheim Ventures. Here’s the lead:
The most successful Philadelphia entrepreneur no one has ever heard of wants to go off the record. Mike Burns, described by one friend as having an altar-boy face and an assassin’s heart, is in his understated King of Prussia office, from which he runs Guggenheim Venture Partners — the “deep tech” venture firm he founded with asset manager Guggenheim Partners, of the philanthropic New York family best known for a museum. Burns, who is all of 37 but looks little more than half that, entered into the Guggenheim partnership after he sold his first two companies for $750 million, one of those companies being Traffic.com.
The problem? I’ve asked about the Lidocaine patch Burns is wearing on a particular body part. When he’s not making millions, the former naval officer is a reservist in Special Operations Forces, a volunteer troop of special-mission commandos. Burns doesn't talk about what he does as a reservist, but it presumably involves some Bond-like stuff. Last week he returned from his last deployment, likely an exotic place, and he injured said body part — a particularly vulnerable spot, given that he’d injured it before doing something else that was dangerous and secretive. “This has to be off the record,” he reiterates. “I don’t want the enemy knowing any weakness.”
The piece carried on for several pages, including a Photoshopped image of Burns holding a gun in one hand and a briefcase in the other (see above). Fascinating stuff. Well, if it were true.