Earlier this year, as the stock market plunged, most bankers and other financiers hoarded capital and throttled back on new deals. But not Josh Kopelman. Even in the bleakest months, the co-founder of the venture capital firm First Round Capital hustled after startups to write them checks.
Take one sunny morning in February. Kopelman sits in the San Francisco loft of First Round's West Coast office across a table from Gary Briggs. A veteran entrepreneur, Briggs just took over as CEO at Plastic Jungle, a startup building an online marketplace where consumers can buy, sell, or trade gift cards. "There's about $40 billion of unused gift cards on retailers' balance sheets," says Briggs, so focused he doesn't touch the salad ordered in for his lunch.