On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Silicon Valley, two proud fathers stood on the sidelines of a soccer field.
They were watching their young daughters play together, and it was only a matter of time before
they struck up a conversation about work.
The taller of the two men was Danny Shader, a serial
entrepreneur who had spent time at Netscape, Motorola, and Amazon.
Intense, dark-haired, and capable of talking about business forever, Shader was in his late thirties by the time he launched his first company, and he liked to call himself the “old man of the Internet.”
He loved building companies, and he was just getting his fourth start-up off the ground.
Shader had instantly taken a liking to the other father, a man named David Hornik who invests in companies for a living. At 5’4″, with dark hair, glasses, and a goatee, Hornik is a man of eclectic interests: he collects Alice in Wonderland books, and in college he created his own major in computer music.
He went on to earn a master’s in criminology and a law degree, and after burning the midnight oil at a law firm, he accepted a job offer to join a venture capital firm, where he spent the next decade listening to pitches from entrepreneurs and deciding whether or not to fund them.
During a break between soccer games, Shader turned to Hornik and said, “I’m working on
something—do you want to see a pitch?” Hornik specialized in Internet companies, so he seemed like
an ideal investor to Shader.
The interest was mutual. Most people who pitch ideas are first-time entrepreneurs, with no track record of success. In contrast, Shader was a blue-chip entrepreneur who had hit the jackpot not once, but twice.
In 1999, his first start-up, Accept.com, was acquired by Amazon for $175 million. In 2007, his next company, Good Technology, was acquired by Motorola
for $500 million.
Given Shader’s history, Hornik was eager to hear what he was up to next.