21 Stanford professors who could be your biggest startup investor

Nov. 4, 2013, 3:56 p.m.

It doesn’t take an abstract painter to realize the lines between Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial and academic landscapes are fundamentally blurred.

Through national attention (thank you, New Yorker) and a little research, The Dish Daily has secured an extensive list of Stanford professors who either sit on prominent corporate boards or who are partners of the world’s leading venture capital firms. Considering the number of acting VCs simultaneously teaching at one of the nation’s premier institutions for entrepreneurial thinking, it’s no surprise there is such a high number of venture-backed Stanford startups (actually, the highest in the nation). 

The list below illustrates the connection between Silicon Valley’s venture capital life’s blood and academia. Some observers find this to be at odds with the ethos of an academic setting, but in many ways it reflects the ultimate vision of Frederick Terman, Stanford’s School of Engineering dean from 1945 to 1953 who is widely considered to be the godfather of Silicon Valley.

Terman mentored William Hewlett and David Packard, keeping them and their eponymous company in Silicon Valley, and was a major proponent of creating a connection between the campus and the corporate world. Here’s more about each Stanford lecturer and his or her role outside of the classroom.

Tom Byers is the Entrepreneurship Professorship endowed chair at the Stanford School of Engineering and is faculty director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. He has served on the governing board of Flywheel Ventures, Thuuz, and is the brother of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ founding partner Brook Byers

Michael Dearing has been with Stanford’s d.school since 2006, co-developing and teaching courses including “Creating Infectious Action” and “Creating Mass Market Experiences.” While at eBay he created Harrison Metal in 2008 “after working closely with and investing in a few small companies.” Harrison Metal has invested in 500px, Euclid, Lumos Labs and ModCloth.

Nir Eyal is an advisor, consultant, and investor in several tech companies and is lecturer at the Business School.

Jon Feiber became a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures in 1991 after working for years as a vice president at Sun Microsystems. He is now a Stanford d.school consulting associate professor.

John Glynn is both the founder and managing director of Glynn Capital Management and a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Glynn Capital Management invested in Bonobox, Cloudera, Dropbox, Etsy, Evernote, Financial Engines, LinkedIn, Palantir, and Tumblr.

Theresia Gouw earned her MBA from Stanford and serves as a trustee for the Stanford GSB Trust. She’s the founding vice president of business development and sales at Release Software and has been responsible for several of Accel Partners’ most prominent tech investments including Trulia and Imperva.

Clint Korver is a co-founder and partner at Ulu Ventures while also being a Kauffman Fellow and a mentor at StartX. He lectures in the Management Science and Engineering departments at Stanford. Ulu Ventures has invested in Lex Machina, Loki Studios, NovoEd and SoFi.

Tom Kosnik is on the faculty of the Management Sciences and Engineering department and also an advisor to Illuminate Ventures.

Peter Levine is an instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to A16Z he was a general partner and managing director of the Mayfield Fund. He sits on the board of Udacity, Bromium, and Github. Github is the largest Andreessen Horowitz largest investment to date.

John Lilly, formerly CEO of Mozilla, sits on the Board of Advisors at Stanford and works with both the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and StartX while also working as a partner at Greylock Partners. He has led Greylock’s investments in Dropbox, Instagram, ClearSlide and Tumblr. While a Stanford student, Lilly became a CS198 section leader and coordinator.

Trevor Loy was educated at Stanford University and currently co-lectures for MS&E 276: “Entrepreneurial Management in Finance” as an adjunct faculty instructor at Stanford Technology Ventures Program. He is a general partner at Flywheel Ventures and sits on the board of TerraEchos, Digabit, TrackVia, and AfterCollege.

Michael G. Lyons currently serves as chairman of cyber-security company Zanttz and executive chairman of CypherPath. Until 2011, he was a venture partner with Paladin Capital Group in Washington D.C., and is currently a consulting associate professor at Stanford. He also co-developed Stanford Technology Ventures Program with Tom Byers and was the founding professor of Technology Venture Formation.

Ann Miura-Ko earned her Ph.D. in Quantitative Modeling of Computer Security at Stanford. Currently a co-founding partner at FLOODGATE, she sits on the boards of Modcloth, Zimride/Lyft, Wanelo, Refinery29, Chloe and Isabel, among many others. She lectures at the School of Engineering and also at the d.school.

Joel Peterson has taught at Stanford’s GSB since 1992 and is currently the Robert L. Joss Consulting Professor of Management. He founded Peterson Partners, a private equity group, and is chairman of JetBlue Airways. He also sits on the boards of Franklin Covey, Ladder Capital Finance and Bonobos. He is also a senior advisor to Maveron, which has invested in Ebay, Groupon, Lemon Wallet, Shutterfly and Zulily.

Andy Rachleff was a general partner at Benchmark Capital until he joined the GSB to teach entrepreneurial studies. He is the CEO and co-founder of Wealthfront, which he is working on full-time after taking a leave of absence from Stanford.

Heidi Roizen is an operations partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson while also serving as Fenwick and West Entrepreneurship Educator in the Department of Engineering at Stanford. She’s sits on the boards of TiVo, DMGT, Eventful, ShareThis, and XTime and is on the advisory boards of Springboard Enterprises and the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

Eric Schmidt, who does venture capital investment through his funds Innovation Endeavors and TomorrowVentures, is executive chairman of Google. Alongside Google co-founder Larry Page, he has presented more than two dozen Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner lectures at the GSB and lectured on strategic management for several years.

Robert Siegel, a general partner at XSeed Capital, lectures on organizational behavior at the Graduate School of Business.

Russell Siegelman “splits his time between teaching, angel investing and non-profit activities,” according to Stanford’s website. Siegelman teaches “Startup Garage,” “Product Launch,” and “Formation of New Ventures” at the GSB and for 11 years he was a Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He continues to mentor a number of GSB entrepreneurs.

Peter Wendell founded Sierra Ventures after a decade in sales and marketing at IBM and continues as its managing director. He teaches the popular “Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital” course at the GSB and serves on the board of managers of Living Furniture, a company founded by former Stanford students.

Note: majority of information obtained from Stanford University’s website.

This post was originally published on thedishdaily.com before it was acquired by The Stanford Daily in summer 2014.

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