A New York City VC Spotlight: Alberto Escarlate



Alberto Escarlate is an accomplished venture capitalist, entrepreneur and, most recently, a member of the faculty at Parsons The New School of Design, with a stack of business credentials almost too long to list. Notable recent accomplishments of his include, in his words, co-founding Sojo Studios, a social/mobile gaming company and creating TigerTag, the first free lost and found service for consumer electronics.

In total, Escarlate has worked for over 15 different companies over the past 20 years.

Escarlate got his start in the business world in 1994, working as the technology director on the founding team of AgênciaClick, then called Midialog. He then moved on to a number of business positions for the next decade, including working as the associate director of production for Modem Media, the director of marketing management for Marketing Drive Worldwide and the CTO for Byte Interactive.

It was also during this time that Escarlate began his foray into the blogging world, working as a lead blogger (international) and a contributing blogger (U.S.) for Engadget, a consumer electronics and technology magazine.

Escarlate took the plunge and entered the startup world in 2004, working as the founding CTO for Entertainment Media Works for four years. He followed that by co-founding TigerTag in 2008 and left two years later to co-found Sojo Studios, where he worked for over two years to create socially-conscious mobile games.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Escarlate currently works in a variety of different positions, including as a part-time faculty member at Parsons, a venture partner with the Collaborative Fund, an advisor at Levo League and a corporate council member at Children’s Health Fund.

He earned his B.S. in computer science at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro in 1987 and his M.Sc in Systems Engineering – Computer Science at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in 1993. Yes, the Brazilian accent is real.

VC Firm:

Partner at Collaborative Fund

Sector Focus:

Cloud computing, scalable consumer web technologies, mobile, social media


Accredited investor, but no investments declared

Blog, Twitter and Websites:

Personal blog
Sojo Studios
Parsons The New School of Design

Expertise Areas:

Advertising, design management, startups, venture capital, information design, entrepreneurship, management, consulting, blogging, web analytics, product development and strategy, e-commerce, collaborative consumption, team building

Memorable Quotes:

On pivoting: “Pivoting as pre-planned strategy is probably rare, most companies do it because they have to do it. It’s however very common to the new generation of tech startups to figure out things one step at a time and be able to understand what/when to pivot.”

On what it means to be a true founder: “You’ve either started a company or you haven’t. “Started” doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out. It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friend).”

On when a company is no longer a startup:” Startup is a state of mind. I bet there’s a lot of startups that don’t feel like one and established companies that feel like one.”

On whether pivoting is natural selection or intelligent design: “Pivoting is not particular to tech startups. Many of the largest companies we know today have done it throughout the years to adapt to new times or even to survive. The list surprises lots of people.”

On how many Social Media Gurus it takes to screw in a lightbulb: Just one. The others just RT it.

Click for more Venture Capitalists in New York.

About the author: John Tyczkowski

John Tyczkowski is a masters student in linguistics at the University of New Mexico. He’s the managing editor and opinion editor of the New Mexico Daily Lobo, UNM’s independent student-run newspaper, and an avid reader of Popular Science.

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