A New York VC Spotlight: Howard Morgan, First Round Capital


“I don’t want a very large business plan, I do want to know you’ve thought about the key issues facing your business over the first year or two.”



Venture capitalist, angel investor, philanthropist and author. Howard Morgan began his career as an academic, serving as a Professor of Decision Sciences and Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972 through 1985, and teaching as a Visiting Professor at the California Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School. His research and early involvement with computer networks and the Internet allowed him to advise corporate and government agencies on their use.

In 1982, Morgan co-founded Renaissance Technologies and served as President from 1983 to 1989, helping develop investments into high technology companies. Since 1989, Morgan has been President of the Arca Group, Inc., a venture capitalist firm focused on computer and communications technologies. In 2004, Morgan partnered with other investors to form Philadelphia-based First Round Capital, which has invested in companies including LinkedIn, Square, and Uber.

In addition, he serves as director of Idealab, and sits on the board of companies including Franklin Electronic Publishers, Fab.com, and AxialMarkets. Morgan is also involved in numerous nonprofits, such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Math for America.

In 1997, Howard Morgan was named Delaware Valley Entrepreneur of the Year, and ranked #12 in the 2011 Top 30 Most Respected Venture Capitalist list.

Morgan holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University and a B.S. in physics from City College of the City University of New York.

VC Firm:

President, The Arca Group, Inc.
Partner, First Round Capital

Sector Focus:
Information systems, E-commerce, high technology

Selected Investment:
Tremor Video


Axial Markets

Blog, Twitter, and Websites:

Memorable Quotes:

On being first: “One of the biggest mistakes is saying ‘We’re the first’ or ‘We’re the only’ because, I can almost guarantee you as an angel and venture investor who sees thousands of plans a year; you’re probably not — the first, or the only, in any particular field.”

On persistence: “Persistence is very important, but not foolish persistence. . . but at some time, the market tells you whether you’re right or wrong.”

On plans: “I don’t want a very large business plan, I do want to know you’ve thought about the key issues facing your business over the first year or two.”

On attracting investment: “An entrepreneur who is passionate about an idea–the money will come if they do it well.”

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