A New York VC Spotlight: Mo Koyfman of Spark Capital



As principal turned general partner at Spark Capital, Mo Koyfman is the first partner at the venture capital firm to be based in New York City.  At Spark Capital, he invests in Internet and mobile startups such as Skillshare, Kitchensurfing and Warby Parker, and serves on the board of several portfolio companies.

Prior to becoming a principal at the firm in 2008, he was COO of Connected Ventures, a new media network and development company and parent of CollegeHumor.com, BustedTees.com and Vimeo.com, after its acquisition by IAC.

During his 6 years with IAC, an Internet company that owns various well-known websites such as About.com, Ask.com, Citysearch and Urbanspoon, he held various operational, strategic and transactional positions, including becoming vice president of mergers & acquisitions and vice president of programming.

He holds a B.S. in economics with a concentration in finance and a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated magna cum laude.

His first job upon graduation was at Bear Stearns as an investment banker.  His responsibilities included mergers & acquisitions, as well as raising capital for media, entertainment and technology companies.

Currently, he serves on the board of ArtWorks, an organization dedicated to providing creative and performing arts therapy for children and young adults afflicted by chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

A self-described foodie and unabashed burger enthusiast, Koyfman is also an annual participant in Burger Bloodbath, a hamburger-cooking contest founded in 2007 in Amagansett, NY.  He won the competition in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

VC Firm:

General Partner at Spark Capital (Founded in 2005)

Sector Focus:

Mobile, Internet, Technology.

Selected Investments:

Skillshare, Kitchensurfing, Warby Parker, Work Market, Aviary, DIY, FundersClub, Consumer United


gdgt sold to AOL for an undisclosed amount
Svpply sold to eBay for an undisclosed amount


Work Market
Consumer United

Expertise Areas:

Business Development, Corporate Strategy, Capital Raising, Digital Media, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Mobile Devices, Online Advertising, Product Management, Recruiting, Strategic Partnerships, Venture Capital.

Blogs, Twitter & Websites:

Company Website

Memorable Quotes:

On startup teams:  “A great team is the first thing I look for in an investment opportunity.  Successful businesses are built by extremely talented people and that’s where my investigation begins.”

On big companies and innovation:  “Big companies in general often have a very hard time innovating from within.  It is very important for the larger companies to look externally to acquire innovative businesses and technologies.”

On Twitter:  “What Twitter has done is create a concept that seems very simple but is very smart in a couple of fundamental ways in terms of the character limit of instant messages and the notion of following someone online rather than the traditional friend relationship.  And it’s an incredibly powerful tool because it constrains what you can put out and allows you to singularly determine who you want to follow at any time and allow others to do the same, yet not force that reciprocal relationship.”

On virtual goods:  “At the end of the day, virtual goods are purchased either for status, to enhance performance or for gifting purposes—all the same reasons we buy these things in the real world.  When you get down to the underlying psychological motivations for buying and giving goods, many of those are transferable to virtual goods and fulfill the same need.  You’re not just paying for the underlying product, you’re paying for the experience.”

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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