After graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in economics in 1995 and doing business-consulting work, Brian Hirsch has made a name for himself in the New York Venture Capitalist world with his investment model. He looks for strong teams with a chance for high growth. Hirsch began as the founder and Managing Director of GSA Venture Partners, formerly the venture arm of Greenhill & Co. Prior to GSAVP, Hirsch worked for Sterling Venture Partners and was a Vice President at ABN AMRO Private Equity. He then founded Tribeca Venture Partners, which now invest in a number of different verticals.
He has written several columns on venture capital for the Baltimore Business Journal.
He also serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Venture Capital Association (NYVCA) and is founder of the Ingenuity Conference, one of NY’s largest annual venture events.
VC Firm: Tribeca Venture Partners, Managing Partner
Spanfeller Media Group
Flat World Education
New York Venture Capital Association
On what inspired him to focus on technology companies: “When I was ten years old, while most kids were reading comic books I was reading all of my father’s business magazines. I mostly enjoyed reading the long profile stories of entrepreneurs that were building great companies against all odds. It was the 1980’s and entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy and Scott Cook were changing the world through technology. What fascinated me was the process of taking an idea and transforming it into a reality. Fast forward thirty years and I feel lucky to spend my days helping this generation of entrepreneurs build tomorrow’s great tech companies.”
On his investment strategy: “We invest in all sorts of digital technology companies, really across industry, but they tend to fit pretty closely to the markets that are dominant here in New York. While we don’t just invest in New York, we do a fair amount in our backyard. If you think about financial services and financial technology, media, digital media, advertise and technology, publishing, education technology, consumer web, all the things that are really strengths of this region, we tend to invest behind those industries.”
On his approach in business: “I think as I got older I realized I was less interested in being a stock-picker and more interested in working and helping build companies. I was interested in technology, so I liked the idea of combining those two skill sets. One would be investing behind companies that you believe in, that are doing interesting things, and then helping them get there. That I think is the biggest role. Venture capital is part of finance but it’s probably ten percent finance, ninety percent other things, and those other things are partnering with entrepreneurs to build, hopefully, the next generation of great companies here in the US.”