A New York VC Spotlight: Mark Peter Davis



Mark Peter Davis has a motto that he lives by: “The more you give, the more you get.” With more than fifteen years of experience, Davis has certainly given his fair share of contributions to the Venture Capital world, and to the startup community in New York.

Throughout his career, Davis has cofounded numerous startups and organizations, such as Kohort, Zotspot, NY Venture Community and Columbia Venture Community.

Davis has also invested in more than 40 companies, including Coinbase, MakeSpace, SailThru and Warby Parker. He currently serves as the managing partner at Interplay Ventures, which is a New York based investment firm that is incubating companies such as DevSpark, Founder Shield, Nomad Financial, Truman James, TwentyPine and Venwise.

It hasn’t all been easy for Davis, who stepped down from day to day operations at Kohort in 2012. A combination of various operational mistakes served as the main reason for the shift in company direction, but Davis says this was a defining moment in his career.

Things looked much brighter in 2013 with the release of his book The Fundraising Rules, which helps to provide businesses with the skills and knowledge to navigate the fundraising process.

He certainly knows the field, considering his background:

  • Venture Partner at High Peaks Venture Partners (2011-2014)
  • Senior Associate at DFJ Gotham Ventures (2006-2010)
  • Manager at KPMG: M&A Advisory (2002 – 2006)
  • Senior Associate at Bain & Company (2001 – 2002)
  • Summer Analyst Lehman Brothers

He is also Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Singularity University.

Davis received his MBA in Venture Finance from the Columbia Business School and has a B.A. in Economics and History from Duke University.

Venture Firm:
Interplay Ventures, Managing Partner

Sector Focus:
Interplay incubates, partners and invests in diverse companies

Selected Investments:
Warby Parker, Coinbase, Modern Meadow

Mentions & Awards:
Business Insider: 100 Most Influential Digital NYers
CVC30 List in 2011
AlleyWatch Top 100 Tech Influencers
TechWeek 100
KPMG Chairman’s Volunteer Award
KPMG Transaction Services Volunteer Department Award

Boards & Mentoring:
Entrepreneur Board Member at Venture For America
Advisor, Coalition for Queens (C4Q)
Mentor, TechStars
Mentor, ER Accelerator
Mentor, DreamIt Ventures
Mentor, Thiel Fellowship The Thiel Foundation
Mentor, Enstitute
Mentor, 37 Angels
Mentor, NYC Venture Fellows 2
InSITE Fellow
TiE Charter Member

Social Media:

Memorable Quotes:
On his experience as an entrepreneur: “I breathe startups. Most of my closest friends are my business partners and a day painting a whiteboard is only second to a day with my family.”
On what it takes to sell a product: “We buy narratives, we buy stories, we don’t buy products, so you need to tell a narrative about your company”
On what to convey in the fundraising process: “Everyone wants what they can’t have in dating and the same is true for start ups so it’s important to be signaling to folks throughout the fundraising process, that you are a highly sought after company.”
On how he began his career: “I think I knew what I wanted to do or knew what role I wanted to play in this ecosystem for a very long time”
On qualities of a leader: “It’s important for a leader to be able to listen because you need to understand where you fail to communicate key aspects of conversation.”
On education and entrepreneurship: “The fact that most business schools, most business education doesn’t spend time in investing deeply in understanding human psychology, it’s completely missing the mark of what it means to do business because business is all about people.”
On his experience with Kohort: “Kohort was a challenging period of my career, but because of that it was also a phenomenal experience. Much of my current success and perspective today stems from those sleepless nights.”

About the author: Stephanie Kariuki

Stephanie Kariuki is a Masters Journalism student at Georgetown University. She admires clever writing skills, unique perspectives and has a thirst for reading as much as possible. Stephanie graduated with Honors from The Ohio State University in 2013 with her B.A. in Journalism and a minor in International Affairs.

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