The Gabriel Venture Partners team is made up of seasoned professionals with deep operational, technology, management, and investment expertise. We aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves and get to work, helping entrepreneurs with operations, strategy, execution, and the hundreds of every-day challenges that come with running a fast-growing startup. And because every person on the Gabriel team has been an entrepreneur, we know what it takes to build great businesses from scratch. Together, the Gabriel team leverages our wide expertise, extensive network, and focused investment approach to help build the world’s most exciting and successful technology companies.
When Rick Bolander co-founded Gabriel Venture Partners in 1999, he sought to create an innovative venture capital firm with the strong organizational structure and entrepreneurial focus needed to build the next generation of market-leading technology companies. Rick identifies the smartest entrepreneurs and works side-by-side with them to build highly successful companies from the ground up. Rick’s hands-on approach stems from his deep operational experience and long track record as both an entrepreneur and a VC.
Venture Capital Experience
Rick co-founded Gabriel Venture Partners in 1999. During his venture career, he has been involved in more than 50 venture deals and has led over $100 million in early-stage financings. He currently focuses on investments with disruptive business models in digital media infrastructure and applications, communications, information technology, and the Internet. Before joining Gabriel, he served as General Partner at Chicago-based Apex Investment Partners, where he honed his early experience spanning angel, early stage, late stage, and large institutional rounds for four years.
At Gabriel, Rick focuses on identifying early innovators in the communications, digital media sector and disruptive business models. Recent investments include Chegg, the first online college textbook rental service; Jacked, an innovative provider of a browser-based publishing platform for contextually synchronized media, advertising and commerce; and Kajeet, the leading mobile virtual network operator focused on the young “tween” demographic. With Rick’s hands-on guidance, Gabriel portfolio companies in the digital media space build market dominance and reach cash-flow positive or exit more quickly and efficiently. Rick’s strong connections with serial entrepreneurs, angels, super angels, and other venture capital funds, including August, KPCB, Oak, Sequoia and Venrock, allow him to forge strategic relationships for Gabriel’s portfolio companies that facilitate exceptional growth. On an international scale, Rick honed his experience during an extended consulting assignment in Tanzania for the African Communications Group. Rick was also an early charter member of Indian venture group TiE and has built strong connections in Asia Pacific. As Gabriel’s U.S.-based portfolio companies seek growth overseas, Rick leverages his international experience to help them build strategic partnerships across borders.
Rick understands the entrepreneur’s unique perspective, drive, and ambition, because he has been an entrepreneur himself. As founder of Blue Sky Ventures, a firm that invested and managed a portfolio of residential properties based in Chicago, Rick bootstrapped the firm with $5,800 in capital and quickly grew revenues 100-fold. Involved in every aspect of the company’s growth and success, Rick sourced, evaluated, financed, and managed the firm’s portfolio of residential properties. Today, Rick invests in entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas and the personal drive to build companies into market leaders. Working side-by-side the industry’s brightest minds, Rick aligns himself with company founders to offer the operational and strategic guidance necessary to build winning companies.
Rick’s background in technology development and operational management sets him apart from many venture capital investors and allows him to understand the unique challenges faced by high-growth companies at every stage of their development. His deep operational knowledge enables Rick to offer hands-on, strategic guidance to entrepreneurs and to nurture investments from incubation through to exit. He spent seven years at AT&T where he held management roles in marketing, sales, and operations, and participated in the company's executive succession program. While at AT&T, Rick received the President's Award and the Quality Management of the Year Award. He began his career working as an engineer for Chevron Oil in the Systems, Planning, and Development Department, and has also taught computer architecture at the University of Michigan. When working for the African Communications Group, Rick helped develop and fund telecommunications industry projects, including a wireless private network, in Tanzania. Rick also has a deep understanding of underlying technology architectures, having designed an innovative RISC microprocessor prototype in graduate school that was later used at AT&T.
Board Memberships and Affiliations
Rick Bolander currently serves as a board member of emerging digital media leaders Jacked and iForem, as well as established market players Chegg, Kajeet and Persistent Systems. Rick has invested in, served on the boards of, helped grow, and lead through exit some of the leading companies in the technology and communications industries, including AccessLine Communications (acquired by Telanetix); Arula Systems (acquired by Raritan); Concord Communications (IPO and then acquired by Computer Associates); Encentuate (acquired by IBM); Exodus Communications (IPO and then acquired by Savvis); IPWireless (acquired by Nextwave Wireless); Neopath Networks (acquired by Cisco); NetScaler (acquired by Citrix Systems); Placeware (M&A by Microsoft to become LiveMeeting); and Tut Systems (IPO and then acquired by Motorola). The board-level involvement and business relationships Rick built at these leading companies continue to serve Gabriel’s portfolio companies, as Rick works to build bridges between early-stage innovators and established industry players. Rick is also an advisor to The Infinity Venture Fund, a venture capital fund based in India, and is a charter member of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE). He is also a charter member of AAMA, as well as a member of the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers Association and the National Venture Capital Association.
Committed to helping foster the next generation of business and technology leaders who will create and lead companies that alter the social and economic fabric of society, Rick is a frequent contributor to at-risk children and educational charities. He also coaches youth baseball, basketball, and soccer, and actively supports programs for at-risk children.
MBA - Harvard Business School
MS - Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan (full fellowship)
BS - Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan (with honors)
Scott Chou has been in the venture capital industry since 1997 and has been recognized in the AlwaysOn Top 100 VC List. He is known for his focus on disruptive technologies and for authoring Maxims, Morals, and Metaphors - A Primer on Venture Capital. Scott’s passion for early stage technology ventures extends back to high school when he joined his first startup as a software engineer. He has since worked for five more technology ventures including Poqet Computer and ICE in addition to world-renowned research and development organizations such as Bellcore and IBM. His broad expertise in technology spans the industry from manufacturing to software development to chip design. Scott completed the prestigious Kauffman Fellows Program in 1999 with Onset Ventures. He later joined Gabriel Venture Partners in early 2000 where he focused on research labs for fundamental innovations. His first investment at Gabriel was in the seed round of NextG Networks which eventually sold to Crown Castle for $1 billion. Scott’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with honors from Caltech as well as master’s degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University.
Jim Long joined Gabriel as a Venture Partner in early 2007, and drives new investments as well as advises existing Gabriel portfolio companies. Jim has over 25 years experience as a founder, CEO, and investor building successful businesses in the technology industry, as well as developing new technologies and patents for the Internet and PC environments and advising many startups and venture capital firms.
Venture Capital Experience
After doing software and product marketing at Hewlett Packard and getting his MBA, Jim joined Fred Adler Ventures in 1982. In his four years at the firm Jim was acting CEO at several turnarounds and worked with veteran VCs Jim Swartz and Arthur Patterson prior to them founding Accel Partners. Over the years, Jim has also done projects with venture firms Accel Partners, Crosspoint Venture Partners, IT-Farm (Japan), and Sequoia Capital. Jim’s venture experience also includes interim CEO jobs and “turn-arounds” at companies such as Linkware (acquired by Ungermann-Bass). As an angel advisor/investor, Jim has been involved with several leading startups, including TiMetra (acquired by Alcatel), Manageware (acquired by Computer Associates), Ruckus Wireless (WiFi video leader), Ready Systems (acquired by Mentor), and Jibe Networks (acquired by Citrix).
Jim has a wide depth and breadth of experience in the technology industry, and focuses on investments in emerging cleantech, software, and consumer Internet companies, identifying disruptive business models with a capital efficient focus. He has helped direct investments at Gabriel in next-generation biofuels production, social software for the enterprise market, and innovative gardening technology.
Before joining Gabriel, Jim was a serial entrepreneur for most of the last 20 years. Most recently, Jim was CEO of RioPort, a leading music application service provider RioPort, powered MTV.com, Best-Buy.com, Yahoo, HP, Nike.com, and Microsoft, was the first Internet company to license digital songs for resale from all five major record labels and enabled the first music cell-phones via a partnership with Nokia. Considered the “father of streaming video," Jim was also CEO and founder of Starlight Networks, which pioneered video streaming and video multicasting with award-winning Intranet video infrastructure software. Starlight Networks was the leader in the corporate video streaming market when it was acquired by PictureTel in July 1998. Previously, Jim was the VP-Marketing founder of Tolerant Software, which became Veritas (VRTS) a leader in the storage management software market. Veritas was acquired by Symantec for over $12 Billion long after Jim left to invent video streaming.
Jim began his career in software development and product marketing at Hewlett Packard, where he invented the first presentation graphics application (HP-Draw) and worked in Europe. During his career building and running startups as a CEO, Jim honed his management, startup, and business operational experience, wearing all the hats necessary to build successful businesses. He has built and worked with companies from the ground-up and led them through acquisition or IPO, helped turn around ailing companies, and invented new business strategies, such as SaaS models and new software development infrastructures, for several different companies. As an angel investor and advisor, Jim has worked with dozens of startups to help them execute successful business and technology strategies. Jim also spent a summer at the Boston Consulting Group during business school.
Board Memberships and Affiliations
Jim currently serves on the boards of Aurora Algae and PlantSense. Jim has previously served on boards of over a dozen other startup companies, as well as community organizations like the Las Lomitas Education Foundation.
Jim currently contributes money and time to schools, children’s organizations, and local community groups.
MBA – Harvard University (with distinction)
BS – Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
As a co-founder of Gabriel Venture Partners, and with experience in both operating companies and venture capital, Phil Samper identified operating experience as a critical success factor for future portfolio investments. During his more than 35 years of senior operating management and venture capital experience, Phil developed an unparalleled ability to inspire, mentor and connect with today’s entrepreneurs. His strengths are in successfully capitalizing on the emerging trends in the Communications and Networking, Information Technology, and the Internet sectors, and in business and strategic development in general.
Venture Capital Experience
Phil has been involved in over 20 venture capital and angel investor deals, including AccessLine Communications, CrossMedia Services, Liquid Markets, PlaceWare, Sylvan Learning Systems, and Virtual Technologies.
During his years of operating experience, Phil held numerous CEO positions and made his mark at startup and Fortune 500 companies. His career highlights include serving as Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer at Eastman Kodak Company, where he was directly responsible for 70 percent of Kodak’s worldwide operations, and led a restructuring of the company from a functional organization to that of individual business units. During his tenure at Kodak, Forbes magazine described him as "decisive," "aggressive," "iconoclastic," and "a tough marketing executive." The Wall Street Journal credited his management skills as President of Sun Microsystems Computer Corporation in the turnaround of the computer and systems giant Sun Microsystems, Inc.’s stock. As CEO and Chairman of Cray Research, he facilitated a merger with Silicon Graphics, an action that doubled the value of the Cray stock at the time of the merger.
Education and Honors
MSM - Management - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan Fellowship)
BFT, International Management – American Graduate School of International Management (1st in Class); Awarded top two Awards for Scholarship and Character
BS – Business Administration - University of California, Berkeley.
Phil Garfinkle is a Venture Advisor with Gabriel assisting with deal sourcing, due diligence and value-add particularly for the Mid-Atlantic region. Phil is a highly successful technology visionary, bringing a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur, CEO, and investor, with a focus on emerging applications for disruptive technologies. He has been a three-time successful entrepreneur, held a number of management and engineering positions, is an active angel investor, and holds many patents. In addition to joining Gabriel, Phil is an active angel investor in a number of technology companies. Prior to Gabriel, he was a founder of Yazam, a global VC firm, which was sold to US Technologies. Phil founded PhotoNet Japan, which went public in 2002. Phil also founded PictureVision (Chairman & CEO), which was sold to Kodak, where he also served as a General Manager and in the CTO's office. In addition he has helped several startups raise capital, often as an angel investor and acting CEO. His operating experience also includes CTO/VP Engineering at Network Imaging, VP Information Technologies at ASG, and several positions at Teledyne and Comsat. Phil currently serves on four boards: A21, and Planet Cotton, and has previously served on the boards of KMSI, Toymax (sold to JAKK), Selis Networks, and EPAC. He is also Chairman for Johns Hopkins Technology Commercialization Advisory Board and active in several charities, including the Boys & Girls Club and a local charity thrift shop, The Closet.
B.V. Jagadeesh is a Venture Advisor with Gabriel assisting with deal sourcing, due diligence and value-add. He is currently the Group Vice President and General Manager of Citrix Systems' Application Networking Group. He joined Netscaler as CEO in 2000 while serving as a Venture Partner for Gabriel, in order to take a more active role in managing the investment. Netscaler grew to become the market leader in Application Delivery Systems and was acquired by Citrix for $325M in 2005. Prior to Netscaler, Jagadeesh co-founded Exodus Communications in 1994, which achieved an IPO and became the leader in the Internet Web co-location business for mission-critical Internet applications. He helped attract venture funding for NexPrise, which offers next-generation Extranet solutions for businesses, and co-founded VPNET Technologies in 1995, a pioneer in virtual private networking technologies acquired by Avaya. Jagadeesh led strategic product design for 3Com and Novell, and was the chairman of Networld + Interop's 1994 and 1995 Engineer's Conference held in Las Vegas. He served as a director of Arula Systems (merged with Raritan, expected to IPO in 2006), Instantis, and on the advisory boards of Tellngo, Tiara Networks (acquired by Nortel) and Mayan Networks.
ZQ Shr is the Managing Director of Go To Market Partners, a sales consulting firm that specializes in helping international companies expand into China. Prior to co-founding GTM Partners, ZQ was General Manager and Chief Representative of Phone.com China and then Openwave China. Before Openwave, ZQ was Sales Manager, Director of Alliances, and then General Manager of Motorola's North Asian Personal Networking Group. ZQ also held leading positions at Volt Information Sciences and Ones & Zeros Software after his academic career as Professor of Linguistics at both Swarthmore and Smith Colleges. ZQ graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Ph.D in linguistics.