Adeo Ressi is an American entrepreneur and investor, who is founder and CEO of Decile Group, the parent company of VC Lab, and Executive Chairman of The Founder Institute.[1] He has been a fixture in the Silicon Valley since creating TheFunded in 2007.[2] His previous business ventures include methodfive, Game Trust, and Total New York.[3] He has also sat on the board of the X Prize Foundation.[4]

Adeo Ressi
Ressi in 2008
Born
New York City, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forFounder & CEO of

Early life and education edit

Born Adeodato Gregory Ressi di Cervia on April 3, 1972, Ressi is Italian-American,[5] and was raised in New York City's Upper West Side. As a child, he asked his parents to send him to Arcosanti, an experimental town in Arizona, rather than traditional summer camp. He spent four summers in Arcosanti as its youngest working resident. He was often tasked with performing menial jobs[3] like cleaning out sewage pipes.[4] His experiences at Arcosanti piqued his interest in environmental issues and influenced his career path to some degree.[3]

Ressi attended college at the University of Pennsylvania where he spent time as a housemate of PayPal co-founder, Elon Musk. Ressi and Musk opened an unofficial "nightclub" at their house, boasting as many as 500 patrons on a single night.[6] As an undergraduate, he founded the Social Revolutionary Club[4] and started an environment-themed campus newspaper called, Green Times. He was an environmental studies major.[7] He spent four years in college but did not receive his degree, because he wanted to use copies of Green Times as his senior thesis instead of writing a traditional paper.[3]

Career edit

After ending his collegiate career, Ressi co-founded Total New York, a localized news website, in 1994.[4] In 1997, America Online purchased Total New York for an undisclosed amount of money[3] and redubbed it AOL Digital City.[4] Ressi founded methodfive, a web development firm, in 1995 and sold it to Xceed in 2000 for $88 million. Ressi used the money from his previous two ventures to found Game Trust, a developer of online casual game infrastructure, in 2002.[3] Game Trust had a successful first round of funding in 2003, securing investments from Silicon Valley Venture Partners and Intel Capital.[4]

 
Adeo Ressi speaking at a conference in 2010.

The second round of funding was due to be provided by Softbank Capital in 2005. On the day of the deal, however, representatives from Softbank informed Ressi that they were pulling out. The investment would have been worth $10 million. Because Ressi was contractually obligated to not seek other investors while negotiating with Softbank, Game Trust was left with little remaining capital. Ressi was forced to take out a bridge loan from existing investors to keep Game Trust afloat. Even so, by the fall of 2005, Game Trust had secured $9 million in funding, including $3 million from TWJ Capital. After a failed development project at Game Trust in 2006, Elon Musk was voted off the board of directors and replaced with the son of TWJ Capital founder Thomas Jones. Jones would try unsuccessfully to take control of Game Trust away from Ressi.[4]

 
Adeo Ressi speaking at the Startup Festival 2014.

Ressi eventually sold Game Trust to RealNetworks in 2007, but his experience with venture capitalists led him to start TheFunded in 2007. The website is designed to allow entrepreneurs to write anonymous reviews about venture capital groups and their processes. The website was met with derision from venture capital groups,[3] but proved to be popular among entrepreneurs. Ressi intended to keep the site anonymous, but news about its existence leaked to TechCrunch. The site had 1,000 anonymous entrepreneur members by March 2007. In order to remain anonymous himself, Ressi adopted the pseudonym of "Ted." In November 2007, Ressi decided to reveal his identity in a piece in Wired.[4][8] By January 2008, TheFunded had 3,600 members.[3]

In 2009, Ressi embarked on another venture called The Founder Institute, a startup incubator and entrepreneur training program headquartered in Palo Alto, California.[7] The organization was co-founded with longtime colleague Jonathan Greechan. The goal of the institute was to combat startup failure and "globalize Silicon Valley."[9] As of 2014, the institute had expanded to over 80 cities[10] and 40 nations worldwide.[11] Ressi wanted to help entrepreneurs create better businesses, and also wanted to understand the ingredients for a successful entrepreneur.[1]

In 2011, in collaboration with Orrick Law Firm, Ressi and the Founder Institute released the Founder Advisor Standard Template ("FAST" Agreement),[12] a simple legal framework entrepreneurs can use freely to create relationships with business advisors.

In 2012, in collaboration with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, Ressi and the Founder Institute released "Convertible Equity",[13] a financing vehicle that provides all of the flexibility of convertible debt without hindering a company with loans. Convertible Equity was given by Ressi to attorneys at Y Combinator and was renamed the SAFE Note.[14] In addition, he was interviewed by The New York Times as part of a cover story of the Sunday Business Section of the newspaper.[15]

In 2015, Ressi was featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine,[16] and began writing as a Guest Contributor to Forbes Magazine.[17]

In 2020, Ressi launched VC Lab, a free training program for venture capitalists worldwide, as part of the Founder Institute, which was covered in TechCrunch.[18]

In 2021, VC Lab was spun out as an independent company, as part of Decile Group, and Ressi became the CEO of Decile Group and Executive Chairmen of the Founder Institute. VC Lab released the Cornerstone LPA, a new limited partner agreement for venture capital funds.[14]

In 2023, Ressi lead the development of a large language model for venture capital at the Decile Group, called Decile Base.[19][20]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ha, Anthony (12 October 2009). "The Founder Institute's Adeo Ressi on his plans to leave no entrepreneur behind". VentureBeat. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  2. ^ Tweney, Dylan (15 May 2014). "One of venture capital's harshest critics — Adeo Ressi — is launching a VC firm". VentureBeat. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Ante, Spencer E. (9 January 2008). "Show Me the Moneymen". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on July 26, 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Adler, Carlye (15 November 2007). "The Man Behind the VC Slagfest at TheFunded.com Reveals Himself to Wired". Wired. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  5. ^ "The Funded's Adeo Ressi Arrested After Virgin America Flight Incident".
  6. ^ Vance, Ashlee (9 August 2012). "Adeo Ressi on Entrepreneurs and Startup Culture". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on August 12, 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b Cohan, Peter (5 November 2012). "Adeo Ressi's Founder Institute Sprouts Start-ups Around The Globe". Forbes. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  8. ^ Hopkins, Mark (15 November 2007). "theFunded: Ted is Adeo Ressi". Mashable. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  9. ^ Greathouse, John (16 September 2013). "This Entrepreneur Publicly Spanked America's Most Arrogant VCs... And Lived To Tell The Tale". Forbes. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  10. ^ Exter, Leo (7 September 2014). "Founder Institute is back in Brussels this autumn: join to learn the ropes of running a startup". WeStartup. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  11. ^ Cosseboom, Leighton (16 September 2014). "Taking stock of Jakarta Founder Institute grads: Who's still standing?". Tech in Asia. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  12. ^ Empson, Rip. "Free Startup Docs: How Much Equity Should Advisors Get?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  13. ^ Rao, Leena. "Convertible Equity, A Better Alternative To Convertible Debt?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  14. ^ a b Eldon, Eric (2021-10-15). "VC Lab introduces free fund formation documents to make startup investing cheaper and easier". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  15. ^ Seligson, Hannah (2012-07-28). "Founder Institute's Requirement: Create a Company". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  16. ^ Ankeny, Jason (2015-02-13). "Inside the Mindset of Silicon Valley's Tech Innovators". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  17. ^ Ressi, Adeo. "Adeo Ressi - Adeo Ressi Blog". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  18. ^ Ha, Anthony (2021-02-05). "The Founder Institute's VC Lab is a free training program for budding venture capitalists". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2023-12-13.
  19. ^ Primack, Dan (2023-12-04). "Venture capitalists get AI tool to answer legal and tax questions".
  20. ^ "Decile Base is the AI for VC". The Founder Institute. Retrieved 2023-12-13.

External links edit