Clearstone Venture Partners, with offices in Menlo Park, Ca., and Santa
Monica, Ca., is actively investing out of their $350 million second fund,
and have about a dozen investments left to make. This fund follows their
successful initial $100 million fund.
The firm is an early-stage investor, and is typically a company's first
institutional investor. They base their investments on the west coast,
but occasionally travel east.
Vish Mishra, Partner at Clearstone Venture, who joined the firm earlier
this year, says the company invests heavily in communication and enterprise
software, inclusive of Internet companies. He considers investing in these
markets essential to the future.
"The Internet has shaped our lives like never before," says
Mishra. "The Internet and communications are essential, and we are
barely scratching the surface of what could happen in this space."
Clearstone limits the number of investments they make, so they can work
closely with the company. "We invest in few companies and are more
actively involved in their growth--we are true believers in our companies,"
An example of Mishra's vision is Clearstone's investment in PayPal, the
Internet escrow service recently bought by eBay. Clearstone helped shape
their early business model, and put $5 million toward PayPal's Series
B round of funding. PayPal announced its initial public offering in February
2002. Clearstone examined two-dozen Internet payment companies and decided
to put their stake into PayPal.
Mishra also extols the virtues of enterprise software. "I spent
my life in the real time enterprise, and it's an important trend and movement.
The cycle time from gathering data to a business design is dramatic and
needs to be streamlined," he says.
In the enterprise software space, Clearstone has invested in Exemplary
Software, a developer of software solutions that allow manufacturers to
reduce their inventory and working capital and promote enterprise efficiency.
Clearstone led a $12 million round in the company, with support from The
Woodside Fund, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Discovery Ventures, and JT
Mishra considers himself a "mentor capitalist." He explains:
"For any individual to succeed, they need a mentor. I love to advise
and guide. I have been doing this through entrepreneurial and non-profit
organizations. I am an entrepreneurial mentor."
He was a serial entrepreneur before joining Clearstone, and considers
his a great background for investing. "The firm collectively has
an advantage. Knowing what it takes to build a business is important.
I don't see much of a difference between being a venture capitalist and
an entrepreneur. The element of risk taking is similar to that of an entrepreneur."
Mishra has spent 30 years running technology companies. He is a founder
and board member of Telera, a voice over the Web portal, funded in excess
of $120 million. They sold to Alcatel this year. His prior experience
also includes founding and serving as VP of Operations of Excelan; a VP
at Novell and; CEO of Mindworks, IntelliMatch, and Ace Software.