Recently I sat down with the terrific Mike Brown, Jr., one of the Founders and a Partner at AOL Ventures, the VC arm of AOL which focuses on Seed and Series A non-strategic investing in tech-oriented consumer internet companies. Mike comes to AOL Ventures from the Virgin Group's investment arm and talked with us about the history, vision and approach of the AOL fund- which you'll learn is definitely not your typical corporate venture arm.
He recently moved the operation to the venerable Brooks Brothers building on Broadway and Bond in NOHO and absolutely did wonders with the space- check the video below for footage. In 1874 the New York Times effused as follows concerning the place: "Externally it is an ornament to the street, and its internal arrangements are of the most perfect kind." I can state unequivocally that this description still fits the bill and that all AOL Ventures portfolio companies headquartered or being incubated there are enjoying one of the best workspaces I've encountered in NYC.
Here's the table of contents below, hope you enjoy getting to know Mike and hearing about their approach.
PS: Check out the old-school billiards table over my shoulder
:00 - On the history/origin/size/stage focus of AOL Ventures
2:12 - The types of companies he is interested in
2:46 - AOL Ventures has made 14 investments thus far- discussion of the portfolio
3:46 - What entrepreneurs should know about what AOL Ventures is looking for
4:00 - A new breed of corporate venture vehicle... How does it work & what's the approach?
(We touch on Google Ventures, Highline Ventures and Genacast here)
6:34 - We discuss the incipient labs/rapid-idea-prototyping incubator underway
8:06 - Mike's experience at Richard Branson's Virgin Group investment group
9:00 - Classic Line from Mike on why he is the way he is! I'll let you listen to this one