Yesterday was a pretty special day. Not only did I get to attend the White House ceremony at the Rose Garden for the passing of the JOBS Act, but I got to see one of our CEOs featured as an entrperneurial hero.
I have written in the past about the JOBS Act and its importance, so I won't repeat that here. The president was on point in his remarks (see the video I took below), pointing out that his job is "Fighting every day to make sure America is the best place on earth to do business."
But the coolest thing for me was seeing our portfolio company CEO, John Belizaire of FirstBest, standing next to the president on he podium as exhibit A of the kind of entrepreneur we should be celebrating in this country. John's parents were Haitian immigrants who arrived in America with nothing. John worked hard as a kid, fell in love with technology and software, and after a stint at Intel decided to start his own software company at a young age with a few friends, called The Theory Center. After a few years, he successfully sold it to BEA for over $160 million. He stayed on as an executive at BEA for a few years and then started another company with his same team called FirstBest, which we invested in. The company recently raised a $10 million growth round and is revolutionizing the front office of insurance companies. I loved seeing John up there on stage and hearing his story of participating in a roundtable and meeting the president beforehand (see picture below):
John's story, like many others, is playing out all over this country and this world. It makes me glad to be doing what my partners and I do – trying to help more John Belizaires achieve their dreams.
At one point, Naval Ravikant of AngelList and I were observing that we need to marshall the same energy and resources behind the JOBS Act for the next big agenda item for the entrepreneurial community: immigration reform. Stay tuned.