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About Lawrence Lenihan

I founded what would become FirstMark Capital in 1996 where I am now the CEO and Managing Director.  We are venture capitalists who invest in early stage technology and technology-enabled companies (you can read my whole bio and more about FirstMark at www.firstmarkcap.com). I am also an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business where I have taught a class called “Ready, FIRE!, Aim.

Frankly, I’ve resisted creating a blog up to now because I did not want to add to the noise in our electronic society.  But I changed my mind over the past year as I have watched our economy deteriorate and the world around us change in many different ways.  I am convinced that we are about to enter a time of unprecedented change driven by the current economic environment that I believe will shake our financial system, government, social structure and culture to each of their respective foundations.  If there is interest, I’ll provide you with some thoughts on these topics in future entries, but the purpose of this blog will be to provide current and future entrepreneurs with what I hope will be helpful thoughts and advice as we enter this time of incredible change and the opportunities that it will bring.



1. Brian Rothenberg - February 24, 2010

Mr. Lenihan,

I’m an MBA student at NYU Stern (also an entrepreneur and VC intern with Canaan Partners). I heard you teach a class at Stern and would love to take it, but I couldn’t find it listed in the course directory. If you have a chance, can you please let me know when your next course is?

Sorry for the comment communication, I couldn’t find another avenue to contact you online. Thank you for your time.

Brian Rothenberg

Lawrence Lenihan - February 26, 2010

The name of the class is “Ready, FIRE! Aim: New Strategies for Entrepreneurship” at NYU. Right now it is just Stern undergrad, but we are contemplating opening it up next year more broadly. We should touch base in the Fall.

2. Gary koolik - April 14, 2010

Talk of cataclysmic changes to the very fabric of our society has been around since the first caveman threw water on the fire. 2 sticks and a couple of rubs later brontasarus burgers were on the grill again and old Bruno learned to keep an extra flame around. Just a blip on the road to progress. And the neanderthal watching the flame started handing out embers and became the world’s first entrepenuer.

3. Kathlin Argiro - April 22, 2010


I enjoyed your seminar at the NYU conference today.

I am the Fashion Designer that introduced myself at the end of your presentation. I wanted you to know about http://www.Fashinvest.com. The next event is May 4th, thought you may be interested in attending. Here is the link:http://fashinvest.eventbrite.com/

If your fashion friend (that you mentioned) wants to chat with a 12 yr veteran of the entrepreneurial Fashion biz…pls have her get in touch with me.


Lawrence Lenihan - April 27, 2010

Thanks. Will do.

4. Paula Schafer - April 24, 2010

The name of your class has the same title of Michael Masterson’s book? Coincidence? His book is titled Ready, Fire, Aim! I picked it up a while back.
I learn a lot from the entrepreneur conference. It answered a lot of my questions. Your presentation was specially educational for me. No BS and straight to the point. It made the entire event worth attending. Would love to attend more of your lectures if I can. Thank you.

Paula Schafer

Lawrence Lenihan - April 27, 2010

Never heard of the book until I tried to get the URL! Bastard beat me too it. My course by the title launched in 2007. I should have grabbed it then!

Thanks. You can view my regular class lectures and the materials at http://www.firstmarkcap.com/edu We have lectures by entrepreneurs and a bunch of other good stuff.

Paula Schafer - April 27, 2010

Hah! There’s a lesson there somewhere.


5. Paula Schafer - April 25, 2010

Re: 0260 presentation
Can’t seem to open your 0260 presentation – is it still available?
Don’t mean to be stalkish..


Lawrence Lenihan - April 27, 2010

Sorry, we are working on getting it right. Should be all set today or tomorrow.

6. Rosalind Rock - April 29, 2010

Rosalind Rock
Attended your 0260 presentation. It was great -very informative
and current. I was interested in getting some elaboration on two
One is in regard to sources of funding – particularly
sponsorship vs. other options and second, to discuss a partnership
structure with a vital co-founder. As opposed to a technical co-head,
my current start-up depends on a talented, creative interactive studio
for on-going involvement. I have found such a studio.
As opposed to being a client of theirs and having a work for hire agreement, I am considering some kind of partnership as then they would then have a vested interest. However, I don’t know what a fair share of revenue should be. Do you have a few minutes today or tomorrow for me to reach you to discuss this?
Many thanks,

Lawrence Lenihan - April 29, 2010

Partnerships are tough unless you clearly define the exit strategy ahead of time. Like a marriage, they are great when they work, but not so great when they fail. Having them have a vested interest is very valuable, but at what cost? Work for hire is tough because you don’t develop any intellectual property (they own it). So see if you can do some funded development. Have them pay and you can create something. You can then share some part of revenue or profit in the future. But they don’t own any equity so it is an easier split.

7. Rosalind Rock - July 26, 2010


As both an entrepreneur and someone engaged in strategic
partnering and raising capital for other companies, I often find
in listening to proposals of start-ups that I come up with
“ideas” that could enhance their business models or that
the start-ups are in the same space as so many other
similiar proposals and while they many not be strong enough to
stand-up as independent companies,could be great add-
ons to other start-ups.

Do you find start-ups plans that would be be add-ons to
similiar concepts and do you propose that?

If someone truly has valuable ideas for start-up models and/ or
strategic partnering recommendations do you see that as
having a role in a VC or even starting a company for that purpose
in the same way as companies who do branding or business plan
advisory. The one thing I have had experience in is that acting as
an intermediary or independent consultant to offer that kind of
expertise is not a viable business model.

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