Meet the speakers #ABAF15NZ – Carolynn and Jon Levy
Hosted by the Angel Association of New Zealand, the 2015 Asian Business Angel Forum brings together leading investors and early stage business specialists from around the globe to share their knowledge make their New Zealand connection.
They join a carefully curated audience of investor members of Angel groups, network and fund members from across this dynamic country bought together by the AANZ to celebrate this small country’s big contribution to early stage investment and build international relationships.
Among the highly experienced line up of speakers AANZ is extremely pleased to be able to bring Carolynn and Jon Levy from Y Combinator, one of the most successful incubators in the US to ABAF to share their insights and experience at #ABAFNZ15.
Carolynn Levy is a partner at Y Combinator (YC). She was previously at renowned West Coast US firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, where she helped hundreds of startups with legal questions and acted as Y Combinators counsel for 6 years. She has a BA in political science from UCLA and JD from the USF School of Law, and is a member of the State Bar of California.
Jon Levy, is also a partner at Y Combinator and previously counselled public and private technology companies as an attorney for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. He ran ThinkEquity’s private placement department and worked as a Managing Director at Merriman Curhan & Ford. Jon earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and a B.A. in English Literature and Religious Studies from Wesleyan University.
Both Carolynn and Jon are skilled and experienced in dealing with entrepreneurs at all stages of the lifecycle, offering services to those beginning their ventures, those exiting and experiencing the process of merger or acquisition and those that recycle their capital investing in the new. They make themselves available for office hours at YC and Carolynn is active in entrepreneur education via Stanford University providing insights to founders Finance and Legal Mechanics for Startups helping them to get the structure right at the start.
Joining YC was a natural move for the couple, Carolynn says “YC was becoming bi-coastal and needed legal help on the west coast. So for years, as an associate at WSGR, I helped YC’s portfolio companies with formations, fund raising, etc. YC kept getting bigger, and my husband Jon joined YC as a legal consultant. Jon was (is) so happy working with YC because of the people and the culture. So eventually, since YC kept getting bigger, I decided to leave WSGR and come to YC as a full time partner. It was a great decision.”
She councils startups with pragmatic guidance, for instance “It doesn’t matter who thought of the idea, who did the coding, who built the prototype, or which one has an MBA. It will feel better to the whole team if the allocation is equal because the whole team is necessary for execution. The take away on this point: in the top YC companies, which we call those with the highest valuations, there are zero instances where the founders have a significantly disproportionate equity split.“
Y Combinator itself has an impressive track record, so in their time as independent and in-house council Carolyn and Jon have been involved in some of the biggest deals and best known companies in technology today, including: Airbnb (valued at approx $10B), Dropbox (valued at approx $10B), Stripe (over $1B and growing), Twitch, Heroku and Reddit. Twitch (formerly known as Justin TV) was acquired by Amazon for $970M, Heroku was acquired by Salesforce for $212M.
As detailed by investors following YC’s progress tens of other YC companies have been acquired, those “based on reports had a price greater than $10M were Parse (Facebook, $85M), SocialCam(Autodesk, $60M), Xobni (Yahoo, $48M), Cloudkick (Rackspace, ~$50M),Loopt (GreenDot, $43M), Wufoo (SurveyMonkey, $35M), Omnisio(Google, ~$15M), 280 North (Motorola Mobility, $20M), and Appjet(Google). Parakey‘s acquisition by Facebook likely involved Facebook stock which is now worth a greater amount also. Others that were smaller but non trivial and were likely deemed successes by the founders were Auctomaticand Zenter.
Meet Carolynn and Jon Levy, along with a host of angels from New Zealand’s angel investment community and the world at the Asian Business Angels Forum, Queenstown, October 14-15. Seats are now very limited. Be quick to register yours.
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