We started Freestyle in 2009 because we saw an opportunity to provide hands-on guidance and real-world operational experience to Internet founders with bold and disruptive ideas. Since we’ve been around the block (not to be confused with over-the-hill), we wanted to demystify venture capital and create a more transparent, aligned relationship between entrepreneur and investor.
We’re the ones who aren’t afraid to take risks. The ones who tell it like it is. The ones who can help negotiate multimillion dollar deals and grab a beer or medical marijuana with you to celebrate. Our cash is green but it’s not just about the money. It’s about providing real mentoring to help you succeed and the kind of relationship where neither of us send calls from the other straight to VM. (We take your ideas seriously, and ourselves, not so much.)
We invest in twelve companies each year, so you get the time and attention you deserve, vs. another empty suit at your board meeting. We are most at home as your funding lead because we will work harder than most and have faith in our ability to deliver whatever you need to win.
We have $126m under management across three funds and 65 companies. We started investing $60m out of our current fund, Freestyle III, in April, 2015 and expect to raise fund IV in 2017.
How it all began
We the partners (Josh Felser, Dave Samuel and Jenny Lefcourt) are all serially successful entrepreneurs with startup addiction.
Josh started his career in old media at News Corp after graduating from Duke and Fuqua. Meanwhile, Dave was finishing up school at MIT and starting his first corporate job at Oracle. They teamed up in 1997 to found Spinner, the first multichannel Internet music service, and in 2004 to found Grouper (now Crackle), one of the first Internet video networks. Both companies were acquired in less than three years and sold for $320 million and $65 million, respectively.
Josh and Dave joined forces again in early 2009 to found Freestyle and fill the funding void of brutally honest mentors with strategic and operational experience. In addition to starting Freestyle, Josh co-founded FYI Living, the “mythbusters” of health information, and is an entrepreneurship advisor to his alma mater, Duke. Dave has also been busy making his mark with 4 kids and Brondell, the first American-based company to develop high-tech toilet seats.
Josh and Jenny have known each other for 20 years and have shared roots in Miami. After working with Jenny for six months, it was a no-brainer for Josh and Dave to clear space for a third partner. Jenny completes Freestyle with deep knowledge of marketplaces and innovation in commerce for retail and brands, starting with founding the first aggregated gift registry, Della &James (now WeddingChannel.com), which she dropped out of Stanford GSB to start.
When they’re not hustling for Freestyle: Jenny loves to scuba dive, snowboard and spend time with her family...Josh loves to trail run, meditate and weekend warrior DJ... Dave loves to snowboard, wakeboard and play poker. Dave and Josh can be found frollicking in the desert every August and we all have a fever for world travel.