VC Peter Relan helped launched Discord; now he’s ‘brewing’ up two new incubators – TechCrunch

Peter Relan isn’t exactly a generic name, but he’s seen a lot during his career and has been quite successful. Relan, a graduate of Stanford University who set the time with Hewlett-Packard and Oracle before becoming CTO of the unlucky bubble-era company Webvan, has recently known in the founder’s circle for creating three “small, large”. It came to be able to. -A “touch incubator” that punches beyond your weight.

The first class in 2007 included Jason Citron, the founder of the then-social mobile gaming company OpenFeint, which was subsequently sold to the social gaming platform Gree of Japan in 2011 for $ 104 million.

Relan, who played the operating partner, owned half of the company. Almost immediately He decided to set up a second company, later called Discord, and he went straight to Relan to help build it. (Relan’s other “graduates” include social gaming company Crowdstar. sold out To Glu Mobile in 2016, and to Agawi, an early game streaming company Sold to Google In 2015. )

Relan moved out of the game long ago and now focuses on climate change, equality and “tech ethics”, but recently talked about his relationship with Citron. (Relan was on Discord’s board until last year.) He also said, “We’re brewing two big things: AI and climate change,” so see this space for more information. ..Meanwhile, you can listen to our conversation here Or read the lightly edited excerpt below.

TC: I started the accelerator YouWeb almost at the same time that Y Combinator was started, but the structure is very different.

PR: Every year we [partner with a] There are few entrepreneurs here, so give them a year instead of the traditional three months to collaborate. So there aren’t hundreds of companies. We have incubated about 30 companies for over 15 years.

TC: How did the founder find you?

PR: It’s all referenced by others. So, for example, I met Jason when he was 22 years old. He was my nephew’s roommate who graduated from Berkeley. I was a graduate of Stanford University. I asked some people in Stanford, and we found the founder from there. It was very modest. I wasn’t trying to build this large application process. We were looking for a founder with a particular type of tendency. As an engineer, I really wanted the founder of a very technical developer.

TC: Who else was involved when you said “us”, and did you fund this incubator from your pocket, or was there an outside investor?

PR: I started with my own money, but then put together a network for founders, including 7-8 investors who were executives and other successful founders. [including at] Yahoo, Google, Oracle, Microsoft. Its first class was $ 2.5 million and sponsored eight founders.

TC: One was Jason, and the first company was Danielle Cassley, co-founded with YouWeb’s EIR. It was OpenFeint. How completely was the company initially burned?

PR: Jason is essentially a core gamer and he arrived saying “I just want something in the game”. I didn’t think about anything, I didn’t have a specific game or a specific product. In fact, the social chat platform OpenFeint is a really beautiful game and started out as a very popular game called “Aurora Feint”. But in terms of financial success, it was okay. And the most interesting of them was actually a social platform with a leaderboard and achievements and chat.So we pulled out a social platform and said: [put] Games aside, let’s extend this platform. “

TC: What was your role?

PR: I was chairman. He was co-founder and CEO. So we worked like business partners. He was a product man. I was a mentor. And Daniel was involved, but she went on. So it was Jason and me. I help with financing, strategy and business development. We did a big deal with AT & T and pre-installed OpenFeint on our AT & T mobile phones. So there were a lot of such things. My goal was to help.

TC: Y Combinator is notorious for having a 7% stake in the initial check. What percentage of OpenFeint did you own?

PR: I used to co-create, so it will be 50/50.Obviously it was a big hit for YouWeb [when it sold], Because we were equal partners with Jason and Daniel.Our second [batch] When I worked with Discord, [operated] It’s very similar to YC because I really wanted to do a little less work and work in more areas, not just games.

TC: Jason looks back and talks about your relationship with being back on Discord. It’s also interesting that a 26-year-old who has just got lucky will soon return to work.

PR: I remember when he left Gree. In late October or November 2011, he sent a simple email saying “I’m back”. And I said, “great.”

Again, it starts with the game, and three years later, the game is okay, but it doesn’t work. The chat platform features are very popular and, like déjàvu, he suddenly launches as a chat platform and Discord.Yes [it’s] repeat [and] I play, but this time it worked much better, obviously? [Discord] Currently, it has more than 300 million users and 400 million users. This is well over 300 million people.

TC: And now it is reported that the evaluation is evaluated as follows $ 15 billion.. How was the Series A round organized? At some point, I heard that some companies (probably General Catalyst, probably Accel) missed the opportunity. For real?

PR: Actually, the first round of Discord was really interesting. It wasn’t even a priced round. It was really the people who were investing in Jason and probably only a little to the fact that we were working together. I might go and do something bigger now. Therefore, the first round was actually a bunch of VCs who essentially decided to write these $ 250,000 checks. Accel was there, General Catalyst, IDG, Time Warner.

And the question you are asking is how benchmarking is a completely different company that wasn’t [part of] These first 10 checks weren’t seed investors and eventually won the deal. What happened was TechCrunch Disrupt. He became a finalist and people really loved his presentation style and his company, [longtime Benchmark investor] Mitch Rusky noticed it and said, “Hey, you should talk.” It was so fast that I think it was really just a thing when I recall. If not, there is a term sheet. “

VC Peter Relan helped launched Discord; now he’s ‘brewing’ up two new incubators – TechCrunch Source link VC Peter Relan helped launched Discord; now he’s ‘brewing’ up two new incubators – TechCrunch

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