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Growing Wings : VC Eric Di Benedetto launches a new angel firm - The Red Herring


Silicon Valley veteran launches Active Starts, an angel investment firm

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. October 17, 2006 (PRWeb). Venture capitalist and angel investor Eric Di Benedetto announced today the launch of Active Starts, a professional angel investment firm focused on California-based software startup companies.

Active Starts invests in startups within a year from product launch. The firm provides entrepreneurs with the hands-on coaching, financing and relationships needed to bring their innovations to market.

"A week doesn't go by without me turning to Active Starts for help, advice or introductions," said Marc Meyer, chief executive officer of ActiveWeave, a San Francisco startup that is building a social overlay platform for the web.

The angel investment firm addresses entrepreneurs' need for involved, early-stage investment as traditional venture capital funds increasingly shift their focus to larger, later-stage investments.

"Software industry changes -- including Web 2.0 technologies, convergence marketing and new service delivery models -- reduce customer acquisition costs and make start-up investing more capital efficient. Entrepreneurs can reach higher levels of success with smaller initial investments. In turn, that helps them retain more ownership and reach higher valuations later on when they do raise institutional venture capital," said Mr. Di Benedetto.

The firm is launching with a portfolio of 11 investments in three categories: the social web, mobility services and on-demand applications. Recent investments include ActiveWeave, Plastyc and RapLeaf. Plastyc is launching later this year an innovative VISA payment card for teenagers. RapLeaf, develops a portable, open reputation management system for commerce that encourages trust and honesty, making it more profitable to be ethical.

Additional investments include Before The Call, Chegg, ClairMail, GoFish, Kalat, Real Travel, Visible Path and Xactly.

Active Starts founder Eric Di Benedetto brings to the firm more than 15 years of Silicon Valley successful venture capital experience as an investor in software for the enterprise, mobile applications and digital media. Over 40 investments to date have already led to nine public offerings and four sales to public companies. Three of those companies - Signio, AdForce and CBT Group (now SkillSoft) - reached market capitalizations in excess of $1 billion apiece.

Entrepreneurs credit Mr. Di Benedetto's hands-on approach as key to their companies' success.

"Eric brought market focus and discipline to the company from the beginning, when we were just a handful of programmers. When we ran into serious management problems, Eric jumped into the trenches with us, and he rolled up his sleeves to help us make the right choices for the business," said Michael Graves founder and chief technology officer of Signio, now CTO of VeriSign's Labs.

Active Starts has a network of experienced, world-class advisors including Mr. Graves; Pierre Rodocanachi, Chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton's Strategic Committee; Georges Culioli, a top corporate restructuring and international business executive; Patrick McNenny, a seasoned technology start-up financial executive; and Robb Wilmot, former CEO of 33,000-employee ICL PLC and 15-year veteran at Texas Instruments.


Entrepreneurs and others are invited to learn more about Active Starts at

Eric Di Benedetto
1 650 222 1077