I'm an absolute tech junky, but a designer as well. Yeah, I was one of those kids who took things apart, and then I would do detailed redesigns and create a new logo just for good measure. They'll probably bury me with a gadget in one hand and a sketch pad in the other.Barry Schuler builds successful companies. Within DFJ's Growth team, he nurtures companies that have gone beyond seed and early funding stages and are more mature. He seeks out category leaders, or those who are poised to be.
The hallmarks for Barry: a minimum $10 million run rate, or closing in on massive, monetizable audiences. That was the case when DFJ invested in Tumblr and Twitter—companies with real revenues and metrics.
The Growth team knows a fledgling multibillion-dollar success when it sees one. Then it gets under the hood, not just writing big checks, but helping entrepreneurs build their companies and develop winning go-to-market strategies.
The members of the DFJ team have run the entrepreneurial gauntlet and scaled businesses many times. They understand business dynamics and have the experience and knowledge of what to avoid—and the scars to prove it.
Barry is credited with being one of the pioneers of the modern Internet. He was chairman and CEO of America Online and an entrepreneur for over 30 years. He studied psychology at Rutgers University, and is a member of its Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Today, he serves on the board of directors of Coinbase, Formlabs, Foursquare, littleBits, Synthetic Genomics, and Unity.
Barry looks for CEOs who are lathered up around their vision, and entirely convinced that the world needs their product or service. He always asks about the founder's aspirations. He hopes he hears things like the singularity of the product, a clear understanding of why the world needs it, and loves a yen toward social responsibility. But he also looks for smarts, teamwork, eagerness to learn, hunger, and perhaps a few failures to pave the way for a big win.
He is exhilarated about the next big technology wave, the emergence of visual computing powered by AR/VR, the continued maturation of the Internet of Things and the confluence of big data and life sciences, robots, genomics, and the ability to harness organisms. For Barry, the potential of new technologies is endless, as is the intrigue.
A self-professed "Internet elder", Barry finds it genuinely satisfying to help the next generation and enable young entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams, as corny as that may sound.
He is committed to education reform and is chairman of the New Tech Network, the nation's most replicated classroom transformation model. He also co-founded the Blue Oak School in Napa.