James is one of Silicon Valley’s foremost experts in growth and network effects. He’s a four-time serial entrepreneur. He is also a pioneer of user-generated models, viral marketing, a/b testing, crowdsourcing, and myriad other growth techniques now followed by nearly all technology companies.
Because of his expertise in these critical areas of company growth, he’s been fortunate to invest in, advise, and mentor many of technology’s definitive startups, and has revolutionized the trajectory of today’s leading internet companies.
James is a growth junkie with an uncanny eye for what it takes to succeed. He has been investing before or alongside firms like Sequoia, Greylock, CRV, A16z, First Round, Mayfield, Shasta, and GGV.
Before becoming an investor, James co-founded one of the internet’s first successful user-generated companies, Tickle, in 1999 and served as CEO. Under James’ leadership, Tickle grew to become the 18th largest website in the world with over 150 million registered users, and was acquired in 2004 by Monster for $110 million. It was during this time he realized the power of network effects as the core growth driver of both B2B and B2C successes across every vertical.
James then co-founded three other successful companies – Wonderhill (online video games, merged with Kabam in 2010 which then sold for $800M), IronPearl (growth analytics SaaS, acquired by PayPal in 2013), and Jiff (enterprise healthcare software, raised $68M from Venrock, GE, J&J, merged with Castlight in 2017- NASDAQ: CSLT).
A lifelong learner and developer of talent, James loves sharing wisdom among founders. He speaks regularly at numerous industry conferences. He’s also been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, LA Times, Silicon Valley Business Journal, etc.
Adventure seeker, has sailed across both the North Atlantic and the South Pacific; father of 4 boys; married to the strongest woman in the world; musician and singer; fascinated by psychology and language; interested in innovative learning models/organizations for community development and networked ecosystems.
Education & Affiliations
M.B.A., Harvard Business School
B.A., Political Economics, Princeton
HS, Phillips Exeter Academy
Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute
- The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting) #Network Effects
- NFX Podcast: Why Top Founders Understand Network Effects with Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit #Network Effects
- What It Takes to Build an Iconic Marketplace: The Poshmark Story #Marketplaces
- NFX Podcast: Lyft vs. Uber and the Battle for Ridesharing Dominance #Network Effects
- The Network Effects Bible #Network Effects
- The Next 10 Years Will Be About “Market Networks” #Network Effects