Nishat Kurwa on Monday, Mar. 17th
Erik Moore’s career in venture capital began with a hot tub.
It sounds like the ultimate Bay Area cliché, perhaps even more vividly so when you hear that the hot tub in question was destined for the downtown building once sought after by flashy former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.
It was 1999, and Tony Hsieh, one of the building’s well-to-do tenants, had just sold his first company to Microsoft. Hsieh wanted to install a Jacuzzi in his penthouse apartment – but it was against policy in the building, where Moore lived, too. After the fellow tenants ran into each other one night, Hsieh drafted Moore onto the homeowner’s association. They got the sought-after hot tub installed, and became friends.
Good enough friends that Moore invested in Hsieh’s company, one called Zappos.
At the time, he told Hsieh, “I’m not sure I have ever heard of a more stupid idea than selling shoes online.” But, deciding that Hsieh’s obvious talents as an entrepreneur outweighed the apparent dead-end nature of the internet service that became Zappos (which was later acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion) Moore made the investment that eventually provided the seed money for his venture capital fund, Base Ventures. (more…)