Sep 242013


Peter Delevett covers startups and venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News. He’s been a journalist in Silicon Valley since the dot-com daze.

Elevator Pitch: Claremont Creek’s Nat Goldhaber

Nat GoldhaberIn this week’s installment of Elevator Pitch, we meet a rather unconventional gent. Nat Goldhaber studied transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (guru to the Beatles); played a key role in the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown; and was the 2000 Reform Party nominee for vice-president of the United States. (For a while, anyway.)

But Goldhaber also boasts serious tech chops. The Three Mile Island event — at which Goldhaber had a front-row seat as the top energy advisor to Pennsylvania’s governor — shaped his future views on energy investment. He left politics to launch his first startup, and today, he’s the cleantech guru at Claremont Creek Ventures. The firm’s based in downtown Oakland, which is not exactly a venture capital hotbed. Like I said, unconventional.


A: In 1984, I started a company that became known as TOPS. We developed the first truly interoperable networking system, tying together Macs, PCs and Unix-based computers and allowing the free exchange of files and data. The company was purchased by Sun Microsystems in 1987, during Sun’s most exciting period of growth.

I’d served Sun as a vice president for a year when the venture firm that had funded TOPS offered me a position as partner. The new fund was called Cole Gilburne Goldhaber and Ariyoshi. Although I later started two additional companies (the Apple-IBM joint venture called Kaleida and Cybergold, which I took public in 1999), the joy of being an early stage VC remained with me.


A: I love being a VC. I am consistently reminded of the extraordinary times we live in and the greatness of our economic system. I’m exposed to brilliant entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas.

Claremont Creek Ventures generally invests in start-ups very early in their evolution. This offers me an opportunity to materially assist entrepreneurs in refining a business plan, growing a team and executing to profitability. Being a VC allows me to leverage the skills I learned a start-up entrepreneur and use them to help new entrepreneurs create great companies.

Read the rest of the article at The Mercury News


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